Music is a powerful tool and many people feel innately connected to the art form. For some, it even saved their lives, improved their mood, or at least helped or resonated with them in a time of need. Many people testify that music helps them connect with others, bringing people together over a shared love for an artist or genre.
But the effects of music go further and can affect you on a psychological level. Have you ever noticed that music can change the way you feel? It turns out that there is a scientific basis for this experience, and it is not all good!
Here are 6 positive and negative ways that music influences your mood.
1. Positive: it is pleasant
Research has indicated that we tend to derive a positive experience when we play music. Turns out the reason is that it activates the dopamine system, flooding our system with feel-good neurochemicals that can be addictive.
Some other activities that have a similar effect on us include:
- Have satisfactory intimacy
- Enjoy good mood food
- They are experiencing pleasant effects from the drugs.
This means that if you are struggling with positive thinking or need to kick an unpleasant habit, then the chills you get from listening to good music may be just what you need.
However, not everyone experiences such emotional responses when listening to music. If you find yourself struggling with this, you may have something called musical anhedonia. With that said, you will probably find that your favorite songs still have a good impact on your mood.
2. Neutral: it is emotionally contagious
Pay attention the next time you watch your favorite movie. Now try watching, say, a car chase scene without music. Doesn’t it seem a lot more boring afterwards?
Despite going unnoticed by the casual viewer, musical scores have been important in almost every visual medium that we see. The reasons are as follows:
Change our emotions
As a human species in general, we are meant to be empathic creatures. This allows us to ensure that we can care for the well-being of others and create closer emotional bonds that were advantageous to our predecessors. This means that we often end up being affected by music too! The emotional aspect of a piece of music or song often activates our natural tendency to mimic and imitate. It ends up affecting our moods and thoughts along with the emotions expressed!
Can change the emotions of a group
Anyone who’s been to a concert can tell you this is a no-brainer, but here’s a more subtle use case for this. A common psychological trick that stores use to play music that creates the atmosphere they want. That way, customers are more likely to buy things from that store. Do you need an example? Consider how much more likely you are to choose brighter, more cheerful colors when you hear a positive bubble gum pop, compared to, say, dark, gloomy colors when you hear something else. melancholia.
Reminds you of your experiences
Good, timeless songs are often hooked on specific ideas that evoke important memories for you and, by extension, also evoke whatever accompanying moods you may associate with them. A simple example would be any song that reminds you of your love for your partner or the loss of a loved one. Whenever circumstances or contexts align, it will be reminded through the power of song.
3. Negative: It can lead to a sad state of mind
Positive thinking is difficult. Sometimes you need to hear a sad song and feel validated before you can move on. Other times, however, it can turn into an unhealthy act of wallowing in negativity.
Investigate has shown that when they are in a bad mental space, many people tend to sad or negative music. However, despite that attraction, they don’t actually enjoy it and often end up more depressed afterward.
And yet the behavior persists, with people claiming it has the following impact on mood:
- Help them feel better (despite evidence to the contrary)
- Validating your pain and pain
- Giving words to the emotions they feel
While using it as a temporary survival mechanism It certainly has its benefits, in the long run, listening to negative music for days, weeks, or even months can:
- Create a negative spiral of self
- Improves and enhances negative moods.
- Foster depression
As such, it is a good idea to be aware of how much negative music you are listening to when you are already upset. Sure, it can be a great source of validation, but after a while, you’ll have to move on.
Positive thinking eludes you? Do you have a hard time keeping a cool head in a crisis? Music may be the solution for you! Here are some reasons why:
Struggling to unwind and relax? TO study has shown that music has shown that after listening to music, patients in rehabilitation therapy for a stroke are less anxious.
Reduces stress levels
Managing stress can be difficult, but you may not have to resort to more complex methods yet if you don’t want to. TO study music has been shown to help reduce anxiety and stress.
May lower cortisol levels
Cortisol, a chemical that is released when we are stressed, has been shown to cause us all kinds of physical problems, especially in the long term. Fortunately, a study It has been shown that listening to music can stimulate the body to release less cortisol than normal when stressed. That finding has a huge impact on your mood!
So the next time you’re feeling increasingly frantic and panicky, try taking a moment to put on a quiet tune. It may be just that calming influence you need.
5. Negative: it can make you critical
It makes sense that music, which can affect our emotions, can also affect the way we perceive emotions. And good news: we have scientific evidence to back this up!
As it turns out, Sciences shows that listening to music can actually affect your visual perception of the emotional state of those around you. For example:
You read faces differently
Background music can make you more sensitive to the emotion represented by the background music being played. This means that you may be more sensitive to facial features that represent the appropriate mood you are experiencing with music. For example, happy music makes it easier for you to recognize happy faces.
You see things that don’t exist
The same study also featured an interesting phenomenon: even when images were presented that did not have a real face, background music still affected the way participants viewed things. In other words, you could end up seeing emotions on faces that aren’t really there or illusions that match the background music.
You see the world differently
Humor music is one thing for a reason. The right background soundtrack can make the world seem brighter than normal and vice versa, even though the circumstances remain the same.
This may not seem like a bad thing at first glance, but there is a concerning factor in this: that it can cause you to misperceive and interpret what you see. So if you really want to understand what exactly you are looking at, you might want to try taking your headphones off for a second.
6. Positive: it makes you feel better physically
We all know how important it is to stay physically healthy, both for the sake of your body and your mind. Health benefits aside, regular exercise helps reduce stress levels and releases happy chemicals like serotonin and dopamine.
With all that said, have you considered adding music to your healthcare toolbox? Because (surprise!) Music also has many benefits that can help you in this regard!
Do you find yourself putting on a good tune to help you have a quiet night? Yes, there is also a reason for that. Studies have shown that relaxing music not only helps people keep pushing themselves through repetitive and strenuous tasks, but also increases the threshold for exhaustion. In other words, listening to relaxing music makes it harder for you to feel mentally and physically tired.
It is good for your heart
Do you enjoy moving and moving at a good pace? That is actually helping you. Dancing with all your heart is itself a form of exercise that gets your blood pumping and, as a result, provides the cardio that you might not have otherwise gotten. Not only that, investigate has shown that music can affect things like heart rate, breathing rate, and blood pressure. So it’s possible that a good beat is at least half the reason you’re getting such good cardio out of your dance routine.
Helps control pain
Even though pain relievers are essential to one’s comfort, using them may not be to everyone’s liking, especially in the long term. Fortunately, there is a solution: music! While not a perfect solution, studies have shown that music can help increase the effectiveness of pain management compared to just taking medication on its own.
Improves exercise performance
If you’ve ever put in a fast pace to keep going when you’re already tired, then you probably know this phenomenon intimately. And now, science can back up what athletes have been saying for years! In addition to working as an external metronome to control your rhythm, fast, intense music helps you achieve peak performance with less oxygen during your workout. Not to mention, working out to great music also encourages longer workouts!
Music has always had strong effects on people and now there is scientific evidence to prove it. Understanding how music influences your mood both positively and negatively can help you tailor your preferred listening to your needs.
While no tune is inherently harmful, there is no denying that some can hurt you more than they help, so keep that in mind when creating your favorites playlist! Choosing carefully the music that lifts and helps you and those around you is a beautiful way to appreciate and love the many wonders of the art of music.