Listening to sad music to improve mood may seem paradoxical, but recent research has shown that people can experience mood improvements from sad music. Sad music does not necessarily produce negative emotions and effects, in fact it does the opposite. “People turn to sad music for comfort, and to deal with bad feelings, but also simply for pleasure,” said researcher Liila Taruffi. “[Sad music has] potential to regulate negative moods and emotions, as well as to provide consolation… In this sense, sad music can play a role in well-being.”
While most people may think that listening to happier, upbeat music is better to boost your mental health and mood, listening to happy music while you’re sad can remind you how distant you are from those positive feelings. Instead of trying to distract yourself from your negative thoughts and emotions, sad music allows you to confront those thoughts in a cathartic way.
At healf we recognize the importance of taking care of your mental health to support your overall wellbeing. From focus to gratitude to mindfulness, a balanced mind is a healthy mind. If you are searching for a way to regulate your emotions or curb any negative thoughts, you might want to consider listening to sad music. We have compiled a list of benefits so that you can decide if listening to sad music is something you would like to try.
Benefits of listening to sad music
Listening to music is a lot of people’s preferred method of dealing with their emotions; however, listening to sad music is not as common despite recent research suggesting its numerous benefits. If you are confused as to how sad music can actually help boost your mental health, here are some benefits to consider.
Sad music can help a listener disengage from any stressful situation they are consumed by and help them focus on the music instead. The lyrics can help give a voice to emotions that the listener cannot express.
A study found that respondents who listened to sad music while they were in a bad mood felt better and had an emotional boost afterwards. The music helped them express and release emotions and created a space of reflection of their experiences, thoughts and feelings.
Sad music can evoke memories of important and powerful experiences or remind us of a particular point in time. This reflection of the past can create a sense of happiness by reminiscing in nostalgia. It gives us an opportunity to confront the events that have made us the way we are and through that confrontation help us gain a better understanding of our emotions.
Listening to music in general can create a sensation called catharsis, which is the purging of emotions. As a person is listening to sad music specifically, the simulation of sadness tricks the brain into releasing prolactin, a hormone known to alleviate feelings of grief.
Arianna Galligher, a licensed independent social worker, says that listening to sad music “helps us access and move through emotions that can otherwise be difficult or painful, in a low-risk, intentional, and time-limited way.”
Empathy makes sad music more moving and meaningful while intensifying emotional responses. By listening to sad music, the listener experiences empathy through sharing the sadness of another human being through the song. This shared experience of emotion can make the listener feel good and not so lonely. Additionally, research suggests that people with a strong disposition to empathy were found to enjoy sad music more.
When life is becoming difficult to approach, turn to music. Sad music is many people’s way to seek comfort whether it’s because you are sharing an emotion or experience. Listening to sad music can put you in the right headspace to regulate your mood and induce catharsis which can make you feel better and boost your mental health.
Although listening to upbeat music may seem like the more obvious choice, sad music has been found to be able to boost mental health and improve mood. Sad music often tells a story of someone’s emotion or experience, and listening and relating to that emotion or experience can make us feel more connected and a little less lonely.
If you want to try listening to sad music to better regulate your mental health, here are a few products we recommend to create the best environment for your listening session:
- Yoga Studio: Round Zafu Organic Meditation Cushion
- Magic of I: Vegan Leather Journal - Lined
- The Nue Co.: Functional Fragrance - Destress