How Does Music Affect Your Mood and Level of Happiness?
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Whether you are angry or frustrated, happy or cheerful, sad or anxious, when you listen to music, it can transport you to your happy place. There is just something about those melodious notes that enchant your soul.
The fascinating thing about music is that it is a universal language. While the lyrics of a song can be in a language that is foreign to you, the music itself will never seem too strange. Music makes you happier and less anxious, and gives you energy.
But why exactly does music affect your mood and level of happiness?
There is a study that backs the claim that music has a positive effect on your mood. People who begin their days with songs are more cheerful and spend the rest of the day with renewed energy. A study by the University of Missouri also found that music has a positive effect on people, and that those who listen to it show signs of happiness.
Have you ever listened to a long-forgotten song from your teen years and instantly felt nostalgic? That music has the potential to evoke the same feelings that you had years before.
But music is not only helpful in uplifting your mood. It also has unique healing powers. It can even play a vital role in restoring the cognitive and sensory functions of the brain after a traumatic injury.
In times of great tragedies, music has helped to hold people together. Songs were written to describe the plights of people facing oppression, inspiring a sense of empathy among listeners who were compelled to take action or raise their voices against the atrocities.
Music can affect nearly every aspect of your life. It is even used to spread awareness about causes and reach out to larger audiences. After a devastating earthquake in Haiti, K'naan's FIFA World Cup song “Wavin' Flag” became an anthem for the Haitians. The song successfully raised $1 million for the victims of the disaster.
On a broader scale, music can bring communities together, and help them fight for a common cause. On an individual level, music can uplift one’s mood and make a person happier. In this article, we'll find out how music affects a person's mood, and whether listening to a five-minute song first thing in the morning is good for you.
Side note: If you want to read up more on other ways to be a happier person, then check out Happier Human, which has 53 specific, science-backed habits designed to increase your levels of happiness levels.
How Does Music Affect Your Mood?
Scientific research confirms that music has a positive effect on our mood because of brain dopamine regulation. In fact, recent research suggests that even sad music can play an important role in reducing anxiety and uplifting the mood of the listener. Here are five ways that music positively affects your mood and increases your level of happiness.
1. Music and Stress
Pleasant and slow music with no loud instruments is effective in calming people down. In the same manner, performing music (such as playing the piano or guitar) is also a good way to reduce a person’s stress levels. During highly stressful and painful events, people are recommended to listen to soothing music. This helps them fight against the feelings of anxiety and pain, and also lower their heart rates. Research also suggests that birthing mothers who bring music to the birthing room feel more relaxed during the birthing procedure.
Most of the time, your bad mood is caused by the stress that you are battling with. Music helps you to reduce this stress, which in turn makes you feel better. Many meditation experts also recommend people listen to calming music while meditating.
The iPod generation doesn't even have to worry about what their family members or roommates will say when they hear them listening to low, pleasant music. With earphones in their ears, these people can listen to any kind of music they want without judgment.
2. Music Helps You Move On
After a terrible breakup, you feel as if the world is nearing its end. You don't feel like climbing out of your bed, going out, or even doing routine work. You feel as if the world has paused, and that you are trapped inside of time. You might often feel that there is no light at the end of the tunnel. Instead of making an effort to move on, you feel like crying in the shower ,with sad songs set on repeat.
This might seem cliché behavior, but listening to music while remembering the good times that you had with your former partner is the first sign of a person coping with their breakup. And did you know that music can actually be used as a healing agent that helps you recover from depression and move on?
On the surface, music provides consolation to the person who is recovering from a bad breakup. But in addition, it also acts as a regulator that assuages a person’s negative mood by releasing a type of neurochemicals called dopamine. These neurochemicals play a vital role in regulating mood, and have a profound impact on a person’s level of happiness.
People coping with a breakup should seek refuge in music, as it plays a significant role in bringing their levels of stress and anxiety down and uplifting their mood.
3. Attending Concerts
With the advent of smartphones, iPods, and other electronic devices, the popularity of concerts took a nosedive. Even die-hard fans often prefer to listen to songs in the comfort of their homes, lying on their backs in their cozy beds.
We have already discussed the positive effects of music, but there are also studies about the impact music has on a group of people listening to the same songs. A Swedish study found that going to concerts or other cultural events had positive effects. The study concluded that concert-goers (or people who attend other cultural events) have higher levels of happiness.
When you are at a concert, you are not only listening to the music created by your favorite musicians—you are also enjoying the company of thousands of strangers who share your passion. Since there is no conflict in this setting, you are more comfortable and enjoy yourself to the fullest.
During concerts, your brain also releases neurochemicals that enable you to better enjoy yourself. In the long term, you feel even happier and less stressed.
4. Music Reduces Pain
Another incredible benefit that listening to music may have on the human body is pain management. This seems a bit unbelievable at first. How can listening to music help a person reduce their physical pain? But in a study conducted in 2013, patients suffering from fibromyalgia were assigned to listen to music weekly for a month-long period.
The patients who underwent the experiment exhibited lower levels of pain and had a considerable reduction in depressive symptoms. A person experiencing pain is usually not in a good mood. They feel irritated and frustrated most of the time, mainly because they are unable to control the pain that they are experiencing. Also, many people become depressed when they are in some kind of pain. This is because high levels of pain often make it impossible for people to do their routine work.
Since they have to put in a lot of effort to get even basic work done, they feel irritated all the time. This is why they are hot-tempered and often react strongly over petty issues. Fortunately, music therapy not only helps with pain management, but has even been shown to lessen symptoms of depression.
5. Music Helps With Exercise
In research carried out in the UK, scientists observed the exhaustion levels of people on treadmills. A group of people was made to listen to motivational music, others were asked to listen to non-motivational music, and still others were made to run on the treadmill without any music. The groups of people who were listening to music while on the treadmill worked out for longer periods of time, while the people with no music became exhausted in a short time.
Exercise is a good way to release stress and increase the levels of dopamine in the brain. People who exercise are happier and have a more positive outlook on life. In cooperation with exercise, music helps you bring down your stress levels and keeps you in a happy state.
Wrapping It Up
Music is often regarded as a source of entertainment, but many people didn't realize that this art form has positive effects on their mood and level of happiness.
The fact that music has so many health benefits is quite fascinating. From pain management to stress relief, music plays a vital role in managing a person’s mood. When you feel positive and less stressed, you will have more positive energy. You will also be able to do your work with more enthusiasm, which will result in greater overall productivity.
Instead of limiting music to a pastime, start your day with an appropriate dose of music. Listen to it on your way to work, or when you are preparing to leave on your commute. Bring your stress levels down and start the day with more positivity.