January 17, 2020
Perhaps you have felt it before. A certain song comes on, and immediately you feel different. Maybe you smile or even start to dance, or maybe you feel a little melancholy and your body feels more relaxed or even tired. It is well known that music can influence our mood in the moment, but can music influence our mood more long-term? Can music contribute to our anxiety or depression?
The Impact of Music on Our Mood
When you hear your one of your favorite songs or artists, there is that unmistakable feeling. It cheers you up, maybe even gives you a little rush. Different styles of music have different effects on people, too. You also listen to different types of music to suit your moods. When you are in a good mood, you are more likely to choose music that helps you feel happy and makes you want to move. When you are down, you are more likely to choose music that makes you sad or melancholy. But is the influence of music only temporary?
According to a study done in 2013, the music you listen to can impact anxiety and depression, influencing your mood long after the playlist is over. Listening to music that brings you down can bring you down lower and longer or increase your anxiety. Choosing music that increases your depression or anxiety is like replaying negative thoughts or events over and over in your head, but to music. Music is very powerful, and increases the power of the lyrics or overall feeling of each song.
There has long been debates as to whether or not music made people act in certain ways. That has never been proven, however there is evidence that listening to music an influence your moods, which in turn can influence your behaviors. That is how powerful music can be.
What Are You Listening To?
Knowing that music can be so powerful and can impact your mood so much, it is important to think about what you are listening to. Music has a lot of layers that can affect you. There are the lyrics, of course, those things that parents and teachers will scold you about if they are not appropriate. Lyrics do have more power when set to music, so remember that it is important to know what you are listening to.
The music itself has power, too. There are many songs that have been recorded in multiple genres. If you take one song and listen to it in more than one genre, notice how the same lyrics and even melody can make you feel different because of the different music and style. The music itself, even the beat, can drastically change how you feel.
Why It Is Important to Pay Attention
If you are out shopping or in another public place and there is music playing in the background, you may not even notice until you start tapping your feet to a song that you like, or hear a song that you really don’t like. Music is all around us, but when you have your ear buds in, you control the soundtrack. It is important to pay attention to your playlists and how they are impacting your mood.
For some people, it can be one song. Particularly if it is a song that is associated with a person you lost, like a breakup or even if they passed away. Hearing that song can spark memories and all of the feelings of grief and loss all over again. That can trigger negative thoughts and send you spiraling down the path of anxiety or depression all over again.
For others, it is listening to songs over and over, or listening to specific types of music. The way the music makes you feel gives way to a change in your mood, which can send you crashing, and before you know it, you are depressed or having anxiety again. Even more so if you are choosing a soundtrack based on negative stressors in your life. It is always important to think about what you are listening to and how it impacts your mood.
Using Music for Good
When you are aware of what you are listening to, you can help control your moods. If something negative happens in your life, instead of matching the music to your mood, try listening to music that is a little happier or more positive. Then your mood will be more likely to match the music you listen to than the other way around. If you are angry and feel like listening to angry music, try instead to listen to your favorite songs and see the effect it has on your mood. Just as music can negatively impact our mood, we can also use music to positively impact our mood.
Never underestimate the power of what you are listening to. Just like what you eat and whether or not you exercise can impact your depression or anxiety, so can the music that you listen to. You can empower yourself to help control your moods by being aware of the music you are putting in your mind. Remember that the soundtrack of your life can influence the outcome of your life. Take control of your playlists and help take control of your mental health.