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Can You Hear the Music?

Embark Behavioral Health
January 18, 2020

There is music all around you. In stores, elevators, movie soundtracks, video games, and more. The music is playing, but often you don’t hear it. Your mind does, but you don’t pay attention. Sometimes, you even listen to your own playlists or music services without really knowing what you are listening to. Music can impact our mood for better or for worse. The question is, can you hear the music? Do you know what you are listening to?

You pay attention to what you put into your body when it comes to food. Many people read the labels on the products they use for cosmetics and grooming to see if they are healthy or not. You probably pay attention to the over the counter and prescription medications that you put into your body, because you want to know what is going in your body and how it will affect you. But how often to do you pay attention to the music that is going into your mind? Do you know how that music is going to affect you? Are you aware that music can greatly impact your mood, especially if you have depression or anxiety?

How Music Affects Our Mood

You have probably noticed at some point that listening to your favorite music puts you in a good mood. Music can put a smile on your face, maybe even make you feel like dancing. Or perhaps you have noticed that if there is music you specifically don’t like, it can make you irritable, or want to turn it off or get away from it. Those are ways that music can impact your emotions and your current mood, how you feel in the moment.

There are studies that show, however, that music can impact our mood long-term, increasing depression or anxiety. Certain songs, certain lyrics, certain genres of music are more likely to intensify depression or anxiety, sometimes as much or more as outside stressors and environmental factors. It actually does matter what you are listening to. It is important to be aware of both the type of music, the lyrics, and how they are impacting you. Not just short-term or in the moment, but for days or even weeks after listening. Particularly if you listen to a song or album or playlist over and over again. It is similar to eating fast food for every meal, it is just not healthy for you.

How Mood Affects Our Choice of Music

Obviously, if you are feeling depressed already, it is unlikely that you are going to listen to music that is uplifting or really happy. If you are experiencing anxiety, you are unlikely to choose soothing, relaxing music, because that is the opposite of how you are feeling. You are more likely to choose music that matches where you are at emotionally. If you are already in a negative mindset, or worse, already depressed, you are more likely to choose music that you can emotionally relate to, music that brings you down harder. Human beings can be a little bit self-punishing that way.

Likewise, you can make conscious choices to improve your mood. There is research which shows that making choices of music that is more uplifting when you are depressed can actually improve your mood. Not just your emotional state at the time, but your actual mood. As in if you are depressed, you can actually improve your mood level, not just in that moment, but longer-term. Instead of reaching for all of those angst or depressive songs when you are down, you can reach for music that has a better beat, happier lyrics, and actually help pull yourself out of the nosedive that is depression. Music can be very powerful.

Make a Choice

Be aware of the music that you are listening to. How does it make you feel? What is the message of the music? Is the beat faster, maybe danceable? When you are aware of what is in your playlist, what your friends are listening to, what is on the soundtracks of the movies you watch and the video games that you play, then you can take control over what is going into your mind in much the same way you make choices about what you eat and the other things you put into your body.

You don’t have to listen to music you hate. Just choose from the music that you like that is more upbeat musically and positive lyrically. Or at least balance the songs that might bring you down with songs that will pull you up. It is your mental health, it is your choice. 

Can you hear the music? The music you listen to can impact your mood. Not just for now, for an hour, or a day, but long-term. Music can make you more depressed or anxious, or it can help alleviate some of your depression or anxiety. It is your choice. You can be picky about what you put in your mind, just like you can be picky about what you put in your body. In the end, the choices you make can help or harm your mental health. Be aware. Be vigilant of the music you are listening to. Music is powerful. Choose music for your health.

Hear the music. Learn how to keep your mood stable with the music you listen to at Embark Behavioral Health. Call 1-855-809-0409 today. Put your life in harmony.

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Embark Behavioral Health

Embark Behavioral Health

Embark Behavioral Health is a leading network of mental health treatment centers, for young people, that is dedicated to reversing the trends of anxiety, depression and suicide by 2028. Our therapists are experts at engaging with teens and helping entire families heal and rebuild.