Feeling down? Why not listen to sad music!
What if I told you that listening to sad music was good for you? I’m serious, it is. Well, basically melancholy music is therapeutic and has the ability to lift an already gloomy mood-even easing the deepest depression. Want to know more? Well sure you do. There are factors behind this revelation that explain just how sadness relieves sadness. Here’s the details…
Inside the brain
Doubling down on sadness works wonders. You could say that listening to sad music when you are already down serves as a way to cancel out one sadness with the other-possibly, but maybe there’s more to it than that. Here’s a slightly different theory. Sad music seems to somehow trigger fonder memories within the brain that lead to relief of negative emotions. If you’ve lost your job, a sad tune may remind you of losing a job before and how easy it was to find employment again. Or rather losing a relationship and how you had felt the same pain in the past followed by growth and strength. Didn’t know music had those capabilities, did you?
During a study at the Durham University in the UK, researchers found that sad music triggers three main emotions within the memories-comfort, pain and pleasure. These emotions surfaced during listening to some of the saddest music and haunting melodies. They also discovered that sad songs reminded us that someone somewhere will always have it worse than we do.
Psychologist, Adrian North, from Curtin University in Australia explained this.
“We tend to feel better about ourselves by focusing on someone who is doing worse.”
Another way to look it is to try and imagine a parallel condition to our own. When we listen to sad music, especially something that mirrors what we are currently going through, we can tune ourselves more efficiently to the solution. We also feel aligned with others who are enduring the same hardships and thus we do not feel so alone.
But there’s a more scientific reason for this dark musical preference. Neuroscience has answers that explain the physical aspects of how we gravitate to one thing or the other. It seems the sad music could be linked to a hormone or chemical which relieves grief-it’s called prolactin. Music, in any form, as most of us know, releases dopamine in the brain. This may explain a bit about how even melancholy music makes us happy at times. The brain is essentially preparing the rest of the body for coming circumstances, good or bad. This often leaves us in a natural high.
And last but not least, music is a great art form, and art in dark form is also uplifting. Our minds tend to see sad music as harboring great beauty with the ability to draw us in, healing our pain. I am an artist, and I know firsthand that some of the greatest works of art was created in a rather gloomy mood, some of which was also created to the tune of some dark melody.
So before you go shopping, spending money you don’t really have, in order to lift your mood. Before you start listening to holiday tunes and super swinging upbeat melodies, try to tone it down a bit and roll with a melancholy song. You will be surprised by how quickly you begin to feel better.
Feeling down? Find yourself a sad song and release your emotions on a healing journey.
By Sherrie Lee Hurd, Truth Inside Of You.