Sad music makes me feel better when I’m sad

We have ALL had those times. Those times where we are immensely sad and all we want to do is lay around in bed and sulk. I know a lot of people like to put on music when they are feeling down like this, but not just any type of music. People put on music that is equally as depressing as their mood. Weird right? I never knew why this happened. I catch myself doing it ALL the time but had no clue why it actually made me feel better. But guess what….. ya boy just found out!

What I first imagined before doing any research was that when you listen to sad music, you feel better because you listen to people going through struggles just like you are so you are not alone. Also if they are talking about something more serious than your issue, you feel better because you don’t have it as bad as them. Well at least that’s how I felt. There is actually a lot of research that has been done on this topic. Most of it is psychological but there is also a component of science behind this mystery.


Link for the picture

In the article I read, I saw that there was a study done at Durham University in the United Kingdom and a university in Finland that basically polled 2,436 people studying their reactions to songs that brought on nostalgia and to see the emotions they felt. According the the researchers, the main emotions experienced were pleasure, comfort, and pain. A psychologist named Adrian North, who had not been involved with the study, came to two conclusions: a psychological explanation and a neuroscience explanation. But since this is a science class, I think it is more practical to write about the scientific reason.

According to North, the scientific reason is actually more convincing. It has to do with the chemical reactions that occur in your brain. When you are listening to music, your brain actually releases dopamine, which is a neurotransmitter that is related to how the feeling of pleasure is triggered. Dopamine can also be released when eating food, the act of sex, and doing drugs. When you are doing these types of activities, you are at a high emotional state. Therefore, if you are listening to sad music, you receive some type of pleasure because you reach a high emotional state. Although, not all brains are the same. Some people that were studied did not have good reactions to listening to sad music. (David Nield, Here’s why listening to sad music makes you feel better)

What I understand from this article is that listening to sad music causes you to want to listen to sad music. There is a correlation between being sad and listening to sad music, but the mechanism is still unknown. All I know is that I’m going to keeping listening to sad music when I’m feeling down because according to the study, it is helpful to some people (including me).

5 thoughts on “Sad music makes me feel better when I’m sad

  1. Mackenzie French

    I found your blog interesting because I always listen to sad music when I am upset, and find myself being more upset but it’s also very calming at the same time. When I am sad I like to actually be sad, instead of pretending that I am not. I think it’s more beneficial for someone who is sad to be in a state of sadness for an hour and then find their way out of it. So, I agree with what you said about how sad music comforts people and makes them feel like they are not alone. The lyrics to sad songs tend to outweigh most situations that make me upset, therefore making me realize that I could have it worse and in essence make me feel better. On the other hand, when I am happy I listen to upbeat music, making me even happier.

    1. gcm5149 Post author

      Yeah that definitely makes sense. I think happy music may have the exact same effect on you when you’re happy. Like I said in my blog, music causes the brain to release dopamine so if you are happy, you are going to feel possibly happier if you listen to happy music that maybe you relate to. Thanks for reading!

  2. Charles Tyler Hart

    You said that there is a correlation between being sad and listening to sad music, but I am still have some doubts. While this is more than anecdotal because I’m sure millions of people do indeed listen to sad music when they’re upset, there needs to be more studies before you can say there is a correlation. The study uses plenty of people, over 2,000, so that’s a sign of a well made experiment. However the study is observational, and that is also much less concrete than experimental studies. Overall, I would say it’s too early to say there is a correlation because there is not enough research done. Once the research is done, I’m sure we’ll be able to learn more about possible mechanism you listed, that being the release of dopamine.

    1. gcm5149 Post author

      I see where you are coming from. When I did my research on this topic, not just one article came up. Multiple articles came up and I decided to choose just one. I defiantly agree that more evidence should be included in my blog to be able to say there is a correlation. It is just a matter of me not including more studies/ evidence to reinforce that idea. Thank you for reading and for the feedback!Here is another article about the topic that I found.

  3. Catherine Drinker

    This is super interesting because I think it is something that everyone can relate to. Like you said, it helps to listen to sad music because it makes you feel you are not alone and that other people are going through similar things that you are. I have noticed I also watched sad movies when I’m upset which is probably for the same reasons.

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