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.
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).