So you recently went through a breakup? And all that you are doing now is listening to the saddest songs in the history of mankind? Sounds familiar? Well, not to mention, you are on just the right track!
Sounding weird, right? How can torturing yourself to sad songs on a repeat be a good thing? Well, research has shown it can be, and it can be much better than you think.
Though it is sorrowful and heartbreaking, but listening to sad music can actually be very beneficial for you. There are just so many advantages. You feel better. You become more creative. You feel more empathetic. You feel inspired. You are able to control your thoughts. You can introspect. And just so many things!
Read on to find the various pieces of research and what the scientists found in each experiment. Sad pieces of music affect our mental state, and this is how exactly this happens.
Why are we so drawn towards sad songs
Sad songs evoke positive emotions in us. This boosts our mental health. It ultimately gives us a positive boost. It lightens our moods and elevates our enthusiasm. Let us take the instance of a research. A team of psychologists at the Free University of Berlin in Germany conducted an experiment on 772 people and made them listen to sad songs. They then evaluated how the people felt.
The result? People don’t actually feel sad when listening to sad music. Although the sadness meter of the artist does make a difference. The sadder the artist, the better the song. Instead, they actually felt better after listening to the songs.
Most people will believe that if you are listening to sad music, it will affect you negatively. But that is not the case always. It can have more positive benefits than you can even imagine.
Another research at the Tokyo University of Arts revealed that sad songs invoke as many emotions that include positive ones. Thus, they concluded that we feel perfectly fine while listening to sad songs because we know deep down that it is just a piece of art, not real. Our brain works for that, and it stops us from becoming melancholy after listening to the sad songs.
The feelings are more like aesthetic ones. We are touched by melancholy in music, but we are not drowned in the sadness of it. And after the burst of the sadness is over, positivity and inspiration creeps in.
Another theory that why we might like sad songs is because of the sympathising nature inbuilt in us. We like watching sad plays, movies and any other stuff that has the upsetting element in it. Not because we are sad and want to ruin our lives and peace, but because we sympathize with the artist. Our brain realizes that it is the artist who has the broken heart and the sorrow, not us. Therefore, we feel for them. We just become a little down and not bury ourselves in the oceans of grief.
Ok that’s fine, but what about listening to sad music when I am already sad
You know if you ask the expert, that can actually be a good thing. If you are already sad and listen to a sad piece of music, it will bring out all that you are holding inside. And then after you are down pouring out all your emotions, you actually feel a lot better. You must have experienced this before. You get sad, vent out all that you have inside, and suddenly you begin to feel more positive and calm.
In fact, there is a very logical explanation for this. The earlier studies concluded that people get burst of positive feelings like nostalgia and peacefulness when they listen to sad songs. And all of this revolves around one line of thought- misery loves company.
Haven’t you wished that when you are sad, you are around the people who care for you, and they just comfort you throughout it? This is what we are trying to emphasize. Also, when you are sad, you are able to connect to the songs. You feel for the singer. You think that both of you are in the same place. And that gives you a sense of satisfaction that you are not alone. There is someone who shares your grief.
This ultimately relieves you, and you soon start to feel better. Why? Because you realize that, you are at a better place than the singer. This boosts you and instils a feel-good factor. You ultimately become happy that now you are in a much better place. And then, recovering from your sorrow and solitude gets much easier.
They have a comforting rhythm too
One more thing to note about sad songs is that their music is quite tranquil. They not only pacify you but also entertain you. Even if you are not sad, you will love to hear these songs. The songs have a comforting tune, and the melody helps one to relax.
According to a paper published in PLoS ONE, sad, slow music can elicit nostalgia. It can make the person tender, peaceful and consoled. If someone is going through emotional distress, it can lift their moods substantially. Most people have reported being inspired by listening to sad songs. And almost everyone feels better after listening to sad songs, no matter how hard times they are going through.
Sad tunes can regulate the negativities in a person’s life too. If you listen to positive and happy music, it won’t impact you that positively as sad music can. This is why most people use sad music to uplift their moods.
It is about the chemicals in our body too
Sad music has been found to alter the body chemicals as well. Sad music leads to a spike in the prolactin hormone. It is the same chemical that helps to suppress grief and sorrow. It is released during other times as well, like during eating, ovulating, breastfeeding and during sex. Thus, it is a happy hormone. And sad music does exactly that. It increases the quantity of prolactin thereby elevating our moods and making us feel happier. Music affects your heart rate too, and that will make you more enthusiastic.
Some additional thoughts
The best benefit of listening to sad songs is that you can delve into the depths of sadness without actually being sad. So if you sometimes feel that you want to experience a little blue, just play that sad track and sleep on it.
Another benefit that people get after listening to sad music is mood regulation. Sometimes you feel bizarre. You don’t know what you are actually feeling. In those cases, just listen to sad songs. Ultimately, when your self-torture ends, you will feel a lot better.
Sad music allows one to reflect on his life. He can very deeply analyse what he is doing with his life and what changes he needs to make. He can closely check what he is feeling and can very easily regulate all of that.
Increased sadness allows people to imagine how they can express themselves. They become more creative. Again, the power of empathy and the way sad songs incite that in you will make you more connected to yourself.