Are you someone who listens to sad music when they’re sad, or upbeat music when they’re happy? Studies have shown that this may be what is dictating how you feel. Listening to happy music can actually improve your mood, and help get rid of physical pain.


Studies have shown that even sad music can lift your mood, possibly because we feel understood and can relate to the lyrics, which makes us feel less alone. The researches suggested that sad music provides a substitute for the lost relationship, and that people treat it like an empathic friend — someone who truly understands what they're going through. Upbeat music can also improve a person’s mood: one study found that people who listened to upbeat music could improve their moods and boost their happiness in just two weeks. Participants were instructed to try to improve their mood, but they only succeeded when they listened to upbeat music. This is good because happiness has been linked to better physical health, higher income, and greater relationship satisfaction.


However, music doesn’t just influence our mental health, music therapy can help a person to manage stress, enhance memory, and alleviate pain. It seems crazy that music can help people cope with physical pain, but research has shown a clear link. Another study found that people who listened to music before, during, or after surgery experienced less pain and anxiety, compared to patients who did not listen to music. The music listeners didn’t need as much pain medication after their surgery, and this can also be applied to people with chronic pain: listening to music can help ease it.


This all happens because when we listen to music, our brain releases endorphins, specifically dopamine. This is a naturally occurring chemical in our brain that makes us feel happy, and can even reduce the effects of physical pain. There are other ways to increase the amount of endorphins in our brains, such as exercising, or eating certain foods, but this is something everyone can do to try and improve their mood during this difficult time. Music is just naturally ingrained in our lives, and it seems to bring us joy when we need it the most, so maybe next time you feel down, listen to your favourite song, or any one as long as it’s upbeat and you can sing along.