This Type of Music May Make You Happy (Even if You Aren't)
- New research reveals yet another reason to tune in. Find out more…
- Discover how your “comfort container” could be just a track away
- Plus, a new avenue that may lead to a different music experience
“Leave your home, change your name, live alone, eat your cake…”
— The National
Have you ever found yourself listening to the same sad song or album over and over again? Maybe even for a long period of time — months or, in my case, years…
And that same body of music is so powerful that you are instantly transported back to the same state of mind every time you hear it, even years later…
For me, that album was High Violet by The National. And, more specifically, a very morose song titled “Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks,” which contains the opening quote of this article. I listened to this religiously for almost two years without much interruption.
You see, I had left my home, had dropped my nickname, lived alone, and occasionally ate my cake.
And while I didn’t feel sad about any of it (including the cake eating), I couldn’t help but repeatedly listen to this terribly sad and lonely ballad for almost two years.
Truth be told, though, I was really happy at that time. However, all of the change made me a little sad at moments.
Not to mention I’m finicky about my music selections, so for this one song to stay in the running for so long was a rarity. Yet for some reason, I couldn’t move past this album — even when I wanted to. (New research indicates there may be a good reason for this. We will dive into that in just a second.)
And even now I can’t hear the haunting first line of that song without smelling my old apartment or tasting the coffee I used to serve at my former job — the most overwhelming response is feeling the same bittersweet way I did during that time in my life.
As it turns out, though, lots of folk experience some form of sensory stimulation, or at the very least an emotional reaction, when hearing sad music, including comfort and even joy.
And now there is some science to back it up…
Comfort in Sadness?
Researchers at Durham University, in the U.K., and the University of Jyväskylä, in Finland, recently found that folks who listen to sad music can experience feelings of pleasure and enjoyment or even comfort, which can even lead to mood improvement.
However, this positive response isn’t universal. Some folks may experience just the opposite. Here’s what the researchers found out…
The scientists reviewed three surveys that included 2,436 people for their emotional experiences associated with sad music.
Three types of emotional responses were linked to sad music — pleasure, comfort, and pain.
The experiences of pleasurable sadness were consistent across both gender and age. But an interest in music seemed to increase these feelings.
Women and young people reported experiencing painful feelings while listening to sad music, but older people said they felt a more comforting sadness.
Experts were able to connect each type of emotional reaction with a specific psychological mechanism or reaction. The researchers think this demonstrates the nature of these experiences well.
The results show positive reactions were associated more with sad music than negative ones. However, they’re careful to point out that truly negative experiences weren’t uncommon in their research, especially when linked to personal loss, breakup, divorce, or other major life changes.
In addition, other professionals took notice of their findings.
Professor Jörg Fachner of Anglia Ruskin University, who wasn’t a part of the research team, commented on the importance of their findings:
Some people enjoy sad music and derive a lot of comfort out of such music in certain situations but when a particular piece of music becomes a container for a negative emotion related to a personal or environmental challenge, a music therapist would carefully start working on its representations.
Just as Professor Fachner suggests, maybe “Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks” was the comfort container for my negative emotions at the time.
If you find yourself listening to sad music but have a positive response, it seems like you should keep on doing it. If your response is negative, it’s probably time to create a new playlist.
Either way, if you are interested in exploring these feelings further, you should consult with a music therapist. Click here to find one in your area.
Managing editor, Living Well Daily
 News Research reveals pain and pleasure of sad music
Written By Natalie Moore
Natalie Moore is a dedicated health researcher with a passion for finding healthy, natural, and science-based solutions. After a decade of direct healthcare experience in western and natural medicine, she was involved in public health research before joining Living Well Daily.
View More Free Articles
Nutrient Fix for Deadly "Orphan Condition"
Venous thromboembolism is what I call an “orphan condition.” The chances are high that you’ve never even heard of it before. But we should discuss it more often because it’s underdiagnosed, SERIOUS, and preventable. A (VTE) happens when a blood clot forms in a vein. When that clot is in a DEEP vein (usually in...
"Liquid Gold" Packs a Powerful Healing Punch
Bone broth has popped up on grocery store shelves nationwide in the last few years. And I couldn’t be happier about it! I love to drink bone broth. But I used to have to make my own “liquid gold.” And to be honest… it’s time-consuming. Now, you can pop down to your local supermarket and...
Diabetes Risk PLUMMETS with THIS Vitamin
I’ve got to be honest with you. When it comes to health, the future is looking a bit grim. If you’re no spring chicken, a tsunami of poor health could be headed your way. Recent research has found that 25 percent of people over 65 ALREADY have diabetes. But it gets worse. Over 50 percent...
MAILBAG: Exercise AFTER a Heart Attack?
“My wife had a heart attack a few months ago. She’s sitting around and doing even less than she did before. I’m a regular reader and know you’ve mentioned moving is important for heart attack patients. What are some safe things she can do to keep moving? How much should she move?” – Rob from...
Olive Oil Compound WOWS Researchers
Olive oil has been getting some well-deserved attention the last few years. So it would be easy to assume that the golden oil’s status as a health food was recently earned. But the truth is, olive oil has been considered a healthy staple in the human diet since it was first developed 600 years ago....
NEW Medicinal Mushroom Benefit UNCOVERED
I’m a big fan of medicinal mushrooms. Almost everyone has eaten a standard mushroom on a pizza or in a spaghetti sauce, of course. But most folks have yet to experience medical mushrooms’ power to improve our health. Medicinal mushrooms are already used to treat heart, liver, and brain conditions. They can boost the immune...
[SENIORS] Cellular GLITCH Discovered?!
Aging isn’t for sissies, that’s for sure. But hey, I always remind myself the alternative is FAR worse! Besides, when you sit back and take stock, you’ll realize that a life well lived – like your own – is something to be proud of. But those accomplishments, unfortunately, don’t reduce your risk of suffering the...
Overlooked Diabetes Risk Drives Up Blood Sugar
If you’re concerned about diabetes, you’ve probably done your research. You likely focused on all the common problem areas to ward off rising blood sugar: the grocery store… the gym… and the bathroom scale. And those ARE all great places to start! Eating better, exercising, and losing weight can go a long way toward bringing your...
Boredom BUSTING Hack Keeps You Sane AND Healthy
This time of year, I start to feel a little stir-crazy. Cabin fever sets in as I tire of the cold and snow. And I start thinking about the warmer weather that’s right around the corner (but still feels SO far away). You see, I enjoy walking, hiking, and running outside. It’s good for both...
Loneliness Linked to THIS Startling Side Effect
Before the pandemic, we didn’t talk much about being lonely. But when the virus locked us down in our homes, the issue of isolation could no longer be ignored. Some of us were experiencing that kind of loneliness for the first time. But the truth is social isolation has ALWAYS been a common problem for...