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.

Live well,

Natalie Moore
Managing editor, Living Well Daily


Sources

[1] News Research reveals pain and pleasure of sad music

Natalie Moore

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

Clobber Cold Symptoms and Feel Better FAST

Before leaving on a trip recently my daughter was feeling a bit under the weather. She was worried she might be getting sick and asked how to recover more quickly from a cold. I explained that there’s still no cure for the common cold. But, certain foods and self-care practices CAN ease symptoms and shorten...

Read This

Tasty FAT Hack SLASHES Heart Risk

Is your heart trying to tell you something? Are little warning signs appearing that your ticker may be in trouble someday soon? You may have noticed your blood pressure creeping UP or your energy levels dialing DOWN. Or everyday tasks leave you feeling more winded than usual. Don’t ignore those signs. Your heart could be...

Read This

Mailbag: Why Am I DIZZY When I Stand Up?

“My wife has had some dizziness when standing up quickly. Should she be concerned? A friend suggested it could be related to her blood pressure medication?” – Frank (Article continues below.) Hi Frank, Low blood pressure when standing after sitting or lying down is called orthostatic or postural hypotension. Typically, someone will feel dizzy or...

Read This

Stay “Forever Young” with THIS Taste Bud Trick

We all want to remain youthful, healthy, and vibrant as we age. But that’s easier said than done. Sure, you can fork over the cash for the latest designer anti-aging cream, drink gallons of raw water (whatever that is?), and try to survive on a diet consisting only of green veggies. But the answer to...

Read This

FINALLY an Exercise Routine You Can LOVE

Bored to tears by repetitive trips to the gym? Rather walk across hot coals that try another one of the frantic routines presented by perky fitness gurus on TV? Do long walks on the treadmill feel about as thrilling as watching paint dry? New research reveals the answer to your workout prayers… Strap on your...

Read This

The HIDDEN Harm of Mouth Breathing

It’s a habit often hurled as an insult by movie bullies and internet trolls. Yet over HALF of us are  “mouth breathers.” And, as I’m sure you already know, despite the insults, mouth breathing doesn’t have a thing to do with intelligence. But new research reveals it DOES have a downside. Mouth breathing could leave...

Read This

Produce Aisle Secret SUPERCHARGES Aging Muscles

The change is subtle at first. But it grows with each passing year. Muscle loss sneaks up on us. But, as we pass through middle age and beyond, it can start to take its toll in unexpected ways. Maybe carrying the groceries inside becomes just a bit harder. Or climbing the stairs to the bedroom...

Read This

The BEST Brew for Antiaging and Weight Loss

The battle between coffee and green tea lovers has raged for decades. Both beverages have passionate, devoted fans. And each is convinced their drink of choice is THE elixir of life. But when it boils down to SPECIFIC benefits, is one better than the other? Is green tea or coffee superior at fighting aging? How...

Read This

Feeling Forgetful? Nutrient Tag-Team EASES Your Mind

Happy Valentine’s Day. I hope you have something fun planned with a loved one. Speaking of plans—remember that time you FORGOT Valentine’s and were in the doghouse for days? Or maybe it was your keys, a doctor’s appointment, or even the waitress’s name that’s served you coffee for the last three years instead. Regardless of...

Read This

2 for 1 Deal Protects Your Eyes AND Your Brain!

Yesterday, I warned you about a link between vision loss and cognitive impairment. It turns out common cataracts don’t just rob you of your vision… they could also do a number on your brain. But there was GOOD news, too. That decline may be reversible! If you missed that issue, CLICK HERE to catch up...

Read This