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Does Listening to Sad Music Help or Damage Mental Health?

Music is a universal language that can trigger an array of emotions amongst people around the world. No matter what your background is, there is always going to be a genre or style of music that will suit you and match your mood, however the effects of sad or emotional music on people's mental health is the main area that will be explored and discussed as the use of sad music varies from person to person. Sad and emotional music has both positive and negative effects on people, depending on how the consumer is intending to take it.

What are the positive effects of sad music on mental health?

On the one hand, whether you are consuming emotional music with the intention of suppressing, healing or acknowledging and accepting your feelings or you just like the song, the majority of people will choose to consume sad music at some point in their life for one reason or another. There are many benefits of accepting the consumption of sad music on mental health, with direct correlation between the two. If you are able to let yourself experience and explore your emotions through the use of music, instead of resisting it, you can find music that helps you relate and release stored up negative emotions which could result in a more positive mindset, overall improving mental health.

One piece of evidence that indicates the point that sad music does not have negative effects on mental health is that only 25% of people say that they feel sad while listening to sad music, while the rest experience feelings of relatability and nostalgia which are therapeutic and are proven to reduce feelings of anxiety and sadness. This is a clear indication that sad music has a positive effect on mental health rather than damaging it. This is because listening to sad music regulates negative emotions, stimulates feelings of being connected and comforted, as well as reminding people of past moments and memories which, as previously spoken about, creates nostalgia which helps people feel happier. If a person is using sad music to relate and to feel connected, they are more likely to be uplifted, in turn improving their mental health overall.

What are the negative effects of sad music on mental health?

The exploration of the negative effects of sad music on mental health is important as well. Although, for some, listening to sad music elicits feelings of happiness and relatability, for many it elicits the opposite emotions. The consumption of sad music, for some, can be maladaptive, being a detriment to their happiness and, in turn, worsening their mental health overall. One study in Denmark decided to explore the relationship between what music people listened to and their mental health. In this study, it was concluded that people that listen to more sad or aggressive music as a way to deal with their emotions are more likely to suffer with anxiety and depression. This is a clear indication that, in fact, depending on the person and how they are interpreting music, sad or emotional music can actually result in people's mental health declining more than improving. Surrounding yourself with negativity can result in a more negative outlook on life, which leans towards the idea that, if you are already sad, you should indulge in happier and more upbeat music. If a person is relying on sad music to help them cope with their sadness, they are likely to stay sad and not improve their mental health whatsoever.

Is sad music good or bad for mental health?

In summary, sad music can be beneficial and detrimental to a person's mental health, depending on the way they choose to interpret it. If a person decides to relate to the sad music and find comfort in it, they are likely to walk away with a more positive mindset, whereas if the person decides to use the sad music to cope and to deal with their emotions, they are more likely to be more negative within themselves. Overall, music is interpreted in a variety of ways by different people and so it is difficult to find a definitive answer. Music is a powerful tool and, if it is used correctly, it can improve mental health and make a person's mindset more positive.


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