Can music make us happy? If the world-wide response to the hit “Happy” by Pharrell Williams a couple years back is any indication, the answer to the question may very well be “Yes.” The song wasn’t out long before it was putting smiles on faces in countries across the globe. Generations earlier, Judy Garland’s “Get Happy” had a similar impact on the masses.
Many scientific studies support the belief that music does influence our emotions and can indeed help elevate mood. How? Some music seems to affect brain chemistry. When people listen to music they personally find to be “happy” music, it can stimulate the release of specific chemicals in the brain proven to make human beings feel “good” and “happy.”
Although it may seem a bit simplistic to credit something as effortless as listening to music with effectively turning around a bad mood or negative feelings, it may be worth giving it a try the next time you are feeling down. You also might find that listening to some soothing music helps calm your nerves when feeling stressed, angry, or hurt. You may even want to see if you can start your day off on a positive “note” by putting on some upbeat music as soon as you wake up in the morning.
Some studies indicate that other more surprising types of music can also influence mood in a positive way. There is evidence that listening to louder, more aggressive music can actually help relieve difficult feelings like frustration or anger in some people. Likewise, an individual who is experiencing unhappy, sad, or hurt feelings may benefit from listening to music reflecting those emotions. Think about how common – and somehow comforting – it often is for people to listen to “break up” songs while dealing with a romance that sours. Of course, for some people, music reflecting their negative feelings may only serve to aggravate or elevate those feelings... which is not a welcome response.
So... can music make us happy? Can listening to some tunes be used as an effective tool to successfully improve our overall feeling of well-being? If the science behind the research is correct, there appears to be compelling evidence of a link between music and mood. When it comes to using music to help make us happy or regulate our emotions, however, it may be a trial and error journey that is unique to each individual. The answer to whether or not music can make us happy is probably one we have to each come to on our own. We have to figure out for ourselves the role music plays in our lives. So the answer may be to let the music play and see what happens…