Music Makes Things Better

Most of us are aware that music can have a bit of an effect on our emotions.

Typically, we use our tunes to foster emotions we already have. If we’re feeling energetic, we like to listen to energetic songs. When we’re upset, we like to listen to mellow melodies and so on.

That said, there are ways you can actually use music to actively alter and improve your moods. Below are three types:

Music That Makes You Happy

It’s important to note that different types of genres can make you happy, but it usually depends on the situation or mood you are already in. Tunes that actively make you happy, however, work differently. Dr. Yana Ferguson at the University of Missouri explored this concept and brought back some interesting findings.

She found that in control groups of people listening to varied types of music, the ones who listened to upbeat and energetic genres were happy after two hours of repeated listening. The reasoning behind this had to do with the link between brain activity and dopamine being released in the rear striatum, the brain’s pleasure center.

“We found that people were successful at raising their positive mood as long as the music they listened to was happy and upbeat,” said Ferguson.

This data shows us that for many people, simply listening to happy songs actually works to raise your mood. This type of music is typically positive in lyric and musical style and usually includes genres such as pop and different types of rock.

If you like a different genre than these, than your solution is to find the upbeat and positive songs within that genre that you do personally enjoy.

Music That Makes You Productive

You’ve probably noticed that some melodies help you focus a lot easier than others. Music that is very loud, for example, can be very distracting. That said,  a tech startup actually created a library of music designed to address this.

They are called focus@will, and they explain the science behind why their songs make people focus better:

“Each piece of music phase sequenced by focus@will has a specific role in influencing how your brain habituates, enhancing your focus and reducing distractions. Characteristics such as musical key, intensity, arrangement, speed, emotional values, recording style, and much more determine what is played where and when.”

When viewing their library, you’ll find that the music is mostly classical, but they include other, lesser-known genres such as “Alpha Chill,” “Focus Spa,” “Up Tempo” and others. One common factor among all of their songs is that they are all instrumental.

Music That Makes You Feel Relaxed

This is a little more simple than the examples above. Feeling relaxed is very subjective, which means that songs for relaxation and de-stressing is dependent on your musical tastes.

Listening to your favorite music can actually reduce stress and give you more energy, since you are using actively providing your mind with pleasure.

A great way to maintain this state of relaxation is to sing along to your favorite songs, whether you’re in the car or at home. This is a method of catharsis, mental relief, that can improve your mood and energy.