How Music Affects Your Mood


Janine Jones, Copy Editor

Music is a big part of our everyday lives, it gets us excited and makes us want to dance; it can bring people to tears or help them through a tough time. A song can bring back memories and emotions some of us may have forgotten we had – changing our mood within minutes.

Research shows that music affects our mood in many ways but the main reasons are rhythm and tone. Our heartbeat changes depending on the kind of music we’re listening to. For example in a study done by researchers at Pavia University in Italy, it was proven that louder and quicker tempos made people breathe faster, which increased their heart rate and blood pressure. Where slow and soft music did the opposite, lowered heart rates and blood pressure. As a result of studies like this, music is being used as rehabilitation medication for people who have problems with blood pressure.

The field of music and neuroscience is growing and indicating many beneficial ways that music can captivate and change the brain. Music engages the brain in four ways: emotion, learning/neuroplasticity, memory, and attention, but the effects music has on moods and emotions is the most studied.

Scientists at the University of Missouri found that under certain conditions, music can lift a listener’s general mood and increase happiness in two weeks. In the two studies authored by Yuna Ferguson, who was a doctoral student in psychological science at the university when she conducted them, the effect was both self directed and and psychological: participants were told to feel happier while listening to either happy or neutral music. The upbeat listeners reported higher levels of happiness.

“Our work provides support for what many people already do – listen to music to improve their moods,” said Ferguson. “Although pursuing personal happiness may be thought of as a self-centered venture, research suggests that happiness relates to a higher probability of socially beneficial behavior, better physical health, higher income and greater relationship satisfaction.”

So the next time you’re bored and want to feel something, consider turning on some music to switch your mood. Music is an underrated super power that can work wonders for any situation life throws at you. It stimulates and engages our emotions in many stages of our lives and it can take us on an emotional journey if we let it. If someone tells you that a particular song/album hit them right in the feels, believe them.