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1 Nov 2015

How Music Affects Our Happiness

Since its creation, music has had a direct connection with our brains and emotions, and it can even determine who we choose to spend our time with. There are so many genres and subgenres floating around, but all have a rightful home in a music lover’s collection.

Whether it’s underground house music, heavy metal, or perhaps a calming bit of folk, we all have our favourites and we choose them because of the connection it has with what we’re feeling in that moment. @ElClayton echoes this, saying, ‘[music] affects my mood a huge amount but I usually find I want to listen to music that mirrors my mood.’

 

 

So how does the way we pick our music reflect our behaviour throughout the day?

When you need something to make you get up and go in the morning, it’s more than likely that you’ll stick on your favourite pop song, something upbeat, that will put a spring in your step. But if you’re running a bubble bath, you’ll probably stick on something calming and soothing, as opposed to something like Slayer (although power to you, if you do like a mosh with your bubbles). There’s music for every mood and, in a modern era where we are forever stressing about paying bills, finding love, growing up and progressing professionally, it’s understandable that we are often in need of a quick fix of happiness.

You may be surprised at how much music can help tweak your emotional imbalances, without the need for intensive therapy or a long session of weeping, as @hailllyuh emphasises: ‘Absolutely love that music can always make my mood better.’

 

 

It’s a scientifically proven fact that it has similar properties to antidepressants. Listening to music encourages the release of hormones, in particular serotonin and dopamine, which are vital for maintaining our good mood and overall happiness. It’s this release of hormones which can give us a sense of euphoria. You know when you hear a song for the first time and you feel that smile on your face and you end up flaunting your best moves on the drive home and everyone looks at you a bit weird? That’s the music creating an almighty endorphin-flooding buzz inside your brain and sending your hormones into hyper-mode. Pretty cool, and incredibly useful.

It’s not always necessarily the genre of music that determines our current mood, either. Many of us attach our favourite songs to memories, and we enjoy reflecting back on that particular time through the form of music, because it’s the closest we can get to reliving that memory. Whether it’s that mixtape you made for the road trip with your best friends or even the song you first danced to at your wedding, certain songs will always have a slightly more apparent effect on our emotions than others, due to the history we share with them.

Guilty pleasures are another source of musical happiness, and whether or not you keep them secret is up to you. Ask a metal fan and you might just discover they have a penchant for Katy Perry’s latest album, or like @CarlyAnnsm, you’re under the spell of ‘‘80s disco especially either Whitney Houston or Luther Vandross.’

 

 

As an example, let’s take a moment to rewind back to the hit ‘90s/’00s TV show, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. The scene opens with Carlton sneaking down the stairs to put a CD on and checks that nobody is around to witness the spectacle that ensues. Tom Jones’ hit, It’s Not Unusual, blares from the speakers and Carlton performs a now iconic, magical dance routine filled with joy. That, right there, is the visual metaphor for how we all feel when we hear our guilty pleasure, and we can’t deny that Tom Jones’ music gets us all up in a shimmy as well. (Cut to us all doing the Carlton dance at his upcoming gig at The O2 – now that’s a flash mob that should DEFINITELY happen!)

Music is truly a magical concept and, when you think about it, it is a little bonkers how it

can drastically change our outlook on the world. The question is – what song are you going to choose next?