Why Sad Music Never Failed to Make Me Happy

year ago

As a self-proclaimed music enthusiast, I’ve always found solace in the melancholic tunes of sad songs. Somber melodies and heart-wrenching lyrics never fail to speak to my soul, comfort my anxiety, and allow me to lose myself in my feelings.

But why does sad music uplift us like happy music never can? Isn’t that the whole reason for happy music? Why does it hurt yet feel so good?

Adele helped me overcome my first breakup.

AIex Todd / Avalon / Photoshot / East News

I remember going through my first breakup 10 years ago like it was yesterday. Of course, I had no clue how to navigate this new territory of heartache.

During this time, I discovered the power of sad music. I would lie in bed, listening to my sad playlist. One of the songs that resonated with me was Adele’s “Someone Like You.” I played it on a loop to get me through the days.

The lyrics let me connect with my emotions in a way I had never experienced. The sorrow in the song reflected what I felt and could not explain or put into words. It made me feel seen, understood, and less alone.

Science explains why we like sad music.

After going through a tough time and finding solace in sad music, I was surprised to learn that there’s a scientific explanation behind my favorite music genre. According to research, sad songs can act as a social surrogate for us by providing support and empathy after a loss. In a way, sad music can be like an imaginary friend who understands our pain and helps us cope with difficult emotions.

Moreover, indulging in a sorrowful playlist can bring back memories of important moments in our lives, making us feel nostalgic. It may be that we enjoy the feelings of nostalgia more than the actual sadness of the lyrics.

Only around 25% of people actually feel down after listening to sad music.

Vogue / Ferrari Press / East News

Interestingly, a study has found that when people listen to sad songs, only 25% actually report feeling downhearted. The rest reported feeling various emotions, with nostalgia being the most common. Researchers explained that nostalgia could be beneficial in many ways, as it can increase our sense of social connectedness, reduce anxiety, and improve self-esteem.

It creates a sense of connection and empathy.

As I dove deeper into the subject, I learned that being emotionally moved by sad music can indicate a high level of empathy and emotional contagion. It’s like the music acts as a bridge for empathy, allowing us to experience the emotions of others and form deeper connections.

So, when I listen to a sad song, I’m not just processing my own emotions but also connecting with a collective human experience. It reminds us that despite feeling lonely, we’re never truly alone in our struggles since others have faced similar pain. This, to me, represents a beautiful expression of our shared humanity.

Let’s embrace the whole spectrum of emotion.

Sometimes listening to sad music can be a radical form of self-care. It’s like giving yourself permission to feel down and process those feelings instead of trying to hide them or bottle them up. It might not always be easy, but it’s a normal part of being human.

So let’s not be afraid to embrace our emotions, even the not-so-good ones, and let the music guide us through it all.

Bonus: sad songs that lift my mood

Speaking of sad songs, here are a few more that always make me feel better:


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