How Music Impacts Your Mood

We all have that one song we turn on that can completely turn a bad mood. That song for when you're on the verge of tears or when you're absolutely pissed or just feeling lost. For me, it's anything Cardi B. Anytime I'm in an awful mood, I listen to the eloquent lyrics of Bodak Yellow and instantly feel better.


It's not just a coincidence that music can give you a total mood makeover - it's one of the most powerful neurological tools to change our mood, mindset or behavior. 


In a study by Jacob Jolij and student Maaike Meurs of the Psychology Department of the University of Groningen, subjects were asks to perform a task and identify happy and sad 'smiley icons' while listening to happy or sad music. Turns out, music made a major impact on what subjects perceived as happy or sad. Further, even when subjects were shown a neutral face without a smiley, they still identified a smiley face when listening to happy music and a sad face when listening to sad music. 



This information is particularly interesting because it means that you can essentially dial up a mood, mindset, or perception based on the music you listen to. So, if you know a song elicits a happy feeling or positive response, you can listen to it to totally transform your perception of reality from a neurological perspective. This goes for all different kinds of emotional responses - you can play a song to evoke sadness, confidence, melancholy, nostalgia, etc. 


So why does this matter? Because it enables you to essentially transform how you perceive a situation that you are in. If you become cognizant of the emotional response a song can induce, you can change your perception of reality by the music you listen to. You can create playlists for when you need a confidence boost, when you're feeling sad, or when you're feeling sentimental.


What's your go-to song for when you need a mood boost? Let us know in the comments!


If you want more information on the neuroscience behind music and mood, check out this article from Psychology Today.