How Does Music Affect Our Emotions?

music and emotions

There is so much that can affect your emotions on a day-to-day basis, even on an hourly basis. This is why staying in control of your emotions can be so difficult, as you don’t know what may trigger a response and when that may happen.

One thing that can have a pretty profound effect on your emotions is music. Music can bring about positive and negative emotions, and therefore can play a big role in your mood. But how does it work? Why does music have such a pull on your emotions?

Let’s peel back the layers and take a closer look at this topic.

Music Enters Your Life in All Different Ways

What’s interesting about music is that you are being immersed in it all the time, sometimes without you even thinking about it. It’s so much more than just turning on the radio or listening to your favourite playlist; music also exists in your favorite television shows/movies, while you’re sitting in a restaurant, dancing at the club and even when chilling with your favorite online games.

Music is all around you and always affecting your emotions – even when you aren’t necessarily thinking about it or seeking out a song to play. That’s right, even that soft background music, or the sound effects and music in your favorite games will evoke emotions.

Boost Your Level of Happiness

While music can affect you in different ways, it is a person’s happiness level that changes. Did you know that music of any type – even sad music – can end up boosting your mood? A study was conducted in the UK by Durham University in conjunction with the University of Jyväskylä which showed even “sad” music is able to boost your happiness level. Study participants reported increased levels of comfort and pleasure when listening to the music.

Music Acts as Stress Relief

Another way that music can affect your emotions relates to stress. Feeling stressed is something that almost everyone can relate to, whether it is occasional stress or chronic stress. While there are many ways to combat stress, music has shown to be one of the most effective methods. It’s a form of therapy that has no negative side effects, which means you get stress relief without having to worry about what you give up in exchange.

Not convinced it works? The next time you feel stressed, try listening to your favorites tunes for a while. There’s a good chance that stress starts to float away or at least lessen.

In Can Evoke Memories

There’s also the fact that a particular song, artist or sound can evoke memories. Now, this can go both ways as it may be a good or bad memory, but that song can instantly bring the memory to mind, thereby creating a flood of emotions. Perhaps it reminds you of a vacation, a special dance you shared with someone, a celebration or holiday, and so forth.

Getting Down to the Science

But what is the actual scientific side of how music affects your emotions? When listening to music, it can release dopamine. This is often described as an all-natural anti-depressant. So, you can then start to classify listening to music as a form of therapy. It is creating a sensory stimulation that your body reacts to mentally and physically. To top it off, this reaction is almost immediate, so there’s no wait and see needed.

If you’re suffering from stress and aren’t exactly happy and upbeat as of late, you may want to think about adding more music to your daily life. At the very least, it will be an interesting experiment to see how your emotions change and react.


  1. I like that you mentioned that evoking memories is one of the beautiful things music can provide. I’d like to look for a music radio streaming service soon because I’d like to have a wider variety of music to listen to when working out or reading a book. After years of listening to my favorites, I think it’s time for me to look out there and broaden my horizon when it comes to music.

  2. Oh my gosh the song”Send in the clowns” taps my emotions brings in all sad and painful memories and if I listen to that song many times it brings on emotional healing and sometimes after days of crying I feel healed from the past.


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