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Music and our Mood

We listen to music every day. In the shower, on our way to and from work, while we’re making dinner– the list goes on. How does the music we listen to affect our mood, productivity, and all-around well-being on a given day?

The Science Behind Music

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Music is a nonessential part of human life. Humans need food, water, shelter, and other necessities to survive. Music does not make the list. However, if someone asked me if I could live without music, I would probably say no. I live to hear the beats, voices, and tunes that tell stories, provoke emotion, fill the silence, and uplift myself and others. Music can make a good day great and a bad day a bit better. Turns out, most people feel this way. This is because music fills our brains with dopamine. Dopamine is a chemical that makes us feel pleasure, reward, and all-around good feelings. This explains why we get hooked on a certain song or artist we love– it fills our brain with a rush of pleasure. Music also calms and regulates our emotions. For more about the health benefits of music on our daily selves, check out this article from North Shore Health.

Ways Music Affects Us

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Sure, we all know a song or two that puts us in a certain mood. For example, if I’m wanting to wallow in gloomy feelings, I may play “Rolling in the Deep” by Adele or “Fix You” by Coldplay. But, on days where the sun is shining and I’m feeling happy and on top of things, chances are high I won’t be listening to those songs but something more along the lines of, “Lust for Life” by Iggy Pop. However, what if, instead of listening to music in reactionary moments, we could listen to music to anticipate the things we’d like to feel?

According to Psychology Today, this is doable. Many humans mimic the emotions songs promote. This is why, when you’re shopping, the music played in stores is upbeat and positive. Shop owners want their customers to feel a pep-in-their-step because that will cause customers to purchase more. Since music can affect the mood of shoppers, there’s no reason why we can’t listen to music with intentions and hopes of feeling good at home, too.

Music to Feel Energetic and Productive With

Music can affect our mood in many ways. Our bodies often coordinate themselves with the music we are listening to. So, some EDM or pop music is just what you need during that daily jog, workout, or just while you clean around the house. According to Psychology Today, you may find yourself more efficient and matching the rhythm of whatever you’re listening to. North Shore Health claims that listening to energetic music during a workout improves endurance. To feel productive and get work done, it’s important to remember our brain cannot focus on two things at once (even if you think you’re the exception). So, the fun lyrics and beat in your favorite Calvin Harris song aren’t keeping you efficient, they’re just making things harder. Instead, try listening to classical music. Research by the Imperial College of London concluded that classical music helps our attention span and ability to retain information. 

Music for the Good and Bad Days

For the days you’re aiming to be in a good mood, you should wake up listening to the types of music you enjoy most. Since everyone prefers different things, here is a feel-good playlist with a little something for all music listeners. On the flip side of things, perhaps you want to feel cathartic after a hard day. Listening to sad music allows you to disengage from distressing feelings. So, during a breakup or after a long day, I’d recommend some Adele. You’ll feel better in the long run.


While there are so many other emotions music can summon, these are just some ways to incorporate music into the good, bad, and in-between days. Music is special because it’s so versatile. There’s a type of music for everyone and every mood to enjoy. Happy listening!