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Why listening to depressing music is cathartic

by Marie Miguel. Published Wed 01 Apr 2020 14:42

Whether you're playing music or listening to it, we know that music is cathartic in many ways. We find joy in music, follow our favourite artists, and connect with others who enjoy similar music or musicians.

When it comes to depressing music, though, it might seem strange to hear that it can help you feel better. You might wonder how this could be true, or you might assume that the opposite is accurate and that sad music would be more likely to bring you down. However, listening to depressing music can be cathartic, and there's research to prove it.

Why it helps

First, listening to depressing music when you're sad is helpful because it gives you something to relate to when you are down. When you're upset about something, it's easy to feel like no one understands, and sometimes music is the only thing to hit home and make it feel like someone gets it. Music helps calm us down and help us relax due to its rhythmic nature. Not only that, but songs with a variety of moods and tones can be enjoyable, and enjoyment is an essential part of emotional wellness.

Studies on music and mental health

A multitude of researchers have looked into the ways that music can positively affect a person's mental health. One study found that when the music a person listens to mirrors the way that the individual feels, it can be comforting and help them cope. The soothing feeling that occurs when music serves as a mirror is likely the reason that listening to depressing music can indeed be cathartic.

How to know when you need something more

Listening to music is excellent. With the facts above, we know that to be true. However, there are times when things like music and peer support aren't enough. If you believe that you may be experiencing symptoms of depression or another mental health concern such as anxiety, it's essential to seek the help of mental health professionals.

If you feel down and depressed most of your days, find it challenging to complete daily tasks, and don't find enjoyment in the things that you used to, it would likely be helpful for you to see a counsellor or therapist. Seeing a counsellor can be difficult if it's your first time, but be assured that it doesn't mean that anything is wrong with you.

People see mental health providers for a variety of reasons including parenting troubles, relationship issues, or anything else going on in their life. It's helpful to have an objective third-party to talk to, and therapists or counsellors will always keep what you tell them fully confidential unless you're at risk of harming yourself or someone else.

Music therapy

For those who connect with music, in particular, music therapy can be a great asset to treatment. Music therapy can include actively listening to music, writing songs, and more. Music therapy can help those with anxiety, depression, PTSD, and even psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia. It can also have a positive impact on communication skills and the ability to express one's self.

Online counseling

Online Why Listening to Depressing Music is Cathartic

Whether you're playing music or listening to it, we know that music is cathartic in many ways. We find joy in music, follow our favourite artists, and connect with others who enjoy similar music or musicians. When it comes to depressing music, though, it might seem strange to hear that it can help you feel better.

You might wonder how this could be true, or you might assume that the opposite is accurate and that sad music would be more likely to bring you down. However, listening to depressing music can be cathartic, and there's research to prove it.

Why it helps

First, listening to depressing music when you're sad is helpful because it gives you something to relate to when you are down. When you're upset about something, it's easy to feel like no one understands, and sometimes music is the only thing to hit home and make it feel like someone gets it.

Music helps calm us down and help us relax due to its rhythmic nature. Not only that, but songs with a variety of moods and tones can be enjoyable, and enjoyment is an essential part of emotional wellness.

Studies on music and mental health

A multitude of researchers have looked into the ways that music can positively affect a person's mental health. One study found that when the music a person listens to mirrors the way that the individual feels, it can be comforting and help them cope. The soothing feeling that occurs when music serves as a mirror is likely the reason that listening to depressing music can indeed be cathartic.

How to know when you need something more

Listening to music is excellent. With the facts above, we know that to be true. However, there are times when things like music and peer support aren't enough. If you believe that you may be experiencing symptoms of depression or another mental health concern such as anxiety, it's essential to seek the help of mental health professionals.

If you feel down and depressed most of your days, find it challenging to complete daily tasks, and don't find enjoyment in the things that you used to, it would likely be helpful for you to see a counsellor or therapist. Seeing a counsellor can be difficult if it's your first time, but be assured that it doesn't mean that anything is wrong with you.

People see mental health providers for a variety of reasons including parenting troubles, relationship issues, or anything else going on in their life. It's helpful to have an objective third-party to talk to, and therapists or counsellors will always keep what you tell them fully confidential unless you're at risk of harming yourself or someone else.

Music therapy

For those who connect with music, in particular, music therapy can be a great asset to treatment. Music therapy can include actively listening to music, writing songs, and more. Music therapy can help those with anxiety, depression, PTSD, and even psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia. It can also have a positive impact on communication skills and the ability to express one's self.

Online counselling

Online counselling is an excellent place to seek the help of a counsellor or therapist from the privacy of your own home. It's typically less expensive than in-person counselling or therapy, and you can receive it in any environment where you feel comfortable doing so as long as you have a reliable internet connection.

It is an excellent place to seek the help of a counsellor or therapist from the privacy of your own home. It's typically less expensive than in-person counselling or therapy, and you can receive it in any environment where you feel comfortable doing so as long as you have a reliable internet connection.


About the author

Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.



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