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The Positive Impact of Listening to Sad Music

Do you ever find yourself wanting to listen to sad music? According to one study, it may help you effectively process emotions. So, pull up your favorite sad songs playlist, grab a mug of something warm, and listen as the lyrics let you dive in and work through your emotions.

Comforting sorrow

In most circumstances, participants who listened to sad music reported it as a positive experience that led to a positive change in mood. This may be due in part to an emotion called comforting sorrow.

Comforting sorrow looks like reminiscing on the past and feeling tenderness towards it. Experiencing comforting sorrow gives you permission to miss what used to be, but it doesn’t force you to focus on what could have been. Instead, it encourages a lens of beauty upon your experiences and leads to feelings of appreciation, happiness, and comfort. 

Sublime sorrow

The experience of sublime sorrow is similar to that of comforting sorrow but with a slightly different nuance. It is most closely related to a feeling of relief. It is strongly characterized by beauty and pleasure, aspects of the music itself, relaxation, and positive changes in mood.

When music may not be helpful

Grief-stricken sorrow is the kind of sorrow that can make you feel stuck in despair. It is normally brought on by a disruption in life or an overwhelming event such as the sudden loss of a loved one. With this type of sorrow, listening to sad music may not be helpful. Because these high intensity situations create such strong emotions, it may not be a good idea to retreat into sad music but instead seek community or professional assistance.

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