The connection between music and emotion has long been a subject of debate, with numerous studies conducted in order to reveal how music can enhance, regulate, or diminish undesirable emotional states.

Music listening not only conveys emotion to people but also produces emotion in them. Positive emotions are often associated with pleasurable music, so it should come as no surprise that Pharell Williams’ “Happy” managed to win the hearts of so many listeners. The same is with Lauv’s “Modern Loneliness.” Have you ever listened to that song? To its lyrics? It is like you feel every word and syllable. It expresses the modern society with all this depression that seems to take over the younger generations. Lauv’s lyrics, “We’re never alone but always depressed, love my friends to death, but I never call, and I never text,” go directly to the heart. It is common for music to induce somebody to deep reflection, but these songs seem to come from another universe.

Individuals often listen to music to escape reality, relax after a harsh day, or just enjoy the beat, lyrics, and vibration music can transmit. Does it sound familiar? Well, you are not the only one that feels their pulse beating in the rhythm of music or gets goosebumps when listening to a particular song.

Music gives you chills

The philosopher Nietzsche once said, “Without music, life would be a mistake.” And we can only relate! If we are to think about that from a scientific point of view, emotions are chemicals that our brain releases in answer to our interpretation of a particular trigger (in this case, music). So, it is no longer a wonder that a series of sounds can evoke so much emotion within us, make us nostalgic, happy, sad, furious, or whatever. The memories released turn into feelings, which is why we sometimes find it hard to explain what we feel.

Music enhances your dopamine level, leading to a carrousel of emotions, a physiological joyride hard to explain. When this neurotransmitter is activated, you are likely to feel your heart rate and body temperature rising and the need to move as the blood in your legs is redirected. That is why dance came into existence! However, when this process reaches its climax and the brain is flushed with dopamine, you are going to feel the so-called chills, tingly sensations down your back.

How many times did you not feel extra nostalgic or happy when the playlist strikes the right chords? Quite often, we bet. And what is even more enticing is that you often get those chills a few seconds before the song’s tantalising moment. That is because your brain can predict what comes next, an essential feature that also helps people survive in precarious situations. In other words, that anticipation can increase the thrill of the chill.

Listening to music to combat stress

It is a well-known fact that music has the power to reduce stress and induce relaxation. Calming music has long been a cure for emotional distress, but it is only today its benefits are recognised. Web MD states that patients experiencing a surgical intervention can have lower blood pressure if hearing calming music. But even in everyday life, music has a crucial role in combating stress. Simply listening to music can lower cortisol (stress hormone) levels, decrease blood pressure, and reduce heart rate.

Several studies show that having a “sound bath” can benefit your mental health. 2021 overview of more than 340 studies on music’s helpfulness as a mental healthcare treatment for mental health issues like bipolar disorder, depression, and schizophrenia discovered that about 68.5% of music interventions were successful. It has also been found that music helps with sleep, reduces burnout, anxiety, and even helps cope with the Covid-19 pandemic.

Music is undoubtedly beneficial for mental well-being, but if you suffer from chronic stress or other severe medical conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), psychotic or mood disorders, it is recommendable to visit a specialised doctor or therapist. Music could be an adjuvant treatment, but additional medication or therapy might be needed. So, ensure you find a physician who can address your medical condition professionally and with maximum compassion because these are necessary when dealing with a mental health issue. Even healthcare practitioners can make mistakes sometimes and misdiagnose you, so make sure you ask for the opination of more than a doctor to assure the pronouncement is correct so that you can start your treatment right away. However, if you fall victim to a doctor’s inattention, make sure you take the necessary steps to make a medical negligence claim in the UK. If you know nothing about such cases, consider working with a personal injury lawyer because they are professionals with years of experience and will obtain maximum compensation for your losses.

It is all in the rewards

Have you ever wondered why you feel a sense of satisfaction and pleasure when listening to music? This is a simple and fascinating question at the same time as it is pure science. The dopamine released in your brain when listening to a sequence of songs is due to your music expectation just before the song’s climax. It is this fact that you anticipate what is coming that gives you this pleasure and makes music listening such a rewarding experience.

Pieces of music that help with stress

Dr. David Lewis of the Mindlab at the UK’s Sussex University found powerful songs that help with stress and promote relaxation:

  • Jack Johnson – Upside Down

  • Coldplay – Strawberry Swing

  • Adele – Someone Like You

  • Enya – Watermark

  • Café del Mar – We Can Fly

  • Katie Melua – Nine Million Bicycles

  • Moby – Porcelain

  • All Saints – Pure Shores


Of course, the list can go on, but we are pretty sure you already have a list of favourite songs you listen to every time you are uptight.