Crushes and exes have such a strong hold over us. What is it about their smiles or their laughs that drive us crazy? Why do we want them to step on dog poop so badly?
“I thought I was over him!”
“Why is her number still on my phone?”
“Get a hold of yourself!”
I’ve had these conversations over and over again with myself and my friends, and the thing that always comes out of it is a song or album recommendation. Yes, an entire album. It’s that bad sometimes.
Why do we turn to music to heal? How can the energy of a song get us so amped? How can we connect with the artist and what they’re saying if we don’t know them, or even live the lifestyles they do? It’s all in the brain.
According to Everyday Health, “A 2013 study published in the Journal of Consumer Research showed that people prefer certain music based on recent experiences. For example, a person who just had a frustrating exchange with someone was more likely to choose angry music. Likewise, those with a broken heart chose sad music.”
When a specific song comes on the radio or our Spotify shuffle, we either crank it or we skip it. How could that song have the audacity to remind us of what we went through with that special person? Maybe the universe is trying to tell us something.
I often find that if I listen to a song I associate with somebody, but they’re no longer in my life, it gets hard to hear at first. But I remind myself I liked that song for a reason, so I keep listening to it until it’s just as a song with no memory or meaning behind it.
I’m a musically inclined person, so I try to resonate with the instrumentation, melody and lyrics. Eventually, I start to like that song again and I can move on to associate new memories with it.
We often gravitate towards music that reflects our mood, so it makes sense that after a breakup we would listen to sad music.
“Music is an effective strategy for helping us through tough times … because it releases a range of neurochemicals, such as dopamine, and affects emotional areas of the brain that other activities like reading or gaming don’t.”
We often can find a sense of empathy or understanding that the artist might have with us. We feel that they can relate to our situation and can formulate our thoughts and feelings into words. Simply put, music is the ultimate form of compassion.
Noah Sarabia may be reached at [email protected]