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mind over matter; THE PLEASURE PARADOX OF MELANCHOLY MUSIC WITH DR ELLIE MILBY.

HAVE you ever noticed the capacity of a piece of music to change how you feel? A few bars of a particular melody can be enough to provoke deep sadness, instantly lift your spirits or transport you back in time with a powerful memory.

The emotive nature of music means we often use it as an informal therapeutic tool to help us manage our moods. We often do this without really thinking about it, for example, singing in the shower can be an emotional release, listening to upbeat tracks can help us push ourselves further at the gym and listening to chill out tunes can help us unwind after a stressful day.

The emotive of music can be theraputic We also use melancholy music to influence how we feel; from reminiscing about the past to coping with difficulties such as relationship break-ups or bereavement.

As you might expect, melancholy music can induce feelings of sorrow, grief and sadness in the listener.

Interestingly however, it seems that listening to sad music can also have a positive effect on our emotions.

In a recent large scale survey involving more than 2,000 participants, findings showed that listening to sad music was linked to pleasurable experiences and positive mood changes for about a third of participants.

One theory to explain this apparent pleasure paradox is that music can trigger different types of sadness. The researchers who carried out the survey identified three different types of musicinduced sadness. While grief-stricken sorrow was linked to grief, anxiety and self-pity and resulted in a genuinely negative experience, sublime sorrow was linked to joy and wonder and comforting sorrow to tenderness and peacefulness, resulting in a more positive experience.

nature means it theraputic Overall, listening to music can be a powerful tool that we can use to promote our emotional wellbeing by helping us to process our thoughts and feelings and change our mood.

Music therapy is also available as a formal intervention to help people with disabilities or mental health difficulties to develop their emotional, social and communication skills.

For more information, visit the British Association for Music Therapy website (bamt.org).

| Dr Ellie Milby is a counselling psychologist.

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The emotive nature of music means it can be theraputic

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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Jul 1, 2016
Words:375
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