Music Can Impact Your Mental Health

Have you ever wondered why hearing your favorite song always seems to put you in a good mood? Or why you’ll never be able to listen to your grandmother’s favorite song after her passing because it’s just too sad? Or how loud music and cheering fans makes such an impact at a sports game?

Music is all around us, even when we don’t realize it. It’s vitally important to our society and can make a lasting impact on our mental health, both consciously and subconsciously. Here are a few unique ways music impacts our daily mental wellness:


Did you know that stores play background music as you’re shopping? The next time you walk into the grocery store, stop and take a listen — that music was chosen on purpose.

Many large companies take time to research the impacts of music on consumerism — no surprise there. So the music you’re listening to is a deliberate attempt to get you to slow down and take your time shopping — therefore making you more inclined to spend more money. Tricky, huh?

While you’re at it, pay attention to commercials, too. Each song is deliberately chosen to evoke a specific feeling the company wants you to associate with their brand. And have you ever noticed how those jingles are so catchy? That’s on purpose. Bet you’ll never forget who the jingle is associated with; that company worked hard to build brand recognition.

Takeaway: Music is a very powerful tool that influences many of our subconscious behaviors. If you take notice of it, however, you can work to minimize its influence.


If you’re wondering why that one specific song means so much to you, it’s because music literally changes our mood. When we listen to specific types of music (or even sounds) the chemicals in our brain fire in different, predetermined ways. Because each of us is wired a little differently, our chemicals and neurotransmitters fire in different ways, at different times.

For instance, if a parent hears their baby crying it can trigger a rise in cortisol (the stress hormone). Likewise, if you hear a song that reminds you of a happy memory, it triggers a rise in dopamine (the happiness hormone). Certain songs can change the way we feel in an instant, and leave lasting effects.

One of the strongest instances of this for me was when I visited the Warner Bros. Studio in February of last year. In one part of the exhibit, they had a sound effects simulation. The person running the experience allowed us to watch a clip from a thriller movie with different types of sounds: only sound effects, only dialogue, only music, and all three together. I was shocked at how heavily the music influenced my mood, especially when it wasn’t being played. I could actually stand to watch the movie instead of covering my eyes!

Takeaway: Take notice of all the times when you may be triggered by specific types of music. It’s ok not to listen to them if they make you feel lousy. Likewise, if a song really pumps you up, you can use it to influence your mood on a crummy day.

Take Control of Your Ears

Listening to anything is a form of consumerism, whether or not we realize it. From the playlists we choose, to the news playing in the background, all of these sounds influence the way we feel, think, and act.

One way to practice self-care is to carefully pay attention to what you’re listening to each day.

If you’re looking for a way to wake up feeling more refreshed and less hurried, consider changing your alarm tone to something more soothing that gently wakes you up over the course of a few minutes. Instead of listening to the news in the car, try putting on a fun playlist of songs that you can sing along too.

Takeaway: When you realize that music has an effect on your mental health, you can begin to take action.

As a professionally trained musician, I’ve known for years that music can have an incredible impact on the way we live our lives. It’s important to understand that we have control over how we respond to aural stimuli, it’s just a matter of being able to actively listen for them.


This piece was written and contributed by:

Meaghan Dunham

Marketing Coach

Meaghan is a Marketing Coach, currently living in Charlotte, NC. With a background in teaching and over 5 years of experience in corporate marketing, she decided to use her skills to develop marketing materials and resources that new business owners could ACTUALLY use. Her attention to detail and crazy work ethic help her transform not only the success of a business, but the mindset of the person running that business. She’ll be your biggest cheerleader, your accountability coach, and your business strategist. | @meaghan.m.dunham



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