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Use of Music for Mood Regulation: How Can You Choose to Become Self Aware With Conscious Listening Choices

You probably already recognise that music affects your mood. But have you thought about how you can use music to consciously alter your mood, and even help with feelings of stress, anxiety or depression? Consciously choosing music for your mood can also improve self-awareness.

Managing depression, anxiety and stress

Depression, anxiety, and stress are all factors that contribute to people’s well-being. However, when these symptoms are detected and go untreated, the results can contribute to life-long disabilities. Therefore, it is imperative that early signs of depression are detected within people so that it does not create the negative impact it can have on their lives.

Since depression and feelings of stress are attributed to mood, it is no surprise that reliance on music for distress is a way to assist in suppressing and coping with those depressive and anxious tendencies. Unfortunately, however, many people with strong emotions of sadness tend to gravitate to listening to music that can ultimately intensify their depressive state, deepening negative moods.

People with strong emotions of sadness, depression, stress, and anxiety often cannot effectively choose music that will aid them in feeling better and uplifting their mood. However, if you can become more conscious of the early symptoms provoking your emotions, you can equip yourself with self-awareness and choose the right music to help regulate your mood.

Identifying individual self-awareness

Clarity of one’s own emotions, feelings, and behavioral tendencies is the first step to having self-awareness. In states of deep sadness, grief, depression, or high stress and anxiety, the capacity to understand one’s own thoughts and behaviors becomes more challenging.

If you can exercise this self-awareness when feelings of sadness or depression occur, you can create enhanced mindfulness. However, since many adults tend to choose music that matches their emotions, the obstacle that arises is understanding that to regulate one’s mood, you must select music that will provide comfort, soothing, and help you feel better, and improve your mental health.

Many people differ with their insights, but understanding emotional experiences can provide protection. For example, when feeling sad or grieving the loss of a loved one, you choose music that will create less nostalgia but happiness and hope instead of music that deepens those feelings of sadness.

Ways to approach new music choices

Vincent Reina, co-founder and developer of Music to Your Home Online, states that “Music has an innate power to affect our emotions deeply. So, if people can recognize that the music they listen to is either beneficial or not to their mood, they can become more proactive in changing their music listening habits that can further enhance their innate consciousness to be more aware of their thoughts as well as actions.”

There are some ways to take this proactive approach in your choice of music to regulate your mood. One such method could be enlisting the help of a music therapist or working with a music professional. Music therapy has been shown to help those people who have more extreme mood disorders. In addition, music is used to help improve other areas of well-being and social and emotional health, such as helping those who have autism or learning disabilities.

A music expert can offer helpful ways in what genres and styles of music can assist with helping to regulate your moods. Professional music therapists and those who study music can provide you with ways to recognize music that puts you in a great mood.

Tips for choosing music

If you are working to develop and train yourself to make new music choices that can help transition your moods, here are some helpful tips that you can follow:

  • Make a playlist based on your mood – think about selecting the opposite type of music from what you are feeling. If you are having emotions of feeling blue, sad or lost, you should go to the playlist labeled “Upbeat and Happy” to help shift those feelings.
  • Share music and allow others to make recommendations – there are tons of music playlists out there for the listening. Ask someone what they might recommend, a friend or family member that you trust, that can help you to change your mindset.
  • Bookmark Radio Shows – You can easily find your favorite radio shows online that play music based on a variety of filters, including genre, style, artist, and more. Finding those shows and saving them to play for yourself creates a conscious listening choice to combat your emotions when you need to adjust them.
  • Learn or Play a musical instrument – If you can play and learn music, you take the control of your listening choices even further by allowing yourself to pick up your instrument and play something. When you play or work to learn a musical piece, you are shifting your mind’s focus on developing your musical skill, and finding joy in it, which helps to regulate your emotions. Putting your mind into feeling and understanding the music also aids you in gaining more insight into how music can affect our moods.

Defining features of musical mood regulation

  • Listening Strategies – this is the most popular method for mood regulation since listening can help the brain reframe thinking. Changing your listening strategies aids in choosing the music that will better regulate your mood.
  • Stimuli – this could be attributed to your immediate surroundings or your environment as to how you can effectively choose music to help regulate your mood. Understanding what things can help trigger your mood to change is another way to instill the proper music choice to help control it.

Your wellbeing is essential for your health. Suppose you can equip yourself with the proper knowledge to identify when feelings of deepened sadness, depression, loneliness, or overwhelming feelings of anxiety and stress are affecting your health. In that case, you can choose to utilize music to help cope with the intensity of these moods.

Besides listening to music, there are some other methods that people can turn to that involve music, such as singing, playing an instrument, and writing songs to help express your moods. These can provide you with insight to explore your thoughts and feelings, allowing you to better understand your behaviours and experiences.

Take control of your consciousness

Music plays such a central role in our lives. There is no problem with using music to help self-soothe. However, a personal music study concluded that almost 75% of its participants chose music that reflected the way they already were feeling. This action typically does not help change the mood but instead increases and intensifies those feelings of distress, sadness, or aiding in the overwhelming feelings of stress you may be experiencing.

Equipping yourself with the knowledge to properly assess and change your musical listening strategies and stimuli will provide you with an effective tool in choosing music to regulate your emotions better. You ultimately have the power to control your feelings, change your mood and help yourself feel better with the proper self-awareness and help from musical experts to choose the best music for your wellbeing.

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