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Emotional Regulation Through Music

Emotional regulation is the practice of effectively managing and responding to emotional experiences. When big feelings bubble to the surface, music can help you express or overcome them. So if you’re feeling anxious or need a mood boost, try turning on some tunes and experiencing the following benefits of regulating emotions through music.

Pleasurable feelings

Music can trigger the same biological and psychological responses associated with other rewards such as food and money. It doesn’t matter if you’re jamming to a record or are trying your hand at playing an instrument. Simply engaging with music floods your senses with pleasure and relief.

Harmless catharsis

You don’t have to use music just to cheer yourself up. Listening or playing music can be cathartic, providing a way to channel frustration or negative emotions in a harmless way. Maybe you turn up the 90’s punk rock and let out the tension you felt at work. Maybe you turn on a sad song and let the sadness inside of you flow out. Whatever you choose to listen to, music can help you express tough emotions or process ones laying right below the surface.

Emotional contagion

Feelings are contagious. Your partner’s bad mood can become your sour outlook. A coworker’s chipper good morning can add a pep to your step. Music provides the same contagious emotions. If you’re feeling down, happy music can provide a much-needed boost.

The next time emotions are running high, find a way to unwind with music. So search for a happy, relaxing, or sad playlist, put in your headphones, and let the music carry you away. Whether it’s exciting you, calming you, or connecting you with your feelings, music can be a form of self-care.

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