Sep 23

Do-It-Yourself Music Therapy Boosts Your Mood

It’s not just a professional discipline. Most of us can practice a kind of do-it-yourself music therapy.

According to Jeremy Dean‘s PsyBlog, mood management is the main reason we love music. Good thing, as research indicates that music can affect our mood in a positive way:

  • 2003. Youth at Penn State listened to all types of music. “After listening, the psychology students were more optimistic, joyful, friendly, relaxed, and calm. They also were less pessimistic and sad. Music, however, did not entirely soothe the frightened beast in student breasts. After listening, they did not report being less fearful.” (WebMD)
  • 2013. By the end of a two-week period, upbeat music was seen to raise moods, according to scientists at the University of Missouri. Sadder music didn’t help, though. (Healthline)
  • 2013. In this study, even sadder music helped mood. Kawakami et al. found that “sad music is enjoyable because it creates an interesting mix of emotions; some negative, some positive.” (PsyBlog)

Such results, along with an additional body of research, supports the work of certified music therapists. According to The American Music Therapy Association, their interventions work toward promoting wellness, managing stress, alleviating pain, expressing feelings, enhancing memory, improving communication, and promoting physical rehabilitation.

In psychiatric settings specifically, “(m)usic therapy allows persons with mental health needs to: explore personal feelings, make positive changes in mood and emotional states, have a sense of control over life through successful experiences, practice problem solving, and resolve conflicts leading to stronger family and peer relationships.”


I. Jason Mraz, “Living in the Moment”

II. Pink Martini, “Get Happy/Happy Days,” featuring China Forbes and Storm Large (pretending to be Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand)

III. DJ/Producer Avicii,”Wake Me Up,” featuring Aloe Blacc on vocals

IV. The Chickeneers (Jimmy Fallon, Blake Shelton, Chris Tartaro, Nick Offerman), “Ho Hey,” on Jimmy Fallon