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Let music work its magic

Just perked up because a tune you love came on the radio as you were driving along, stressed in the heavy traffic? Scientists are continually examining the neural effects music has on our emotions and behavior and vast research has proved it engages many of the neurobiological systems that affect our wellbeing.

by Psychologies

There’s nothing like putting on your favourite song to lift your spirits if you’re in a need of a little cheering up

Just perked up because a tune you love came on the radio as you were driving along, stressed in the heavy traffic? Scientists are continually examining the neural effects music has on our emotions and behavior and vast research has proved it engages many of the neurobiological systems that affect our wellbeing.

Music can also influence our perception; it can completely change the way we see ourselves and can motivate us to do those things we constantly put off.

Yuna Ferguson, assistant professor of psychology at Pennsylvania State University Shenango, has found that those who listened to upbeat music while actively wanting to improve their mood expressed increased happiness levels. In this study, participants successfully found that they could improve their moods in a short period of time and boosted their overall happiness levels within two weeks.

Ferguson created two control groups: the first group were instructed to attempt to improve their mood by listening to upbeat music. The second group were simply told to listen to the music, with no instruction to try to improve their mood. Reports back from the participants found that group one had much higher happiness levels. Those who listened to the happier music with no intention of changing their mood did not see any increase in happiness.

The overall conclusion? Music can help improve your mood, but only if you actively want it to. So why not take on the challenge? Take charge of your happiness and start by listening to the music which makes you want to dance.  

What music makes the team at Psychologies smile?

Call Me Maybe – Carly Rae Jepsen   

“This song never fails to lift my mood. I start dancing wherever I am – much to the embarrassment of everyone around me!” – Suzy Greaves, Editor

I’m Coming Out by Dianna Ross  

Makes me want to strut my stuff down a New York sidewalk like the movies!” – Ali Roff, Features Writer

Caravan of Love by The Housemartins  

There’s something in the way it opens, and the way they use a cappella, that brings a lump to my throat. And it has a simple but powerful message – stand up for your fellow humans, we're all one big family. Gospel music sung by a group of Marxists from Hull – sometimes it's the strangest combinations that make you happy!” – Lauren Hadden, Deputy Editor

Pencil Full of Lead by Paolo Nutini  

“Automatically makes me really cheerful, especially in the morning! I just like the idea of it as well as the lively tune, how he’s counting his blessings and nothing can get him down.” Anne-Claire Loughman, Acting Chief Sub/Production Editor

I Know What I Know by Paul Simon  

“This song reminds me of my childhood. It lifts my mood and makes me want to sing and dance.” Amerley Ollennu, Acting Beauty and Wellbeing Editor  

More inspiration:

Read 6 songs to move your booty on Lifelabs