After the Breakup, Change Up Your Playlist To Put On A Happy Face

By

After the Breakup, Change Up Your Playlist To Put On A Happy Face
Feeling down? Use music to regulate your mood and get happy.

What do Lucinda Williams’ Essence, Annie Lennox’s "Bare" and Steely Dan’s "Everything Must Go," have in common?  They're all breakup CDs that came out roughly around the time of my divorce.  Perhaps gray skies were gonna clear up, but in the meantime, I had to have them.  I’m not even sure I knew why when I bought them.  Warren Zevon’s "The Wind" is not a breakup CD, unless you count the fact that he was dying, kind of a breakup with the universe. I had to have that one too. As we know, music has charms to soothe the savage breast. We also know that misery loves company, not just plain old company, but miserable company. If we put it all together, we can understand more about music's effect on our mood.

At the time I didn't know that there was research to back up my preference. A recent study shows that people prefer sad music when they've experienced an interpersonal loss. The sad music may actually help people cope by providing a substitute for the loss, kind of like a companion. Hanging with Lucinda was all about having someone who could really feel my pain.

If only it were that simple. In another recent study, researchers found that listening to happy music after a loss helps you feel happier if, and only if, you intentionally try to feel happier. Not only did participants score a happier mood during the study, they were happier two weeks later. So the improved mood has some staying power.  Just listening won't cut it, you must also try to feel happy.

How do we choose? Do we listen to sad or happy music when trying to cope with our loss? Not to sound like a broken record, but I think you have to try to mindfully figure out what really works for you at any given time.

It's fine to wallow short-term, but after awhile it gets old for you and everyone around you. Nevertheless, sometimes you do need an hour to put your feet up, get a glass of wine and cry with Annie about what diabolical dogs your exes were. Then you move on.

Need a pick me up to move on? None of those titles will do it. That's where happy music comes in. Remember, it's not enough to just listen. You have to will yourself to feel happier, which is not that tough if you really get into the music. Set an intention to match the mood of the music and I challenge you to listen to Sheryl Crowe's "Everyday is a Winding Road" or Beethoven's "6th Symphony," and not feel happier.

Having different playlists for different moods and activities is a great strategy. There's the pump-up list to use before a tough presentation, the cooking list for getting through all those steps in the fancy dinner you're preparing, and now you can add playlists to up-regulate your mood or feel your pain. Just try not to spend too much time in the house of pain; you're only a playlist away from a happy face.

Article contributed by
Advanced Member

Dr. Judith Tutin

Life Coach

Judith Tutin, PhD, ACC

Location: Rome, GA
Credentials: ACC, PhD
Other Articles/News by Dr. Judith Tutin:

7 Ways You Choose Unhappiness (Without Even Realizing It)

By

As I approached a birthday, one with a ginormous number, a wise coach posed the question: If not now, when? I was grumbling about how I hadn't been getting enough done when I really wanted to spend more time reading, watching movies and the World Cup; in other words, engaging in activities that would result in getting even less done. If not now, when?, she ... Read more

10 Tips For Re-Entering The Dating Scene After Divorce

By , ,

The first date you have after (or during) your divorce is magical. You anticipate new love, new romance and even simply new friendship and camaraderie. It seems so dreamy, so playful and thrilling after all we've been through with our divorce or an intense severing of a relationship. The reality is we are recreating who we are anew. It's hard enough ... Read more

7 Steps To Reduce Insomnia

By

I was fascinated by the NY Times' two recent articles on sleep. One is about how to get more of it so you'll be more beautiful, featuring spas, sleep products and a barely perceptible nod to useful skills like meditation and relaxation. The companion piece is about makeup to hide the ravages of sleeplessness. Really? Sleep deprivation causes ... Read more

See More

GET MORE ARTICLES LIKE THIS IN YOUR INBOX!

Sign up for our daily email and get the stories everyone is talking about.

Ask The Experts

Have a dating or relationship question?
Visit Ask YourTango and let our experts and community answer.

Stories we love
FROM AROUND THE WEB