The REAL Reason We Crave Sad Songs After A Breakup

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The Real Reason We Crave Sad Songs After A Break Up
Love, Self

And why your playlist might be your first step toward healing.

"Never mind, I’ll find someone like you..."

Here we go again. The Universe seems to be conspiring to play every sad breakup song you have ever heard. They chase you around the city from the coffee shop to the office lobby, from lunch to back to coffee into the store for your after work errands.

Even the street musician on the corner is in on the plot. And this time it is on the heels of your relationship ending.

You maintain your composure until the ride home and then you crank up Adele and scream-sing along. Note: If it's not Adele who sings directly to the wound in your heart, perhaps it's another sad breakup song.

Later on safely at home, you find yourself through the tears actually choosing this track. You chant over and over again like a mantra, "Alexa, repeat the last song." Eventually, even Alexa manages to understand your need for repetition.

Our craving for sad songs can be traced to Aristotle's first mention of catharsis in the 6th century. Expressing our emotions, whether positive or negative, is healthy and signals to others in our community what is going on for us (which could lead to support), and can even help us live longer. 

Expressing our sadness can, in fact, make us feel better. Though some personality types are more naturally emotionally expressive than others, emotional expression is a skill.

RELATED: 10 PISSED-OFF Breakup Songs To Help You FORGET About Him

We can increase our emotional intelligence and learn to recognize emotion in ourselves and others as well as learn to recognize and express emotion in ourselves. Our craving for sad songs following a breakup may actually be a coping mechanism to help us build our emotional intelligence. 

There are many reasons why we crave sad songs following a breakup. Studies show that listening to sad music can console us and even help regulate negative feelings or a bad mood.  

So what is the real reason we crave sad songs after a breakup? To express our feelings safely with someone else, even someone like Adele.

Listening to sad songs following a breakup begins a type of catharsis called abreaction. In abreaction, we relive our experience and including the emotion which is a great start.  

RELATED: 14 Quotes That Profoundly Describe How Much Breakups SUCK

Sad songs take abreaction one step further: we relive the breakup through the voice of another and gain the benefit of having a perceived shared experience. We are taken on a 3-4 minute journey of our relationship while connecting empathetically with the artist which reminds us we are not alone.   

In this way, sad songs help us safely practice our sadness

If you find yourself on repeat with Adele, you may have taken the first step toward supporting yourself to better health!

Tamara Lebak is a transformational coach, author, speaker, and consultant who can help you increase your emotional intelligence and become your best authentic self. Check out her success stories and schedule your free consultation today.

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Watch Dr. Sandra Garrido explain why we like listening to sad music in this TED Talk.