Music and Mood

Have you ever wondered why people kind of lead themselves into depression that they can’t get out of? I really think that part of it is due to the music that they listen to, either through the radio venue, or their own music collection.

Growing up in the 90s, there were any number of tunes popular…and most of them focused on sex, the objectification of women, or guilt directed at self pity. Songs I remember (I’ve never been one for much ‘popular’ music) include

  • City High – What Would You Do?
  • Blink 182 – Adam’s Song
  • Blink 182 – The Rock Show
  • Shaggy – It Wasn’t Me
  • Christina Aguilera – Genie in a Bottle

That’s 5 examples. And I know, there are countless others that emerged in the same time period that were uplifting. But, those who tend toward self-inflicted depression (not the clinical depression that some unfortunate individuals suffer from) also tend to engage in behaviors that can encourage the feelings.

Now, before those of my generation get angry at me and leave my site – I am not saying everyone that listens to sad or self-deprecating music or other derivations which may lend to depression…is depressed. I am merely saying that, through my observation, people in my age group who consider themselves or are considered by others as depressed, often engage in behaviors which lend them to this diagnosis. I, myself, have about half of the songs mentioned above on my hard drive. I also have a copious amount of ’emo’ and indie music – Dashboard Confessional included.

My post is not intended to prove this opinion – I have not conducted any formal research. It is simply an observation. I would like to, now, bring this observation into the spiritual realm. Assuming that some people who are depressed are so because they engage in behaviors, such as listening to certain types of music, that tend towards the emotion, we have to examine individually what we, ourselves, engage in on a daily basis to affect our mood.

In terms of music, I have a playlist that includes the following artists for me to do my homework.

  • Red Molly (AMAZING bluegrass/county trio)
  • Journey
  • Eddie Money
  • Sister Hazel
  • Live

If these songs, all of which have words, prove too distracting, I turn on classical music. At the end of the day, I try to practice or create a little of my own with my guitar and my voice.

But, I find that if I engage in listening to too much of any artist, especially one that does not have motivational or happy, upbeat lyrics, I start to fall off of my center. Recognizing this, I balance my music, and try not to let myself do what may be comfortable (ex: crying as I moan out the lyrics to a love song when I find myself lonely), and instead do what I need to do to stay balanced(ex: go biking or running to relieve some strees). It is the maintaining of this balance, and every balance is essential to our paths. See where I’m going, now?

I’ve spoken of centering before now, and I find I must speak of it again. The act of centering is an important one, one that should be given special attention with regard to the date right now. We are two days from Mabon, the Autumnal Equinox; where everything – day and night, the seasons – are for the moment, in balance. It is the time to begin reflecting, because it is also the second harvest: the time to harvest those mental ‘seeds’ which you planted last Samhain.

Does the music you listen to reflect your mood? Or does it affect your mood? Just something to ponder.

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