Using Music As A Coping Skill


Listening to music can be a form of support for your favorite artists, but it can also be a coping mechanism. It does not matter whether you like listening to genres such as pop, EDM, contemporary, or K-pop for pleasure and contentment. Listening to music, in general, has a lot of psychological benefits as well.

Hans Christian Andersen once wrote, “Where words fail, music speaks.” People agree this statement could not be more accurate. Music can take us to unimaginable places, with the emotions we never knew exist inside us. It can help us release our frustrations, console us during the moments we grieve, and even bring peace and solace to our minds.

Music To Cope

Music can alter people’s moods, and for a lot of them, they use it as a coping mechanism.

1. Listening

“Therapy doesn’t have to be talk-based; there are some modalities, like music therapy and art therapy, that can help you get those in tune with those emotions without having to cough them up verbally,” says Hannah Goodman, LMHC. Just like our struggles in life, we cannot fully heal and find a solution if we run away from it. People use music to cope with listening to it. Try figuring out what you are feeling and create a playlist consisting of songs which your current state of mind relates to. In this way, you give yourself time to feel without rushing yourself to be entirely okay.

On the other hand, you may do the opposite. If you feel miserable, find a song that makes you think you want to get out of bed, and conquer your goals. If you feel like you have no energy left in your body, listen to an upbeat song that makes you want to move.


2. Instrument

Playing an instrument is another great way to use music as a coping skill. It also helps improve intellectual wellness. Marjie L. Roddick, MA, NCC, LMHC,  once said, “Intellectual wellness is when you recognize your unique talents to be creative and you seek out ways to use your knowledge and skills. When you foster your intellectual wellness, you participate in activities that cultivate mental growth.” Once you get your hands on an instrument, you can express so many emotions without having to utter a single word and improve cognitive function as well.

3. Writing

One of the best ways to release bottled-up emotions is through writing. Yes, “Not everyone agrees, though, that the mere act of writing is necessarily beneficial. In fact, initial writing about trauma triggers distress and physical and emotional arousal, researchers have found. And not all people will work through that distress therapeutically or through continued writing.” says Helen Marlo, PhD. But the great thing with that is, you can write whatever you feel, and who knows, it might turn out to be the next hit song.

4. Social Connection

Music is one way of connecting with people, be it through sharing playlists, talking about your favorite artists, or merely recommending songs.


Music For Mental Health

Music can relax our mind, energize our body, help us release emotions, and manage pain. Aside from coping, it also has a lot of benefits.

  • Listening to music can enhance your performance during cognitive tasks.
  • Music is an excellent de-stressor. It covers a variety of genres, and you will surely find one that will calm your nerves and will help you to relax.
  • According to a study, listening to music can be a safe and affordable treatment for insomnia.
  • Upbeat and fast-paced music helps and motivates people to exercise and have a healthy living.

Music can inspire and entertain individuals, but it also has psychological benefits. Instead of thinking about it just as an entertainment, consider that it can also improve your health and well-being, be it through the melodies or lyrics. Incorporate music into your everyday life; it might give you the change and peace you have been longing.

The Connection Between Music And Happiness

You probably had one of those days where you felt down. Maybe you argued with your parents, and that made you feel sad. Or, perhaps an exam you’ll be taking is giving you anxiety. Whatever the cause of your distress is, chances are, you’ve used music to help you cope.


That makes you wonder. Is there a direct connection between feeling good and listening to music? And if there is, how powerful is the connection? Read on to find out!

What Kind Of Music Makes People Happy?

Music is an art form that almost anyone can appreciate. It’s everywhere. We see it in movies, television shows, advertisements, and countless other venues. People have even made a living from making music. It’s not an exaggeration to say that it’s always present in our everyday lives.

With hundreds of genres to pick from and millions of songs to explore, there should be a piece of music out there for everyone. We need to do a bit of digging to get to our anthem. But with so many different kinds of music, we have to ask: Which songs make people happy? It can’t be all of them. Some songs are happy, some are sad, and others are outright weird. 


Happy songs are usually those with fast tempos and are in the major key. They can hype the listeners, whose pulse and breathing tend to quicken. As for sad songs, these are much slower and are in the minor key. It slows a person’s pulse and causes an increase in their blood pressure.

Well, the answer to the question is that it varies from person to person. It’s easy to say that happy songs make people feel good, but this isn’t always the case. Some people listen to sad songs because they can relate to its message. It brings catharsis or the release of their emotions. So, while happy songs can make people happy, sad songs can as well, albeit indirectly.

Also, everyone has a list of their favorite songs. These songs can be sad or happy and can fall under any genre. It doesn’t matter. The fact that it’s a person’s favorite song means that it’s very likely to make them happy. Simply anticipating that your favorite song is about to play is enough to bring a smile to your face.

The Correlation Between Music And Feeling Good

“Therapy doesn’t have to be talk-based; there are some modalities, like music therapy.” Hannah Goodman, LMHC said. To further understand how music and the brain work together, scientists have done countless experiments to test the connection.

A study in Canada at McGill University brought about insightful results (read further here: Family Education). Whenever we satisfy our need or want to sleep, eat, or reproduce, our brain releases a chemical known as dopamine. Dopamine is a neurochemical that makes people feel good when they experience being rewarded or pleasure, in general. The study found that the same chemical is released when we listen to music. The feel-good neurochemical was released whenever a person anticipated the music and when they experienced it.

Another study, conducted in Australia at Deakin University, found that people who actively engaged with music are happy. What does “actively engaged in music” mean? It refers to people who dance, sing and attend musical events such as concerts and plays with musical numbers.


“To quell overwhelm, engage in an activity that you enjoy, such as listening to music.” Marla W. Deibler, PsyD said. It shows that listening to music is beneficial to your well-being. But actively enjoying it can bring about a more considerable amount of happiness.

Psychologists still have no answer as to why this is the case. But they are suggesting that the added emotional and social connections that come with active participation play a big part. Others are saying that active involvement in music acts as a catharsis. It becomes an outlet to express one’s emotions. It is not present in passive listening.

It should be the perfect time for you to start working on that playlist of your favorite songs. If you’re a dancer or a singer, continue honing your craft. And if your favorite band or musical is coming to visit, it might be a good idea to save up for some tickets. 


Music is everywhere in our lives. It’s present in our homes, our workplaces, and even in silence when our brains decide to hum us a tune. Don’t hesitate to enjoy it, for it could be exactly what you need to be happy.”Authentic happiness is relating to the entire universe. When someone relates and leaves nothing out, you can see it in the face and posture. There is a presence about a truly happy person, a look that says “Yes,” to oneself, to others, and to the world.” Andrea F. Polard, PsyD said. So, it’s a start.