Try not listening to music, your mood may improve

Sam Jefferson, Cynic Columnist

It was a Friday morning, and it looked like I was going to be late to my international relations class. I grabbed my water bottle, notebook and Dentyne spearmint gum and rushed out the door, only to realize I had forgotten *gasp* my earbuds.

With no time to spare, I continued my awkward walk-jog to Marsh Life, my eyes staring at Spotify wondering how the hell I was going to bear the next 10 minutes of silence.

It’s this constant yearn for my favorite tunes that makes me wonder if I listen to music too much. I have started to fill every activity with it. If I’m running, studying, laundry folding or cereal eating, I’m most likely listening to music.

This reliance simply can’t be healthy, as I’m sure you’ve heard before you can always have too much of a good thing and I believe music falls into that category.

One of the most powerful things about music is certain songs and playlists can take you back in time. When I listen to Jack Johnson, I’m flooded with memories of road tripping with my family in the summer of 2007 to Martha’s Vineyard. 

Or, when I listen to my Spotify playlist called “BRO” (filled with Katy Perry and Lady Gaga) I remember my first prom in which I really did dance like no one was watching. I also learned I kinda kickass at ski ball but that’s unrelated.

Those are two positive examples, but this effect works the other way too. Certain playlists for people can remind them of tough times, break ups, high school drama, season ending injuries, etc. And I think this is something as listeners we need to be conscious of.

I’ve been keeping a journal for the last two and a half years or so, and have noticed my entries are much more clear and helpful when I do them without music. I’ve found that the songs I listen to while journaling affect what I write about. 

If I’m listening to “Clocks” by Coldplay, even after having a magnificent day at North Beach, I might end up entering something about the vanilla “creemee” that fell from my waffle cone staining my new Snoopy socks. Music is always changing my mood, and I think this is something to be wary of.

I recently made a music playlist that has a more somber tone than what I usually listen to, and I really enjoyed it. I started to listen to it all the time, no matter what mood I was in. I found that a happy mood could so easily change by playing “Tommy’s Party” by Peach Pit, or really any Boy Pablo song.

The tone of the songs lead me to times that weren’t so great. I remember moments that don’t help to be dwelled on, which inevitably can change my mood from upbeat to feeling blue. 

It wasn’t until recently I realized this playlist had this effect on me. I think this is because we are under the assumption all music is good, music will help us feel, help us think, help us forget. But, as much as music helps it can also control.

The constant stimulation from music is addictive, I would advise next time you study, go for a walk, or relax in your room, try it without the comfort of Apple Music or Spotify.

Without something guiding your thoughts you’ll be more at ease, and more in control. Something our phones and tech strip from us day in and day out.