We’ve all been there. You wake up in the morning and feel an overwhelming feeling of bluh. You get through the day, walking like a zombie through the hustle and bustle of people. You finally get home and crawl into your nice comfy bed. This is what you’ve been waiting for all day. Then you open up Spotify (or Apple Music if you’re weird) and play your favorite slow, melancholy, emotional, powerful, devastating sad songs. And you cry.
Why is this such a universal experience? Why do we seek out melodies that we know are going to open up the floodgates? Wouldn’t it make more sense to play upbeat songs to get us out of our slump? Why do we want to make ourselves cry? Well, I’ve cracked the code.
There are a couple of culprits for this phenomenon. The first one is that listening to sad music is appealing because we can relate to it. And this can feel incredibly comforting. It’s in our nature, as humans, to search for relatability. When we find similarities between ourselves and other people or things, we latch on and form an attachment to that similarity. When we listen to beautiful music about terrible, tragic things, it helps us cope with our own pain. It helps us realize that we’re not alone; other people have felt these same lows, and they got through it. Sometimes just knowing that there are people out there who have gone through the same things as you, can make getting through that long, sad night a little more bearable.
Another reason we turn to sadness in the face of sadness, is that doing so can allow us to really get into our feels. Why would anyone want to feel more sad, you may be asking? Well, when we hold in our emotions, they don’t go away–they build. And then one day, without warning, it all erupts out of us. This can be a horrendous experience. To avoid this from happening, it’s good to let yourself feel your emotions. And for many people, putting on “The Night We Met” or their go-to Adele album is exactly what they need to let it all out.
So, next time you’re feeling down, put on some sad tunes and let yourself revel in the sadness; you may be surprised by how much it helps.