With a desire to help and inspire people around the world—Ashley currently blogs about life, psychology, purpose, spirituality, and more!
How Music Can Influence Your Emotions
For many years, music has been used to help heal the souls of many, and express what is difficult to articulate in words.
Music can affect the brain in several different ways, but the number one way is through engaging emotions. When listening to music, neurotransmitters are released in the brain such as dopamine—the "feel-good" chemical.
Oftentimes, emotions that we feel are experienced from our heart, but an immense part of emotional simulation is communicated through our brain. Great music can portray both positive and negative emotions.
Music has the ability to succeed, where verbal words may fail, and that's why so many people have the ability to relate to music.
Different songs have the ability to stir up the deepest of emotions in people and can process grief, sadness, resentment, and even emotions that are held on a subconscious level.
Aside from emotions—music takes up most of your brain including memory, learning, neuroplasticity, and attention.
Growing up, music was my only escape and therapy through some of the most difficult moments that I endured in life. Through the soothing sounds of melodies, to relatable song lyrics—music was always there for me.
After much consideration, I came up with a list of nine important songs that personally helped me when I struggled with my emotions that helped me to get through some of the battles that I fought with myself.
With each song, I will explain the importance, the perspective in which each song was written, and favorite lines. I am writing this article in hopes to inspire my reader's the influential impact that music really does have on our emotions.
1. "War of My Life," by John Mayer
Favorite lyric: "I'm at the war of my life, at the core of my life, got no choice, but to fight 'till it's done."
This happens to be one of my personal favorite songs right now. I have always been a fan of John Mayer's music, but this song really hit home because the song itself represents going against your inner demons and giving all your willpower to fight the war of your life until you've conquered it. Very moving song.
2. "Home," by Michael Bublé
Favorite lyric: "And I feel just like I'm living someone else's life. It's like I just stepped outside, when everything was going right. And I know just why you could not come along with me. But this was not your dream, but you always believed in me."
When this song first came out, it was during the time when Michael Bublé was on tour and away from his Finance. The lyrics to the entire song screams out the feeling of missing home. I absolutely admired Bublé for writing this song because his success didn't matter to him because he was missing his lover. I'm not exactly sure how this song got me through hard times, but it did.
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3. "1-800-273-8255," by Logic ft. Alessia Cara, Khalid
Favorite lyric: "I know where you been, where you are, where you goin'. I know you're the reason I believe in life, what's the day without a little night? I'm just tryna shed a little light. It can be hard, it can be so hard. But you gotta live right now. You got everything to give right now."
I'm not going to lie—when I first heard this song, I had mixed feelings about it. It took a couple of times of having this song on replay for me to really understand it.
Very seldomly do I listen to rap music; however, I do believe that Logic did a really great job with this song. When he wrote "1-800-273-8255", he wrote it from the perspective of a person that is on the phone with suicide prevention because they are ready to take their life. Towards the middle of the song, the perspective changes to the operator explaining to this helpless person that what they are feeling is only temporary and you will go through difficult times in life, but you have so much to live for. By the end of the song, the person that was ready to take their own life no longer wants to commit suicide.
This is a song that I listen to when things in life get challenging for me. This song has helped, saved, and impacted many lives, including my own.
4. "Heavy," by Linkin Park
Favorite lyric: "I'm holding on, why is everything so heavy? Holding on, so much more than I can carry.I keep dragging around what's bringing me down; If I just let go, I'd be set free. Holding on, why is everything so heavy?"
If you have ever listened to this song, you can understand how much emotion there is behind it. Although the song itself is very sad, the lyrics are very true. The song represents the inability and unwillingness of a person to move on from events and thoughts in their life that bring them sadness. I think that we all are guilty of moments like that.
5. "Praying," by Kesha
Favorite lyric: "I hope you're somewhere prayin', prayin'. I hope your soul is changin', changin'. I hope you find your peace, falling on your knees, prayin'."
In life, when you get hurt by someone, it takes a lot in you to forgive them. Although it's not easy forgiving people that have hurt you in the past, acceptance and forgiveness can come a long way. Letting go of the burden of pain, resentment, sadness, and anger towards someone can open new doors for you to create a better future. Once you come to realization that you will be okay, you will want nothing more than to spread positivity and healing. That is essentially what this song is about.
6. "Titanium," by David Guetta ft. Sia
Favorite lyric: "I'm bulletproof, nothing to lose. Fire away, fire away. Ricochet, you take your aim. Fire away, fire away. You shoot me down, but I won't fall, I am titanium."
I believe that the entire theme of this song was written from the perspective of a person being sick and tired of being cut down by other people. And that no matter what gets thrown at them at life, they are strong enough to withstand anything because they are "titanium". I find this song extremely empowering.
7. "Wonderful World," by Louis Armstrong
Favorite lyric: "I see skies of blue and clouds of white. The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night. And I think to myself, what a wonderful world."
Originally written by Bob Thiele and George Weiss during the Vietnam War, the song was written in hopes to mend lives due to the war. When Louis Armstrong performed this song, his intentions were pure in spreading positivity by appreciating the little things and emphasizing the little things that are good.
This song has inspired many people's lives across the world to date. This song means everything to me because when I was pregnant with my son, I would sing this song to him every night. After I lost my son due to a tragic miscarriage, I was emotionally broken. I still listen to "Wonderful World" to this day when I find myself hurting and missing him.
8. "Roger Rabbit," by Sleeping With Sirens
Favorite lyric: "Nobody's gonna love you if you can't display, a way to capture this. Nobody's gonna hold your hand, and guide you through, no, it's up for you to understand. Nobody's gonna feel your pain, when all is done, and it's time for you to walk away. So when you have today, you should say all that you have to say."
I believe the first time that I ever heard this song, was back in my freshman year of high school. The lyrics to this song were very relatable to me at the time it first came out because I was going through the process of realizing who my true friends were. The song "Roger Rabbit" is about accepting the fact that there will be people in life that will love and hate, but it's up to you to understand that at the end of the day, the only person you have is yourself.
9. "Be Alright," by Dean Lewis
Favorite lyric: "It's gonna hurt for a bit of time, so bottoms up, let's forget tonight. You'll find another and you'll be just fine, let her go. But nothing heals, the past like time. And they can't steal, the love you're born to find."
When I was at work last week, this song randomly played on Pandora, and I instantly fell in love with it. The song was written from the perspective of a man who was cheated on by a girl and all he could do was reminisce about the memories that were haunting him the most. His buddies gave him the advice that even though it will hurt for some time, things will get better and he will find the love that he was born to find one day. If you are currently going through, or have been through a heartbreak, take a listen to this song.
© 2018 Ashley Marie Riley
Nithya Venkat from Dubai on November 11, 2018:
Music soothes the soul and heals the pain. It uplifts my mood anytime I listen to the sweet sound of music. Great lyrics and songs.
Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on November 08, 2018:
Very appropriate lyrics. Never even thought of number seven for a list like this; now I do. Good job!