When you’re going through a breakup, sometimes all you want to do is wallow in your sadness. Cue, the saddest songs you can think of, courtesy of SZA, Adele, H.E.R. or if you really want to wallow, Phoebe Bridgers. But somehow, listening to these sad girl anthems has made you feel better. How? Well, researchers have discovered that sad music can actually help heal your broken heart and make you feel uplifted again.
A new study found that listening to sad music enhanced feelings of empathy and compassion. Although these findings might be surprising for some people, this isn’t actually new — researchers at the University of Kent also analyzed the link between sad music and people’s moods in a 2014 study, and they found that when sad people intentionally listened to music that they thought might help, it made them feel better.
Music has also been proven to strengthen our social bonds, and listening to it releases oxytocin, the hormone that makes us feel love. If you’ve been listening to your emo hours playlist on repeat and feel more connected after listening to those sad songs you love, you’re actually improving your ability to trust and act generously toward others.
The next time you’re going through a heartbreak — Siri, play “Strange” by Celeste — know that listening to sorrowful music might just help put you out of your misery. Try searching for a playlist with sad songs on Spotify (we love this one) or belting out some ballads alone at home.
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