Why Do We Listen to Sad Music After a Breakup?

How to apply the wisdom of psychology to fix your broken heart

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Photo by Alice Moore on Unsplash

We’ve all been there. The overwhelming pain of heartbreak can be too much to bear. Instead of trying to improve the situation, you choose to turn on Spotify and listen to sad music until the early hours of the morning.

As the clock ticks away, minutes turn into hours while you overthink every action during the entirety of your now-extinct relationship.

You want the pain to end, but it doesn’t.

You want the suffering to stop, but it won’t.

During these times of heartbreak, the only thing which goes away is our sense of rationale and self-control in a quest for answers.

The slow strumming of a guitar accompanied by an emotional voice is enough for any broken heart to shatter into pieces. What once was a beautiful & loving relationship is now merely a memory; a recollection of past events that shall never transpire again.

Although it may initially seem counterintuitive, these periods of heartbreak are what define us as a person.

We can choose to either succumb to a perpetual cycle of depression and emotional pain caused by one person. Alternatively, we can use it as an opportunity to better ourselves and define what truly makes us happy. Seneca said it best:

“A gem cannot be polished without friction, nor a man perfected without trials.”

What he’s saying is that to achieve happiness and a loving relationship, you first need to face times of adversity to build your character into somebody who can overcome anything.

We often say “he wasn’t the right person” or “he broke my heart into pieces that can never be rebuilt.” But instead of treating this heartbreak as an event that plunges your happiness into a death spiral of eternal darkness, use it as an opportunity to gain clarity on what you desire in a future relationship.

For most people, music is “an art of sound in time that expresses ideas and emotions in significant forms through the elements of rhythm, melody, harmony, and color.”

However, in my opinion, music is also a way to feel loved & cared for during the times where other people are unable to do so.

  • When we feel like nobody understands our situation, sad music can help us to feel understood.
  • When we feel like nobody is there to support us, sad music can help us to feel supported.
  • When we feel like our heart has shattered into thousands of tiny pieces, sad music helps to put it back together once more.

For anybody going through a breakup, sad music is not merely sound waves which express ideas & emotions.

It is much more that.

Music allows us to rebuild our lives with clarity and purpose, and to gain resilience against obstacles life may throw at us.

Marcus Aurelius once said: “The universe is change; our life is what our thoughts make it.” Whenever you go through a breakup, use sad music as a way of feeling understood, supported, and less alone.

Remember that you have control over your thoughts. So never let them be in control of you.

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