Listening To Depressed Songs – A Bad Idea When You’re Depressed?

By Robert Porter

Updated September 02, 2019

Reviewer Whitney White, MS. CMHC, NCC., LPC

Music is something that has the potential to alter your mood. Many people absolutely love music and they often use it as a source of inspiration or to get through difficult situations. There are so many types of music that no matter what type of mood you're in, it's easy to find a song that matches your mood.

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What about people who are going through depression problems? Is listening to sad music is a good idea when you're already experiencing a profound sense of sadness in your life? The answer is somewhat complicated. Some people are comfortable listening to sad songs and lyrics when they're feeling sad. It has a way of normalizing their experience; they can see and feel that other people have had similar experiences.

Do People Listen To Sad Songs To Make Themselves Feel Worse?

Many people simply find sad songs to be easy to relate to and they might want to listen to them for that reason. It isn't because they want to feel worse. It's true that people with depression frequently engage in behaviors that might complicate or make depression worse.

Many people simply find sad songs to be easy to relate to and they might want to listen to them for that reason. It isn't because they want to feel worse. It's true that people with depression frequently engage in behaviors that might complicate or make depression worse though it isn't intentional. It's simply part of depression. Someone who is depressed may know that social isolation doesn't help the condition and yet still isolate themselves as a result of the depression, for example, it could be a bad idea to listen to sad songs when your depressed or it could be just fine.

It depends on the person and some people have different things that will trigger depressive responses. Some people will get depressed by thinking about things that remind them of certain times in their life, and music has the potential to help you recall life events.

Depressed Songs Might be A Coping Mechanism

Recent research shows that people might be using depressed songs as a type of coping mechanism. One study showed that people with depression might feel better after listening to sad music.

It's important to note that this is just one study and only a small group participated More in-depth studies need to be performed in order to fully understand the impact that sad music has on the human mind.

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Understanding this and what it means isn't necessarily going to be cut and dry. There are people who want to avoid sad music due to it being a trigger for depressive episodes. The study might simply suggest that sad music doesn't necessarily have to deepen sadness or depression. It

Understanding this and what it means isn't necessarily going to be cut and dry. There are people who want to avoid sad music due to it being a trigger for depressive episodes. The study might simply suggest that sad music doesn't necessarily have to deepen sadness or depression. It may be recording the comfort that people experience in knowing their feelings aren't totally unique to them - that they really aren't alone.


It's best to listen to your own instincts when it comes to music selection. If something with sad lyrics, slower beats, or certain sounds causes you to feel sad in an unhelpful way, you can choose to listen to something else. If listening to something that is in tune with your emotional status is helpful to you, go for it.

Remember To Seek Treatment For Depression

Try to remember that seeking treatment for depression is important. Depression is a very serious condition that can be debilitating. Depending on how severe your depression is, it can even prevent you from taking care of your normal life responsibilities. If you feel like depression is holding you back in life, then you should reach out to your doctor or a mental health professional, like a counselor for help.

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There are multiple treatment options for depression. Medication and counseling are frequently used to treat depression. Working with a medical doctor to find medication that works for you can be one part of the process. Finding a therapist to provide an empathetic space for you to share your experiences in and learn helpful coping skills in can be a treatment in itself or in addition to medication.

Therapy Is Always An Option

Therapy is a research-supported option for treating depression. Many medical doctors will refer you for counseling treatment in addition to prescribing medications. Therapy can be attended locally with local therapists in person, or you may find a therapist online. Online therapy has great benefits including less travel, the ability to message your therapist anytime you want to, more flexible appointment times, and may be more affordable than traditional in-office therapy.


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