Can a playlist be your therapist? Balancing emotions through music

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Music has the potential to change emotional states and can distract listeners from negative thoughts and pain. It has also been proven to help improve memory, performance, and mood.

In a study from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, scientists developed an app that creates custom playlists to help listeners care for their emotions through music.

The app could be used by people who may not want to receive counseling or treatment because of feelings of shame, inadequacy, or distrust.

By taking listeners on an emotional roller-coaster ride, the app aims to leave them in a more positive and focused state than where they began.

In the study, users take three self-led questionnaires in the app to measure their emotional status and provide the information needed to create a playlist.

Current emotion and long-term emotion status are gauged with a pictorial assessment tool that helps identify emotions in terms of energy level and mood.

Energy level can run from high, medium, to low and mood can register as positive, neutral, or negative.

A Patient Health Questionnaire and a General Anxiety Disorder screening are also used to establish personalized music therapy treatments.

By determining the emotional state of the user, the app creates a customized and specifically sequenced playlist of songs using one of three strategies: consoling, relaxing, or uplifting.

Consoling music reflects the energy and mood of the user, while relaxing music provides positive, low energy. Uplifting music is also positive but more high energy.

The team found that relaxing and uplifting methods can strongly move listeners from negative to more positive emotional states.

Especially, when listeners are at a neutral mood, all three proposed methods can change listeners’ emotions to more positive.

If you care about health, please read studies that vegetarian diet may increase your depression risk, and Vitamin D could help reduce depression symptoms.

For more information about health, please see recent about why pizza is a very addictive food, and MIND diet could improve cognitive health in older people.

The study was conducted by Man Hei Law et al and presented at meeting of the Acoustical Society of America.

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