There’s nothing like a sad, slow song to aid in a post-breakup cry or be the soundtrack to a bad day. It’s a well-known fact that music is made to bring out emotions in all of us, but what may come as a surprise is that sad music can have the opposite effect from what you would expect: it can actually make you feel happy.
According to Andrew Rossetti, PhD, a board-certified music therapist and supervisor of the music therapy program in radiation oncology at The Louis Armstrong Center for Music and Medicine at Mount Sinai Beth Israel, it’s proven science that music can be a mood regulator. “Music is something that affects the human organism in a systems way, which means that pretty much the entire organism is affected, either directly or indirectly, by listening to music or by performing music,” he explained, per Women’s Health Magazine. “Our emotional brain is activated, our limbic system [the part of the brain involved in behavioral and emotional responses] is activated, motion is activated along with cognitive and associative processes.”
Music is the sonic gift that allows us to reflect and even feel a sense of consolation during bad times, whether it sounds somber or upbeat. Luckily for us, there are some really amazing sad songs out there — because what are life and love without a bit of heartache?
Ahead, see the saddest songs out there that you can add to your playlist.
— Additional reporting by Katelyn Evans, Njera Perkins, and Eden Arielle Gordon