The Power of Sound and How It Affects Our Mood

July 28, 2010 Theresa Fung

Learn about the power of sound and it effects our mood and wellbeing. Plus learn to do a sound inventory to better control your moods.

We tend to ignore the power of sound and how it can affect our mood and wellbeing. Everyday, we are surrounded by noisy traffic, snippets of conversation from chattering people, music and more. Think about how irritating the sound of nails scratching a chalkboard is; then think about the sound of birds chirping. What a difference they make in our mood (unless you hate birds).

It’s no doubt then that there are many forms of alternative medicine that use the power of sound to heal. (But there is not enough room in this post to adequately cover the healing power of sound, nor am I well-versed in this area.) However, there are a few things we all can do to leverage the positive effects of sounds by surrounding ourselves with sounds that make us happy.

Marketers know how to manipulate our mood by using certain sounds and music to influence our behavior. I recently read up on the world’s most addictive sounds; the number one spot goes to the sound of a baby giggling. Shopping malls play upbeat music to keep us moving and buying. Restaurants often play slow music to encourage us to chew slowly and savor the food.

Which Sounds Affect Your Moods?

Well, almost any sound can affect your mood, but knowing which sounds help and hurt your mood benefits you immensely. Follow these tips to filter the sounds you hear effectively so you can feel better fast.

  • Identify sounds that frustrate, annoy, or stress you out. Then try to take steps to minimize these sounds. If you hate the noise of your phone ringing, put it on vibrate. If chatting co-workers are bothering you, try using ear plugs or listen to soothing music.
  • Identify the different sounds that make you happy and relaxed. Some examples might be the sound of falling rain, the sound of a crackling fire, or the sound of a sizzling steak. Are there ways you can surround yourself with these sounds either in real life, or through a recording?
  • Find music that puts you in a good mood (Bob Marley always works for me). Songs have the power to unlock distant memories. A writer for the Harvard Gazette,William J. Cromie, explains how our brain listens to music:

Your inner ear contains a spiral sheet that the sounds of music pluck like a guitar string. This plucking triggers the firing of brain cells that make up the hearing parts of your brain. At the highest station, the auditory cortex, just above your ears, these different firing cells create the conscious experience of music. Different patterns…excite other cells, and these associate the sound of music with feelings, thoughts, and past experiences.

Happy listening! Or, if you are sick of noise, then sometimes some good old fashioned peace and quiet might do the trick.

APA Reference
Fung, T. (2010, July 28). The Power of Sound and How It Affects Our Mood, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 15 from

Author: Theresa Fung

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