top of page

Managing Our Mental State through Music

Consciously and unconsciously in our daily lives, we are exposed to various introjections that can alter our state and elicit emotional responses thus affecting our behavior. When we are talking about state, we are specifically referring to the internal state, the total of our psychological and physiological components. Depending on how well we can manage our state, we can appear to be contracted, reacting, and closed, as opposed to grounded, connected, and open when managed well. Managing internal states depends a lot on experience, desired state, immediate as well as future goals, and emotional intelligence.

In NLP, the VAKOG model elaborates on how people use sensory information with different emphases. The five senses involved as per VAKOG are, VISUAL- People who are visually oriented most frequently use words like see, look, imagine, examine, inspect, peek, short-sighted, overview, etc., AUDITORY -Expressions like Quiet, calm, loud, that sounds good, discuss, rumor, hear, speechless, say, whine, something clicked, listen to somebody, clear as a bell, loud and clear, hear somebody out is usually used often by audio oriented people, KINESTHETIC- A kinesthetic oriented person might use words like gritty, creepy, heart skips a beat, be on cloud nine, hold on, pull some strings, hand in hand, slip my mind, keep one's feet on the ground, feel secure, ice runs down my spine, foot asleep, etc. OLFACTORY- People who are oriented to this sense often say things like smell, scent, burned, rosy, smoky, mossy, earthy, woody, odorless, perfumed, etc., GUSTATORY- Expressions like Juicy, suck, fatty, smack, lick, sip, slobber, taste, burnt, nutty, delicious, dry, oily, spicy, hot, mellow, bitter, sweet, sour, creamy, etc.

According to emphasis, people are oriented to different senses which translates to how we perceive the world, how we assess it, how we evaluate it and ultimately elicit a response towards it. This paper is focused on auditory introjections. Individuals give different amounts of emphasis to different senses which reflects in their communication. Our focus is on auditory interjections. At all times we have our auditory channels on. We may or may not be consciously focusing our attention on auditory stimuli but it still affects our state and ultimately our behavior. The kind of music we listen to, the pitch, loudness, and tone all contribute to the unconscious reservoir of thoughts. The experience that we share with a particular sound also elicits an emotional response from us depending on the previous state that we had when we earlier lived that experience. Personal experiences, cultural conditioning, and personal preferences are some of the factors influencing the kind of state any sound brings to us. Consciously choosing music to improve one's own internal state or to achieve the desired state outcome represents the individual as being emotionally intelligent. Several studies have shown the favorable impact self-selected music has on our states. This refers to Conscious Management Strategy. Music therapy is a pragmatic approach to this theoretical framework. It is helpful, especially for pain and anxiety reduction. Different reviews have found music therapy to be facilitating the improvements with regular physical therapy. Despite many studies reflecting the use of music as a self-management strategy, it has received limited attention in sports psychology research. Considering the phenomenon of music eliciting emotions, there have always been dialogues as to whether music elicits genuine emotional responses in listeners (emotivist view) or the listeners merely perceive the emotions elicited by music (cognitivist view). A study by Lundqvist et. al (2009) on this issue involved 32 participants who were measured on self-reported emotions, facial muscle activity, and autonomic activity while listening to popular music expressing either sad or happy emotions. The study provided evidence for the emotivist position. As the music used was composed specifically for this experiment, the association or experience with a specific piece of music was also unfounded.


This Blog on 'Managing Our Mental State through Music' has been contributed by Abhinav Rai.

Abhinav has completed his undergraduate from Delhi University, Hindu College in English Literature. He loves to research and write about everything from seemingly trivial ideas to broad larger-than-life concepts that transcend human grasp. He finds linguistics and psychology incredibly fascinating and wishes to continue research in these fields. He is a wallflower that often builds his bridge to the world through words, metaphors, and interpretations.

He is part of the Global Internship Research Program (GIRP). GIRP is an IJNGP initiative to encourage young adults across our globe to showcase their research skills in psychology and to present it in creative content expression.


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page