Do you know a person who listens to only one genre of music, and has a serious disdain for any music that doesn't fall under their favorite category? While it's not necessarily a bad thing to show loyalty to one type of music, researcher suggests that it could be doing you more harm than good.

What impact does music have on the brain?

A 2013 study by the University of Missouri found that participants were able to uplift their mood simply by listening to music - but this only worked when an individual purposefully intended to feel happier. The study involved 167 college students who were separated into a passive group that listened to upbeat music without any intention to improve their mood, and another group that genuinely wanted to feel better.

These subjects listened to music every day for two weeks and the group that had an intention to improve their mood recorded higher feelings of happiness and contentment compared to the other group.

So what does this tell us about music?

Everybody knows that fun, rhythmic beats can make you feel good, much in the same way that meditation music can enhance positive feelings, but perhaps the most important point here is that your own intention to feel something will determine how the music influences your emotions.

So if for instance, someone feels sad and blue from a recent breakup, would it help to tune to a radio station like and listen to upbeat, EDM music all night? According to an earlier study, in which participants listened to fun music while sad or upset, the music had a reverse effect.

We listen to blues or slow music when we're sad because on some intellectual level we feel empathized with because this type of music reflects our mood. Ultimately this form of therapy serves to play out our emotions, and this can have an uplifting effect. So based on these studies, people who want to feel good and aren't in a bad emotional state to begin with would benefit tremendously from listening to dance music or some other high-energy music genre.

On the other hand, people who are going through a heartbreak and are feeling blue should listen to music that mirrors their own emotions, until they're ready to flip over to something lighter.

So what's wrong with listening to one genre of music?

While it's true that each genre has it's own appeal, in order to benefit from music we have to mix it up every once in a while, if only for the sake of consciously improving our mental and physical health.

A good example of this is jazz: when we listen to down-tempo music after a long, exhausting day, it allows our brain waves to sync up with the beats, effectively soothing our mood. Similarly, listening to nature sounds like running water or falling rain can have the same impact.

One study conducted in the UK found that listening to classical music while driving reduced recklessness and enhanced alertness. Teenagers who chose to listen to aggressive music while driving concluded that they drove more aggressively, were more distracted, and made more mistakes on the road, compared to driving while listening to relaxing music or other "safer" genres of music. So how else can we benefit from listening to other genres of music?

Heavy metal improves sense of self

Researchers from Humboldt State University in Arcata, California conducted a survey with 377 participants, most of whom identified as metal fans, groupies, and actual musicians from the 1980s. The goal was to see how these former headbangers turned out later in life - and it turns out, they did pretty well. In fact they showed stronger identity development and were more involved in community building.

When looking back on their youth, metal fans were more likely to be happier than their peers, and they were also less likely to have regrets (30%) compared to non-metal fans, with 50% admitting to having regrets.

Pop music boosts endurance

If you work out regularly then you know how pop music can enhance physical workout. This type of music distracts you while you exercise, allowing you to go further than you would normally be able to. There are dozens of great pop acts today to suit every age group and preference.

On that same note, rap music has been observed to relieve symptoms of depression. When you're feeling down, it might help to listen to the story of someone who came from nothing and overcame major obstacles to experience genuine success and happiness. These upbeat narratives may be a good place to start because they have mostly positive visual images that can help you envision the place you'd like to reach - and this facilitates personal progress int eh long term.

So what rap songs would you enjoy listening to? If you want an upbeat, positive vibe, then you might do well with Jay-Z, Kanye West, or Drake.

Author's Bio: 

Steven Papas blogs in various online magazines and websites. He likes blogging about well being, health, technology and family.