The following article was kindly written and contributed by Lewis Robinson.
Have you ever been in a situation where you feel so overwhelmed that you’re ready to burst, but then you listen to your favourite music and feel better? One of the most ancient forms of art created by humanity, music is scientifically proven to help reduce stress and calm you down.
If you find yourself reaching that breaking point and are ready to break, take a breath. Pop in your earbuds and take a moment to relax. These are some examples on how music can help improve your mental health.
When You’re Stressed
Stress is an unfortunate part of life, but how you choose to handle it is what makes the difference. You can already guess the best genre for alleviating anxiety and calming down: Quiet, relaxing melodies. This can mean anything from classical music to soundscapes or gentle singing. Try out some of these albums when you want to come down from a tough situation:
- The Memory of Trees by Enya. The talented musician uses her Irish heritage at its best by creating a peaceful, soothing record full of quiet sounds, Celtic singing and gentle harmonies.
- Return to Pooh Corner by Kenny Loggins. The soft rock singer has been making music for decades, but this 1994 album was an ode to his children and is full of beautiful lullabies that you already know — including a touching remake of his classic song “House at Pooh Corner.”
- Time to Relax- Relaxing, Calming, Stress Relief Classical Music for Healing by Relaxing Piano Music Consort. The title says it all: A compilation of the best-known classical pieces including Greensleeves and Canon in D.
If you don’t feel like you’re able to manage your worries on your own, it might be time to seek help. Check out resources like online therapy to help manage an overwhelming amount of stress.
When You’re Sad
The death of a loved one, a relationship ending or simple depression, we all feel sad sometimes. If you’re grieving or feel like you need to take a moment and feel whatever you’re feeling, try creating a playlist with these three songs on it:
- “The Show Must Go On” by Queen. As he was dying of AIDS, Freddie Mercury penned his swan song as a way of coping with his illness. It’s sad but delivers an inspirational message, yet allows you to cry while still feeling empowered.
- “The River” by Garth Brooks. Whether you’re religious or not, you can still appreciate the soft country tune about going with the flow and leaving your worries to a higher power.
- “Tears In Heaven” by Eric Clapton. After losing his very young son, Eric Clapton wrote a farewell to him in this soft rock track. It’s powerful and speaks to your soul, but also leaves you hopeful.
Sadness is a complex emotion and is not as simple as ‘just feeling better’. It ranges all over the meter and sometimes you simply need to cry in order to feel better.
When You’re Frustrated
It’s tough to keep it all together sometimes, especially if you’ve got a client-facing job or deal with people all day. If you need a boost of inspiration, science backs three specific songs when you feel like you need to be uplifted or take steps to improve your mental health.
- “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor. You already associate this song with getting energised and doing your best, so what better way to remind yourself of that feeling?
- “Kickstart My Heart” by the Motley Crue. 80’s hair bands are good fun on their own, but this song tells an inspirational story in the unique fashion that only the Crew can pull off.
- “Lose Yourself” by Eminem. Say what you will about the rapper, but the man knows how to tear into your guts and help you release some pent-up frustration when you need it most. Try this one out and you might just surprise yourself.
Frustration is not a good time, but sometimes you just need someone to remind you that it’s okay to let it all out before pulling yourself together. If you can’t hear the advice of your friends and family, you might at least hear what the artists are trying to say in their lyrics and melodies.
Don’t let anybody tell you that you’re weak for having feelings. By embracing your emotions, you’re giving in to one of the most basic human instincts and beginning the healing process for your aching soul and improve your mental health.