Over the last couple weeks, I haven’t been myself. I’ve been down, depressed and feelings of anxiety were beginning to manifest themselves physically. So I made some lifestyle changes, adjusted the way I think and react to adversity but I forgot about the most effective mood booster at my disposal: music. In years past whenever I felt like I needed a pick-me-up, I’d throw my headphones on and go for a walk. Normally, my mood would improve instantly. When I was at my lowest a couple weeks ago, I wasn’t listening to anything at all. I would get home, lie down in my bed and immediately start playing on my phone and trolling social media. As I lay there feeling shitty, I realized music lyrics were repeating in my head over and over. “You don’t tug on superman’s cape// You don’t spit into the wind// You don’t pull the mask off that old lone ranger// And you don’t mess around with Jim…” Music is usually background noise for me during the work day but I slowly started to realize that that is exactly what I had been missing. Music pulls me out of that pit and gives me perspective and confidence. The playlist below showcases the music that did just that for me. These songs have single-handedly pulled me out of panic attacks, bad moods and dark days. Each of these songs is special to me now in a way that I never would have guessed. I hope whoever needs this playlist, finds it and that it can help someone else too. Enjoy…
Playlist for the week of September 9, 2019:
- Seasons in the Sun by Terry Jacks: While the subject matter of this song wouldn’t suggest positivity and happiness; it does offer advice in the way of moving on. “The hills that we climbed were just seasons out of time.” It’s incredibly catchy and I can’t tell you how many times this song has come on just as I’m starting to feel scared or anxious and just singing the lyrics helps me relax and calm down.
- Have You Seen Her by Courtney John: This song does more to calm me down than any other song on here. A couple times I had been close to having a panic attack while driving but then I put this on and immediately felt at ease. Listening to the words and the rhythm seems to have that effect on me and for that, I am eternally grateful for this track.
- The Rain The Park And Other Things by The Cowsills: A coworker showed me this after I had just had a panic attack while driving to work. It didn’t have a huge effect on me at the time but I saved it into my Spotify regardless. When I drove home later that afternoon, it came on my shuffle and instantly relaxed me. I listened to it on repeat all the way home and didn’t have an incident.
- A World Of Our Own by Little Steven, The Disciples of Soul: Hearing the first few chords of this song makes me feel like I’m winning. As if nothing can take me down. It’s powerful and triumphant and it’s fun to listen to.
- You Don’t Mess Around With Jim by Jim Croce: This song exudes confidence and it imbues me with it as well. If I start with this one, I know nothing can knock me off my block. It usually gets my feet tappin’ and my fingers snappin’ and any anxious thoughts evaporate within a couple moments.
- Ripple by Grateful Dead: “Ripple in still water// When there is no pebble tossed// Nor wind to blow.” One of my mottos in life is “be like water” (hence the title of my blog)… This song not only reminds me of that motto but it also puts me in a calm space, deep in my heart of stone.
- The Man in Me by Bob Dylan: The lyrics “Storm clouds are raging all around my door// I think to myself I might not take it anymore” hits so close to home it’s crazy. Sometimes when I’m feeling anxious, it feels like a storm is raging inside trying to make its way out of me. This song (as well as every song on this playlist) helps to calm that storm and set me at ease.
- Wash It Away by Nahko and Medicine for the People: My cousin Maggie introduced me to this guy and this song in particular struck me. It’s so positive that you can’t help but feel happy while listening to it. It’s also long enough that it lasts nearly my whole time driving to work which is helpful when I’m just trying to get somewhere without having an incident.
- Sunflower by Post Malone, Swae Lee: Another shot of confidence straight to my veins that just makes me feel great. The vocals are epic and I feel like I could fly through city streets like I’m Spider-Man when I listen to this.
- Blue Bayou by Roy Orbison: The opening drum beats and Orbison’s beautiful vocals get me in the right place and mindstate. This is a timeless song that has never failed to make me feel great. “I’m going back someday// Come what may…”
- Heroes by Peter Gabriel: Music and this playlist in particular have helped get me through the driving aspect of my anxiety issues but mentally, I needed something else to give me back my self-confidence. Strangely, Stranger Things ended up doing that for me. The mixture of nostalgia, superpowers and youthful exuberance allowed me to forget about the stresses and anxiety of everyday life and go back to dreaming and wanting more for myself. Picturing yourself as the hero of your own story is a lot more gratifying than feeling like an outsider in somebody else’s. “The hurt is good. It means you’re out of that cave.” – Hopper.