Originally: 7 Songs to Calm You When Life Feels Out of Control
as published on Prohealth
Stress and anxiety are not friends of chronic illness. Sadly, sometimes it seems like those two seek us out and harass us to no end.
Recently, I had a situation that really stressed me out. I was feeling pulled to do something that was outside of my ethical comfort zone and my comfort zone as someone who has done their best the last few years to really focus on the positive. The more I looked at this “opportunity” the more I knew that it wasn’t right for me, but that still left me having to deal with a situation that was involved and say “no thank you.” In the meantime I was a big ball of stress and out of control. Even after I’d dealt with it, it came back up when I was reminded of the situation and something that someone involved had said. It was just so negative and it got me thinking negative, something I try so hard to avoid doing. I had to just stop and breathe and tell myself that it was over and I didn’t need to be focusing on it. Then the Beatles song, “Let it Be” came to my mind. As the words of that song went through my head all the anxiety drifted away and I began to feel better. Whenever the negative thoughts would pop up, I’d again bring out the words to that song and find comfort.
That situation got me thinking that there are many songs that really can help calm us and make us feel better. Music is such a huge force for our mood and even our pain levels. It can make us tense, but it can also calm us. Recent studies have not only shown that music can help reduce tension (Thoma et al, 2013), but that it can even reduce pain and improve mobility (Garza-Villarreal et al, 2014). It’s all in the music we choose. So, today I give you songs to calm you, to soothe your mood when you feel the world around you is closing in, or turn you around when you are feeling negative.
- Let it Be, by the Beatles (or anyone else who has ever covered this song). My personal favorite version of this song is the Carol Woods and Timothy T. Mitchell from the Across the Universe soundtrack. That is such an amazing and powerful movie, and the music is amazing. This song is perfect for reminding us that we just need to let things go sometimes, let them be.
“There will be an answer, let it be”
- Breathe – by Ryan Star – This is just an amazingly positive song. And an excellent reminder because so often it’s failing to remember to “just breathe” that adds to our anxiety, our pain, and our lack of peace. On some really bad days, will often just put this song on repeat.
“Let the life that you live be all you need”
- Sing, by Ben Lee – This song is so happy and upbeat. When I hear it I can’t help but sing along. Lalala. It makes me smile just to hear it. When we are focused on singing along to our favorite songs, we can’t really think beyond that. We are in the moment, and that’s where we need to be. So often we are looking for answers in all the wrong places, when the answers we need are inside us, in our hearts. That’s what this song is all about.
“When you’re singing along, nothing is wrong.”
- Jenny Says, by Cowboy Mouth – this is one of the most fun bands I’ve ever seen. If you ever get the chance, go! Then, “Let it Go!” You really can’t help but smile and “let it go” when you hear them. They are great to dance along to, and seriously how can you stay upset when you are dancing! This particular song is a great reminder that we often beat ourselves up over things that have happened, when what we really need to do is just “let it go”.
“When the world keeps coming down on me I let it go”
- Change Your Mind – by Sister Hazel – This is a great song about the power we have to change our lives, if in no other way than how we choose to look at our life. If we don’t like the life we have, we just need to change the way we look at it.
“If you want to be somebody else… Change your mind…”
- Little Acorns, by White Stripes – I love the beginning of this song, but mostly I love the message overall, of how we can take our problems and break them down into smaller pieces and handle them. Sometimes it’s hard to figure out how to do it, but we can.
“The problems in hand are lighter than at heart”
- Get Up, by SuperChick – This song always reminds me that no matter how many times I might fail I’ve got to get back up and try again. I try to look at life and remember that there aren’t really failures only learning opportunities. Not everything I try will work, but that doesn’t mean I don’t “get back up” and try something different.
“If i get up i might fall back down again so let’s get up come on”
- Mah Na Mah Na, by The Muppets -I love Cake’s cover of this song, but really I just love this song. I’ve had it as my ringtone (and it should be again). You can’t hear this song and not smile. Plus it’s contagious, you hear that line and it’s stuck in your head all day on repeat. Then you say it to someone else and they’ve caught it and start smiling, and soon everyone is smiling and singing along.
So what’s your favorite song to lift you up when you are feeling bad?
Garza-Villarreal, E. A., Wilson, A. D., Vase, L., Brattico, E., Barrios, F. A., Jensen, T. S., & … Vuust, P. (2014). Music reduces pain and increases functional mobility in fibromyalgia. Frontiers in Psychology, 5doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00090
Thoma, M. V., La Marca, R., Brönnimann, R., Finkel, L., Ehlert, U., & Nater, U. M. (2013). The Effect of Music on the Human Stress Response. PLoS ONE, 8(8), e70156. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0070156