Entertainment Yesterday: Top 10 (or 15) Song I Use to Relax When Anxious
Do you use music as a calming method for anxiety or stress?
Always Keep Fighting
I struggle with anxiety and depression from from time to time, like a million other people in the U.S. In the time an anxiety attack (which will usually last around a day or two, in waves) takes to pass, I use many calming methods since medicines have reacted badly with me in the past. I choose an organic route now. If you're trying the same approach, adjusting to new medicine, or just having a bad week; here are my 10 songs to you included with moods I'm in when listening to them, complete with videos from YouTube.
#1 Whitesnake: Here I Go Again
Where this started off as a break-up song for me, there's a lot of good meaning in it, too, for those of us with anxiety with no love problem to explain it. "...I've made up my mind, I ain't wasting no more time... going down to the only road I've ever known... like a drifter I was born to walk alone..." somehow the lyrics, whether it's a cover or Whitesnake himself, always provided hope for me that I was still alive, despite my current feelings. There's climax to the music that not many have replicated for me, and it's a fast-paced, up-beat tune if my heart keeps racing and I need something to match the speed. I might be angry or upset, and I'm not ready to feel anything other than that yet.
#2 Edwin McCain: I'll Be
"I'll be" began calming me down in high school, with my best friend singing to me in our journalism class when either he or I was stressed. I love rock and roll, but sometimes calming music WILL calm that racing heart. Coming down from an anxiety attack (or days of anxiety) can be exhausting. I'm still not ready to be alone silence though, probably far off from sleep, and I have a wide variety of music that I listen to for this reason. I'm a sucker for a saxophone, and have been since I first listened to classical music as a child. It might make me cry, depending on how exhausting the day was, but maybe I needed to cry. The hope comes from the fact that sometimes a friend or other loved one CAN keep the promises made in this song.
#3 FeFe Dobson: Stuttering
This is my "I can live without you," song. It's empowering the way she leaves him, and FeFe Dobson and a lot of her music is on my list of "I need to be encouraged to leave them," tracks. I'm not the type to take her meaning too seriously, so it's generally a song I'll play to myself when I have to cut anyone out of my life for lies they tell. It's a battery to our ability to trust other people, when we're lied to. It's hard sometimes to focus on just the one whose lying and not the fact that everyone might be lying when I've been lied to, and this song can always snap that back to focus if I'm having anxiety over cutting someone out of my life that's been around for longer than a year or two.
If "Stuttering" is when he lied and she left, "Take Me Away," has always told me a story of being in love that your family and friends didn't believe was true. Maybe those family and friends weren't even the family and friends that were the ones always there for me. I want to run away from home, maybe, but instead... I've always ended up listening to some angry chick music. Maybe it's tacky to have two of the same artist on a Top 10 list, but sometimes I get wrapped up in the moment, and end up listening to the same artist twice, and those two songs can feel the same if I'm not paying attention to the lyrics.
#4 Beethoven: Für Elise
When I'm ready to sleep and need help, Beethoven (and other classical artists) can bring me back to reality if I use it at the right time. With no lyrics to concentrate on, I can just close my eyes and watch the notes pass by until I meet blissful sleep. There is no subliminal dreams involved with this kind of music, as I used to fall asleep to Limp Bizkit, and his lyrics began giving me lucid nightmares, causing more stress, fatigue, and in turn, more anxiety more times than not. The piano in this creates a loop around the song that is equivalent to counting sheep. I can count the loops, and the track runs for an hour at is full length, so I can sleep at my leisure without having to change the song once this one is over.
#5 Slipknot: Snuff
For feelings of depersonalization, I ofen use Corey Taylor as my healing force. When he slows down the death metal (which I also love, but not socially calming to most), his lyrics get even deeper. He doesn't hide from his depression, instead he turns it into art, and I use it as a beacon for my own art forms. Not to say I want my writing to be like his, but nine times out of ten if I can turn my mental grief into a physical work of art, the depersonilization will lessen when I realize the destination of that art. Listening to Corey Taylor and his stories and music reminds me that all art matters, even if it isn't publicized. At one point, he never knew fans would be climbing over each other to get a better look at him. He only knew that he was hurting and needed to get it out. Music is his art, and it can be our inspiration.
#6 Stone Sour: Bother
I'll call this one my "Rock Bottom" song. There's something to be said for rock bottom. Emotionally, many people have a hard time admitting they've ever been there, but there is no depth limit on rock bottom, it's specific to each and every single person. Not everyone will ever attempt suicide, but I'm the type of person that has been to that level of rock bottom, and to know that others have been that far down with me, and we survived, is hope enough to not try again. I have my anxiety and depression managed now, and sometimes I just need to wallow in the memories of my darker days. If I cannot see a darker day than what I'm in, I just need to cry it out. Corey is, with Stone Sour, there for me. there for me again. Sometimes we just need to hear from someone that they understand, and know that they really do. In the moments where other "real" people aren't an option, music is where a lot of people seem to turn. Artists like Corey have no reservations in sugar-coating their failures and success, offering understanding and hope at the same time.
#7 Peter, Paul, and Mary: "Leaving on a Jet Plane"
Peter, Paul, and Mary was one of my first concerts as a child. My mother and I waited outside for an hour, and the concert was rescheduled, but when we finally got there, I was still so excited to hear their old classics. If I'm still in the mood to run away from home, "Leaving on a Jet Plane" is on my track list in the car as I drive around the block, deciding if I will and knowing at the same time that I'm going to end up hitting the grocery store and coming home.
#8 Don McLean: Bye Bye Miss American Pie
On the days that I decide a drink or two (literally, now-a-days, and when it's safe to do so) will alleviate some stress or anxiety, I always end up singing along to "Bye Bye Miss American Pie". Even if you don't drink, the tune is catchy, though, and historical in a way now. All the refrences he makes to the time period he's from is fascinating to me, and always has been. I love learning about the century before I was born, soaking in any of the American culture behind it. There is knowledge and wisdom in this song that can lift a sagging spirit.
#9 Three Days Grace: It's Never too Late
The title says it all to me, really. It's never too late for anything, and Three Days Grace knows it in this song. With other great titles like "Pain," they share their feelings of being left alone or abandoned by someone, and acceptance is important in the recovery of any sickness. In the case of Anxiety or Depression, accepting that things may never be or feel the way we want to them to can be hard, and I've worn out many CD's I've burned with this song on it trying to do just that.
#10 Hanson: Madeline
I fell in love with Hanson way back in 1998 (I'm a fangirl of many forms). This song is old, and they have others, but it's always been my favorite. They still perform it at their shows, and as far as I know (as of 2016), they're still touring, and I chose my favorite boy band wisely when I was a kid, as it goes. I have a laundry list of Hanson songs to get me through a crappy day of any kind, and if you're a Hanson fan, you don't need me to them off.