Mental Health

Listen to This When You’re Anxious


Taking care of yourself during a crisis can help you cope with the influx of stress and anxiety, especially if you have a mental illness. With more alone time than ever, you may be looking for new and different ways to put your mind at ease. If you’ve exhausted your mindfulness resources for deep breathing, yoga, and journaling, try turning your focus to what you’ve been listening to. 

Music has the power to improve your quality of life, relax you, and even aid in pain relief. That’s the basis behind music therapy, which is a recognized treatment that creates a therapeutic relationship through songs to address one’s physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs. 

You can apply some of the principles of music therapy to your own iTunes library by creating a coping playlist. A coping playlist – an individualized set of songs that you choose to match a specific emotion you want to feel – can help you to both calmly acknowledge your anxiety when you feel it start to creep up and maintain awareness of the present moment.

To create your own mindfulness playlist:

  1. Take time to sit down and identify the emotion that will best quell any distressing thoughts. A few examples to choose from include calm, relaxed, joyful, triumphant, or energized. It’s completely personalized, so there’s no wrong choice.
  2. Open your Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play, or iTunes and actively listen to different songs, identifying how each one makes you feel. It’ll help to write down a sentence or two to record your thoughts on each song.
  3. Choose a maximum of 10 songs that are grounding for you based on your chosen emotion and put them into a playlist.

As a resource, you can use this fact sheet to help guide your playlist creation.

Your personalized mindfulness playlist can be a valuable, proactive tool in reducing anxiety, giving you a sense of control. Take a little time today to see how music can impact your state of mind.