Using the power of music to improve your thoughts

“I just want to be me, when I can, I will”

Billy Corgan – The Smashing Pumpkins

HeadphonesThe path to recovery from anxiety and panic attacks is not linear.

This is something you learn from a very early stage.

Some weeks you can take huge strides forwards, only to feel yourself slipping back the next.

The most important thing is that over time you are seeing an upward trend.

When it feels like a step back has been taken, you sometimes need something to help you get back on track and remind you that you can cope with what lies ahead.

When you’re having a bad day, listening to music can be something to do just that.

Songs you love have that ability to improve your mood and thoughts almost instantly, just by listening to them.

Songs also have another powerful ability, they don’t just lift your mood, they also give you the motivation and determination to keep going.

To never give in.

Certain songs can do this for you. They not only make you feel better, but they also remind you that you can stay on the path you have chosen, to not let anxiety win. That despite the way you feel at times, you still believe you can live the life you want.

They have the ability to help you through your darkest moments and you’ll thank them for being part of your journey to recovery.

What makes a good uplifting and motivating song?

This of course will be very subjective.

Everyone’s musical taste is different and what works for one person won’t work for another.

My three criteria area as follows:

  1. Music which simply puts a smile on your face – the sound touches your heart through its sheer beauty
  2. Lyrics with real thought and feeling involved, this can be either:
    1. a happy message – something to make you feel positive and upbeat
    2. a sad message –  so that you can share in someone else’s pain and realise no matter who you are, every one feels down or melancholy from time to time.
  3. Has lyrics you can relate to – the words and meanings have a connection to you and the way you are feeling at that time. When you sing along you really feel like the words were meant for you.

The power of lyrics

A great song is bettered by great lyrics. Words which mean something very personal to you.

You may already know what your top songs would be for breaking you out of that negative spiral of thinking and helping you get back on track again.

When you listen to them on full volume and really feel the music and what is being said you know you’re just going to feel better.

The lyrics seem to ring true with your situation and what you are facing. It doesn’t matter if they were not written for the interpretation you have given them.

That’s one of the beauties of lyrics, you make them your own and take the message you need.

Here are some choice lyrics from songs which have helped me:

Mayonnaise – The Smashing Pumpkins

“No more promise no more sorrow
No longer will I follow
Can anybody hear me
I just want to be me
When I can, I will
Try to understand
That when I can, I will”

Listening to this helped give me the strength to accept who I am, and to be happy with that. That I would learn to understand myself more but realise that this is not always possible.

Full lyrics here.

Lateralus – Tool

“Feed my will to feel this moment urging me to cross the line.
Reaching out to embrace the random.
Reaching out to embrace whatever may come.”

These lines helped me to keep the fire inside of me stoked, to keep me wanting to experience new moments and not just give in. To embrace the unknown and what ever is coming next. That I will get across the line and be ok.

“We’ll ride the spiral to the end and may just go where no one’s been.
Spiral out. Keep going…”

This part told me that if I can hold on tight I may not just beat my thoughts but also do something pretty amazing along the way. That I have to keep going!

Full lyrics here.

The Patient – Tool

“If there were no desire to heal
A damaged and broken man along
This tedious path I’ve chosen here
I certainly would’ve walked away by now.”

This reminded me that if I didn’t have the desire to feel better then I would have given up by now. That although the path is difficult I’m not just going to stop now I’ve taken it. I’ve made my decision.

“Be patient.
I must keep reminding myself of this.” (x8)

I have always reminded myself to keep patient, because I understood that it takes time, knowledge and a dedication to feel better.  It takes time to heal, and you must be patient.

Full lyrics here

Now I know that these songs are personal to me and, unless you know them, will mean little to you. It’s just to show you how powerful music can be in helping you.

Music has helped take me a long way and when I listen to these songs again now it reminds me to never go back to where I once was and how I used to feel.

You can use music to help you through your darker days. To take hope and inspiration from the powerful positive feelings it can arouse inside you.

So put on your favourite song, turn up the volume, kick back and let it put a huge smile on your face and give you that fight and drive to keep going!

Hugo Rock


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