There is no debate over the undeniable power music has over us. A certain song can transport you back to your first major heart break, hearing a specific melody can assert joy into your life when all seems sad and we all have that song that can make us break out in dance no matter what.
For our Teen Line Listener, Chelsea, music can do all that and more. Understanding the power music has to help people, Chelsea has shared her Anxiety Playlist and explained what power certain songs have over her and her life. Listen to her Spotify playlist below!
- “Understand” by Christian Leave – As you go through your teenage years, and as I have gone through mine, we find ourselves plagued with some really big questions. Do you want to stay where you live? Would you be able to share your life with someone? Are you willing to lose certain things for the sake of keeping others? It’s easy to feel like your decisions now are deciding the next 40 years of your life and having anxiety only makes the gravity of these years scarier. That’s why it’s important to have people who understand your needs, your aspirations and you. A support system is everything and this song has functioned as a mini one for me.
- “Won’t Live Here” by Daniel Caesar – A part of what has always drawn me to Daniel Caesar’s music, is how honest it is. In the bridge of “Won’t Live Here”, he talks about being in relationships where you mutually hurt each other and I think that in your teens, it’s really easy to end up in a toxic situation. We cling to people because of our history with them or sentimentality, but it’s important to not let your anxieties about change overrule your worth. There is this one really special lyric in the song, “Every time you hear this music, take that pain and use it”, and I love it because while life is full of bad situations and people, how you sublimate that upset is how you succeed.
- “We Lied To Each Other” by Olivia O’Brien – I find Olivia O’Brien’s music to be really powerful (especially for young-adults) because she, herself, fits into this demographic and offers a candid take on it. Her lyric in this song, “you said you built up walls, baby I built myself up a whole house” speaks volumes to the need that someone with anxiety feels to stay guarded and how that can shape their world view.
- “Vienna” by Billy Joel– Vienna is a song that means a lot to me because every time I hear it, I gain new meaning from it. As an overachiever (and overeager person), my anxiety avidly gets the better of me and causes me to get ahead of myself. I find myself worrying about things that are spades away from the current moment and I miss out on memories by living in the future. Vienna’s lines “slow down, you crazy child. you’re so ambitious for a juvenile” or “if you’re so smart, tell me, why are you still so afraid?” ground me. It’s easy when you’re juggling classes and testing and schedules and siblings to panic, but reminding yourself that you are capable and having people (or songs) in your life telling you that you will be okay is (from what I have found) key to coping.
- “Me, Myself and I” by G-Eazy – I feel like a lot of rappers tend to default to a sex/money/drug (in various orders) narrative with their music and one of the reasons I love G-Eazy’s music, is because he reaches deeper. He talks about the culture and the industry, yes, but also how he got there and what it’s like for him. I have found a lot of solace in “Me, Myself and I” because it shines light on the fact that everyone needs their space sometimes and that there’s nothing wrong that.
- “Pain on My Mind” by Graham Riley – When you have anxiety, especially in the case of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), you always feel a little on edge. A little uncomfortable, a little nervous, a little in pain. And while explaining to your anxiety to your friends can be tiring or triggering, starting that conversation is how we get better. It’s not easy, no one said it was, but in the fight for mental health, you need a support system.
- “Xanny” by Billie Eilish – “Xanny” is a song that has helped me so much to cope with loss. I think often when we are dealing with rejection or mistreatment, we allow our anxieties to blame ourselves and neurotically go over what we could have possibly done to result in this outcome. However like the song says, you’re often not missing something, you just can’t please everyone. While difficult to come to terms with, it’s important to remind yourself that not everything is your fault.
- “Sad Boy” by G-Eazy – “Sad Boy” has always been one of my favorite songs on the playlist and that’s because it gives a voice to those struggling with success. Nothing is ever as good as it seems and there is a huge stigma against people who “seemingly have everything” but still go through depression or anxiety. Regardless of how much money or friends you have, everyone is still human and it’s important to remember that every struggle is valid.
- “Midnight Train” by Sam Smith – A life with anxiety is a life filled with questions. What will people think? Am I making the right decision? Am I the problem? Leaving a toxic relationship (like the one Sam Smith sings about here) can be hard not just because you’ll miss the person, but because you blame yourself. It may seem selfish to choose yourself and act in your own self-interest, but sometimes you need to be selfish to get better. Being a people-pleaser is one thing, but settling with less than what you deserve is another and sometimes the only way to grow, is to cut off weeds.
- “She Used To Be Mine” by Sara Bareilles – For all my theater people (or just Sara Bareilles fans alike), this song is one that I think everyone can relate to. When you have anxiety, you may feel like your efforts are constantly unrecognized or that you are hopeless, but this song (and I) want to remind you that you are heard and valid. It’s okay to hurt, it’s okay to be stuck and it’s okay to change.