Over the last few weeks, the same thing keeps happening…
Nearly every call or meeting on my calendar gets cancelled at the last minute. In every case, the person has cited “personal reasons,” with varying degrees of detail. The honesty felt both refreshing (I’m not alone!) and disheartening (everyone is having a hard time). The truth is, while the schedule changes are frustrating, in nearly every case, I’ve been relieved. In many ways, it seems we’re all in need of solace that the world isn’t offering.
But, along with deep breaths and warm beverages and occasional walks in the sun, one small thing has helped.
Right around the election, I made a playlist called “Joyous Day” — on a day that was decidedly not joyous — in the hopes I might trick my brain into believing I felt good. There are songs like “Don’t Stop (Thinkin’ About Tomorrow)” by Fleetwood Mac and “This is the Day,” by The The, which promise change is on the horizon, along with ridiculous tunes like “The Final Countdown” by Europe (also known as “that song G.O.B. from Arrested Development plays when he performs his magic“). I listen to it in the morning, as I’m brushing my teeth or drying my hair, and though it doesn’t change my immediate circumstances nor those of the world around me, it injects a little sliver of absurd positivity into my day.
This morning, a friend who got the vaccine texted me to say she was listening to “Found a Cure,” by Ashford & Simpson, a hopeful anthem for today.
Though we’ve known it for centuries, research now supports that music has the ability to soothe frazzled nerves and lift sagging spirits. Listening to music (particularly classical) can actually impact the body’s stress response, while upbeat music is sometimes suggested as a way to help lessen anxiety and depression, and even physical pain.
If anything, I feel a little silly that I’ve gone this long without creating dedicated playlists for various moods. I’ve turned to music to help me through long runs, keep me alert during giant tasks, and get psyched up before big events, so why not on a random Tuesday? To quote Dumbledore, “Ah, music. A magic beyond all we do here!” Right now, I’ll take all the magic I can get.
To that end, I’d love to hear what music you’ve been turning to these days. What do you listen to when you need a pick-me-up, or to help you calm down? Are there any songs that help you feel better?
(Photo by Michela Ravasio/Stocksy.)