Things to Listen to When You’re Struggling with Anxiety
Feature Image: Bauce Mag
I’ve been suffering from anxiety for as long as I can remember. I often struggle with my anxiety daily, but there are instances in which my symptoms become more prominent and more difficult to manage. After discussing the issue with my doctor, we decided together that medication wasn’t necessary at this juncture and that I could benefit from several different anxiety-reducing techniques instead. To combat my anxiety, I do yoga, I meditate, and I focus on my breathing patterns. Each of these things plays a small part in the alleviation of my anxiety, but there are days when even my tried and true methods fail to keep the anxiety at bay. As someone who has had several panic attacks over the course of their life, I understand how important it is to manage myself more carefully on the days where my yoga, meditation, and breathing aren’t improving my condition.
When I feel really stuck in my anxiety and the physical symptoms appear, I resort to the act of listening to specific songs and podcasts to get myself back on track. The key to creating a calm atmosphere when I’m feeling overwhelmed is to put myself at ease by singing, laughing, or listening to something moving, as this helps remove the sharpness of my stressors.
While this isn’t a foolproof method for curing feelings of anxiety or the sensation of being overwhelmed, I’ve found an enormous sense of comfort when I engage in these activities. Everyone has their own journey when dealing with their mental health, and it’s important to find the methods that work best for you.
Podcasts Can Bring a Sense of Joy
I know that podcasts are the newest trend, but I genuinely didn’t listen to any podcasts before the beginning of 2019. The concept of podcasts interested me, but I didn’t know enough about one particular production to actively seek out listening platforms. One of my favorite comedians, Arielle Vandenberg, created a new podcast this year called The Only Child and I had to get on Spotify to check it out. The premise of her podcast is pretty straightforward—she interviews her friends and has a conversation with them about their lives, their careers, and any personal anecdotes they want to share. Arielle has a diverse, inclusive, and kindhearted group of friends, and I really enjoy listening to them converse amongst themselves about how they built their careers and became the loving humans they are today.
In addition to being insightful and inspirational, Arielle’s The Only Child podcast is hilarious. In particular, the two interviews that she does with her co-host Lo VonRumpf are hysterical, and the two of them brought tears to my eyes one morning because I was laughing so hard at their exchanges. Laughing cures a multitude of ills, and I’ve often found myself revisiting Arielle’s podcast on days where I’m really struggling to get ahold of my anxiety. I’ll take time out of my day to sit down or lay down and play an episode of The Only Child and let my mind wander for an hour. Not only do I get the chance to learn about these celebrities, writers, dancers, actors, and comedians, but I get the chance to entertain my brain and remove myself from my stressors, too.
The Only Child podcast is available on multiple listening platforms, but I use my Spotify account to access new episodes. Another Spotify podcast that I enjoy listening to when I’m feeling overwhelmed is the Unspoken podcast with Ruthie Lindsey and Miles Adcox. Miles and Ruthie have PHDs in kindness and empathy, and their podcast is centered around the idea of inviting guests to discuss the unspoken parts of their lives that they struggle with. The entire basis of the podcast is to explore mental health, trauma, pain, and brokenness, while providing a safe space where the hosts, guests, and listeners learn how to heal from these things together.
Ruthie has such an intense story of pain and loss, and she has managed to remain the kindest, most gracious, and thoughtful human being through this loss and pain. Her story is inspirational, and the care that she shows the guests on Unspoken is something to be admired. Miles practices the art of expressing his sincere gratitude toward others, and I’ve found my spirits lifted on more than one occasion while I listened to this podcast. Unspoken is the perfect thing to listen to when you’re feeling overwhelmed to the point where you don’t think that anything good can happen ever again. This podcast will renew your faith in yourself and in the world around you. I advise putting your headphones in, selecting an episode of Unspoken, and listening to the entire episode in full while you sprawl out on the floor. Trust me, it’s transcendental.
Build Your Perfect Playlist
Music is healing on such a profound level. Whenever I’m struggling with my anxiety, I like to go through the motions of creating a playlist to help me confront my feelings. I tend to select songs that reflect the mood that I’m in because it’s comforting to me to know that there are people in the world who feel the same way that I do. On other days though, I like to play one of my upbeat playlists and sing along to the lyrics, because the act of belting out One Direction really feels like a release of pent up tension.
If you have specific artists or songs that you like to listen to when you’re bummed out, or when you’re lacking inspiration, roll these artists and songs into one convenient playlist that you can quickly access whenever you’re feeling anxious. I like to play certain music while I’m working because the songs help reduce my anxiety levels without deterring from the task at hand. If you need to totally step away from a situation to gain control of your anxiety, keep a pair of headphones handy and head to the nearest bathroom. Put your headphones in, press play, and take a few deep breaths while you let the world put everything back into its place.
My go-to artists when I’m feeling overwhelmed usually vary depending on whether I want to be comforted or I want to be cheered up. My happy playlist relies on a heavy rotation of boybands, Hall and Oates, 90s R&B, Shawn Mendes and Raleigh Ritchie. The playlist that I resort to most often though is the one comprised of songs that help me remember my place in the universe. Some of my favorite songs on this playlist include Human by dodie and Tom Walker, All We Do by Oh Wonder, bad days by Chance Peña, Holocene and Roslyn by Bon Iver, and the entire Sigh No More album by Mumford and Sons. These songs instantly provide comfort, and I often feel a sense of relief from my anxiety when I sing along to the lyrics and let the message of the music wash over me.
Managing your anxiety is a unique course of action and is often a delicate balancing act. It’s important to take time to do what you need to do to remove yourself from a stressful situation so that you can focus on restoring a sense of peace to your emotions.
What are some of the things that you listen to when you’re struggling with your anxiety?