So, I’m a bit of a music fan.
I love listening to music.
When I was a teen, I used to mention it under “Hobbies” whenever I could. Heck, I’d probably write that one now as well.
I went through many phases in terms of genres, artists, details I enjoy the most – but I’m not gonna bother you with all that unnecessary stuff.
What I want to share here is the way music can help you get through your everyday life. How it can make you calm or energized, sad or happy, lazy or motivated. Music has power we rarely talk about.
But, apparently, not everyone is familiar with it?
Honestly, it was a big revelation for me.
As an introvert and a HSP (who lives with quite a noisy extravert), I value my peace and quiet over practically everything else – and a soothing piece of music is a big part of it. Not always – silence is more precious most of the time – but it’s rarely an option for me.
Music is a form of self-care. It can be rest and relaxation, or energy and motivation in and of itself.
And not only for introverts – for everyone!
It’s something to share loneliness, happiness, sadness with. It’s like a companion, a good friend. Your mind (and let me be bold and say, your heart) respond to familiar tune automatically.
Here, let’s talk about properties of the sounds we hold dear – and then I’ll show you some of my personal tips for music. Deal?
The Science of Music
Humans, as a species, love all kinds of repetitive noises and tunes.
Think about all the times you were humming a song while trying to focus on something else entirely. Or when you drum the same rhythm with your fingers. Or when your favorite song is playing in your earphones, but the only way to dance is to tap with your foot or sway your head.
Even if scientists aren’t sure about why we hold such a passionate love for music, it is obvious that the thing is in our brains.
They respond to music automatically. Happy, upbeat tunes (or something as simple as your favorite song) boost out favorite chemicals – dopamine and serotonin.
If you ever googled anything about depression, you know these pals – and that’s because they are not only good for your mood, but are very helpful with mental issues as well. Studies show that regular listening to music helps with depression, anxiety, ADHD, PTSD, schizophrenia, and even Alzheimer’s.
But don’t forget about peaceful melodies too!
Listening to classical music (preferably, something you personally enjoy) helps with concentration, productivity, creativity, and more. It can also reduce stress and physical pain, calm your heart, and even boost your immune system!
Oof, did I forget something?
Oh, good music also makes you kinder. That one may sound obvious, but I like the implications.
Alright, now that you know all the benefits of music, let’s talk about practical use.
What Music You Should Listen To
Honestly? Whatever you like.
As I mentioned, the music you enjoy hearing is the best for your brain and mind.
But then again, will listening to your favorite song help you concentrate? If you’re familiar with staring at a piece of unfinished work while your brain hums a song right into your ears, then you know the answer.
That’s why I want to give you a helping hand of sorts.
Down below is a list of genres and kinds of music for different moods and purposes that I use myself. Promise not to put any names or titles on you! Just things that help me every day.
But, as these recommendations are still based on my own POV, here’s a pro-tip for you before we even start: You can always find something good in Spotify or Apple Music playlists. “Relax”, “Focus”, or something in particular under “Mood” – I always head there when can’t find something for my heart and mind at the moment.
Other music streaming services may have something similar as well, but I never used them, so you’d have to check for yourself.
Now, let’s go through my own tips for different mood playlists!
For When You Need To Focus
That one is pretty obvious – thanks to multiple studies – but really, classical music is great for work, study, etc.
Also, it’s a wide term, so do some research for yourself. Find what you like more in terms of mood, instruments, composers, other details you pay attention to.
You don’t have to listen to everything that is out there – it’d take you a whole life, probably. You don’t even have to know composers’ names or instruments that are currently playing to enjoy something.
But there are patterns you will notice in time. For example, I prefer piano for calmer music and violin – for emotional. I like Bach more than Beethoven. I enjoy music I already know, from movies or ads, more than pieces I hear for the first time.
There’s always something for you to notice, to be mindful of.
For When You Need To Focus – Option 2
As much as I like classics, though, it’s not what playing right now.
My personal favorite is lo-fi hip hop beats.
If you’re not familiar with the term “lo-fi hip hop” (or chillhop), it’s a mixture of downtempo ambient music and relaxed atmosphere. Sometimes tracks include dialogues from movies or pieces of songs – but mostly, it’s just beats creating a slow atmosphere around you.
That’s exactly why I can listen to them for hours without even paying attention – and it’s a great help when I’m not alone. When I need to focus on my thoughts but can’t get a proper silence.
Also, it’s simpler and better for the mood when I sit down to write or work on something. I mean, Ride of the Valkyries makes me feel like I’m writing an epic novel – but it also distracts from the point.
One more pro: lo-fi tracks are often short, 2-3 minutes long, which is just enough to keep the brain from getting used to the same sounds.
ASMR is good as well, though personally I rarely use it. Music helps my thoughts to stay in place while ASMR is too quiet and monotone for that.
Still, as long as you like it, anything’s good.
All in all, to stay focused, try rhythmic music (or sounds) without lyrics – or at least without any clear, consistent voices to distract you from the task at hand.
For When You Feel Down
But, like, regular “down” – I’ll touch on bad mental health days later. For now, here’s something to lift your mood.
Pop, jazz, rock, choose whatever genre is your favorite – and play an upbeat song. This time it should be a song, with lyrics, ad-libs, and all.
Preferably, something you can sing along to.
If nothing comes to mind, scroll through some playlists online – YouTube, for one, is filled with channels combining songs into long playlists.
Another option: Remember what you liked as a teen.
Playing a song you loved 5, 10, 20 years ago and finding out you still remember every word? It boosts your mood (and, weirdly, self-esteem) like nothing else.
For When You Want to Relax
Be that a calm evening after a busy day, or lazy morning on a weekend, there’s always time to relax.
And what can be a better companion than a piece of fitting music?
Naturally, you should go for something calm.
Light classics or modern acoustics? I always prefer instrumental music as soundtracks to my self-care routine. There’s something about the sounds of guitar or piano that just does the trick.
It can be a song for you to hum along to, or only the sound of music, whatever you like more. Whatever soothes your mind best.
You can also browse through pop or indie songs, maybe a bit of jazz? I can’t think of other genres that include something peaceful – but if you know, go for it.
Oh, and old songs! You know, the ones with slightly muffled sound and clear voices.
Even if I’ve never heard it before, a good old song can make me all soft and nostalgic. Just try it out!
For a Good Morning
That one is important.
You should start your day with something that makes you feel good – or don’t turn the music on at all.
The whole day ahead can be ruined with an unsettling piece. Or, okay, not ruined – but it is extremely unpleasant to deal with grumpiness in the morning.
That’s why you have to choose something that you really like – or, at the very least, something openly positive.
Even better, something you can sing to.
Singing in the shower is a never-dying target of jokes – but there’s a reason why it’s so popular. Listening (and humming in the most earnest way possible) to a song you like kickstarts your day with a smile.
And, again, I suggest you old songs. For me they work even better than my favorites.
Ever heard of morning jazz? It’s a thing, and it’s great!
For a Bad Day
And so, here we are.
As promised, that one is about the times your mental health is down, and you need something to keep you going.
Well, first of all, it’s very personal – what works for you may not work for me, and vice versa. We all have different ways of pulling ourselves out of a slump.
But here’s something for you to begin with.
I suggest you to look for something good, even before the day will come again. And keep that chosen music of yours somewhere near.
Sometimes, it feels all too unnecessary to even turn the playlist on – will it really be good? Will it really be helpful? There are shadows all over your mind, and what kind of tune can help you deal with this?
But a good song can pull you out even before you’re down!
Choose something you like (obviously) but also with meaning. Not every single song you enjoy may help you on a bad day.
It has to be uplifting, but in a way that speaks to you specifically. No matter the genre or rhythm – it’s good as long as it’s special.
And if nothing comes to mind, again, try different playlists on different platforms. A lot of them even marked as “inspirational”, “motivational”, “for depression/anxiety”. They are not so personal, surely, but they can be just as good.
Also, try something outright Good. And by that I mean OSTs. Preferably, from animation movies.
Disney? Pixar? Cartoon Network? There are plenty of musicals to choose from – and almost all of them have soundtracks combined into playlists on different platforms. Just type your favorite movie in a search bar, and check if it’s there!
Familiar, childish tunes are guaranteed to make you smile.
And for now, that’s it. You have a lot of homework to do and music to find.
Let me know what you think! Are you ready to try some of the tips? Did they work for you? Do you use music as a self-care tool as well – and if you do, what do you listen to?