Posted in Mental Health

How I use music as a form of self-help

When we are at our lowest and it seems as though nothing could ever go right for us again, there are many tools available that can help get us through the worst of it.

Whenever I feel my mood start to sink I will normally focus on the thought and use one of the relevant tasks or worksheets in the self-help book (I will get back to reporting on my progress through that soon – I’m coming to the end now and in some ways it has been a terrific help). But if I don’t have the book to hand, or my laptop where I have the record sheets saved is not around, I have to improvise.

I’ve recently started to use music in my self-help routine and largely it is working. I know some other mental health blogs do this but I’ve been largely uninspired by their music choices which seem limited to American Idol and X-Factor dross or more obscure bands whose lyrics are so sugary you could become diabetic just by listening to the album.

I prefer something a little more subversive or abstract in how it uplifts the spirit. The album I currently have on most of the time is Strangeland by Keane and it is amazing just how much some of the tracks pick me up during or after a bad day.

We were silenced by the night.
But you and I, we’re gonna rise again.
Divided from the light,
I want to love the way we used to then

Silenced by the Night

Though the song is about a couple who have gone through a tough time and are coming out fighting as they celebrate that they have remained strong together. This is about finding inner strength, something we all need sometimes.

Fearful child have faith in brighter days
Stay home ’til this darkness fades away
Lie still beside me
I’ll hold you now, I’ll hold you forever

You are Young

This is the opening paragraph to the opening track and its obvious why this is the album I turn to when I’m in a low mood. It immediately throws you in with “things will get better but I’ll give you the emotional support you need right at this moment”.

Drag your heart up to the starting line
Forget the ghosts that make you old before your time
It’s too easy to get left behind
I know you’ve been kicked around,
You wanna be lost and not be found,
Let’s take the back way into town
And drink to the bad times, lay them down on me

Starting Line

I know you feel like shit, I know you feel the world is against you but you have to keep picking yourself up. Sure, go and cry it off sometimes but get back here when you’re done with that.

A lot of the other tracks are about unrelated subjects but the tone is so positive that you can’t help but feel your spirits lift, particularly Neon River and Sovereign Light Cafe.

So, that’s what I’m listening to right now. Anybody here have other suggestions for uplifting music?



I go by the name of Frank Speaking. My blog "In the Mind of Men" (former name Chin Up, Chest High) started out as a chronicle of my mental health recovery. Now it is a forum where I discuss issues related to male mental health.

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