4 Types of Coping Music

I colored this drawing recently.

For me, music has always been a superhighway of emotion and beauty. It also has been one of my primary coping skills for tough times. 

I recently read an article by a moods expert who said it's best to listen to "mood-incongruent music" — music that conveys emotions opposite from your own — when you are trying to cope.

I see wisdom in that. There's a bit of mood-incongruent music on my list below. 

Overall, though, I try to notice my senses and pay attention to what soothes and irritates them. 

Maybe sad music is what you need when you're sad, to help you know you're not alone. Or, maybe you've been stuffing your anger, and now you need a productive outlet. Angry music could help.

I don't typically listen to metal or hard rock music when I'm feeling down or anxious, because the dissonance and high-pitched electronic tones grate against my eardrums and aggravate my irritability. But maybe your eardrums like those sounds. If so, mindfully harness that liking to help you process your emotions.

Without further ado, here are the four main types of music that help me through tough times:

1. Hymns and sacred songs 

I was cleaning out my car — another coping skill — and I found a Fernando Ortega CD I thought I'd lost forever: "The Shadow of Your Wings: Hymns and Sacred Songs" (2006).

Here's one of my favorites from that album:

It's so simple and beautiful. It's the prayer I imagine God praying over me when I'm feeling anxious. 

2. Brandi Carlile

I've blogged about her music for years. For you longtime readers, it will come as no surprise that she makes one of my lists again.

Here's a Brandi Carlile song that helps me cry when I need to: "Downpour":

3. Johnny Cash

While I don't own any of his music, (I know! Get me some!) I love the darker stuff he wrote later in life, as well as the hymn-like songs and the fun-loving tunes.

Here's "Folsom Prison Blues," which I classify as a happy tune, even though it's about prison:

4. Edith Piaf

Sometimes, when my brain feels like scrambled eggs, but I still need to function/work/do chores, it's good to listen to music that has no lyrics — or lyrics I don't fully understand, because they're in a foreign language.

For this, I turn to Edith Piaf, 1915-1963, who was a French cabaret singer. Her strong, dominant vocals overshadow my moods. Her bold, march-style music helps me focus and gives me a boost of mental energy when I need it.

Here's Edith Piaf's "Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien":

Your turn. What are some songs you'd put on your list of coping tunes?

Read more of my blog posts about music here.

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Anonymous said...

These are some GREAT suggestions. I like both Fernando Ortega & Johnny Cash. I was super impressed with Edith Piaf...in fact, I am motivated to go hang my laundry out on the line right now! Very bold sound. I cannot resist telling you about one of my favorite groups ever...The Innocence Mission. Have you heard them?

Rachel E. Watson said...

Thanks for stopping by, blueandgreen! I haven't heard of The Innocence Mission, but I'm definitely going to check them out. Question: What do you like about their music?

Unknown said...

Beautiful Brandi Carlile song!

Anonymous said...

Great post. :) Music is such a good w ay of coping when I'm feeling down or anxious about something. I used to listen to Evanescence (rock band) when I was younger before I had to do something that made me anxious. It gave me a confidence boost, somehow. The one song I've loved over the past year has bee Sara Bareilles' Brave. It's a reminder to be brave.

Rachel E. Watson said...

Thanks for commenting, Clare! Glad you liked the song!

Rachel E. Watson said...

Phoenixgrey85: Thanks for reminding me of the Sara Bareilles song. I'll have a listen and see if it works for me. :)

Vicky Jame said...

thank you

Vicky Jame said...
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