Music, Media, and Mood

April 07, 2020

When I was in high school and early college, I suffered from depression. Since then, I’ve relapsed from time to time but overall have been much better.

Currently, a lot of people are struggling with mental health. Between the fear of COVID-19 and self-isolation, people are struggling. Before I get into the meat of this post, I want to encourage you seek the support of a therapist. There is a lot you can do on your own and that you should do on your own. But it helps to have a therapist in your corner.

I regularly see a therapist through my health insurance. It took a while to find someone I meshed with, but it’s been beneficial. I’ve used BetterHelp in the past, which I found helpful between visits to my primary therapist. It was like having a journal that gave feedback.

So, now that that’s out of the way. I want to talk about the number one thing that I’ve done to help myself. It seems obvious, but it always comes as a surprise when I mention it to friends.

Pay attention to the music you’re consuming.

When I was super depressed, I was listening to a lot of Marilyn Manson and other angry depressing music. When I switched to listening to Enya my depression sailed away.

This doesn’t mean that Marilyn Manson is bad. It’s just that for me, listening to a lot of it made me depressed. This happened years later. I started feeling depressed and when I asked myself what I was listening to I realized that I was listening to “The Hurting” by Tears for Fears a lot. Not exactly positive, uplifting stuff.

I now try to take a more proactive approach. I’ve been feeling overwhelmed and stressed out lately so I’ve been listening to calm instrumental Jazz. It helps me change how I’m feeling.

This extends to all media. What media are you consuming? If you’re afraid and anxious all the time, are you spending a lot of time reading and watching the news?

Consuming media is like turning steel into a magnet. You rub a magnet over the steel in the same direction over and over again. Eventually, it becomes magnetized.

You need to guard your attention and understand how what you’re hearing, reading, and watching is affecting you.


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Written by Andrew Shell, a web developer from Madison, WI.