Science Based Stress Relief: A Playlist

Image description: black and white picture of a record player.

Since this pandemic started heating up, I’ve leaned on music to help me feel better and get to a place where I can write. Turns out there’s a scientific basis to my practice. Listening to music releases the happy chemical dopamine in our brains. It may even help reduce depression, control blood pressure, and regulate heart rate. I reached out via social media to see if other people had pandemic music suggestions. As I read and listened, several themes emerged.

Music which acknowledges the world as it is such as “Ain’t it Fun” by Paramore or “This Year” by the Mountain Goats.

Songs which acknowledge the world as it was such as “Remember When” by Alan Jackson or “Some Things Never Change” from Frozen 2.

Songs which cultivates gratitude and/or hope such as “We Shall Overcome” by Pete Seeger, or “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong.

Music which acknowledges the importance of human connection such as “All You Need is Love” by the Beatles, and “People Need People” by Maddie and Tae.

Songs which encourages relaxation such as “Forever Rain” by RM or “Somewhere Over the Rainbow/ What a wonderful World” by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole.

Religious music such as childhood hymns or “Oceans” by Hillsong.

Below I’ve listed many of suggestions I got along with comments if made. I’ve anonymized the suggestions with one notable exception. Mike Jack Stoumbos recorded his own version of the song “From Now On” from The Greatest Showman. I enjoyed listening to his work so much I asked special permission to de-anonymize him so I could give proper credit.

Thanks to everyone who contributed to this list. Reading and listening made me feel less alone and more hopeful in this new sideways reality. I hope it does the same for you.

2 Replies to “Science Based Stress Relief: A Playlist”

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