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Music & Writing When Times Feel Heavy | HopeWay

Engage Art | Reflection & Growth | May 27, 2021

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Research shows that 56% of American adults with a mental illness do not receive treatment due to lack of access to care. In addition, stigma prevents people from seeking the help they need. Music and writing can shine a light in the darkness of depression and mental illness. We are sharing this post from HopeWay, a Charlotte-based mental health care provider, to make hope tangible by inspiring mental wellness for all.

—Ranika Chaney, Engage Art Contest

Ever since I was a young child, I can remember writing down my thoughts and feelings. I kept different journals for different occasions. One for travel, one for song lyrics, and one to just write down things that were heavy on my mind. 

These are uncertain times. 

Times That Include Added Anxiety And Fear.  Writing can be a great catharsis in times like these.  Writing is a way to get racing thoughts out of your mind and onto the page.  Whether you write poems, lyrics, or a simple stream of consciousness, writing is a great way to clear your head.

One of the exercises I use often with clients is to have them write down something that is weighing them down. Then, I suggest they either rip it up or put in a box or container and try to let it go. This physical action signals the brain that someone is “done” with this thing that is weighing them down and they are going to work on moving forward. 

The wonderful thing about writing is that there is no wrong way to do it. 

It doesn't have to make perfect sense, and it can be something private that is only used for the benefit of who is writing it. Many of the best song lyrics come from great pain and anxiety.  Unfortunately, some of the best artists struggle with mental health challenges. However, they use their music and writing as a way to cope and express what they are feeling. One more really important thing -- it is also important to write down good things that have happened and remember the small moments of gratitude we experience even during the most difficult time. 

Here are some songs that help me with fear and some purely uplifting songs. Music can help to change our mood and give us hope. I encourage everyone to make a playlist that speaks to them in this way during this time.  

Here are a few songs on my playlist for mental health:

Songs About Fear

These are songs to validate and calm the fear.

Songs About Anxiety

These are songs to validate and calm the anxiety.

Songs that are Empowering & Calming

What’s on your playlist? Share in the comments below!

At Engage Art, we’d also like to encourage you to pray when times feel heavy. We have a track all about enriching your prayer life on our Engage Art App. Why not download the app and subscribe to that track today?

Editor’s note: This blog post is presented for informational purposes only and is not meant to diagnose or treat any illness. If you have any health concern, see a licensed healthcare professional in person.

About the author: By Joan Kleinmann, MT-BC, LRT/CTRS, Music Therapist with HopeWay. HopeWay is an accredited nonprofit mental health treatment facility located in Charlotte, NC that provides best practice behavioral health care and education for adults and their families.

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