Mindfully Choosing Music for Playlists Improves My Mood

October 2, 2017 Martha Lueck

Mindfully choosing music for playlists improves the music's ability to help you cope with mental illness. Here how to mindfully choose music for playlists.Mindfully choosing music for playlists is my favorite coping mechanism to relieve anxiety and depression, and listening to the music and lyrics later improves my mood. Some lyrics give us a sense of hope that life will get better; others help us find comfort in knowing that we are not alone. Choosing music for playlists mindfully positively impacts my mood. Here's how making playlists helps me cope.

When you’re happy, you enjoy the music. But when you’re sad, you understand the lyrics. ~Frank Ocean

A Break-Up Taught Me to Choose Music for Playlists Mindfully

After my first relationship ended, that quote by Frank Ocean really resonated with me. Most of the songs on my iPod reflected anger, sadness, and confusion. I understood the pain behind the lyrics.

As I started to get over the breakup, my music preference slowly changed. While I still loved some of the same artists and bands, I started to enjoy happier music -- songs that were about hope, relief, joy, and gratefulness. To continue to heal, I created a playlist with songs that specifically inspired positive emotions.

Since I am aware of music's impact on my mood, I can be mindful about the messages that go through my ears. Sometimes it helps to listen to music without lyrics. Sometimes just a calming sound improves my mood. Recently, I started listening to chillstep -- a sub-genre of dubstep. In addition to relaxing my mind, chillstep helps me sleep.

How to Mindfully Choose Music for a Playlist

  1. Create a playlist on a music website and/or application and label it something cheerful, like "Happy Playlist" or "Positive Vibes."
  2. In Word or Pages, type five to 10 positive songs and/or lyrics.
  3. Research the bands and/or artists of these songs and/or lyrics.
  4. Type in band and/or artist songs to get a wider selection (e.g. "Green Day songs").
  5. After you find new songs, research the lyrics and read through all of them to make sure that they will help your mood.
  6. Listen to the new songs that have your favorite lyrics and/or sounds.
  7. Add as many songs to your playlist as you desire.
  8. In a journal, record how your playlist makes you feel.
  9. Share your playlist with your loved ones. Who knows? Maybe some of the songs from your playlist will help them. Maybe they will have more recommendations for you.
  10. Change your playlist as much as you want. Many music websites and apps have recommendations based on what you have liked.

In addition to the guide above, it is important to remember that songs do not affect us the same way every time we listen to them. When one song that we previously enjoyed starts to trigger negative emotions, it is best to remove the song from the playlist immediately. That sounds like obvious advice, but many of us (myself, included) tend to gravitate towards the familiar in hopes that it will give us a positive feeling again.

In the comments, feel free to share your own mindfully-created playlists and any tips that you have for creating them.


Chillstep at

APA Reference
Lueck, M. (2017, October 2). Mindfully Choosing Music for Playlists Improves My Mood, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 13 from

Author: Martha Lueck

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Lizanne Corbit
October, 2 2017 at 12:12 pm

Music is an incredibly powerful tool. On a scientific level, the actual energy waves can have proven positive impact on a person's mood and thinking. I love your suggestions for creating a playlist. Music can be the friend that will always comfort and support you, especially during those times when you want to withdraw and don't feel like receiving support from another individual.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

October, 24 2017 at 7:30 pm

Thank you for your thoughts! :) I am very glad that listening to music helps you. Do you have any specific artist recommendations?

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