Surfacing After Silence

Life. After.

An Upbeat Playlist

First off, sorry I haven’t been around lately.  I went to visit my aunt and uncle in NC for a week and then my parents came to visit me for a week.  Yesterday was my first day of quiet and solitude in two weeks.  A very long time for a very strong introvert!

But now I’m back, and one of the things waiting for me in my mailbox was a mix-CD from a friend, and it got me thinking.  When I was growing up, the term “playlist” had yet to be thrown about as a common noun.  But now with all the digital music players and all the fancy phones, almost everyone has a few playlists on standby.  I now have 33 on my iPod, and knowing me, I’ll probably have 34 by the end of the week.

I’ve noticed something about my playlists, though.  I’ve got a few that I’ve made for friends, and they tend to be on the more inspirational/encouraging side, but are still on the empathetic-I-fee-your-pain side as well.  I tend to make playlists when I’m feeling down, lonely, frustrated, and depressed as hell.  And the music I choose is sad and slow.  My playlists are definitely in the “let’s keep you stuck in your current mindset” camp rather than “let’s pull you out of the dump” camp.  I’m beginning to think this is not such a great thing.  Don’t get me wrong–I am a firm believer that we need to acknowledge our own pain, name it, and express it.  But if that is the only thing we do, we tend to get stuck there.  And I don’t know about anyone else, but I’ve spent a hell of a lot of time stuck in depression and it’s not a very fun place to be.

So a couple of weeks ago, I challenged myself to make a playlist that would help lift my spirits and help pull me out of the hell hole called depression.  I now have on my iPod “An Upbeat Mix” (original title, huh?).  Some of the songs, if you listen closely to the words, aren’t all that cheery, but the beat is catchy and makes me want to move.  Most of the songs are dance-able, if you’re like me and like to dance without any regard to what is considered “good” or “cool” dancing.  I’m more of a bouncer and twister when it comes to dancing to pick up my mood.  Some people may look at my list and not be cheered up at all.  And that’s perfectly fine.  Some people may want some heavy metal-head banging music on their upbeat list, and that would make me want to claw my skin off.

Here’s my challenge to all of you:  make your own upbeat playlist.  You may want to make it on a day when you’re not already in the depressive pit of despair.  keep that list on standby for the next time you enter that pit and then see what happens when you listen to it.

Some of us may not have a large reserve of upbeat or cheery music in our libraries.  So please leave a comment with the name of a song and the artist of a song that when you listen to it, you can’t help but smile.  Who knows, maybe I’ll eventually get two upbeat playlists on my iPod this way?


May 22, 2011 - Posted by | coping, depression, feelings | , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. “Shine” by Anna Nalick
    “Dublin Boys” by Antje Duvekot
    “Fidelity” by Regina Spektor
    “Come on, Come out” by A Fine Frenzy
    “Take Me Away” by Sarah Kelly

    Comment by surfacingaftersilence | May 22, 2011 | Reply

  2. Some of these may seem a bit strange, but they’re upbeat in my opinion:
    -“London Bridge” by Fergie
    -“Let Yourself Go” by Kristen Chenoweth
    -“I’ll Make A Man Out Of You” from the Mulan soundtrack
    -“I’m Alive” by Celine Dion
    -“Come On Get Higher” by Matt Nathanson (but I like the Sugarland cover better)
    -“One Step At A Time” by Jordin Sparks
    -“La Vie Boheme” from Rent
    -Most songs by Cascada are pretty upbeat and energetic too

    I could go on, but I’ll stop here. I hope that you enjoy some of these.

    And in regards to the part in your post about your playlists being in the “let’s keep you stuck in your current mindset” camp, I was speaking with a music therapist a few weeks ago and we were talking about this. She mentioned that this tends to be a positive thing. Listening to sad songs when we’re sad or angry ones when we’re frustrated is cathartic and helps to let those emotions out and make room for more positive ones. Not that there’s anything wrong with an upbeat playlist!


    Comment by Em | May 22, 2011 | Reply

    • I agree with the music therapist you were talking to. To a point. I think that if sad music is the ONLY music we ever listen to when we’re sad, we can get stuck there. I know that when I’m sad, I do listen to my sad playlists and they help, but only for awhile. Eventually, I just keep mulling over the same depressing thoughts. Hence the upbeat playlist for when that starts to happen.

      Comment by surfacingaftersilence | May 22, 2011 | Reply

      • Fair enough. I’d have to agree that at a certain point, things that can help become harmful if we stick with them past the point of their usefulness. It’s all in figuring out what you need at the time.

        Comment by Em | May 27, 2011

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