Like art, the right selection of music can lift our spirits and provide hope. It does not have a language barrier and used in most all cultures, from building emotion in celebrations, to calming and relaxing them. From our earliest recollection, if we were fortunate, we had a mother sing us lullabies. That music settled us, calmed our anger, eased our tensions, and changed our moods. Music still has that power for me and I also do my best creative work, while listening to music.

The winter following my cancer surgery, I had difficulty staying warm. Layers of sweaters only made me more sedentary. I found that if I listened to music with a catchy beat, it inspired me to move which provided some warmth.

When I played tunes I loved, my sad moods changed to more optimistic ones. I bought an ipod so I could find the songs I loved and organized playlists. These playlists, Melancholy Moods Turned Around, are some of my favorites. I chose the tunes for various reasons. It could be words were inspirational, the tune was catchy, or the sounds were soothing or energetic. For music with lyrics in a foreign language, I did not always know what the meaning of the words; I just loved the sound of the music.

Season tickets to concerts and theatre got me out of my house. I subscribed to season ticket programs, one for classical music and one for an assortment of music and theatre at a local university. When the season ticket program brochures came in the summer, I planned what I wanted to see throughout the year. It was more cost effective and less trouble than buying the single tickets. Sometimes the event would come and I felt as though I wanted to stay home. The tickets got me out and the creative performances energized and inspired me.

Celebrating with dinner, concert or show before key medical check ups was another strategy to remain optimistic and inspired by the arts. The night or weekend before a key medical check up, I did something special, like attended a concert, had a dinner out with friends. Instead of dreading the appointment and worrying about results, I spent my time celebrating the life I had.

For many, this time prior to tests is one of worry and anxiousness. By keeping my mind occupied in a positive way, I found I was less stressed. The night before one of my key exams, I saw Billy Crystal’s show 700 Sundays. I never laughed so hard in my life. Now that is what I remember, not the exam the following day, which thankfully was uneventful.

The other highly stressful time is waiting for test results. Sometimes the wait can be days, other times weeks. For these situations I try to remind myself daily, that there is no bad news until I hear it officially. An elderly relative once told me, that most of the things she worried about in her life never happened. She regretted the time wasted in worrying. Music also helped calm my fears.

Additional Resources

A Sample Melancholy Moods Turned Around Playlist (1-Hour Playing Time)

The Lucky One
Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head
Stand By Me
In My Daughter’s Eyes
Put Your Records On
Pocketful of Sunshine
Doctor My Eyes
Feeling Good
I’m Alive
I Know Where I’ve Been
Celebrando (Celebration)
El Celta
What A Wonderful World
Somewhere Over The Rainbow

Alison Krauss & Union Station (Country)
B.J. Thomas (Easy Listening)
The Drifters (Easy Listening)
Martina McBride (Country)
Corinne Bailey Rae (R&B)
Natasha Bedingfield (Pop)
Jackson Browne (Pop)
Michael Buble (Easy Listening)
Celine Dion (Pop)
Colbie Caillat (Pop)
Queen Latifah (Jazz)
Echoes of Incas (Folk)
Incendio (New Age)
k.d. Lang (Folk)
Tony Bennett & k.d. Lang (Pop)
Israel Kamakawiwo’ole (World)

Websites (Hope CD)

CDs For World Music: Putumayo Series

World Music for Kids: Putumayo Kids Series