We live in a crazy world and we live a crazier life. Often, we get so caught up in the day to day activities of studying or working or interacting with our friends, families and colleagues, that we hardly spare a moment for ourselves. Yes, we may do the basic thinking of what to eat that day and whether to exercise or not or what to wear to the office/college or even what’s that day’s schedule, but we spare no thoughts to our mental health. Like, how are we mentally? how are we feeling that day or about work or just, how are we feeling in general. Just thinking ‘HOW AM I FEELING’, is a huge step towards ensuring a good mental health. But mental health couldn’t be covered in a few lines or even in one blog post as it’s no trivial issue. I definitely hope to talk about mental health in detail in the future posts (which is essential today, more than ever before). For today though, I would like to share with you all the playlist, that’s literally saved as ‘Serene Playlist’ in my phone. I don’t want to appear cynical, but with getting hit in the face with one remix after the other these days (Bollywood is seriously lagging behind the regional movies in terms of both creativity and content these days!), here’s the playlist that I listen to, whenever I feel like I need to take a step back and focus on nothing in particular, if that makes sense.
1. BUILD IT BETTER by Aron Wright
Research has shown that music reduces blood pressure, anxiety and improves sleep quality, memory and mental alertness. I have linked the Johns Hopkins Medicine‘s article here. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you have to stop taking your antihypertensives (if you are taking any) and just listen to music the whole day in case you are a hypertensive patient. For me, personally, this song has proved that point. Whenever I feel anxious about the tasks to be done or any upcoming exams or seminars, I just plug in my earphones and play this song. Of course, it wouldn’t miraculously make my anxiety vanish, but I feel better equipped to face the challenges. I was introduced to this song, by courtesy, the tv show ‘The Good Doctor’, which, if you haven’t watched, I would definitely recommend doing so, as it’s a very positive drama about the journey of an autistic Doctor joining Surgical residency and how he overcomes the discrimination from the people around him. I have linked the trailer for the show here. This song would also be perfect in your travel playlist. Somehow, I always feel like I am driving by a beautiful coast, with wind blowing through my hair, feeling utter contentment, whenever I listen to this song.
2. ANCIENT LIGHT by Allman Brown
The second song in the list, thanks again to ‘The Good Doctor’, is ‘Ancient light’. Even now, as I am typing this, cosily sitting in the comfort of my home in Shimoga, with a beautiful weather outside, when I listen to this song, the imagery that comes before my eyes is of me on the commute home after a long, tiring day at work in New York. The minute I would hear this song, I would be devoid of all feelings, and all I would be left with was a subway car full of strangers, some hunched over their phones, some sleeping, some lost in their thoughts. Those tired faces, hustling like me and million others, to make a place for themselves in the concrete jungle, that was New York city. The result of not thinking about anything and just focusing on the beats and rhythm of this song would be evident, when, at the end of the commute, I would be left with feeling grateful for what I have, and the thought of tomorrow wouldn’t be as daunting as it was before. Another memory of mine that’s associated with this song, is when I heard it for the first time, I was so enthralled by it that I listened to it continuously for about 2 hours, alone in the hotel room, when I was in Nepal doing a medical camp, resulting in a splitting headache at the end of it.
3. ZARA ZARA by Harris Jayaraj
SINGER- Bombay Jayashree
I am sure that many of you have already heard this song, and it might be a favorite for a large number of you as well. This is actually the Hindi version of the original Tamil song ‘Vaseegara‘, sung by the same singer, but change in the language hasn’t lessened the beauty of the song. Rendered in fabulous form by Bombay Jayashree, my favourite part in the song is, of course, the flute portion with which the song begins and which also makes a guest appearance at 1:09. This flute part was the ringtone of my best friend Sahana while studying MBBS, and I fondly remember us sitting in silence, in our room, and playing this song whenever there were power cuts in the hostel. The flute and the way the singer has poured emotions into this song, evokes in us such a deep sense of calm, that it can be experienced only by listening to the song.
4. Chithirai Nela by AR Rahman
SINGER- Vijay Yesudas
Sigh, the sheer sense of wonder that I experience every time I listen to this song is unmatchable. I remember this song getting released during the time of my 3rd year MBBS’s study holidays. Exams are always a stressful time, but this song helped me a lot during that time, somehow making the exam anxiety manageable. Mani Ratnam and AR Rahman’s combination has always given us timeless music pieces, this one is no different. Rendered by Vijay Yesudas, in brilliant form here, the song builds and builds until it hits a crescendo at 3:51 with such force, that you feel like you are falling off a cliff, with no worry whatsoever of hurting yourself on hitting the ground, because when the song finally ends after that fabulous portion, it leaves you with such sweet pain, that it makes you hit the repeat button to experience that pain again.
5. SONS AND DAUGHTERS by Allman Brown & Liz Lawrence
Another song that came into my life courtesy ‘The Good Doctor’, is ‘Sons and Daughters’. I am really grateful to their production team for choosing such songs for their show, which would have been unheard by me otherwise. My father has a habit of switching on the radio 1st thing in the morning, and tuning to the station which plays old Hindi classics (and, he also loves Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran & One Republic’s songs). He would then carry on with his other work, like studying or reading newspapers or having breakfast but with the radio kept on in the background the whole time at low volume. He says that even his father used to listen to Hindi classics at night through his radio, which would begin with the broadcaster saying, ‘This is your All India Radio. We are now playing the classics of Madan Mohan or Kishore Kumar or Mohammad Rafi..’. Don’t get me wrong, I am a fan of party songs as much as the next person, but I have observed that classic music and soothing songs, like the ones I have mentioned in the playlist, helps greatly with the noise in our heads. There’s too much noise already in the world today (unfortunately, it includes most of what Bollywood is churning out as music these days, but I am glad to see the regional cinemas really experimenting with music nowadays), but every now and then we should try to quieten down the noise in our minds by surrendering ourselves to some soothing music.
Of course, I don’t have just 5 songs in my list. There is more, but one other song that I absolutely love and which makes me calm is ‘Vaan Varuvaan’ (you can watch the lyric video by clicking on the song name). But since, I have already covered this song in my previous music blog post, I am refraining from boring you guys by proclaiming my love for the song again. Honestly, I think ‘Vaan Varuvaan’ could be included in every freaking music list possible…, excuse my fangirling!
So, the next time, you are exhausted or you feel anxious about something, and you just want to listen to some soothing music to take your mind off of things, you can choose any songs from this playlist. I’ll be sharing more of such songs in my future blog posts as well. Comment below as to what songs you listen to, to help you cope with anxiety.
Other music blog posts-