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A Coachella 2019 Playlist of Songs for People With Anxiety and Depression

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Coachella 2019 is upon us — the music festival in Indio, California, runs two weekends (April 12-14 and 19-21), so we thought we’d put together a Coachella-themed playlist featuring artists at this year’s festival. Even if you couldn’t care less about Coachella, you might like some of the songs on this playlist to help with anxiety and depression.

We curated this list by combining songs our community has told us help them deal with their anxiety and depression, as well as featuring artists who’ve spoken out about their own mental health. You can skip to the bottom to find the Spotify playlist.

If you love going to music festivals but experience anxiety in crowds or when traveling to somewhere new, you’re not alone. Mighty contributor Nate Crawford put together a short list of ways to keep your mental health in check if you’re at a music festival. He wrote:

My everyday life can be difficult at times, let alone my life at a music festival. But, after being home a few days and reflecting, I think there are a few things that people with mental illness can do to ensure they have a great music festival, as well as keep their mental health as intact as possible.

We’ve also created a list of tips from our community for attending music festivals or concerts when you deal with anxiety.

“Remember that everyone is there for the same reason: to have fun,” community member Tina C. told us. “I feel so connected to people at concerts and festivals. I always have a peppermint in case I get too nervous, and that helps me.”

If you are looking for a new anxiety-reducing playlist, here are songs from Coachella 2019 artists that may help you cope with anxiety:

1. “breathin’” — Ariana Grande

In the last two years, Ariana Grande has used her platform to normalize mental illness, both writing songs and sharing intimate parts of her life with fans about her struggles with anxiety, depression, grief and recently, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). On Thursday, the “thank u, next” singer posted a screenshot of a text conversation that showed images of brain scans. One image showed a side-by-side comparison between a “healthy” brain scan and a “PTSD” brain. The PTSD brain scan has more areas highlighted, indicating the differences in brain activity in PTSD patients.

On Twitter, Instagram and in interviews, Grande also champions therapy. In 2018 she told The Fader, “I don’t want to hide any pain from [fans] because I can relate to their pain. Why not be in it together?”

2. “Yes, I’m Changing” — Tame Impala

In 2012, Tame Impala’s frontman Kevin Parker described an experience many Mighty community members with anxiety and depression can relate to. In regards to mostly creating music alone, he told The Guardian: “If you don’t have anyone to talk to at the time, it grows into a massive beast ricocheting inside your head. … You have no way of stopping it when it’s just you making the music. A bad thought can spiral and you can get so depressed you just think you’re worthless.”

3. “Pursuit of Happiness” — Kid Cudi (feat. MGMT)

In 2017, Kid Cudi announced he would take a break from making music to get help for depression. During that time, fans came to his defense after Drake released a track, titled “Two Birds, One Stone,” which appears to make light of mental illness and Kid Cudi’s decision to get help. In response, Mighty contributor Jasmin Pierre wrote an open letter to Cudi, saying:

I want you to know you have nothing to be ashamed of… nothing at all. Depression and anxiety can be a nightmare. They can swallow you whole to the point you feel no way out. I also know how judgmental people can be when it comes to mental illness. Some people make you feel like you don’t even want to even bring up your struggles. Some try to make you feel weak or ashamed when you should feel neither. You’re “sick” or “weak.”

4. “You” — The 1975

Mighty contributor Kimberley Robinson explains why music like The 1975’s can be a meaningful way to cope with anxiety:

You’re probably wondering why I’m even writing about this? I think it’s important to recognize how much music helps you when you’re going through such a tough time. The lyrics speak to you like a friend offering a helping hand and suddenly you aren’t so alone anymore. If by some miracle if The 1975 get to read this, I would just like to say thank you. 

5. “Happy & Sad” — Kacey Musgraves

6. “The Dreamer” — Anderson .Paak

7. “Redbone” — Childish Gambino

8. “Light On” — Maggie Rogers

9. “Talk” — Khalid

Throughout his rise to mainstream radio, Khalid has been open about his struggles with anxiety. In 2017, the singer-songwriter, who’s featured on Logic’s suicide prevention song, “1-800-273-8255,” opened up on Twitter about his own mental health, which started a conversation among his followers.

“Mental health is so important man,” the 19-year-old wrote. “I’m not feeling the best rn and my anxiety is super bad, love u guys,” adding, “For the past few days I’ve been feeling very down about a lot of shit, and i just wanna let u know that if you struggle with any illness, I feel you. It gets better.”

His vulnerability is significant because according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, half of those who have a mental health condition develop one by age 14, and three quarters by age 24. And research published by Physicians for a National Health Program found that black youth are about half as likely as their white counterparts to receive mental health care, despite having similar rates of mental health problems.

10. “I Like That” — Janelle Monáe

In an interview with Essence, Monáe promoted therapy as an essential part of self-care. She told the magazine:

When I first started getting a check, I went to therapy. Therapy is important. And being a black woman that was not something that was pushed in my community, it was always ‘pray about it, God will take care of it.’ I believe in a higher power but I also believe that that higher power gives you people on Earth to help walk you through some of your darkest times and help you cope and deal.

11. “Freaking Out” — A R I Z O N A

A R I Z O N A frontman Zachary Charles told Billboard that “Freaking Out” addresses the anxiety and depression that most people experience at one point in their life. He said:

“Freaking Out” is about just a very low moment. It’s when you’re freaking out so hard that you feel completely unsure of whether you’re going to make it through or not. I think we all have those moments. Having a song like this captures that for people. And it’s a jam, which is kind of cool.

12. “Change Your Mind” — Dillon Francis (feat. Lovelytheband)

Lovelytheband grew in popularity with their hit single, “broken.” In a 2018 interview with Billboard, drummer Sam Price said, “Depression and anxiety is something the three of us all felt. … Mitchy’s honesty around that subject is what allows [fans] to connect with [the music].”

13. “Make Them Gold” — CHVRCHES

14. “Hard Place” — H.E.R.

15. “Good as Hell” — Lizzo

Take one look at Lizzo’s Twitter or Instagram stories and you’ll realize how refreshingly open the pop star is with her fans as she deals with anxiety, depression and self-confidence.

In 2018 she tweeted a statement that resonates with many in our community. “Rejection triggers my anxiety and depression,” she wrote. “Once I learn how to choose myself and be completely validated by that choice, I’ll put the trigger in my hands and not in the hands of others.”

16. “Power Over Me” — Dermot Kennedy

17. “Lash Out” — Alice Merton

18. “lovely” — Billie Eilish & Khalid

With the release of her debut album, Eilish, 17, gave a powerful interview on Zane Lowe on Apple Music’s Beats 1, where she opened up about anxiety, depression and the vidid night terrors she experiences. On the people who question why she’s open about her mental health with fans, she said, “It’s different for some people and it’s OK. I feel like people are just so weird about it because people that aren’t neutrally unhappy don’t understand how it is because they’re like, ‘Well why are you unhappy all the time when you have da da da da?’”

19. “Heaven Can Wait” — Sia, Diplo & Labrinth

Sia, whose music appears on almost every community-curated playlist we make to help cope with people’s anxiety and depression, has given several candid interviews around her own experiences with addiction and suicide. In 2018, she told Rolling Stone she’d attempted suicide.

Reflecting on the memory, she said, “There must have been a part of me that really wanted to live. Because in that moment, I thought, ‘There’s a world out there and I’m not a part of it. But I might like to be.’”

Of course, music can’t cure anxiety or depression. However, it has been shown to help reduce anxiety and stress. Even if you couldn’t care less about Coachella, you may be interested in listening to these songs and perhaps finding a new artist. If you are looking for more songs our community listen to to help with their anxiety and depression, here are a few more playlists:

What songs help you with anxiety and depression? Let us know in the comments below or post a Thought with your own playlist! Use the hashtag #MightyMusic.

Originally published: April 13, 2019
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