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My Boy Band Playlist for Anxiety

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I’m laying in my bed. Its 10 a.m. on a weekday, and I am confronted by my usual anticipatory anxiety about today, tomorrow, and more, along with a lack of motivation to complete work assignments and a double shot of overall morning apathy. I drag myself out of bed, grab a soda, and mentally give myself a halfhearted pep talk. Before I start the task of making the bed, I decide its time to pull out my secret morning weapon.

I scroll through my playlist until I find just the song I need today — “What Makes You Beautiful” by One Direction. As the song plays while I start my task, I find myself swaying and eventually singing along with the incredibly catchy chorus. By the end of the song, I am all in — clapping, singing, and having my own personal One Direction house party. And that, my friends, is the magic of boy band music — a great way to combat anxiety and apathy, with no side effects!

Now I know what some of you are thinking: how in the world can boy band music help a grown adult with anxiety? Well first of all, I am not only an adult but an adult of 50+ years, and I have received the positive effects of this genre of music for over 35 years. To describe this effect, I would say that there is something about the incredible energy and positivity of these songs that helps to elevate my own energy and mood levels.

As an individual with anxiety, there are many days that I do not wake up with a positive mindset. Sometimes I need an external, upbeat influence to help “lighten up” my disposition. Just as my body needs a morning infusion of caffeine to get moving — I believe my morning emotional state also needs an infusion of joy and levity to lift up my psyche. Between the energy of the instruments and the catchy chorus that entices you to hum or sing along, listening to boy band music is an excellent strategy for getting myself mentally “on track” for the day.  And if I feel I need an even more substantial endorphin boost, I simply turn on the corresponding video for any given song and dance along.

My current morning motivational boy band playlist includes the following artists and songs:

Jonas Brothers

1. “Burnin’ Up”

2. “Year 3000”

3. “Sucker”


Nick Jonas (solo)

4. “Jealous”

One Direction

5. “What Makes You Beautiful”

6. “Story of My Life”


7. “Dynamite”

8. “Permission to Dance”

9. “Butter”


10. “Pop”

11. “Bye Bye Bye”

And if creating songs that can boost your mood wasn’t enough — the true beauty of these boy bands is that they are also incredibly talented in fostering a tranquil mood during a quiet evening walk or while relaxing before bedtime.

My current evening songs to promote serenity include the following:

Jonas Brothers

12. “Leave Before You Love Me”

13. “Don’t Throw it Away”


14. “Sailing”

15. “Selfish”

 One Direction

16. “Night Changes”

Whether you are lifelong fan of the boy band music genre such as myself or just discovering it today, I extend to you an invitation to give this music a try as a coping technique for morning anxiety or evening stress relief. You may be surprised at how these songs can resonate with you and provide a vital “pick me up,” or promote inner tranquility — all you need to do is press PLAY.

Image via One Direction’s YouTube

Originally published: September 10, 2023
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