by Alex Zuccarini, Webmaster
Anxiety… that terrifying, yet awesome word. For those with anxiety, terrifying might be the only word that comes to mind, which makes a lot of sense. For a while, it was a word that not only came to my mind, but ruled my life.
It’s known as Generalized Anxiety Disorder which, according to Webmd.com, is defined as being excessive, exaggerated anxiety and worry about everyday life without obvious reason. For me, anxiety really spiked in social situations. I lived in fear every waking moment, despite what I was doing or where I was going. I would experience occasional brief moments of peace, but going to sleep was the only thing I really looked forward to. Even still, I knew it would be brief, and come morning, fear would wake its ugly head and accompany me through the day once again.
If you thought that sounded slightly depressing, that’s because it was; but now we can get to the good part.
Living with anxiety can be horrible. However, the good part is learning to cope. For me, coping with anxiety came in many ways, which are now the most beautiful and fulfilling parts of my life.
One of those ways has been through the use of music, which has always held a special place in my heart. It is one of those ways to which many of us can relate. To this day, guitar and piano are major influential methods of coping with my stressors.
While listening to music has always been a big part of my life, playing music has been just as strong, which I began to realize during finals week a few semesters ago. As I entered into finals week, my mind began to race once again. As a last-ditch effort to maintain my sanity, I walked to the back door of my house and was about to go outside when I spotted my old dusty guitar that hadn’t been touched in years. I decided to pick it up and begin re-learning some old tunes I used to play.
I was swept away by how freeing it was to hear this sound come from my fingertips. By redirecting myself from being consumed by anxiety to strumming on the guitar, something changed. I felt the stressors of school fade and a sense of freedom open up inside, like someone hit the reset button on my stress signal and I was able to come back to schoolwork with a fresh perspective.
While playing music has been incredibly helpful during times of spiked stress, listening to music had proven to be an incredible way to keep anxiety at bay all day long.
I’ve listened to many types of music, all of which in some way were helpful to my sometimes-debilitating anxiety. This ranged from rap, to the electronic “whomp, whomp”-type and even to country. Eventually I discovered what has proven to be the most intense experience of anxiety shaking, life changing, set-me-free music yet; none other than the Man himself: Jesus music!
After taking time to listen (suffering through it mostly), I actually started to really enjoy it. That “Prince of Peace” guy really changed the way I think about anxiety. He’s so chill that all you have to do is listen to a song about Him, and He shows up to give your life some of His chillness. This peace has been much more real than ever expected. This is the music (and the Man) that truly changed my life.
I felt connected to something bigger. I don’t know about you, but when my anxiety gets bad, I start to feel alone, like no one can or even wants to help. This music and its faith building, anxiety shaking power changed a lot for me. Something changes when you’re connected to something bigger. All you have to do is throw on a song about Him and He shows up, divine chillness and all.