5 ways music can get you through tough times

If you’ve ever felt your mood shift while listening to your fave song, you’re not imagining it. Lots of research shows that music’s power to boost your mood, motivate you, help you relax, connect you with others and help you to focus is a real thing!

Aussie artists Odette and Montaigne agree, and have created some killer playlists for you to help you get through tough times.

Here are music’s top five superpowers.

1. It can boost your mood

If you’re having a bad day, try putting on one of your favourite songs and focusing on how it makes you feel. One study found that people who listened regularly to upbeat music could improve their mood and boost their happiness within just two weeks.

When one of my favourite songs (Made in the USA by Demi Lovato) started playing on the radio, it was like my soul was soothed. Like the song was playing just for me, as a reminder that I mattered

letitgo, Forum user.

2. It can help to motivate you

If you’re struggling to get started on something (hello, study/chores/exercise), music can help motivate you. Up-tempo, fast-paced music can get your brain and body moving. Research shows that listening to certain types of music can inspire you to work longer or harder during your exercise routine.

Recently, listening to upbeat music when I'm being active helps me feel like I'm at the gym and like everything is a little bit back to normal!

Tay100, Forum user.

3. It helps reduce stress

It’s not just upbeat music that can really help us. Soft, background music can calm the mind and help reduce feelings of stress. You could try listening to classical or instrumental music in the morning to help you wake up while keeping you calm and focused. Or, if you feel like it, put on a pop song and dance around the room for some extra energy.

4. It connects you to others

Music can feel like an empathetic friend who knows exactly what you’re going through. Choose a song with lyrics that relate to what you’re experiencing, and focus on what you’re listening to. You can also connect with people through music, by sharing playlists, chatting about music online, or meeting people at gigs and concerts.

I often listen to music that describes or reflects how I'm feeling. This can be really cathartic. I also like listening to uplifting music and songs that have a positive message when times get tough

WheresMySquishy, Forum user.

5. It helps you to focus

Classical music can help you to focus on the task at hand, whether that’s studying or doing something creative. Play it softly in the background while you go about your tasks and it’ll increase your brain-processing powers.

The power of playlists

We get that it can be hard to know where to start with music, so we spoke to two young Aussie musicians, Odette and Montaigne, to get the scoop on the music that’s helping them to cope at the moment.

Odette says, ‘Music is not just a promise to myself to continue, but also the sustenance I need to continue.’


You can listen to Odette's playlist here.

Odette - Australian artist. Image: Supplied.


You can listen to Montaigne's playlist here.

Montaigne - Australian artist. Image: ABC, Music News.

Next time you’re having a tough time or finding it hard to focus, try letting music do its thing. You might be surprised at how quickly it can change things for you.

What can I do now?

  • Join the discussion about how music helps you on our Forums.

  • Check out some other coping strategies here.

  • Read about how Zoe manages her mental health during coronavirus.