When I’m feeling stressed, anxious, or depressed, there are three things I usually do: text a close friend for support, pull out my journal and write, or I put on headphones and either head out for a run or turn on my speaker and sit on the floor while I listen to my favorite songs.

In these crucial moments, sometimes a friend is not always readily available or able to help, while the act of writing or doing physical activity requires much more energy than my mental state can handle. But when it comes to lying on the floor and listening to music — the feeling of hearing a song, whether it’s a happy or sad one — never ceases to heal. Even if for a sole moment of euphoria, music has the power to be therapeutic.

The Journal of Music Therapy, Music Therapy Perspectives includes research indicating that music therapy as a form of treatment for mental health disorders has a multitude of benefits. From music therapy research, documented sessions have shown that patients exhibit reduced muscle tension, improved self-image and self-esteem, as well as an increase in motivation, and a decrease in agitation and anxiety, among other benefits.

In his book, Musicophilia, esteemed neurologist Oliver Sacks discusses the use of music as treatment with some patients suffering from various mental illnesses. He says, “Music can lift us out of depression or move us to tears — it is a remedy, a tonic, orange juice for the ear. But for many of my neurological patients, music is even more — it can provide access, even when no medication can, to movement, to speech, to life. For them, music is not a luxury, but a necessity.”

Using music as a source for therapy can really help with addiction recovery, Alzheimer’s, depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders. For some, it can be more beneficial than medicine or traditional therapy.

Although today’s music has many popular songs that highlight and glorify drug use and substance abuse, as well as violence, this list is a collection of songs that are beautiful and healing, both in their rhythms and lyrics. More importantly, I hope that after reading this you take the time to build your own playlist of songs that can become a source of therapy as you move through your recovery.

1. “Then Came The Morning” by The Lone Bellow

This song of redemption holds a lot of positive energy, both in the vibrations of the music and the optimistic lyrics. Though the title and lyrics are in reference to a biblical passage, the song is not religious and instead focuses on the idea that, even in your darkest hour, the sun still rises and gives you a new day to recover.

Now you finally left me
Done with all your lying
Joy comes in the morning
You won’t see me crying

Then came the morning
It was bright, like the light that you kept from your smile
Then came the morning
Like a flood from the storm that you kept from my heart

2. Under The Bridge” by Red Hot Chili Peppers

Drug use and addiction are often glorified in music, especially in the rock and hip-hop scene. But in “Under The Bridge,” Red Hot Chili Peppers frontman, Anthony Kiedis, uses the lyrics to describe the lonely side of addiction. In this song, the singer is not proud of his cocaine and heroin addiction and reflects on what he lost because of it to help remind the listener that the road to recovery will be worth it.

Under the bridge downtown
Is where I drew some blood
Under the bridge downtown
I could not get enough
Under the bridge downtown
Forgot about my love
Under the bridge downtown
I gave my life away

3. “Vertigo” by Khalid

A melodramatic, soft, and elegant song, “Vertigo” plays a lullaby that captures your attention. It’s a song you can listen to a few times through to contemplate the depth of the lyrics that discuss the beauty in life that we often miss. I find this song to be helpful for re-centering during recovery, especially if your mind tends to drift in many chaotic directions.

Are we better off believin’
What the ignorance suggests
I wish livin’ life was easy (Mhm)
But mine has been a mess
They say it comes with the seasons (Mhm)
But the seasons come and go (They go)
I go blurry when I’m thinkin’
Is it me or vertigo?

4. Freaking Out” by A R I Z O N A

It’s refreshing to see a diverse group of men talk about anxiety so openly in their music, and this song by A R I Z O N A accurately describes how it feels to have a panic attack. It’s a relatable song that can highlight the reality you feel during recovery. It can make you feel less alone knowing that others have felt these same anxieties.

Lately, right now I feel like it’s all over
Cause I’ve been trapped inside my head for so long
I’m sorry, I should’ve called when I was sober
Some days I get scared to be alone

I, I’m blacking out
And I can’t help it
I, I scream and shout
And I can’t help but
Sleeping with the light on every night
I can’t stand my bedroom, I put blankets on the couch
Woah, it’s killing me, I’m burning up inside
Woah, I’m a mess right now and I’m just freaking out
I’m seeing sounds, I’m freaking out

5. “You Get What You Give” by New Radicals

This is the pump up song we all need to hear every now and again. With a nostalgic rhythm and an empowering chorus that’s rooting for the listener to hold on and pull through their struggle, I believe anyone could listen to this song and feel a burst of energy by the time it ends.

You’ve got the music in you
Don’t let go
You’ve got the music in you
One dance left
This world is gonna pull through
Don’t give up
You’ve got a reason to live
Can’t forget
We only get what we give

6. Recovery” by James Arthur

The artist uses this song to discuss his personal road to recovery. Through calming music and hopeful lyrics, he highlights the silver lining during the darkest hours of recovery.

In my recovery
I’m a soldier at war
I have broken down walls
I defined
I designed
My recovery
In the sound of the sea
In the oceans of me
I defined
I designed
My recovery

7. Clearly” by Grace VanderWaal

This cover song of Johnny Nash’s 1972 hit “I Can See Clearly Now” takes on a new meaning that feels energizing to your soul. The artist, Grace, uses the song to talk about anxiety and her resilience. The bright, pop beat of the song helps illuminate the lyrics to encourage the listener to focus on the positive aspects of life.

There’s a world outside my door
I don’t know it anymore
I’m gonna stay here now
I’m gonna stay here now
Close the curtains, cut the lights
Match the darkness in my mind
It’s gonna take me down
It’s gonna take me down

All the roads I’ve been before
Same mistakes always got me shakin’
And all the signs I once ignored
In my denial, I didn’t want to face them

8. “Recover” by Natasha Bedingfield

The lyrics in this song are what make it so therapeutic. Natasha Bedingfield really paints a picture of recovery for her listeners and uses the music to help inspire anyone who relates to also seek the path of recovery.

Been torn apart,
Got so many scratches and scars,
Maybe they wont all go away,
But they’ll fade,
Maybe time can mend us together.. again.
Its not what we’ve done but, how far we’ve come.
We will recover
The worst is over, now.
All those fires we’ve been walking through,
And still we survive, somehow.
We will recover
The worst is behind
And it hurts, but in time, I know that we will recover.

9. “Not Afraid” by Eminem

The rapper has a lot of inspiring songs about his path to recovery, and this song, in particular, looks at the difficult side of addition and showcases the reasons that helped him get clean.

And I can’t keep living this way
So starting today, I’m breaking out of this cage
I’m standing up, I’m going to face my demons
I’m manning up, I’m going to hold my ground
I’ve had enough, now I’m so fed up
Time to put my life back together right now

10. “Starting Over” by Macklemore

Macklemore rose to fame quickly and, despite releasing songs about recovery, he uses this song to tell the truth about how hard recovering from addiction can be. It’s an honest and brutal song that illustrates how recovery isn’t a straight line. And through sharing his truth in his music, this song is redeeming to others who are struggling on their journey to recovery.

Somebody stops me and says “Are you Macklemore?
“Maybe this isn’t the place or time, I just wanted to say that”
“If it wasn’t for ‘Otherside’ I wouldn’t have made it”
I just looked down at the ground and say “Thank you”
She tells me she has 9 months and that she’s so grateful
Tears in her eyes lookin’ like she’s gonna cry, fuck
I barely got forty-eight hours, treated like I’m some wise monk
I want to tell her I relapsed, but I can’t
I just shake her hand and tell her “Congrats”
Get back to my car, and I think I’m trippin’, yeah
‘Cause God wrote ‘Otherside’, that pen was in my hand
I’m just a flawed man, man I fucked up
Like so many others, I just never thought I would
I never thought I would
Didn’t pick up the book
Doin’ it by myself didn’t turn out that good
If I can be an example of gettin’ sober
Then I can be an example of startin’ over

Music is power. When and if your medication doesn’t work or if no one can find the words and if it’s impossible to mute the pain, music could be the remedy you need. Sometimes, without even realizing it, the album we listen to or the song playing in the background is really the beat that’s keeping us going. If the songs in this article don’t work for you, I challenge you to spend the time working on a playlist of the songs that do. You may be surprised at how much hearing the right song can heal.