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Molly Peach / Her Campus
Wellness > Mental Health

Wellness Through Playlist Making

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UVA chapter.

There is something really powerful in the idea of genres; narrowing down a Netflix search by selecting the “Comedies” button, for example, turns a two-hour search for a movie into two-minute one. Genres allow us to put life’s choices into neat little categories. It makes decision-making less daunting… unless none of the available genres feel right.

Browsing through Spotify’s pre-made playlists (yes, Spotify is far superior to Apple Music) is when I most feel that genres fall short. Music is so personal, with each song eliciting a different emotional or memory based response, and the “Mood Booster” mix just doesn’t cut it for me. As someone with a self-proclaimed horrible taste in music—I rotate country and R&B with Disney regularly, and I’m not ashamed to say it—I am obsessed with making my own playlists.

I can tailor my playlists to characterize past experiences, pump me up for new ones, or draw my focus for studying. I’m able to induce the nostalgia of sitting on the counter while my mom made Saturday morning breakfast with Jack Johnson’s “Banana Pancakes,” return to the sheer joy of opening my UVA acceptance letter with Train’s “Meet Virginia,” or cry along to John Denver’s “Leaving, On a Jet Plane” after goodbyes to friends and family. And it’s the process of grouping these songs with others like them, and giving those groupings personalized names, that feels satisfying and restorative.

The world often feels random and chaotic and anxieties can feel all-consuming and boundless, so, like many of us do, I find solace in structure. But there’s a fine line between structure that’s confining versus liberating. Making playlists lets me toe that line perfectly, allowing myself organizational relief without adhering to readymade and nonspecific categories. And I can’t think of a more fitting time to strike that balance than as a college student, where customizable stability feels both desirable and elusive. Playlist making is a small, attainable, and effective tool we can use to improve wellness… plus, no more skipping songs until you find the ones you like!

Sophie is a second year from Chevy Chase, MD. She is a double major in Philosophy and Cognitive Science at UVA. She loves reading and writing, reality TV (especially Love Island UK), Waffle House, and listening to all different kinds of music… typically while singing along very poorly :)