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How to Create a Trauma-Informed Playlist

What to listen to when life gets overwhelming.

Key points

  • Research shows that listening to music can help improve well-being.
  • Trauma-informed playlists can promote relaxation, reflection, and resilience.
  • A meaningful playlist can foster feelings of hope during turbulent times.
Source: Jujua Han/Unsplash
Source: Jujua Han/Unsplash

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the hardships of life? Does stress put a damper on your days and impact your mental health? Music is a great way to foster emotional healing, but creating an intentional therapeutic playlist can be difficult.

I wrote this post to help you make trauma-informed playlists for when you are feeling down and downtrodden. In this post, you will find tips on choosing songs that point back to resilience, what types of music work best in encouraging peace and courage, and suggestions for customization depending on how overwhelmed you feel. With my advice, learn how making a heartfelt musical composition can bring you strength and hope no matter where life takes you.

Overview of Trauma-Informed Music Playlists and Their Purpose

Music has the power to evoke strong emotions, which is why it has been used for centuries as a form of expression and healing. Trauma-informed music playlists take this concept one step further by intentionally selecting songs that promote relaxation, positive emotions, and self-reflection. These playlists are designed to help individuals who have experienced trauma or are currently going through a difficult time by providing a musical safe space that can be used for therapy or self-care. The purpose of trauma-informed music playlists is not only to provide comfort and aid in the healing process but also to create a sense of community by sharing music that speaks to shared experiences. So, next time you're feeling overwhelmed or need a moment of calm, consider turning to a trauma-informed music playlist and let the power of music work its magic.

Steps for Creating Your Trauma-Informed Playlist

Creating a trauma-informed playlist can be a therapeutic and empowering tool for those seeking to process their experiences. The first step is to identify songs that evoke emotions or memories related to your trauma. It's important to acknowledge the complex feelings that may come up during this process and to permit yourself to feel them. Next, focus on finding songs that promote healing and empowerment. Look for lyrics that speak to your strength and resilience. Consider including genres outside your comfort zone, which may provide new perspectives and insights. Finally, order the playlist to create a narrative arc that moves from acknowledging the pain of the trauma to finding hope and healing. Remember, there is no right or wrong way to create a trauma-informed playlist. This personal and individual journey can provide a sense of control and agency in the face of trauma.

Use Music to Identify Emotions When Life Feels Difficult

Emotions can be elusive and challenging, but tuning into them can lead to greater self-awareness and understanding. Whether it's the rush of excitement when starting a new project, the warmth of contentment after a long day, or the weight of sadness when saying goodbye, emotions are an integral part of the human experience. But sometimes, emotions can be hard to pinpoint or feel conflicting. Recognizing and labeling emotions is the first step to managing them effectively and can help us navigate the ups and downs of life with greater confidence and clarity. So, take a moment to check in with yourself and voice the emotions swirling inside – it might just make all the difference.

Choose Songs That Reflect Your Emotions

When choosing songs that reflect our emotions, many options can help capture those feelings we're currently experiencing. There's a song for every mood, whether heartbreak or joy. Some people may choose timeless classics, while others may opt for more contemporary hits that speak to them personally. Whatever the case, the key is to identify your emotions and find a piece of music that resonates with that sentiment. After all, music connects with us on a deeper level and helps us to process our emotions in a way that few other things can.

Why You Should Incorporate Different Types of Music

Music is a universal language that has the power to unite people from all walks of life. Each genre of music has its unique style and message, and incorporating different types of melodies and rhythms can enhance the listening experience. Jazz, blues, classical, rock, pop, and hip-hop are just a few genres. Whether you are working out, studying, or need to relax, there's always a genre of music to suit the moment. So why limit yourself to one type of music when you can explore and discover new sounds? By incorporating different types of music, you'll broaden your understanding of music and enjoy the benefits of a diverse playlist that can enrich your life.

Tips for Listening to Your Playlist to Gain the Most Benefit

When it comes to music, everyone has a unique taste. But did you know that listening to your favorite songs can have mental and emotional benefits? Being present while listening is essential to benefit most from your playlist:

 Mahmoud Sulaiman/Unsplash
Source: Mahmoud Sulaiman/Unsplash
  • Choose a time and place to focus on the music without distractions.
  • Consider the lyrics and how they make you feel. Let the music transport you to a different location or time.
  • Feel free to switch up your playlist and try new genres or artists.
  • Find songs that speak to what you are going through.
  • Choose songs that you have positive memories associated with or that bring about positive emotions.
  • Your playlist can be a powerful self-expression, reflection, and growth tool.

Benefits of Having a Trauma-Informed Musical Playlist

Creating a trauma-informed musical playlist can be a therapeutic tool for those who have experienced trauma. Listening to music has been shown to decrease stress hormones and increase the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and reward. By intentionally curating a playlist that includes calming, uplifting, and empowering songs, individuals can help regulate their emotions and feel a sense of control during periods of distress. In addition, a trauma-informed musical playlist can foster a sense of safety and healing by providing a trusted and comforting source of support. So, plug in those headphones and let the healing power of music work its magic.

Help Others by Sharing Your Trauma-Informed Playlist

Music has the power to heal us in ways that nothing else can. It speaks to our souls, touches our hearts, and takes us on a journey of emotions. That's why we invite you to create your personalized trauma-informed musical playlist. Choose songs that have helped you through difficult times, inspired, comforted, or made you smile. Whether it's classical music or heavy metal, jazz or pop, the choice is yours. Once you have created your playlist, could you share it online? Not only will your playlist comfort others going through similar struggles, but you may also find that building it was an empowering experience. So put on your headphones, tune in to your emotions, and make a musical journey uniquely yours.


Trauma-informed musical playlists can be a powerful and healing tool. They are an easy way to care for yourself during tough times and a creative outlet for emotional expression personalized to your feelings and music taste. Making your playlists is a beautiful form of self-care and may inspire others to do the same. Take some time to explore different genres of music and put together playlists that resonate with you. Then, share these playlists so that others who have gone through similar experiences can access them too. Let us journey together as we learn how music can express our emotions.

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