Feel Empowered In Your Every Day By Creating Your Life Soundtrack

Think of your favorite movie and the music that accompanies it. What does the soundtrack say about the film and its characters? If you've seen the 1995 romantic drama "Waiting to Exhale," starring Angela Bassett, Loretta Devine, Lela Rochan, and the late Whitney Houston, then you're familiar with the iconic soundtrack produced by Babyface. The body of work has gone down in R&B history, earning 11 Grammy nominations and landing one win for its lead single, "Exhale (Shoop Shoop)," performed by Houston herself. The soundtrack garnered much praise for its appropriate placement throughout the film. For instance, the beautiful scene in which Bassett's character, Bernadine, receives a tear-jerking letter from a past lover highlights the affair that never could be. In this powerful moment, Aretha Franklin's "Hurt Like Hell" played off into the distance, capturing the essence of a romance that didn't come to fruition.

Now, consider songs that could narrate your reality in such a way. What would your favorite playlist say about you? More importantly, do these relatable lyrics motivate you to be your best on a daily basis? If not, it may be time to create an all-new life soundtrack to make yourself feel empowered.

Focus on the message in the music

A 2013 study conducted by the Journal of Positive Psychology found that people who listened to happy music became noticeably cheerful within just two weeks. Though the breathtaking scenario in "Waiting to Exhale" is a dramatic moment, your life soundtrack doesn't have to be a somber ode to heartbreak. It can actually be filled with joyous tracks that lift your spirits. The Spiritual Care and Support team with the NorthShore University Health System explains that music produces dopamine, which can help ease feelings of anxiety and depression. Since music is processed by the part of the brain that deals with emotions, it's no surprise what you're listening to can alter your attitude.

If empowerment is the goal, think of records such as Katy Perry's 2010 hit, "Firework." In one line, Perry sings, "You don't have to feel like a waste of space. You're original, cannot be replaced." These types of positive affirmations are what you need to hear to own the day. Coincidentally enough, Drake and Alicia Keys released a record that same year titled "Fireworks," detailing the ups and downs of success. Not as upbeat as Perry's record, the track still serves as a motivator to chase those goals.

Your life soundtrack should focus on how you wish to feel, not how you currently feel

Have you ever heard someone refer to their "crying playlist?" This is typically a collection of songs you'd turn on whenever you need a good cry session. Whether it's a death in the family or a breakup, certain music can allow you to unleash those pent-up tears. However, if empowerment is your goal, these may not be the appropriate tunes to build yourself up. Researchers with the Centre for Interdisciplinary Music Research at the University of Jyväskylä, Aalto University, and Aarhus University all agree that hearing sadder music only makes you more miserable. Per their research, anxiety was higher in subjects who listened to sad or angry music. This was most prominent in males.

Try records that reflect how you want to feel, not necessarily your current state. If depression symptoms are getting the best of you, Adele's "Easy On Me" might make matters worse. Instead, Kelly Clarkson's "Stronger" may be just the boost you need to remind yourself that you are greater than what you're going through. Ultimately, your life soundtrack is specific to you. It can be separated by days of the week, with Monday's tracklist featuring the most upbeat tunes since that tends to be the hardest day of most people's week. Your life soundtrack is a perfect tool to put a smile on your face and serves as a way to care for your mental health.