Culture

My unhealthy obsession: I can’t get enough of sad songs

Michelle Lai // May 31, 2021, 2:37 pm

My Unhealthy Obsession

Ever since I was a pre-teen, I have always been plugged into my iPod.

I listen to songs when I commute, I listen to songs when I am waiting in line and I have the habit of listening to songs just before I sleep.

This habit means that I am often awake past my sleeping hours, and it does not help that I like to listen to sad and emotional songs then, letting my feelings surge through me as I lie in bed.

As such, I often have nightmares where I am just crying in my dreams. On hindsight, I attribute these nightmares to the overwhelming negative emotions I feel just before I fall asleep listening to sad songs.

I always thought that I needed that space to listen to sad songs and think about my problems in life as I ended my day.

However, I came to see that such an outlet does not resolve my problems or take away the negative feelings. It’s just indulging in excess negativity, and it had become a bad habit.

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So, during this year’s Lent, I decided to fast from sad songs. I also made the decision to not listen to songs on the bed as I fall asleep.

It has been a month since the season of Lent has ended, and I’ve found that my appetite for sad songs has shrunk considerably.

I chanced upon a sad song recently, and I switched it off halfway as I did not want to feel sadness unnecessarily.

I found that my outlook on life changed after I cut the sad songs out of my life.

My cell group leader and mentor shared with me that an excessive amount of sad songs can be unnecessary in the way they bring our mood down and facilitate dwelling on negativity.

Since I started watching what I’ve been listening to, I’ve found that I have less nightmares, and I certainly no longer dream of myself crying.

Now I have started playing Christian songs softly while I sleep. I like that I am meditating on God’s promises as I fall asleep, and most of the time I find myself praying as I drift in and out of sleep.

Playing Christian songs while I sleep also assures me that even if I wake up from a nightmare, God’s promises are prayed over me through the worship songs.

However, I do not mean to say that you can only listen to Christian songs.

Personally, I’ve also started to choose to listen to jazz or ukulele covers over sad songs. I also listen to popular songs that are uplifting as well as upbeat songs.

Even when I listen to K-pop, I listen to dance tracks instead of sad ballads about love.

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While the occasional sad song is okay, I came to realise that it is very important what you hear and absorb into your mind.

These words become your script in living out your life, and they affect your outlook on life. For instance, in my excessive indulgence in sad songs over the years, I would listen to sad songs and vent by crying.

Like how Paul exhorts us to think about whatever is true and lovely (Philippians 4:8), I found that my life has began to change after I cut the sad songs out of my routine.

For one, I have better sleep hygiene as I no longer listen to songs well past my bedtime. I also no longer try to identify with the sad songs, making my whole day or whole life feel even more depressing.

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I’ve learnt to manage sadness and disappointments by journaling, and then praying about them.

It helps to know that your sadness does not go unresolved, because God is a living God who hears and remembers your tears (Psalms 56).

The purpose of fasting during Lent is to bring you closer to God, and to seek Him more. I have found that by fasting from sad songs, I have learned how to talk to God about my feelings and to dwell on God’s Word when I am sad.

I also find that I honour God more in my lifestyle and choices!

I would like to summarise some pointers from my experience.

  1. Anything enjoyed in excess is bad.
  2. Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial (1 Corinthians 10:23).
  3. Pay attention to what you are consuming and putting into your mind.
  4. Self-expression and venting can become unhealthy.

Although it might feel that sad songs know exactly how you feel, do take heart that our Father not only knows how you feel best — He is ever willing to comfort you and answer your prayers.

So, don’t let sadness have a stronghold on you anymore by dwelling on it excessively.

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THINK + TALK

  1. What kind of music do you listen to? Does it negatively affect you in any way?
  2. If it’s not the music, what is one thing you might need to manage or cut out of your life for the sake of your holistic wellbeing?
  3. This week, meditate on Philippians 4:8.