Playlist 9: Think Less, Do More

Music video by Nathan Sykes performing Over And Over Again. (C) 2015 Global Entertainment


“Over and Over Again”
Nathan Sykes

I am, without fail, a happier me after a Skype date with my boyfriend, Ben. Through our crazy schedules with school, work, internship and a five hour time difference, setting aside special time for each other means so much to me. They’re never anything crazy, just he and I talking and catching up, but I never want to hang up and I am always in a better mood after of our talks.

Today’s date was wonderful as always, but it was a message that he sent afterwards that made my heart sing. It was very simple, a compliment and reminder about a part of me that he really enjoys, but it made me glow and feel even more connected with him. It reminded me of how much I appreciate him and the simple moments of happiness that I have with him throughout the day.

I find every line of this song to be beautiful and endearing, but saying “I’ll love you over and over again” is powerful enough in and of itself. The little things that Ben says and does (that he probably doesn’t think twice about or realize how important they are to me) make me feel exactly that- love for him over and over again. You’re free to call me cheesy if you’d like, I’m sure he will too once he reads this.

Released: Apr 13, 2012 ℗ 2012 Atlantic Recording Corporation for the United States and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States.


“Living in the Moment”
Jason Mraz

I have been having an incredible amount of conversations lately about being mindful, present, and overcoming barriers that get in the way of achieving what we truly want in life. I’m not sure if I’m seeking out these conversations or if it’s happenstance, but either way, it has been very thought-provoking.

This little ditty randomly came on a YouTube playlist and I smirked at the universe.  Many of us set up these mental barriers for ourselves, or “traps” as Jason Mraz calls them. We often define what we “can” and “can’t” do, what we “should” and “shouldn’t” do, and what we “need” and “needn’t” do. We try to plan our lives according to these “practical” definitions instead of embracing opportunities that come our way.

I was told by someone very wise that perhaps the best way to look beyond the barriers and live the way we want to is simply by doing as many things as possible that interest us. By doing this we can open ourselves up to opportunities that may help us find a fulfilling path. I am a self-proclaimed over-thinker when it comes to certain life topics so I can’t say I’m a pro at taking action instead of trying to make the “practical” choice, but I’m starting to believe in the idea more and more.

So here’s my plan: I’m going to make fewer plans. I’m going to stop allowing the “can’ts,” “shouldn’ts,” and “needn’ts” to dictate my days and spend more time doing the things I want to do. I have made some impromptu decisions in the past that have wound up being the most incredible experiences and have opened up so many doors, so why not do that all the time? I think that allowing ourselves to live in the moment can help build momentum towards embracing life and all of its possibilities.

Released: Nov 01, 1970 ℗ 1970 Island Records, a division of Universal Music Operations Limited


“One of These Things First”
Nick Drake

I’ll be honest with you: this song was a random and completely last minute pick today, but that doesn’t mean it’s not significant! Whenever I have days where I’m feeling uninspired or directionless in regards to what music I’m feeling, I let my ears take over and respond solely to the sounds I hear, rather than digging deeply for meaningful lyrics. I never want to force my selections.

Around 1 AM, driving home from a karaoke contest (a second attempt after not winning a few weeks ago), I remembered I hadn’t chosen a song yet. This was the first thing that came on after I reluctantly put on some tunes, and I had to give my iPod props for not blowing me out of the water with something of the likes of Skindred.

What I really enjoy about this song is the piano. It dances around and is so dynamic, yet delicate at the same time. It makes me think of a little fairy fluttering around, granting wishes and sparkling all over the place.

Am I delirious from sleep deprivation you ask? Perhaps, but I bet I’ll read this back tomorrow and be pretty entertained.

Released: Aug 12, 2016 ℗ 2016 Bifrost Music AS


“Brother of My Heart”

I have become very aware of my need for a full 8-9 hours of sleep; less than six was not enough for today and I really had to tap into my reserve tank to power through the day.

Sometimes fatigue can kick up some anxiety in me, which happened a bit by the time I was heading home from class. I wasn’t worried about anything, but really just felt tightness in my chest and an urgency of wanting to get home, eat dinner and go to bed. I needed to be done with the day, get some sleep, and recharge.

I realized something about this song as I happily listened that actually relates to art therapy and really behavioral psychology in general: repetition is extremely soothing. People use self-soothing behaviors that involve repetition all the time, like shaking your foot for example. People with Autism often use “stimming,” or self-stimulating behaviors like rocking or repeating words in order to help regulate their anxiety. Creating repetitive patterns or shapes in a drawing can help reorganize our thoughts and make us feel calmer. Repetition is calming no matter who you are or what type of tension you’re experiencing.

This song has repetition built right into it. The same melody repeats throughout almost all of the last two minutes, and towards the end, the band begins to sing “na na’s” to further emphasize the pattern. By the end of the song, I noticed that I was feeling a little better, and it would come as no surprise to me if part of the reason were because of its calm, repetitive melody.

Uploaded by Delta Rae on 2015-02-27 ℗ 2015 Sire Records


Delta Rae

I woke up at 10:15, ate breakfast around 11:00 and did not sit down to start my schoolwork until 12:30. The struggle has been real and I’ve only been awake for three hours at this point. After all of the conversations I’ve had this week about being proactive, I felt a tiny little flame inside to accomplish as much as possible today, a flame that I knew needed to be fueled if I was going to do anything but listen to the rain outside my window.

I watched a few motivational videos which always seem to simplify the notion of productivity into Nike terms, where “Just do it” starts to make perfect sense to me. I can sit down for one hour, avoid distractions, and finish a project; sixty minutes of concentration that could save me hours of stress later on. It seems so simple, it is so simple, and yet I constantly let diversions take over my brain space.

I’m sure a lot of us share in this habit; it can be really difficult to shut out all of our other responsibilities and thoughts and be totally immersed in one thing! But not today. Today I will achieve the goals I’ve set for myself because there’s no reason why I can’t. I am capable, and I have all the tools I need.

“Run” fits right into my “keep going” attitude, lyrics, tempo, and melody alike (I often have this visceral reaction to violins so that element really sold me, too.) It also gives off this air of freedom, which I am so close to attaining being in my last two weeks of school and am so ready for. I’ve needed a lot of these motivational songs lately, but for me, finding music that gives me the boost I need is an easy way to help push me forward.

Weekly Wrap-Up

I’ve been feeling a lot of pressure lately to make the most of each day and of everything I do, to think less and do more. It’s getting a little easier, but I still need encouragement along the way.

Stand-out Song of the Week: “Living In The Moment”

I have so much more to say about living in the moment, seizing opportunities and pushing past limitations in order to get where we want to go.

What do you listen to that helps keep you moving forward?
Share your comments at the bottom of the page.

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