Playlist Building for Mental Wellness

Intuitively, many understand that music can have positive impacts on our mental health. We turn to music during times of distress and elation, to soothe our worries and release tensions. Intuitive listening has the power to positively impact mental wellness and our daily lives.

Studies show an increase in dopamine when the brain is exposed to music. Dopamine is the neurotransmitter associated with euphoria, bliss, motivation, & concentration. In this sense, music is an ideal form of self-care; beneficial for both our spirit and our body. An excellent coping mechanism that can be implemented from day-to-day is mindful listening. Building a playlist focused solely on songs that inspire and uplift can elicit great changes on mental wellness. Intention is essential when constructing a mental wellness playlist. What do you need right now? Staying mindful of what your mental, emotional, and physical state requires is necessary when selecting songs for a wellness playlist. Different genres of music may also evoke different emotions. Classical music will not have the same effect on your brain as heavy metal. Paying attention to how musical variety impacts your mental state will assist your intuitive listening.

Music Therapists are able to utilize the positive benefits of music and playlist building to improve one’s quality of life. A music therapist will work with a client to create playlists based on the iso-principle. The iso-principle is a technique where the music is originally matched to the client’s mood, then gradually altered to impact the desired mood. It’s important to first validate one’s feelings with music, then one can incrementally change their mood by choosing songs that are motivational and happy in essence.

Not only can music uplift, but music also provides a sense of calm and helps alleviate anxiety or stress. For example, listening to a playlist specifically curated to ease tensions every morning will lead to more enjoyment and mindfulness during the day. Especially during a time of high stress in the world, music can offer a much needed escape.

At Wellington Music Therapy Services, our music therapists are trained in and passionate about playlist building to improve mental wellness. Please do not hesitate to reach out to learn more about how we can support your mental goals.


Chung, Madelyn. “Music Therapy: Tuning Up Your Mental Health with Prescribed Playlists.” FASHION Magazine, PUBEXCHANGE, 12 Feb. 2020,

Hedican, Jill, et al. “Music for Self Care: Listening to Music with Intention.” Your Health Matters, 13 Apr. 2020,

Stiernberg, Bonnie. “The Rise of the ‘Mental Health Playlist,” And How to Make One.” InsideHook, 3 Nov. 2020,