Guest Post

Ginny S. Gillikin’s Freedom from Anxiety through Music

Today The Layered Onion has a guest blog essay post from writer Ginny S. Gillikin. This piece, Freedom from Anxiety through Music, is featured in the upcoming Shallot publication, Volume I, Number 2, that focuses on activities and hobbies as we navigate the darkest period of the year (not too long before the days start getting longer and lighter again!). The focus was to create a piece about something that makes you happy.

Ginny’s piece offers perspective on anxiety and offers a way to break free from that anxiety, which can feel like it binds us.

A photo of Ginny S. Gillikin, the author.

Freedom from Anxiety Through Music

Music brings me solace. As a loner, I intentionally submerse myself in a wall of sound. Feelings of calmness and contentment surround me when I put on headphones and listen to a favorite vinyl record on the turntable.

I sometimes feel the necessity for a distraction from the outside world, since it can be harsh. Stressors like job stability, finances, and relationships can crush even the most confident and successful person. And people can be cruel–sometimes intentionally, sometimes not. As someone with a sensitive soul who battles anxiety and depression, I feel stress, loss, and angst more deeply than most.

Listening to music helps me break free from the agony and fear that I sometimes experience. I lose myself in the beats, melody, and lyrics. The stories told in songs transport me to a world far away, where my demons no longer torture me. Escape to an unfamiliar existence offers relief.

Music can also transcend time. Memories come flooding back when I listen to specific songs and albums. I reminisce about spending time with family and attending concerts with friends. Other songs revive feelings of nostalgia, with a sad twist, as they remind me of people who are no longer in my life.

But primarily, listening to words and sounds helps me concentrate on something other than my worries. My anxieties and sorrows disappear as I get out of my head and pay attention to the thoughts of others–some tortured by overthinking and analyzing like me, some not.

Upbeat music like hip-hop, electronica, and disco/house styles help improve my mood. Elation and euphoria course throughout my body. Rhythm and cadence force me out of my chair and onto a private dance floor.

Sad country and Goth songs actually comfort me as well. Hearing others sing about loss and longing for love proves that I am not alone with my conflicted feelings. Anxiety and yearning are universal sentiments.

I must remind myself often that obsessing over emotions and unpleasant circumstances is not healthy. Getting lost in music allows me to escape from the confines of my mind and revel in an activity that brings pleasure.

Ginny S. Gillikin (she/her) is a writer in Raleigh, NC. She has composed poems and stories since childhood. She considers her style of writing to be stream-of-consciousness and writes about dreams, friends and family, and life experiences. Ginny has authored profiles of musicians for and Raleigh Magazine.

Want to hear more from Ginny? Check out her Instagram @ginnygillikin to engage with her! Ginny is also on LinkedIn and works professionally as a writer, editor, and proofreader.

To see more work from the upcoming volume of The Shallot, consider signing up for a perk in The Layered Onion’s ongoing crowdfunding campaign. The campaign is focused on supporting The Shallot publication in 2023 so we can continue to publish wonderful artists and writers like Ginny.