A ‘Trauma Recovery Playlist’ to Embrace or Escape the Stress Response

Music is powerful, healing and, as we all know, mood-altering. When listened to gently and mindfully, you can use calming relaxation music to either embrace or escape the trauma and stress responses. It can also be used as a sensory input tool to self-soothe and self-regulate, reducing physiological and psychological flooding.

I created a trauma recovery playlist, trauma recovery, stress recovery, relaxation playlist1-hour playlist on Spotify for account holders with some of my favourite instrumental and relaxation music for readers to listen to during times of stress or as a tool in recovery for relaxation. Search for the ‘Trauma Recovery Playlist by Orlagh Reid‘ on SPOTIFY or use the link below. 

Click here to listen to the ‘Trauma Recovery Playlist by Orlagh Reid’ on Spotify.

The dynamic power of music

We all experience how listening to music or songs on the radio can make us feel uplifted and elevated or nostalgic and reminiscent. Movie soundtracks are chosen to invoke strong emotional responses making scenes more compelling and moving. While meditations have soft, soothing rhythms in the background to induce deep relaxation. You too can therapeutically use music and this Spotify playlist to promote peace and calm.

The ferocious impact of trauma

The sudden impact of trauma is ferocious, and the worst part of trauma – is absolutely everything. Trauma caused by unexpected grief, loss, betrayal or a traumatic event makes it almost impossible to function or think clearly. Leaving us with no choice but to feel the feelings and tolerate surges of overwhelming thoughts and emotions.

Some traumatic events are prolonged experiences, like betrayal and relationship trauma, making it physically and mentally exhausting coping with longer-term symptoms.

The trauma response can feel like a battle between being consumed with thoughts and processing what is happening – versus feeling at war with your body which refuses to do what you want it to do.

 “Trauma leaves you shipwrecked. You are left to rebuild your inner world.”

– Dr. Bruce Perry author of What Happened to You?

Take control of any unnecessary external influences that may cause more discomfort to you right now. Listening to the radio, lyrics and news updates will be particularly triggering during times of distress and hyperarousal. In fact, that is the reason I created this carefully selected trauma recovery playlist.

What the experts say about the trauma

Hazel Larkin (www.traumarecovery.ie) is a trauma recovery expert who has supported many women and men overcoming trauma, particularly childhood sexual trauma. Hazel hosts workshops and retreats in Ireland for female survivors of sexual abuse and also for adult children of narcissistic mothers. She is the host of the wonderful podcast called WomanUp! Hazel says…

Many of us who have trauma in our bodies actively avoid being in our bodies. We dissociate, disconnecting our minds from our physical selves. As you can imagine, this is useful for a child when being abused or during a traumatic incident. But, it is not so useful for anyone who would like to be fully present in their entire selves. 

Music can help with the somatic (re)integration. Music doesn’t ‘speak’ to our cerebral selves; it speaks to our emotions and gets us moving. Mindfully listening to music can also help us to feel emotions that are frozen inside us, and get the trauma moving and shifting, which is helpful in trauma recovery.’

{You might also like to read Hazel Larkin talking about ‘Reclaiming your sexuality after sexual abuse‘}

Dr. Bruce Perry, a renowned brain development and trauma expert and author of ‘What happened to you? Conversations on Trauma, Resilience and Healing with Oprah Winfrey writes that “finding balance can be an exhausting challenge for anyone with trauma-altered stress-response systems. The search to avoid the pain of distress can lead to extreme, ultimately destructive, methods of regulation“.

These expert opinions are why it is important to find healthy adaptive, and mindful ways to soothe the stress and trauma response. Develop resilience through your trauma experience by listening to calming music and consider other helpful interventions such as journaling, mindfulness, breathwork, exercise, being in nature or starting trauma-informed psychotherapy. 

Take time out in your day to slow down, and switch off from the outside world. Let yourself be in and with your body – your thoughts – or embrace the healing power of music and escape into the melodies.

Listen to this soft relaxing playlist for self-care, while out walking or in a warm, comfortable, safe place. You can practice gentle slow deep breathing to help the body shift into a more relaxed state.

Before focusing on trauma recovery, take time out to rest and recuperate. Healing can start when the time feels right – in fact, it is already happening.

You can listen to more relaxation music, meditation, soundscapes, sleep stories and guided exercises that are helpful when experiencing symptoms of stress and trauma on the CALM app and the Headspace app and Spotify.


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Orlagh Reid Psychotherapy

Orlagh Reid

Orlagh Reid is an IACP accredited Counsellor & Psychotherapist, Addiction Counsellor, Gottman Couples Therapist and Fertility Counsellor in private practice based in Co. Kildare, Ireland and worldwide online via DOXY. She specialises in addiction, recovery, well-being and clinical sexology. To find out more or to book an online consultation visit www.orlaghreid.com

Orlagh Reid Psychotherapy MIACP Therapy Ireland

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