Music to overcome fragility – a selection of songs suggested by our readers

“Summer is just the sea for me”, the fragrance of sand and cream on my skin, the sweetness of an ice cream or a cocktail on the beach and the salt of a dip from the rocks… “Summer is happiness and good food for me”. For those who do not know me, I do not hide my skills of good fork and I’m a real lover of Mediterranean and traditional cuisine.

But for some, summer is about fighting between heat and disease, hospitals don’t stop in summer! Sometimes the cases of life put you in situations where every speech outside is holidays, relaxation, beach parties … while only you can know the war and suffering that you are passing with your family.

From the work carried out in the 40s and 50s, the English psychologist Bowlby developed his Theory of Attachment: sadness is defined as a feeling that has a very precise purpose in our existence: Just as anger is fundamental in dealing with dangerous situations that can damage or have damaged ourselves and our family, fear is a true instinct for survival, sadness allows us to temporarily leave the outside world to deal with content that lies within us, helps us to process memories, indicates that we are losing something important and (when possible) that we have to do something about it, conveys important messages to others, allows us to experience compassion, empathy, and being altruistic, signals uncertain social situations and allows us to decrease cognitive errors that color our judgments.

In a survey conducted in December 2017 by the Health Care Area of the ISTUD Foundation, you Readers were asked to indicate a playlist of 10 songs that you would like to hear more willingly in moments of discouragement and that you feel have some therapeutic and calming power. The first results of this brief research were published in this magazine in February 2018, 115 answers, 1115 music reported by at least 4 generations. Participating countries: Italy, Switzerland, UK, USA, Chile, and Israel.

From the wordcloud we published, recurring words emerged such as “life”, “love”, “you”, “perfect”, “world”, “concert” and artists such as “Pink” or “Pink Floyd”, “Bach”, “Mozart”, “Laura Pausini”, “The Beatles”, “Metallica” and “Led Zeppelin”. Curious and interesting to note that the musicians most frequently cited by our readers are real classics or belong to the period around the 70s and 80s, artists able to unite several generations of fun, from the children of ’68 to the very young who face the world of rockers.

On a deeper analysis we can, however, note that each playlist received seems to have its own character, seems to speak and explain “this is the way I deal with my problems”: sometimes sadness is replaced by other emotions such as anger characterized by the rock or metal genre; A further way to deal with fragility can be given by behaviors such as closing in on oneself, with one’s own pain, showing oneself strong out, trusting in God, indicating only playlists of sacred music, classical music, Opera and jazz authors. But the most functional way to overcome sadness and discouragement, according to the experts, is to live them, cry if necessary and accept it, many songs, suggested by the participants, which have a bitter and sad taste, listening to them you have the feeling of grief further, may seem perhaps self-defeating, but as the experts suggest perhaps crying and singing at a glance through the tears that mark the cheeks may be the first step to deal with the unpleasant situation, accept it and leave it behind.

We have selected for you at least one song from each playlist you have sent us, a selection of songs and music to tackle and, especially at such a particular time as the month of August, to try to overcome the fragility that life sometimes imposes on us.

Nice holidays to everybody.


Written by

Researcher at Healthcare Area of ISTUD Foundation. Master degree in Industrial Biotechnology at University of Milano-Bicocca, Post-graduate ‘Scienziati in Azienda’ at ISTUD Foundation. Expert in Medical Writing, especially in areas as the qualitative research and Narrative Medicine. She contributes to research and educational projects with the aim of improving the quality of life and quality of care of patients with chronicle or genetic diseases.

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