1. “I Can See Clearly Now” – Johnny Nash

If you’re looking for a song with overall positive vibes, this is it. I like to listen to it, particularly when going through my morning routine in order to mentally prepare myself for the day ahead. Most people already know this song, and it may seem cheesy, but I’ve found its lyrics to be not only a source of encouragement but also a simple yet incredibly accurate depiction of what it’s like to grapple with and overcome some of the worst aspects of depression:

I can see clearly now, the rain is gone

I can see all obstacles in my way

Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind

It’s going to be a bright, bright sun-shiny day.

The “dark clouds” many of us with depression face are more than just extreme sadness. Dark clouds can be the inability to experience emotion–numbness. Dark clouds can be prolonged forgetfulness, intentional or unintentional. Dark clouds can be an inability to break the cycle of negative thoughts. Being able to see clearly again—whatever that means to the individual—is freedom.

  1. “Unwritten” – Natasha Bedingfield

Bedingfield’s classic hit has struck a chord in me. In previous years, I’ve found it extremely difficult to enjoy the activities I love best and terrified of trying new ones. I can recall the most painful days lying paralyzed on the bed, the weight of every negative emotion restraining me from the simple act of getting dressed in the morning.

Naturally, this inability to function left me feeling regret over the trips I could’ve taken, the sights I could’ve seen, or the people I could’ve loved—that I was somehow a failed 20-something for not having lived my life.

But those last three chorus lines “Live your life with arms wide open / Today is where your book begins / The rest is still unwritten” remind us to leave the past in the past and to face our future without fear or judgment.  

  1. “Still Standing” – Monica

Monica has always been one of my favorite R&B artists. Her song “Still Standing” is my anthem. It keeps me grounded and resilient. This is the song that allows me to remember where I came from and what I’ve been through, but not to be bound by it.

Whether I’m going to a job interview, preparing to take an exam, or engaging in anything that requires perseverance, this is definitely a go-to.

Note: These song suggestions are meant to add to—and not be a substitute for—the appropriate routes toward recovery. If you are currently experiencing challenges with your mental health, please reach out for help.