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by Dannah Gresh, founder of True Girl 

You can probably remember a time when you pushed play over and over again to listen to a sad song after a break-up. It probably didn’t make you feel less sad!

Can music lyrics create anxiety and depression in our girls? The short answer is “yes.” Here are three things you need to know.

1.) Depression & Anxiety Are On The Rise For Tweens & Teens
The number of youth with mental health disorders has more than doubled over the past ten years. Many factors contribute to the depressive episodes tweens and teens face including hyper-connectivity due to social media, overstimulation from media, not getting enough sleep, and feeling a lack of community due to highly structured school schedules. If your daughter is struggling, consider the risk factors above, and do what you can to address them. But could music be another contributor?

2.) Music Lyrics Have Become Increasingly Angry & Sad
Quantitive analytics were used to study the change in pop music from the 1950s to 2016. The results reveal that “the expression of anger and sadness in the lyrics has increased gradually over time, while the expression of joy has declined.” Some of the lyrics of today’s most popular songs are violent, aggressive, and disrespectful towards women.

Couple that with the fact that music is important to tweens and teens. Always has been. (You probably spent a hot minute hiding behind headphones when you were younger.) The average youth listens to about 2.5 hours of music a day. Those growing up in high-risk pockets can log up to forty hours a week with their earbuds. Are those angry, sad, aggressive lyrics impacting their mood?

3.) Music Lyrics Can Incite Aggressive, Anxious, & Depressive Thoughts
During five experiments with 75 female and 70 male college students, those who heard violent songs were shown to feel more hostile than those who heard a nonviolent song from the same artist and in the same style.

The bottom line is that music does impact our emotions. Perhaps that is why we like it so very much. And consider this: your daughter is just growing into her emotions. Using a pop song to practice how to process them is not entirely bad, if the song does not contain dark, explicit, or raunchy lyrics. Music can also make us feel hopeful, happy, and like trying…again.

Recently, we saw a need for some positive, encouraging music for tween and teen girls. So, we partnered with a Nashville-based singer/songwriter to produce the first-ever collection of our own True Girl songs including worship and pop songs that encourage truth on topics that trouble girls like fitting in, friendships, boys, and more. Filled with carefully thought out songs based on Bible verses critical to your daughter’s developing worldview, we think it’s the ultimate playlist and that it will inspire her to worship God and have confidence in who she is as a daughter of Christ.

Music alone will not create depression and anxiety in your daughter, but if she is struggling with unstable emotions it could make things worse. It may invite her to hyper-focus on what she should not. Conversely, listening to positive lyrics and happy songs could be just the thing to sway her in the right direction!