How To Self-Medicate The Bad Feelings Without Numbing The Good Ones

You already have inside what you need to feel better.

sad woman sitting near window CandyRetriever / Shutterstock

We all medicate. Some of us medicate to stop feeling scared, to stop feeling depressed, to stop feeling angry. But what if it's time to stop medicating against things? 

I've got a prescription for you, but this isn’t about cheap over-the-counter stuff or even prescription meds. It's about something else entirely. 

See, we’ve basically got four types of feelings: fear, anger, grief, and joy. We already know what you medicate and self-medicate against.


But let's talk about what you can self-medicate for — and how. It's called self-medication for success.

Please don't get the wrong idea: Self-medication for success isn’t about anything illegal. But it is about self-medication.

All that happy brain chemistry — the really happy brain chemistry — is yours already.

RELATED: 6 (Fixable!) Personality Traits That Men See As Red Flags

RELATED: There's A Simple Explanation For Why Adele’s Songs Make Us Cry


What this 'medication' unlocks inside of you

This isn’t about any of the 23 types of meditation or mindfulness that turn off all four feelings at once, although that sort of peace does feel really good once in a while.

And it’s not a mind hack to unplug the ADHD narrator (or narrators) in our brains with the play-by-play commentary on every irrelevant detail of every moment of every day (so that I can’t freaking concentrate on anything).

No, it's not a pill or a shot or a pressure point or anything like that. Yes, it's like sex — the more you practice the better it gets.

And yes, it’s free. You probably already use it all the time without a thought. 


But if you background it, you miss the effect. It's when you think about it that you engage the power.

The power of fear, anger, grief, and joy: Engage those four. Master them. Use them.

Because four-emotion fluency amps perception and supercharges creativity. It transforms fear, anger, and grief into unlimited ecstasy. 

Grab your headphones. This is where it gets good.

RELATED: This Emo Activity Cures A Broken Heart Instantly, Says Science

This is your brain on music 

Play music that scares the crap out of you. Do it. If it’s not scary enough, find scarier music. You want to engage that fear as deep as it will go. 

Music takes care of brain chemistry for that. You take care to know you are safe as you do this. You can always hit pause. Do this for as long as you can take it.


Now, play the music that really heats you up. You want to feel anger as deep as you feel safe to go. 

Feel it as you listen and let it boil. Hard. When you’re hot enough, take off the headphones until you’re ready to start again. This is some intense brain chemistry.

It’s time for grief. Choose music that makes you way more than weep. We want throbbing, sobbing, inconsolable, desperate, despair — or as close as it gets for you.  

The pause button is right there if you need it. It’s only brain chemistry, and your brain is under your control.   

RELATED: Why People On TikTok Are Raving About Shufflemancy & How To Make A Divination Playlist


Time to shift gears — and your emotional response

Now go with joy. If your music doesn’t make you dance, get more joyful music, OK?

Joy needs to shake your soul right to and beyond that place you used to call orgasm. Beyond joy and bliss, there’s more. A lot more. 

You call that place "beauty," and here’s a secret: Practice this and you can achieve beauty from fear, anger, and grief, too. But forget about the pause button or what to call the feeling beyond joy and just go there.


With practice, you can do all four feelings — from abject terror to ultimate joy — with a four-minute playlist, but you may want to spend more time on any one of them. 

No judgment here in how you respond. All four emotions are part of what our human brain chemistry does for us, right? 

Think of it this way: Your mind will digest the deepest of emotions — all four of them — to make beauty.

That is self-medication for success. Get your music on. Create beauty. 

RELATED: 31 Experts Share Their Favorite Ways To Manage Anxiety Or Stress — Without Medication

Bill Protzmann founded Music Care Inc., a for-profit corporation dedicated to teaching practical ways music can be used for self-care. His latest book, More Than Human, explains how and why re-engaging the human spirit can make a practical and positive difference.