Women create theme song to overcome anxiety

Deborah Pritchard

Women were able to sing their anxiety away Friday afternoon in the Women’s Resource Center.

Angela Neal-Barnett and Bernadette Blount Salley, master musicians and composers, gave a presentation to 13 women on how to create a theme song to decrease anxiety in their lives.

“Do you remember being in love the first time?” asked associate professor of psychology Neal-Barnett. “What was your song?”

Neal-Barnett said music is an emotional thing. She said just like people have a song for when they first fell in love, they can have a song to drive away negative and anxious thoughts.

“When you get your own theme song, it drowns out and then drives out negative, anxious thoughts and replaces them with positive, affirming thoughts,” she said. “They let you be and do what you want.”

Salley led the group in the building of theme songs.

“Music is a powerful vehicle,” Salley said. “It has the power to make a difference.”

Participants created a mission statement during part one of “Soothe Your Nerves,” which took place earlier this month, describing how they saw themselves “fear free.” The mission statement helped people develop their theme songs by selecting key phrases and words.

Salley and Neal-Barnett supplied iPods with four melodies downloaded on them for participants to use as a background to their theme song. The melodies included, “Silent Night” and “Angels We have Heard on High,” as well as “Live Life Abundantly” and “My Song is the Key,” which were composed by Salley.

“You superimpose whatever your vision is in the melodies that are given,” Salley said.

Jessica Demmings, second year psychology graduate student, said giving someone a technique they can use to deal with their own anxiety was the most useful part of “Soothe Your Nerves.”

She said “using words specific for you for a song” is a great way to create a theme song and overcome anxiety.

Neal-Barnett invited participants to come back and record their own theme songs and download them on their iPods. She said this way, they can take their theme songs with them wherever they go.

“Soothe Your Nerves” ended by the group singing an example theme song titled “Keep Rising” by Salley.

“Wherever I go, the music that I create has a positive impact on people’s lives by bringing hope and encouragement,” Salley said.

In part one of “Soothe Your Nerves,” women were educated on the types of anxiety, what causes it and ways to overcome it.

Neal-Barnett will be on the program “Paula Zahn NOW” on CNN from 8 to 9 p.m. today to discuss her research dealing with the anxiety black adolescents who are accused of acting white often experience.

CNN filmed her “acting white” research on the Kent campus.

Neal-Barnett will also be featured on CNN.com.

Contact student life reporter Deborah Pritchard at [email protected].