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What hope do you find in music?

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TV and radio personality and SANE Australia Board Director Osher Günsberg is a familiar face in the Australian music scene. Last year he shared his experience of living with anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder.  

'Music is an outlet I've used for a lot of my life to get good feelings in or bad feelings out,' he explains. So, how does Osher use music help manage his symptoms of mental illness?

Osher's top five songs

  1. Do You Realize?? - The Flaming Lips
    Wayne Coyne's simple philosophy of life put into one of the most wonderful songs ever written. This song turns my frown upside down.

  2. The Number Of The Beast - Iron Maiden
    Sometimes when I get all pent up to get my head straight I get on my bike and go hard out. This music helps me get that energy out of my body.

  3. Mahler's 9th Symphony, Benjamin Zander Philharmonia Orchestra*
    Truly one of the most glorious symphonies ever written, conducted by one of the greatest artists we get to share a planet with. Pure emotive symphonic expression performed brilliantly. I defy you to not get goosebumps.

  4. Call Me Maybe - Carly Rae Jepsen
    Sometimes you need to just dance around the room. This is possibly the most perfect pop song of the last decade and it works a treat to sing along to and pretend you're in the music video for it.

  5. Never Too Much - Luther Vandross
    This was the first dance at our wedding. I hear it and remember holding Audrey in my arms as we looked into each other's eyes as husband and wife for the first time every time I hear it.

What impact has music had on your mental health?

As someone who used to play music all the time in all kinds of bands, music is an outlet I've used for a lot of my life to get good feelings in or bad feelings out. Nothing can give you goosebumps faster than the right lyric with the right chorus - and that can change your whole day.

Has music helped you manage any mental illness symptoms?

Sometimes when the anxiety starts piling up on itself, I put on some exceedingly heavy Viking Metal (it's a whole genre to itself) then I get on my bike and smash out super-intense intervals while listening to gallopy songs about rowboats and dragons and swords and things. I always feel better afterwards.

Have you ever taken part in music therapy?

Does dancing on stage with The Flaming Lips count? If so yes.

What factors do you think contribute to mental health issues often faced by artists?

I can only speak from my experience, but creative people's brains don't stop being creative when they're not creating. 

Those brains are constantly looking at the world in different ways and that's what we see and hear in their art. When they're not making art, that creativity keeps going and in my case can find all kinds of creative ways to convince me that the world is ending. It isn't, but my brain is pretty good at coming up with creative ways that it might.

Songs of hope

'Never underestimate the therapeutic effect of driving with your windows down and the music up.' - Ann

'Music has helped me through sadness, anxiety, fatigue. It has brought me to tears in recognition and remembrance.' - Robyn

To celebrate the power of music we asked our Facebook community for the songs that get them through the dark days. The response was fantastic and we've created a Spotify playlist featuring more than 10 hours of music

So what music raises your spirits, brings back happy memories, or carries you through a tough day? Tell us on Facebook and we'll add the best suggestions to Osher's playlist.

* This version of Symphony No.9 is not available on Spotify.

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