Thoughts are often louder than words could ever be. When anxiety is spinning its infinite webs or when everything becomes too much, I find myself turning to my favorite music playlists.

These playlists have become my source of solace, my sanity. Years ago, if you were to have asked me my opinion on music, I would have likely told you that I enjoyed it just fine but could easily live without it. It was the summer of last year when I realized just how intrinsic and crucial the comfort of music had become in my life. I never thought I'd miss my favorite artists and songs as much as I actually did.

I first got a taste of music with four of my other friends who lived in the same neighborhood as me. We were young and would have these random singing competitions. A friendly competition turned into a quarrel of "Who can sing the best song and who has the coolest song to sing?" Somehow I found myself just trying to see what kinds of songs I could find. We would even have skits and plays in which we would incorporate different songs and present it to all the parents every time there was a gathering.

In the past few years, I have compiled songs that speak to my soul. I have playlists for writing, reading, commuting, falling in love, traveling — you name it. Eventually, I was no longer content with background music alone. My appreciation for music had changed as I discovered artists and albums that spoke to me.

On many levels, I think this evolving musical appreciation is reflective of my own self-discovery. The more I learned about and accepted myself, the more comfortable I felt exploring different musical genres. Through this musical self-exploration, I have found where my own passions lie. I find that by listening to music, I work better, and I can focus myself so much better. It's become essential to be able to go to the gym. Now, I could never imagine a day of my life without the music.

Music is, at its heart, an expression of the human experience. How many times have we scrolled through seemingly endless playlists for the sole purpose of finding that one song that perfectly encapsulates our mindset at that moment? Conversely, how many times have we sought a song that represented an utterly different emotion than we felt in that present moment, so we could escape into the melody, hide in the lyrics until our burdens lifted and our outlook shifted?

Whether it be aching nostalgia, soft-spoken melancholy or heart-swelling joy, music represents a myriad of emotions. It is able to both evoke and mimic feelings we've long held inside. So now, when I am sad, angry or overwhelmed, I turn to music. I press play and let the melody wash over me until the words become my mantra and the rhythm becomes my heartbeat. Music feeds the soul, and it has become my refuge in a world where things can become too much.