Have you ever been in a room and things have been ho-hum. Then a great song comes on. What happens? The song changes the entire dynamic of the room. Positive songs can do just that, they can increase our happiness in the moment.
I have two little girls. In the mornings we have a bit of a drive to do dropoff, so I try to pick different songs to introduce them to that can get them geared up for the day. Songs like Eye of the Tiger are a hit!
That after school, making dinner time frame can be tough. They’re winding down from their day, I’m winding down from mine. There are sometimes they want to be clingy. One trick I’ve used a number of times is turning on positive songs and start a dance party. After a song or two that I pick are over somehow it ends up on the Floor is Lava, but nonetheless we have weathered that weird time of day.
What the Research Says About Using Positive Songs to Increase Happiness
There is a lot of research surrounding the positive benefits of music. Listening to songs that give us goose bumps can increase our dopamine, which is directly correlated with happiness. If we listen to a song that is nostalgic to us, it can increase our overall neurological happiness. And positive songs, songs that have an uplifting message can improve overall mood and happiness.
10 Positive Songs to Boost Your Mood
Based on the research that positive songs can boost your mood, I wanted to round up a few of my favorite songs. I tried to go for variety in this list: slow and moody, up-beat, current, classic, and even Broadway. So, hopefully, there is a little here for everyone.
I’ve rounded up all of these songs into a playlist on MPower Co’s YouTube Channel. So, if you have some time and want to listen through all of them, click on this link and you can listen to all of these songs!
A couple of things: 1. some of these songs have explicit and clean versions, so please make sure you choose what is appropriate for your tastes. I have saved [with mixed feelings] the clean versions only to our YouTube channel. 2. These songs speak to me in a certain way, but you may listen to them and get something completely different out of them! That is what is beautiful about art.
- “Dog Days are Over” by Florence and the Machine
This song is both nostalgic for me and is also a great reminder to be open to allowing happiness back in when there has been a string of bad luck. Also the music to this song just gives a happy, uplifting feel.
- “Hold On” by Adele
When I said moody, if you didn’t immediately think of Adele, I’d be a little surprised. In her latest album she released the song “Hold On.” You might be surprised this song is on the list, because it is somber. I think this song is a great reminder that sometimes we need to allow emotions in and then remind ourselves that we are strong and that if we hold on things will change.
There are so many great positive psychology lines in this song, including “let time be patient” and “sometimes forgiveness is easiest in secret.”
- “AOK” by Tai Verdes
Turning lemons into lemonade is an age old saying. It brings familiarity to this contemporary song. This song is a reminder that there are so many paths, and we just need to stay on our own path to be ok at the end of the day. This is the perfect song when you are wanting to be reminded to lean into your own strengths and what is authentic for you, not matter what others are saying!
- “Soulmate” by Lizzo
This is a self-love anthem, which is what Lizzo is all about! I heard “Soulmate” one morning randomly, and it’s been a favorite ever since. If this song doesn’t immediately boost your mood and make you want to move, I don’t know what will. It’s got a great beat and is a great reminder to take care of your needs.
5. “Here Comes the Sun” – the Beatles
There were so many Beatles songs that could have made the list – “Let it Be,” “Help!”, but the sunshiney beat of “Here Comes the Sun” made this one top the list for me.
6. “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” by Kelly Clarkson
There is something about Kelly Clarkson that just brings out my need to sing along. Whether there is a breakup from a partner or a major job change that is going on, this song is a great reminder that even though things may not turn out how we planned, we can be stronger by learning from the experience.
7. “Beautiful” – Christina Aguilera
I grew up in the hey-day of the Boy Band era (Hanson, NSync, Backstreet Boys) and the Britney and Christina era. Christina was my favorite, so I had to include a song of her’s on this list. “Fighter” would certainly be appropriate, but this is the song of hers that gives me goosebumps every time I listen to it. It’s simple, and dare I say beautiful!
8. “When You Believe” – Mariah Carey and Whitney Huston
This is a nostalgic song for me. As a kid I would dance around the basement with a friend and we would sing this song into a microphone connected to a cassette player. We were pretending we were making the video.
This song is an empowering anthem about holding onto hope and believing. This is a classic.
9. Don’t Worry Be Happy – Bobby McFerrin
Changing up the type of music a bit, this tune is one we all know and love. It’s a reminder to not focus on worry, but instead drown that out focusing on happiness.
10. Found/Tonight – Lin Manuel-Miranda and Ben Platt
This song is my final one on the list. If you aren’t familiar with Lin Manuel Miranda, he was the composer of Hamilton, he wrote songs for Moana, and he wrote the story and music for Encanto. So, if you have kids, you can thank him for the fact that your kids are running around singing “We don’t talk about Bruno.” Ben Platt is a musician and actor who has been in performances on Broadway and he has also done tv series and movies as well.
This song is a molding of songs from the plays Hamilton and Dear Evan Hansen. It is a breathtaking mashup that reminds us to reach out our hand when we need help. Focus on relationship building and supporting others when we can increase our happiness.
Want More on Positive Psychology?
Focusing on thriving, and using strategies to increase your happiness is what positive psychology is all about. It is about the science of increasing well-being. Dr. Thia is a trailblazer in providing useful, research based methods for increasing happiness.
Ready to read another article by Dr. Thia on a positive psychology topic? Head over to a recent article by her on generosity. Learn how being generous can improve your life, not just the life of the person you are being generous to!
If you want to do a deep dive into increasing your happiness and overall well-being, head over to the course page for Happiness Habitudes. Dr. Thia has written this eight unit, online course, that does a deep dive into eight topics related to positive psychology. There is more information over on the course page about how the course works, what information it covers and more!
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