Take a second to think about your favorite movie. Now imagine watching it without the musical score. It’d be boring,mundane, and wouldn’t solicit any emotion from you. Film & Television scores are a perfect illustration of the link between mood and music.
This article is about using this link between mood and music to build yourself a “happy zone” playlist that has the power to instantly improve your mood.
What Research Says About the Relationship Between Mood and Music
There is plenty of research in the field of Psychology that confirms what most of us know about music: it has the power to heavily influence our emotions. This article from PsychCentral discusses how the types of music one listens to in order to regulate emotions can have a long-term effect on the brain.
The research found that consistently listening to music that confirms the negative emotion being felt- a sad break-up song after a breakup, for example- can negatively affect how the brain functions. It has to do with the concept of rumination, which is obsessively dwelling on negative events.
I used to use music in this way, but part of what got me out of my post-college depression is a shift to using music to cultivate positive emotions. I made a carefully curated “happy zone” playlist filled with songs that have a special meaning to me. I added this playlist to my daily routine and saw great results.
Here are the 11 songs on my “happy zone” playlist:
My 11-Song Happy Zone Playlist
The ridiculously catchy instrumentals mixed with Michael Jackson’s pre-pubescent voice make this song an instant mood-lifter: I challenge you to listen to this song and resist the urge to dance.
“ and I know life is nothing easy, but one day Imma change the world and they’ll finally believe me”
These particular lyrics motivate me to stay committed to my lofty goals, even if most would dub them idealistic.
There’s a couple reasons why this song makes my happy zone list. This song is dedicated to Big Sean’s grandmother, who played a huge part in raising him and his siblings. I also had a strong relationship with my maternal grandmother, who passed away a month before my high school graduation.
Another reason I love listening to this song is because the lyrics motivate me to seize opportunities and stay committed to my goals”
“ Used to look up at the stars and be like ain’t too much that’s different, I be shinin’ , they be shinin’, get your one shot don’t you miss it: what you know ‘bout wakin’ up everyday like you’re on a mission?”
This track is all about persevering through difficult situations in life. Listening to this track as part of my daily routine helped pull me out of a dark time in my life, and I hope it can do the same for others.
I don’t think any explanation is needed for why this is on my happy zone playlist. Not only does it make me move, but it also reminds me of an important life lesson: Shake off the bad vibes and negative opinions from people who hardly know you.
This track is sunshine in musical form. As the name suggests, it’s a great way to set the tone for a good day.
This classic Kanye track is on this list to remind to me to celebrate my successes to date instead of dwelling on the failures. I have realized there isn’t a salary threshold for “the good life”, and that celebrating how far I’ve come in my battle with depression is my version of the good life.
“ Standing in the flames,
There’s a beautiful kind of pain.
Setting fire to yesterday,
Find the light, Find the light, Find the light”
This is another track about perseverance and resilience. It reminds me that pain from the past, now matter how bad, can be confronted and overcome.
As a Leo, I obviously love the lion metaphor in this Katy Perry classic.
This song reminds me of my emotional journey from a scared kitty with no self-confidence in high school, to the confident lion I’ve metaphorically become in my professional life.
Growing up as an Italian-American, I can remember my father blasting the likes of ol’ blue eyes on the stereo as he worked outside.
One of my favorite Sinatra song is his rendition of “ I’ve Got the World on a String”.
With lyrics like the following, it’s easy to see how this song can instantly lift your mood.
“ I’ve got the world on a String, sittin’ on a rainbow. What a world, what a life, can’t you see I’m in love?”
These opening lines remind me of the importance and benefits of self-love.The Beatles- Let it Be
Paul McCartney wrote this song in honor of his late mother. My parents and I are all huge Beatles fans, and my maternal grandmother’s name was Mary. The following lyrics make me feel like my grandmother is watching over me
“ When I find myself in times of trouble,
Mother Mary comes to me;
Speaking words of wisdom: let it be.”
That wraps up my “happy zone” playlist. Do you have a playlist you use to get yourself in a good mood? Share it with me on Twitter!