Try Not To Smile Listening To These 10 Songs

We all have days when the world feels heavy. Whether that be our own little world or the one at large, the weight of everyday struggles and broader issues can impact our well-being. 

A friend of mine was sharing these feelings with me recently and told me about her cheesy playlist. To set her up for a positive day, she listens to happy, cheesy songs while she gets ready. But can happy music actually make you happy? According to a study, 85% of people said “yes” when asked if happy music made them feel happy. Happy, upbeat music causes our brains to produce chemicals like dopamine and serotonin, which evoke feelings of joy, whereas calming music relaxes the mind and the body. 

Your Get Happy Playlist

These 10 songs may be super duper cheesy, but we dare you not to smile while you listen along. It just might help turn your day around or start off on the right track:

“Never Gonna Give You Up” – Rick Astley

I promise we are NOT trying to “Rick Roll” you right off the bat – but I listen through this whole song and try not to pop a smirk. Some may say this song is overplayed, but it’s really hard not to sing along when it comes on. On a side note, I saw Rick Astley perform last year at the New Kid On The Block’s “Mixtape Tour” and he’s still got it going on.

“Something Happened on the Way to Heaven” – Phil Collins

Something about a good horn section can really boost a mood. If you are someone who can’t help doing an air drum solo during Collins’ “In the Air Tonight,” then this upbeat jam will definitely have you playing along during the bridge. Drums, horns, keys – this is one you can listen to over and over again.

“Saturday in the Park” – Chicago

As you listen to this song, you can’t help but to imagine yourself in a lush city park on a mild, sunny summer day. You can picture the people described in the lyrics as you are transported to another time and place. Actually, I think I’ll go pack a picnic right now.

“You Make My Dreams (Come True)” – Hall & Oates

This song allows you to remember the joy and excitement of falling in love. Not to mention pretending you are part of the dance flash mob with Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the movie (500) Days of Summer. I’m always hooked from the first 10 seconds of the instrumental.

“Love On Top” – Beyonce

You can’t make a good playlist without Queen Bey. This song has a retro vibe and infectious energy, not to mention Beyonce’s impressive vocal range. When she says “Bring the beat in,” I can just hear her smiling and it’s hard not to join her. 

“Higher Love” – Whitney Houston

We are listening to the Whitney Houston version here, but I’m also a fan of the original by Steve Winwood. Though Houston covered the song in 1990 and it was written by Winwood in 1986, it still inspires us to find purpose and connection that is bigger than ourselves when “things look so bad everywhere.”

“Heaven Is A Place On Earth” – Belinda Carlisle

Get ready to be transported into some 80s nostalgia with this hit by Belinda Carlisle. You may think Mr. Rick Astley is the cheesiest on the playlist, but I think Carlisle takes the cake. The pop anthem uplifts us to imagine a perfect place or state of mind that transcends this world. Did you know the music video was directed by actress Diane Keaton?

“Shadows Of The Night” – Pat Benatar

The feeling of being in a dark, cold world but finding a friend who can help guide you out of the darkness is such a powerful imagery in this song. That feeling of resilience and determination will help you take on your day. And Pat Benatar just plain rocks.

“Mr. Blue Sky” – Electric Light Orchestra

This song is all about the joy and beauty of a new day, expressed with a variety of instruments. The song is so upbeat and cheerful, I bet it helps pull you out of your slump. And if not, enjoy this fun fact: the cowbell-like sound throughout the song is made by a drumstick striking the side of a fire extinguisher.

“Get Up Offa That Thing” – James Brown

And finally, we can’t write a playlist about improving your mood without including this song. It literally tells you to get up and dance until you feel better. 

So are you feeling better? If not, start the playlist from the top!