Your Happiness Playlist: 101 Songs to Lift Your Spirits and Improve Your Mood

woman listening to music on headphones

If you are blessed with ears that hear, there is high chance you have experienced the power of music to affect your mood innumerable times in your life. From the song you sang as a toddler learning the alphabet, to the song you danced to at your senior prom, music has an impeccable way of jogging the memory and tugging at your heartstrings.

While almost everyone has a song or two that makes them feel happy, did you know that science has shown that listening to positive music with the intention of feeling happier actually improves happiness levels? 

There are different kinds of happiness of course, so below you will find three distinct playlists of happiness inducers, aimed at meeting you where you are and raising your vibration from there.

Your Happiness Playlist 1: Sing-Along Songs

This list is all about the familiar, sing-along tunes for when you’re alone or in good company that are guaranteed to cause you to bop your head and shake your rump. If you were scanning the stations on your radio and heard one of these songs, you’d stop and listen.

  1. “Lovely Day” by Bill Withers
  2. “Happy” by Pharrell Williams
  3. “The Way You Make Me Feel” by Michael Jackson
  4. “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” by The Beach Boys
  5. “Be My Baby” by the Ronettes
  6. “I Got You (I Feel Good)” by James Brown
  7. “In the Summertime” by Mungo Jerry
  8. “Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina & The Waves
  9. “Cecilia” by Simon & Garfunkel
  10. “You Sexy Thing” by Hot Chocolate
  11. “Hey, Soul Sister” by Train
  12. “No Rain” by Blind Melon
  13. “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” by Justin Timberlake
  14. “I Want You Back” by The Jackson 5
  15. “Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours)” by Stevie Wonder
  16. “Kiss” by Prince
  17. “A Little Respect” by Erasure
  18. “Home” by Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
  19. “American Girl” by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
  20. “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson & Bruno Mars
  21. “Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynyrd Skynyrd
  22. “Think” by Aretha Franklin
  23. “It’s a Great Day to Be Alive” by Travis Tritt
  24. “Rumour Has It” by Adele
  25. “Spirit in the Sky” by Norman Greenbaum
  26. “What I Got” by Sublime
  27. “Good Day Sunshine” by The Beatles
  28. “Roar” by Katy Perry
  29. “Beautiful Day” by U2
  30. “The Power of Love” by Huey Lewis & the News
  31. “September” by Earth, Wind & Fire
  32. “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard” by Paul Simon
  33. “Send Me on My Way” by Rusted Root
  34. “Beautiful Day” by U2
  35. “Sir Duke” by Stevie Wonder

Your Happiness Playlist 2: Your New Favorite Songs

This playlist includes potentially less familiar, high-energy songs, with positive vibes that might just become your new favorites songs. If you heard these songs playing at a friend’s house, you’d ask them what song it was so you could listen again when you got home.

  1. “Grace Kelly” by MIKA
  2. “5 Years Time” by Noah and the Whale
  3. “The Walker” by Fitz and The Tantrums
  4. “Geronimo” by Sheppard
  5. “Dog Days Are Over” by Florence + The Machine
  6. “Freedom” by Pharrell Williams
  7. “We Are Young” by fun. feat. Janelle Monae
  8. “Howlin’ for You” by The Black Keys
  9. “I’m Like a Bird” by Nelly Furtado
  10. “Baba O’Riley” by The Who
  11. “Canned Heat” by Jamiroquai
  12. “I’m a Believer” by The Monkees
  13. “Good Old Days” by Macklemore feat. Kesha
  14. “S.O.B.” by Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats
  15. “White Flag” by Joseph
  16. “Celeste” by Ezra Vine
  17. “Ain’t No Man” by The Avett Brothers
  18. “I Can See Clearly Now” by Jimmy Cliff
  19. “Wild” by Royal Teeth
  20. “Ganesha Sharanam” by Jai Uttal
  21. “Give Love” by MC Yogi
  22. “The Sound of Sunshine” by Michael Franti & Spearhead
  23. “Up All Night” by Beck
  24. “Walk of Life” by Dire Straits
  25. “You’re My Best Friend” by Queen
  26. “Love Today” by MIKA
  27. “Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)” by Shakira
  28. “Fool in the Rain” by Led Zeppelin
  29. “Free” by Donavon Frankenreiter
  30. “Peace, Love, and Happiness” by G. Love & Special Sauce
  31. “Good Life” by OneRepublic
  32. “Road to Nowhere” by Talking Heads
  33. “Budapest” by George Ezra
  34. “Home” by Phillip Phillips

Your Happiness Playlist 3: Calm Happiness Songs

The calmer, more relaxed tunes for the end of the workday, or Sunday mornings while you’re making breakfast; great songs for when the windows are open, or you’re doing some yoga, or having an evening stroll with your earbuds in.

  1. “Charlie Brown Theme” by Vince Guaraldi Trio
  2. “For What It’s Worth (India Dub)” by DJ Drez and Joey Lugassy
  3. “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” by Otis Redding
  4. “Beautiful World” by Colin Hay
  5. “Ocean” by John Butler Trio
  6. “Upside Down” by Jack Johnson
  7. “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz
  8. “(What A) Wonderful World” by Sam Cooke
  9. “Banana Boat (Day-O)” by Harry Belafonte
  10. “Three Little Birds” by Bob Marley & The Wailers
  11. “Lover’s Carvings” by Bibio
  12. “Ho Hey” by The Lumineers
  13. “We’re Going To Be Friends” by The White Stripes
  14. “Mess Is Mine” by Vance Joy
  15. “Let My Love Open the Door” by Pete Townshend (E. Cola Mix)
  16. “Welcome Home, Son” by Radical Face
  17. “Halving the Compass” by Helios
  18. “One Voice” by The Wailin’ Jennys
  19. “Lost in My Mind” by The Head and the Heart
  20. “Brand New Day” by Joshua Radin
  21. “Sweet Thing” by Van Morrison
  22. “Never Going Back Again” by Fleetwood Mac
  23. “Beyond the Sea” by Bobby Darin
  24. “Follow the Sun” by Xavier Rudd
  25. “The Mountain” by Trevor Hall
  26. “Mellow Mood” by Slightly Stoopid, feat. G. Love
  27. “Feeling Good” by Nina Simone
  28. “Tiny Dancer” by Elton John
  29. “With a Little Help From My Friends” by Joe Cocker
  30. “Empire State of Mind (Part II)” by Alicia Keys
  31. “If I Had $1,000,000” by Barenaked Ladies
  32. “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole

So, turn it on, turn it up, and groove your way to happy! You can follow these playlists on Spotify, or better yet, make your own. In the words of Tom Petty, “Music is probably the only real magic I have encountered in my life. There's not some trick involved with it. It's pure and it's real. It moves, it heals, it communicates and does all these incredible things.”


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About the Author

Karson McGinley

Yoga Teacher and Life Coach
Karson McGinley is the owner of Happy-U Yoga in San Diego, California. A teacher for over a decade, Karson works to bridge the gap between the ancient wisdom of yoga and the modern science of human flourishing through her classes, bi-weekly article contributions to The Chopra Center, and leading the Happy-U Yoga & Positive Psychology Teacher Training program. Karson teaches Hatha, Vinyasa, and Anusara Elements™ classes, inspired by the teachings of Classical and Tantric yogic philosophy, positive psychology, and metaphysical texts like A Course in Miracles . By sharing spiritual themes, scientific research, and anecdotal...Read more