Songs Emotional well-being is so important right now, so we’ve put together a list of 29 songs with uplifting, inspiring and relatable lyrics. Singing has also been shown to be good for your mental health, so there’s an added benefit if you want to sing along.
Music and its effect on your mood
How does music affect your mood? Can you even imagine a world with no music? Music is a massive part of our everyday lives. It’s used to mark special occasions, like weddings and birthdays, to celebrate holidays like Christmas, and most of us listen to it every day. We make playlists for studying, working out and relaxing, as well as for times of stress and worry.
Different types and genres of music have a proven effect on your mood and listening to music is a great alternative to binge-watching Netflix. It’s a great way to occupy your mind imagination, so you have less time to worry. Music therapy is also a recognised way to alleviate depression and anxiety.
Inspiring Songs to listen to
#1 Hold On by Alabama Shakes
Brittany Howard fronted the American Blues band Alabama Shakes before going solo in 2018. From a review by NPR: ‘Despite her ability to quickly transition from a sultry croon à la Janis Joplin to a bellowing, often disembodied howl, it’s the lyrical wisdom that masks Howard’s young age and makes this song special.’
#2 Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You) by Kelly Clarkson
Kelly has had a massively successful music career sing she one the first season on American Idol all the way back in 2002.
#3 This Too Shall Pass by OK Go
Known for their clever viral videos, this one features a live performance of the song using the University of Notre Dame Marching Band.
#4 Breathe Deeper by Tame Impala
Breathe Deeper is the fifth track from Tame Impala’s latest album The Slow Rush. Mindful breathing is a great way to relax in stressful times, especially with regular practice.
Songs about self-care
#5 OK (Anxiety Anthem) by Mabel
Mabel wrote the song from personal experience in 2018. Speaking to the Metro about the mental struggle behind the track, she said, “I woke up and had a session with Emike and Maria Hazell and I was like, “I have two options: I can get up today, put some make-up on and go and just be like everything’s great and come home and collapse” or I can just go and be a mess and tell them I’m a mess. And I did that.”
#6 Borderline (An Ode to Self Care) by Solange
Asked about the meaning behind the song, Solange explained to W Magazine, ‘Sometimes throughout that, [self-care] becomes a mission within itself. That song was an ode to how our home becomes a safe space, where we can just love and not deal with some of the intensities that go along with existing in these spaces. That means so much to me.’
#7 Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself by Jess Glynne
Jess explained the lyrics of the song to MTV, “When I was meeting my publisher, managers and label and everything was happening for me, I was going through a really hard time. I had my heart broken and I was in a dark place. It was even harder because my dreams were coming true and I had to put a smile on my face every day and power through. This is the message of the song: To not let sadness defeat you.”
#8 People, I’ve Been Sad by Christine and the Queens
Everyone feels sad from time to time and we love that the French singer knows it’s OK, we’re all human.
#9 This Must Be The Place by Talking Heads
The second single of 1983’s Speaking in Tongues, David Byrne called This Must Be The Place ‘a very personal love song’ when speaking to Rolling Stone.
#10 Bored In The House by Tyga x Curtis Roach
This collaboration came about when Tyga saw Curtis’s viral video on TikTok. He told the New York Post, “When I did it, it was, like, 15,000 videos. Now it’s, like, over a million in the last week. It’s all types of people doing it. It’s crazy, and it shows you how powerful music is and the internet… how fast everything spreads.”
#11 Doin’ Time by Lana Del Ray
A distinctive, modern creative cover of the Sublime original and a shimmering summer track.
#12 Sweatpants by Childish Gambino
Off of the second studio album by Donald Glover, using the stage name Childish Gambino, this track seems pretty relevant right now.
#13 Home by Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
A folky number, full of nostalgia, which is very welcome right now.
#14 Waiting On The World To Change by John Mayer
‘”Waiting on the World to Change,” is a lovely and anger-free ode to a vaguely dissatisfied generation’ according to a review from the New York Times.
#15 Work Out by Chance The Rapper
Although this track is about moving on from a relationship, the repeated refrain ‘it’s gonna work out’ is comforting.
#16 Physical by Dua Lipa
Speaking of missing your work out, the bonus video for Physical gives you a great chance to burn off some calories.
#17 Dancing On My Own by Robyn
A lively electronic, dance-pop song that’s perfect to dance to (on your own).
#18 Shake It Off by Taylor Swift
The lead song off of Taylor’s 1989 album, this is an upbeat song you really can’t help singing along to.
#19 Up All Night by Beck
Nominated for best music video at the Grammy Awards in 2018, this song will make you want to dance.
#20 Good As Hell by Lizzo
Lizzo has been bringing the break-up anthems and this is one we can all relate to.
#21 Mr. Brightside by The Killers
When the Killers released Mr Brightside in 2004 it only reached No 10 in the UK charts, but the anthem has since become a singalong favourite that everybody knows the lyrics to.
#22 Dog Days Are Over by Florence + The Machine
Lead singer of the English indie rock band loves when the audience sings along to this track. ‘It’s always a surprise, I think, especially when you haven’t really been to a place before and you go and see the support – people singing along the words.”
#23 Because I’m Me by The Avalanches
The band collaborated with Camp Lo, with the video featuring a young Michael Jackson lookalike.
#24 Tightrope by Janelle Monae
Janelle told Blues & Soul, ‘Tightrope is basically dealing with how in life, it’s important to keep your balance and not get too high or low about things during the time when you’re either being praised or being criticised.’
#25 Let It All Go by Birdy + Rhodes
Birdy has come a long way since winning the 2008 Open Mic UK competition, with this being the second single from Rhodes’ first studio album.
Songs to calm anxiety
#26 Here Comes The Sun by The Beatles
Written by George Harrison, he said in his autobiography, “Here Comes the Sun” was written at the time when Apple was getting like school, where we had to go and be businessmen: ‘Sign this’ and ‘sign that.’ Anyway, it seems as if winter in England goes on forever, by the time spring comes you really deserve it. So one day I decided I was going to sag off Apple and I went over to Eric Clapton’s house. The relief of not having to go see all those dopey accountants was wonderful, and I walked around the garden with one of Eric’s acoustic guitars and wrote “Here Comes the Sun”
#27 Lucky Man by The Verve
The 90’s was such a great time for Britpop, with Oasis, Blur, Suede, Pulp and The Verve providing the soundtrack.
#28 Don’t Feel Like Crying by Sigrid
Co-written by Sigrid and Emily Warren, it’s a great song with lyrics touching on resilience and not wallowing in self-pity.
#29 Blinded By Your Grace by Stormzy
Even those who aren’t religious can take comfort from this joyful gospel song, which was a big hit at Glastonbury 2019 with the crowd.