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50 Motivational Upbeat Songs to Add to Your Playlist

The benefits and effects of music are truly magical for your brain. 

While research has shown that listening to music can reduce anxiety, blood pressure and even pain, it has also shown to improve mental well-being, sleep quality, mood, and memory recall.

What happens when you listen to music?

Listening to music activates multiple regions within your brain, including some of the most complex and broadest networks. Your auditory cortex, or the temporal lobes of the brain that are closest to your ears is just the start.  The parts of your brain that regulate and experience emotion become activated as well as a variety of regions associated with memory and the motor system. 

The neural pathways or tunnels throughout these areas of your brain strengthen when they are in use, or activated, and weaken when they are left idle or unstimulated for a period of time. 

Listening to upbeat music isn’t just good for your brain health, it’s great for your mood as well!  By lowering the stress hormone called cortisol and releasing the happy chemical called dopamine, throwing on a few great songs may give you a little push to help to get through a hard time.  Bottom line, a good song is like one big positive affirmation for your soul!

Why is music good for your brain health?

Listening to music is like giving your brain a healthy work out.  By activating so many different networks within your brain, it’s helping to keep those pathways associated with well-being, learning, memory, and cognitive function strong and healthy.

Press play on your favorite song knowing that you are doing something great for your soul as well as your brain!

Motivational songs to boost your mood and increase positive energy

What better way to boost your mood and keep your brain healthy than to download a few of your favorite motivational songs.  Dance like no one is watching or belt out those best songs like a rock star and get ready to feel an instant lift! Enjoy this collection of songs to help you brainstorm a list of your own go-to songs. 

50 Motivational Songs to Add to Your Playlist

1. Livin’ on a Prayer – Bon Jovi

Tommy and Gina may have struggled to make ends meet but they sure had great love for each other and the faith that life would end up working out.  “Livin’ on a Prayer” sings of two people channeling the positive support from one another into motivation and belief of better days ahead even when the outlook feels bleak.

2. Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger – Daft punk

Perhaps better known for being sampled in Kanye West’s song, “Stronger,” Daft Punk’s “Harder, Better Faster, Stronger” is its own stand-alone tune that carries few lyrics yet a consistent message about the importance of hard work and not letting up.

3. On Top of the World – Imagine Dragons

It’s easy to take things for granted in life but it only takes a moment to pause and realize all you have and how great it all makes you feel.  This song encourages you to tell the people in your life what they mean to you.  This tune an awaking or realization that the path to happiness is a journey of experiences.

4. Eye of the Tiger – Survivor

Now who is more inspirational and motivating than Rocky?  Arguably one of the most inspirational songs of all time, the theme song, written for Rocky III back in 1982, still blares throughout gyms and sporting events over 40 years later.  It’s a symbolic tune reflective of rising up and showing relentless drive to reach the top.

5. Girl on Fire – Alicia Keys

In Alicia’s own words, she shares that to be “on fire” is to allow yourself to take full control of who you are and how you want to live your life.  An ode to self-empowerment, this motivational song is about new beginnings, new perspectives, and fresh starts.

6. Lose Yourself – Eminem

Throughout life, you are presented with opportunities to show up and make it count.  You choose what you make of those moments.  It requires bravery, courage, and perseverance to keep moving forward.  This track is a powerful reminder that your mind is the most powerful tool you have. 

7. Don’t Worry, Be Happy – Bobby McFerrin

This feel-good tune with a catchy beat doesn’t deny the reality of tough times, but it does highlight the energy sucking power of worry or anxiety.  And who needs that?  Life will have its ups and downs but practicing gratitude can help navigate the dips and shift your perspective.

8. I’m Coming Out – Diana Ross

An iconic anthem celebrating the realization that everyone should feel proud to be who they are and showcase their abilities.

9. Unwritten – Natasha Bedingfield

An incredibly upbeat song with a message that reminds you to feel the life you are living and that you are in control of experiencing it to the fullest.  Instead of fearing the unknown, find joy and beauty in what is to come.

10. Fight Song – Rachel Platten

It’s hard to decide what is more motivational, the song itself or the story behind it.  Artist Rachel Platten shared that she initially wrote the song during a low point in her life, and never intended it for the world to hear.  The meaningful track was a personal reminder for her to believe in herself, not to give up and the hope of what was possible.  Within 72 hours of hearing “Fight Song” on the radio for the first time, she was signed to a major record label.  It has now become an inspirational anthem encouraging people worldwide to turn up their power.

11. What a Wonderful World – Louis Armstrong

A classic song with a sweet implication of how a gratitude mindset for the simplest of things can shine the brightest light on the inherent good in the world.  It evokes the possibility of peace on earth and harmony between all people.  Covered by many artists and a staple on countless movie soundtracks, such as Good Morning Vietnam, “What a Wonderful World” motivates us all to recognize the good in any circumstance.

12. Shake it Off – Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift is a megastar…and she’s also human.  Swift once shared during an iHeart radio interview that this song was written as a fun way to cope with the criticisms, rumors, and negativity she had experienced.  She recognized that these unpleasantries were felt by people across the world and her hope was that this song would serve as a way for them to get up and dance away the ridiculousness of others.

13. This is Me – Keala Settle

Know who you are, own who you are, and be proud of who you are.  This powerful song with a positive message is just one of many inspiring recordings off a long list from The Greatest Showman soundtrack.

14. Roar – Katy Perry

If you have ever experienced the power of overcoming challenge after being knocked down, then you will resonate greatly with this inspiring song.  Perry commented that “Roar” is intended to empower one to stand up for themselves and not let anyone, including yourself, stand in the way of what you want to achieve.

15. Titanium – David Guetta ft. Sia

A ballad hiding behind a pop, techno sound, “Titanium” addresses the inner strength found within during difficult times, particularly of those who may be bullied or intimidated. In addition to making a great teen anthem this track is also considered one of the best workout songs.

Keep reading below for the next 35 motivational and upbeat songs!

16. Destiny’s Child – Survivor

17. I’m Still Standing – Elton John

18. Stronger – Kelly Clarkson

19. Don’t You Worry Child – Swedish House Mafia

20. Make it Happen – Mariah Carey

21. I’m So Excited – Pointer Sisters

22. Walking on Sunshine – Katrina and the Waves

23. Live Forever – Oasis

24. Get up, Stand up – Bob Marley

25. Ain’t No Mountain High Enough – Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell

26. Gotta be – Desiree

27. I Gotta Feeling – Black Eyed Peas

28. I Will Survive – Gloria Gaynor

29. Born this Way – Lady Gaga

30. True Colors – Cyndi Lauper

31. So What? – Pink

32. I Feel like Dancing – Jason Mraz

33. Imagine – John Lennon

34. Firework – Katy Perry

35. Fighter – Christina Aguilera

36. The Climb – Miley Cyrus

37. Can’t Stop the Feeling – Justin Timberlake

38. Learn to Fly – Foo Fighters

39. Heroes – David Bowie

40. Brave – Sara Bareilles

41. Beautiful Day – U2

42. I Lived – One Republic

43. Can’t Hold Us – Macklemore and Ryan Lewis

44. Lovely Day – Bill Withers

45. Man in the Mirror – Michael Jackson

46. Born to Run – Bruce Springsteen

47. Don’t Stop Believin’ – Journey

48. Tubthumping – Chumbawamba

49. Happy – Pharrell Williams

50. Hall of Fame – The Script

Ways to infuse music into your life

You spent the time to make a rockin’ playlist of motivational upbeat songs, now it’s time to listen to them!  Think of all the ways you can add those great songs into your routine and give your mood a boost while keeping your brain healthy.  Press play while you’re cooking dinner, taking a shower, driving in the car, cleaning the house, during a workout or walking the dog – and enjoy every bit of that perfect song!