Happiness in Music


By Isobel Matsukas, Editor-in-Chief

There is a LOT of new music out there right now! Morgan Wallen’s double album, “Dangerous,” Juice WRLD’s “Bad Boy” with Young Thug, “Stay Next To Me” by Quinn XCII and Chelsea Cutler, and Taylor Swift’s Version of “Love Story” are just a few of the new releases. You might be wondering why I’m discussing music in a health column… music has been scientifically proven to improve happiness. There is a stronger connection in boosting mood when someone actively tries to feel happy and when they listen to “happy sounding” music than when someone just does one of those actions. Not only does listening to certain songs release dopamine in the brain, (a happy chemical!) the anticipation of the best part of a song can have the same effect. Songs are usually just patterns of music, repeated and slightly shifted, to create an effect for the listener. The different effects for listeners, hence different genres and “moods,” also manipulate the brain. Have you ever felt the satisfaction or enjoyment of listening to a new song? That is due to the part of the brain that decodes new information, categorizes it, recognizes it, and relates it to past musical experiences. Therefore, the release of dopamine is explained due to the brain being able to make decisions and create intellectual interpretations which gives us a sense of accomplishment


On a lighter note, music can just make us feel good too. Happy music usually has an upbeat tempo which makes us breathe faster while sad music usually has a slower tempo and slows our heartbeat. Faster breath is a sign of happiness while a slower pulse can send us into further sadness. This is why music therapy can work, it plays a role in blood pressure and heartbeat and can help those who struggle with physicalities such as in cardiac patients, and mental health with depression. As for those struggling with anxiety, both types of music can help, meaning faster/happy beats and slower tempos. Meditation and yoga playlists help bring a sense of calm while happier playlists can help you remove yourself from a stressful situation and find an inner level of happiness.


It is with no doubt that music plays a large part in many of our lives. We experience strong connections to certain artists, genres, and songs because we find them to be empowering or relatable. The release of dopamine can come from listening to any type of music because your brain experiences the intellectual challenge and reward. However, listening to happy music while trying to boost your mood can in fact, help you become happier! 


My Current Favorite “Happi” Songs

  • “Live While We’re Young” ~ One Direction
  • “Little Things” ~ Louis the Child, Quinn XCII, Chelsea Cutler
  • “Don’t Stop Drivin” ~ Thomas Rhett
  • “Sunday Best” ~ Surfaces
  • “Jump Then Fall” ~ Taylor Swift
  • “Feels Great” ~ Cheat Codes, Fetty Wap, CVBZ
  • “Summer of ‘69” ~ Bryan Adams
  • “Still Goin Down” ~ Morgan Wallen
  • “Man of the Year” ~ Juice WRLD
  • “Young & Alive” ~ Bazzi