31 Uplifting & Inspiring Songs | Motivational Music to Listen to
Looking to listen to something uplifting and inspiring? Or maybe you’re looking for songs with lyrics you can relate to right now, while we’re all stuck at home?
Music is is a great way to improve your mood. Studies show that listening to music can lift your mood, boost your overall sense of happiness and help reduce anxiety. Even listening to sad songs is good for your mental health.
Emotional well-being is so important, so we’ve put together a list of 31 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.
Uplifting songs 2020
Music and 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.
Songs to lift your mood
#1 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.’
Uplifting lyrics ‘I can’t complain about it / I gotta keep my balance / And just keep dancin’ on it / We gettin’ funky on the scene’
#2 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.
Uplifting lyrics: ‘Coming out of my cage / And I’ve been doing just fine’
#3 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.”
Uplifting lyrics: ‘Happiness hit her like a bullet in the back / Struck from a great height / By someone who should know better than that’
#4 Because I’m Me by The Avalanches
The band collaborated with Camp Lo, with the video featuring a young Michael Jackson lookalike.
Uplifting lyrics: ‘Just put on my best pair of shoes / Because I, I’m me’
#5 Good As Hell by Lizzo
Lizzo has been bringing the break-up anthems and this is one we can all relate to.
Uplifting lyrics: ‘You know you a star, you can touch the sky / I know that it’s hard, but you have to try’
#6 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.
Uplifting lyrics: ‘But if we’re strong enough / To let it in, in, in / We’re strong enough / To let it go, oho, oho’
Inspiring songs to listen to
#7 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.’
Inspiring lyrics: ‘So, must be someone up above / Saying come on, girl / Yeah, you got to get back up’
#8 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.
Inspiring lyrics: ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger / Stand a little taller /Doesn’t mean I’m lonely when I’m alone’
#9 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.
Inspiring lyrics: ‘Let it go / This too shall pass’
#10 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.
Inspiring lyrics: ‘Breathe a little deeper / Should you need to come undone / And let those colours run’
Songs about self-care
#11 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.”
Helpful lyrics: ‘As long as you know, as long as you know / Everything’s gonna be okay (everything’s gonna be okay)’
#12 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.’
Helpful lyrics: ‘You know I have the world to think about / And you know I gotta go ahead and take some time / Because the last thing that I wanna do / Is think that it’s time that I leave the borderline’
#13 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.”
Helpful lyrics: ‘Don’t be so hard on yourself, no / Learn to forgive, learn to let go / Everyone trips, everyone falls
/ So don’t be so hard on yourself, no’
#14 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.
Relatable lyrics: ‘You know the feeling (you know the feeling) / You know the feeling / If you fall apart / Then I’m falling behind you’
Positive songs to listen to
#15 Blessed by Martina McBride
Positive lyrics:’ To be here with the ones / That love me / To love them so much it hurts / I have been blessed’
#16 Beautiful Day by U2
Positive lyrics: ‘It’s a beautiful day / Don’t let it get away / It’s a beautiful day’
#17 Everybody Loves The Sunshine by Roy Ayers
Positive lyrics: ‘My life, my life, my life, my life in the sunshine / Everybody loves the sunshine’
#18 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.
Positive lyrics: ‘Oh! I got plenty of time / Oh! You got light in your eyes / And you’re standing here beside me / I love the passing of time’
#19 Lovely Day by Bill Withers
Positive lyrics: ‘Then I look at you / And the world’s alright with me / Just one look at you / And I know it’s gonna be / A lovely day’
#20 Doin’ Time by Lana Del Rey
A distinctive, modern creative cover of the Sublime original and a shimmering summer track.
Relatable lyrics: ‘Summertime, and the livin’s easy’
#21 Feels Like Summer by Childish Gambino
Positive lyrics: ‘I feel like summer (ey) / She feel like summer / This feel like summer’
#22 Nina Simone Feeling Good
Positive lyrics: ‘Birds flying high you know how I feel / Sun in the sky you know how I feel / Breeze driftin’ on by you know how I feel’
#23 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.
Positive lyrics: ‘I was not made for this, this was made for me / And it’s gonna work out’
Motivational songs to get you moving
#24 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.
Motivating lyrics: ‘Baby keep on dancing like you ain’t got a choice / So come on, come on, come on / Let’s get physical’
#25 Dancing On My Own by Robyn
A lively electronic, dance-pop song that’s perfect to dance to (on your own).
Motivating lyrics: ‘I keep dancing on my own (I keep dancing on my own)’
#26 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.
Motivating lyrics: ‘But I keep cruising, can’t stop, won’t stop moving / it’s like I got this music in my mind, sayin’ it’s gonna be alright’
#27 Up All Night by Beck
Nominated for best music video at the Grammy Awards in 2018, this song will make you want to dance.
Relatable lyrics: ‘Just wanna stay up all night with you / Just wanna stay up all night with you /There’s nothing that I wouldn’t rather do / Just wanna stay up all night with you’
Songs to calm anxiety
#28 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”
Inspiring lyrics: ‘Here comes the sun / Doo-doo-doo-doo / Here comes the sun / And I say it’s all right’
#29 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.
Inspiring lyrics: ‘Happiness / More or less / It’s just a change in me / Something in my liberty’
#30 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.
#31 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.
Inspiring lyrics: ‘Now I’m in a better place / No longer afraid / Blinded by your grace /You came and saved me’
What songs would you add to our list? Let us know the songs that make you feel happier and what you’re listening to while at home in the comments below!