The Most "Feel Good" Song (According to Science)

Everyone has one song that triggers a specific emotional response. It might be the song that you danced to at your wedding or a song that takes you right back to your high school cafeteria. The reason we have a such a deep connection to music because it is hardwired in our brains.  In fact, scientists have found that music stimulates more parts of the brain than any other single human function.

New research suggests upbeat or uplifting music can enhance attention and memory in school age children. Other studies show that calming music such as Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” had a positive effect on cognition among adults. Despite the debate over which music positive impacts learning the most, neuroscience confirms that the best way to get your whole brain in gear is with music.

“I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music.” -Albert Einstein

Most of us don’t need science to tell us that certain songs immediately make us feel good. However, cognitive neuroscientist, Dr. Jacob Jolij, wanted a quantifiable explanation as to why some songs make us feel better than others.  In fact, he made it his quest to identify the most feel good song of all time.

He started by identifying the songs that respondents listed as those that make them ‘feel good’, and then looked for patterns in key and tempo. After factoring in additional variables, such as season in which the song was released, genre, lyrical theme, and overall emotionality of the lyrics, he discovered the formula.  Ready?

So get to the list already!  Okay. According to Dr Jolij’s research,  here are the top ten feel good songs(and maybe the new playlist for the break room?):

10.  Walking on Sunshine (Katrina & the Waves)

9.   I Will Survive (Gloria Gaynor)

8.   Livin’ on a Prayer (Jon Bon Jovi)

7.   Girls Just Wanna Have Fun (Cyndi Lauper)

6.   I’m a Believer (The Monkeys)

5.   Eye of the Tiger (Survivor)

4.   Uptown Girl (Billy Joel)

3.   Good Vibrations (The Beach Boys)

2.   Dancing Queen (Abba)

And, (drumroll please) the number 1 feel good song of all time is...

revealed in the Neuro Nugget from the archives below. So, go on…  take a few minutes to feel good…. in the name of science. And, share your own top “feel good” song in the comments.  I’d love to know which tune moves you!