5 MORE Rockin’ Songs to Boost Your Mood and Make you Smile, PLUS Tips for Managing Stress

Clearly not my image – all credit to the amazing Bill Watterson!

So I have to tell you, I believe this post comes at a critical time. I was going to post a recipe for superfood chocolate chip cookies (look for those coming soon), but in a sudden moment of deep reflection, I realized that right now a list of cheerful, energy-boosting, drab-crushing music was what I wanted to put together for you, my dear readers. For you, of course, but also more importantly, for me.

So why not a moment too soon?

I asked my sister, a music guru, for her suggestions and she said, “I haven’t been listening to much upbeat music right now.”

I asked my boyfriend, and he said, “Hmm, I’ll have to think about it.”

People, we should all have a few songs at the very tip of our tongues that are surefire bets for making us feel better. Country, celtic, classical, pop, it doesn’t matter. If it makes you feel great, you should be listening to it on a regular basis. And that’s a fact.

I have been stressed lately. There it is. I’m trying to incorporate more self-care – reading my novel before bed, taking an epsom salt bath, watching a Sex and the City episode after supper – but when I get stressed, most things start to feel like tasks on my list, even the nice things. It all becomes one big checklist and I end up living in my head, thinking about the next ‘task’ as I’m ‘accomplishing’ the current task. And considering your relaxing lavender bath a task isn’t really the way you want it to be.

I know I need to manage my stress better. I know it. But it’s really hard, and doubly so because I tend to get stressed about being stressed. No solution seems perfect at the moment for me, but music helps. Music seems to remind me I also have a body, and that body enjoys singing, dancing, laughing, and smiling, AND TAKING A BREAK FROM THINKING.

Sorry for shouting. I got worked up there.

My cats help me with my stress. Isn’t this boy a beauty?

When we’re in the thralls of a stress time, we often forget the power of laughter and smiling. We forget to make a plan to find the upbeat music that brings us joy, to dance a little bit, and to take a moment to think about what really brings us the most pleasure and then to make sure we do it.

A few other things I’m trying right now to help with stress:

  • Kris Carr’s Self-Care for Busy People meditation album
  • romance novels (don’t knock these – if you find a gem, you’ve found excellent writing, compelling storytelling, and some good lusty sexual tension – it’s stress-busting gold, people, gold!). I particularly like Meredith Duran and Sherry Thomas.
  • walks outside (my sister and I made a rule that you could only talk about the present on our shared walk – anyone caught worrying, stressing, or future-planning got a big upper arm pinch)
  • morning affirmations – I like these ones for anxiety from The Anxiety Guy
  • an episode here or there of a favourite TV show. For me, it’s Sex and the City, The Mindy Project, Grace and Frankie, or (can I admit it?) the 90s Star Trek (c’mon! it’s kind of gentle and fun and imaginative. I find it calming.).

But anyways, below is my current list of mood-boosting songs. For other options, try my previous lists: Ten Songs to Boost Your Mood NOW and Ten MORE songs to Boost your Mood and Make you Feel Alive. Or, try 5 Songs and 8 Ways to Start Your Morning with Joy and Movement.

Music all over the place! The hills are ALIVE with the sound of music.

Enjoy!

5 MORE Rockin’ Songs to Boost Your Mood and Make You Smile

  1. Can’t Stop the Feeling byJustin Timberlake (the video is full of fun dancing)
  2. Can’t Stop the Feeling – The Piano Guys version (watch the video – it made me smile big time – it’s full of MORE fun dancing)
  3. Wasted Time – Keith Urban (reminds you that not everything has to be productive! sometimes the joy is in the wasted time. And as with all country music, you are reminded of the importance of wearing shorts and letting your hair be free).
  4. Hymn for the Weekend – Coldplay (Seeb Remix). (this jam is chill, and inspires you to sway around your home and maybe also throw an arm or two in the air to the sound of the beat. This song also reminds us to be grateful for the weekend. I certainly am. Please disregard all messages of being drunk and high, though I assume Chris Martin means, on life itself.)
  5. Bom Bom by Sam and the Womp. (while the lyrics are basically nonsensical, I defy you to stand still during this song. Those silver trumpets in the back? So fun! Especially if you pretend to play them in the air during the song.)

Enjoy!

© Eat Well, Live Vibrantly

 


5 Songs and 8 Ways to Start Your Morning with Joy and Movement

scotland morning

Morning in Holyrood Park, Edinburgh, Scotland. Bliss.

Morning: the first or early part; the beginning.

Dance: to leap, skip, etc., as from excitement or emotion; move nimbly or quickly.

Mornings can be really tough, especially in the winter. I read somewhere, a few weeks back (and I can’t remember where), about a women who had survived cancer and who decided she was going to dance each morning to the Pharrell song “Happy.” Funny how there are those little moments that spark a brain change in our lives – for me, that was one such moment. I suddenly thought: if I could start off every day dancing, why wouldn’t I?

And so I’ve tested it out.  Instead of listening to my usual radio station (which, admittedly tends to play more wah-wah sad music), I’ve danced around each morning for the last three weeks, and here’s what I’ll tell you: dancing in the morning makes you feel approximately 8-15% happier (all calculations are approximate and extremely un-scientific). When I wake up, it’s often still dark outside. Truth be told, here in Ontario, it’s dark, and it’s also cold. Talk about a recipe for depression and lethargy.

scotland morning 2

But, dancing in the morning is like a little happiness multivitamin. It wakes up your body and opens up your joints and hips and heart. It makes whipping up your breakfast smoothie more fun. It gets your energy flowing and reminds you that you are, indeed, alive (easy to forget on a tired, dark, cold Monday morning).

So here are my Monday to Friday recommended dance songs. Each one offers you an uplifting message for your day:

  1. Happy – Pharrell Williams, Neus Remix  OR Happy – Pharrell Williams, Vaux & Rivera Remix (message: dancing and happy go together)
  2. Sexual Healing – Marvin Gaye, Kygo Remix (message: sexual energy is life energy, and, remixes of Marvin Gaye songs are fabulous and make you happy)
  3. Got to Give It Up – Marvin Gaye (skip to 16:20 for the song) (message: moving and grooving leads to life possibilities)
  4. I Wanna Dance with Somebody – Whitney Houston (message: it’s awesome to dance with people who love you)
  5. Shining Star – Earth, Wind, and Fire (message: you are a shining star, no matter who you are).

If you’re looking for other excellent morning habits, here are a few more:

  • drinking a tall glass of water in the first few minutes of getting up to replace any fluids lost overnight;
  • eating a healthy breakfast;
  • taking your multivitamin and/or vitamins (vitamins are best taken in the morning; minerals best in the evening)
  • getting some natural light or exercise outside in natural light;
  • saying something positive to yourself about the day ahead or about yourself and your capabilities (rumour has it Christie Brinkley throws open the curtains every morning and shouts “thank you!” to the universe. I read it on the internet).
  • enjoying a mug of your favourite tea while you are still and calm;
  • engaging in some gentle wake-up type stretches.
hawthorne sunshine

Hawthorne indulging in a morning sunshine stretch.

We don’t always have a lot of time in life to carry out everything in the manner we’d like. Sometimes, it’s the snippets that we can grab that help us achieve great things. On a sunny morning, I watch my cats bask. They find a patch of sunlight, roll around on the floor, stretch, open up their bodies to the light, and embrace the bliss. When that patch of sun disappears, they move and find another one. They maximize the opportunities for joy that are available to them, right now, in the present.

So, think again about the definitions of morning and dance. If you could spend the beginning or early part of your day leaping, skipping, as from excitement or emotion, moving quickly or nimbly, what kind of energetic changes might that create in your life? How might that change your day?

Happy Dancing!

© Backyard Owl 2016