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Introducing a Music Playlist for the Science of Happiness

I created a playlist for my positive psychology class. Do you want to hear it?

I’m teaching a class right now called "The Science of Well-Being" (aka The Psychology of Happiness and Virtue). In preparation, I spent a ridiculous amount of time creating a playlist (see it on Apple Music and Spotify) of music relevant to each lecture (e.g. happiness, strengths, emotions, optimism, gratitude, forgiveness, kindness, flow, etc.). I tried to select an eclectic mix of songs and genres, so it would appeal to a wide variety of musical tastes. I even asked my two college-age kids for advice and also consulted the democratic candidates’ summer campaign playlists (which leaned not only to the left but to the positive). If anyone wants to listen or is just curious or might even use it in their own classes or practices, here it is.

Class 1: Introduction to Well-Being Science and Strengths

  • "Good Vibrations," The Beach Boys
  • "Good Life," G-Eazy & Kehlani
  • "Good Life," OneRepublic
  • "Pursuit of Happiness," Kid Cudi (feat. MGMT & Ratatat)
  • "Don’t Worry, Be Happy," Bobby McFerrin

Class 2: Happiness – What Is It and How Is It Measured?

  • "Live Your Life," T.I. (feat. Rihanna)
  • "Love Train," The O’Jays
  • "Walking on Sunshine," Katrina & The Waves
  • "Good Times," Sam Cooke
  • "Happier," Ed Sheeran

Class 3: Why Are Some People Happier Than Others?

  • "Happy," Pharrell Williams
  • "Best Day of My Life," American Authors
  • "You Can’t Always Get What You Want," The Rolling Stones
  • "Joy to the World," Three Dog Night
  • "Gratitude," Earth, Wind & Fire

Class 4: Benefits of Happiness

  • "Beautiful," Akon (feat. Colby O’Donis & Kardinal Offishall)
  • "Break My Stride," Matthew Wilder
  • "Mo Money Mo Problems," The Notorious B.I.G. (feat. Mase & Puff Daddy)
  • "Material Girl," Madonna
  • "Beautiful People," Ed Sheeran (feat. Khalid)
  • "(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction," The Rolling Stones

Class 5: Is It Possible to Increase Happiness and If So, How?

  • "F9mily (You & Me)," Lil Nas X & Travis Barker
  • "Happier," Marshmello & Bastille
  • "All You Need Is Love," The Beatles
  • "Butterflies," Kacey Musgraves
  • "Happy," Leona Lewis

Class 6: Introduction to Emotions and Their Measurement

  • "I Second That Emotion," Smokey Robinson & The Miracles
  • "I Gotta Feeling," The Black Eyed Peas
  • "Cut to the Feeling," Carly Rae Jepsen
  • "You Need To Calm Down," Taylor Swift
  • "I’m So Excited," The Pointer Sisters

Class 7: Positive Emotions

  • "All I Wanna Do," Sheryl Crow
  • "California Gurls," Katy Perry (feat. Snoop Dogg)
  • "Feeling Good," Nina Simone
  • "Celebration," Kool & The Gang
  • "Here Comes the Sun," The Beatles

Class 8: Flow

  • "Feel This Moment," Pitbull (feat. Christina Aguilera)
  • "California Love," 2Pac (feat. Roger Troutman & Dr. Dre)
  • "Move Your Feet," Junior Senior
  • "Push It," Salt-N-Pepa
  • "Let’s Dance," David Bowie

Class 9: Strengths and Virtues

  • "Brave," Sara Bareilles
  • "I’m Still Standing," Elton John
  • "I," Kendrick Lamar
  • "What the World Needs Now Is Love," Dionne Warwick
  • "Keep Ya Head Up," 2Pac

Class 10: Optimism

  • "Confident," Demi Lovato
  • "Magic," B.o.B. (feat. Rivers Cuomo)
  • "High Hopes," Panic! At the Disco
  • "Don’t Stop Me Now," Queen
  • "Roar," Katy Perry

Class 11: Love

  • "Let’s Stay Together," Al Green
  • "Halo," Beyoncé
  • "I Will Always Love You," Whitney Houston
  • "I’ve Got You Under My Skin," Frank Sinatra
  • "Marry You," Bruno Mars
  • "The Look of Love," Dusty Springfield
  • "My Best Friend’s Girl," The Cars
  • "I Want To Hold Your Hand," The Beatles
  • "Wonderful Tonight," Eric Clapton

Class 12: Altruism and Kindness

  • "An Act of Kindness," Bastille
  • "Kind and Generous," Natalie Merchant
  • "Lean On Me," Bill Withers
  • "Umbrella," Rihanna (feat. JAY Z)
  • "Bridge Over Troubled Water," Simon & Garfunkel

Class 13: Forgiveness

  • "Apology Song," The Decemberists
  • "How Do You Sleep?" Sam Smith
  • "Thank U," Alanis Morissette
  • "All Apologies," Nirvana
  • "Please Forgive Me," Bryan Adams

Class 14: Gratitude

  • "Nothing Without You," The Weeknd
  • "Society," Eddie Vedder
  • "Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)," Sly & The Family Stone
  • "Thank You," Keith Urban
  • "Gratitude," Beastie Boys
More from Sonja Lyubomirsky Ph.D.
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