Songs That Make You Sing and Dance No Matter Your Mood

self-care Oct 18, 2020
Songs and music after 50

I was driving home from a week long visit with my son and his family and feeling kind of blah. It’s October and we continue to be in the middle of a global pandemic. I had been looking forward to this visit and now it was over.

The doctors are starting to warn us about Thanksgiving gatherings. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday partly because it’s the gateway to the Christmas season but largely because it’s one of the two guaranteed times each year that all of my kids and grands are together in the same house. You moms and grandmas out there know that feeling? When all of your birdies are together in the nest?

I rent a Moonbounce for them to play in each year and the kids hang out in there and play and jump. Their dads sip my hot apple sangria and watch football and catch up reminisce. My daughters in law cook and laugh together in the kitchen. As I drove home, I was realizing that this would likely not be happening this year.

The weather was changing and becoming colder which was going to limit the possibility of my outside social visits with friends and family. I was grateful for the summer and the week I’d just had but not particularly looking forward to the winter ahead. My leg and back were hurting from the drive. I was just feeling BLAH. Definitely the beginnings of a pity party.

Just as I was resigning myself to this mood and pity party, David Lee Murphy and Kenny Chesney began singing “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright” on the radio. In an instant my frown turned upside down and I began singing along and dancing in the car. And I truly felt that everything was “gonna be alright!”

That got me thinking – about music and what a mood changer it can be (in either direction). And how a song can instantly take us back to a different place and point in time.

The Research

The research continuously shows that music provides us with health benefits both mentally and physically. Among other things, it lowers our heart rate and blood pressure, helps us to sleep better and exercise harder. It’s even been shown to reduce pain.

Do a Google search using terms such as “patients dancing and listening to music before surgery” and you will smile as you watch people dancing right before they are operated on, often with their surgical teams joining in.

The Ability of Music to Take Us Back To Another Place and Time

Study after study shows that music is linked with memory, particularly the music that we listened to in our teen years. Our brains are growing and developing during those years. In addition, most of us listened to the same songs and bands over and over again, further embedding those lyrics and memories in our brains. Researchers call our teens and early 20s the “reminiscence bump”, when human beings retain more memories than they will during any other life phases. So, it’s no surprise that a song can instantly transport us back to our first dance, our first breakup, or a fun sleepover with our friends.

The 12 Songs That Instantly Make Me Dance and Sing - No Matter My Mood


“I WILL SURVIVE” ~Gloria Gaynor

“DON’T STOP BELIEVIN” ~Journey (anytime this one is played somewhere, my friends will always record it and send it to me with the caption – “This is your jam”

“WALKING ON SUNSHINE” ~Katrina and the Waves – No one can listen to this song and sit there not moving. No one!

Any song from the movie “Grease” – “SUMMER LOVIN,” “SANDY,” “GREASED LIGHTNING,” “YOU’RE THE ONE THAT I WANT,” and the list goes on.


“DECEMBER, 1963” ~The Four Seasons


CAN’T STOP THE FEELING ~Justin Timberlake Not an oldie but it is guaranteed to get you moving and singing. Every. Single. Time.

“SWEET CAROLINE” ~Neil Diamond. Not a dance tune, exactly, but puts a smile on my face and makes me sing at the top of my longs. “Whoa oh ohhhhhhhhh”

“UPTOWN FUNK” ~Bruno Mars It’s worth mentioning that when I went to get the link for this one, I watched and danced to the entire video here in my office. This song also makes me happy because my now 7 year old grandson used to sing it when he was 3 – in his words…”Uptown Funky Up, Uptown Funky Up!”


“LIVIN ON A PRAYER” ~Bon Jovi. This one will forever instantly take me back to karaoke on a girls’ trip to Mexico.

There are so many more. And my list is ever growing as I expand my repertoire. I’ll need to refer back to this list to help me dance through this winter.