7 Feel-Good Songs To Help Your Depression

feel-good songs for depression psych2go

Depression, especially major depressive disorder, is a serious mental illness. Depression affects how the sufferer sees and interacts with the world around them. One symptom of depression is losing interest in things that were once important. While therapy is the go-to when it comes to treatment for depression, there is now data that suggests music in conjunction with therapy goes farther than therapy alone. This list, from Psych2Go, is a suggestion of songs that those with depression found to be useful for themselves. You may find other songs that work for you.

1. Lean On Me – Ben E. King

 Lyrics: “Please swallow your pride

If I have faith you need to borrow

For no one can feel those of your needs

That you won’t let show”

Why this song helps: While the tempo is more melancholy, those that suffer from depression have found a strong link to the lyrics. This set in particular suggests that talking about your needs with someone will allow them to help in some way. This may mean talking to a therapist, your family, or your friends. The point is that you can’t bottle everything up and that we all literally need someone to lean on sometimes.

2. Fight Song – Rachel Platten

 Lyrics: “This is my fight song

Take back my song

Prove I’m alright song”

Why this song helps: The flow of this song is very upbeat, which can cause someone to sing along. By getting into the music, a depression sufferer is involved in something outside of their symptoms. The lyrics also have a great message as they suggest that you can take back your life. It has been found that those with cancer gravitate towards this song as well.

3. Let It Go – Idina Menzel  

Lyrics: “It’s time to see what I can do

To test the limits and break through

No right, no wrong, no rules for me

I’m free!”

Why this song helps: If one were to listen to this song from start to finish one would see that there is a change happening to the character singing. In the beginning Elsa, from Frozen, sings about her need to hide who she is from everyone around her. As the song progresses she starts to accept who she is and buck the idea of what other’s might think. Those with depression have connected with this song because of this message. Acceptance of who you are is pivotal in a lot of depression recoveries.

4. The Climb – Miley Cyrus

Lyrics: “I can almost see it

That dream I’m dreaming but

There’s a voice inside my head sayin’

You’ll never reach it”

Why this song helps: This song starts off with some negative self-talk, which can be very familiar to someone with depression. Once the song progression though, the listener is introduced to “the climb” and how that’s all that matters. The song reminds the listener that life is full of obstacles but it’s how we overcome them that matters. So, someone with depression might be thinking that they will never be able to get past something and find hope for this particular song.

5. Happy – Pharrell Williams

Lyrics: “Here come bad news, talkin’ this and that

Well, give me all you got, don’t hold it back

Well, I should probably warn ya, I’ll be just fine

No offence to you, don’t waste your time”

Why this song helps: This song is essentially the adult version of “if you’re happy and you know it claps your hand”, which is fantastic. The upbeat lyrics and tempo are made for foot tapping and head bobbing. Someone with depression might enjoy this song because of those things and it’s easy to learn lyrics. Happy has a pleasurable approach to thinking of a happy thought. While this isn’t a guarantee of happiness, where is the harm in listing to a fun song that gets you singing along?

6. Fast Car – Tracy Chapman 

Lyrics: “So remember when we were driving, driving in your car

Speed so fast I felt like I was drunk

City lights lay out before us

And your arm felt nice wrapped ‘round my shoulder

I had a feeling that I belonged

I had a feeling that I could be someone”

Why this song helps: The premise of this song is to take the listener through a life of struggle. But it is also there to remind the listener that there are good times regardless of where you are or what you’re going through. It can be daunting to imagine being happy when we feel very low, but this song delivers the idea that something small can mean so much. While this isn’t a cure for depression it is catchy and one can’t help but listen to the emotion behind the lyrics.

7. Brave – Sara Bareilles

Lyrics: “Say what you wanna say

And lets the words fall out

Honestly, I wanna see you be brave”

Why this song helps: While the lyrics above are found in the chorus, the first lyrics of the song are “you can be amazing.” While this might sound cliché it is, in fact, akin to the “power stance” that has been found to be effective in giving people a boost of confidence. Being brave can mean anything to anyone. It can mean they should ask out that crush of theirs or that they should ask for that raise at work. It can even mean, especially to a depression sufferer, that they should ask for the help they need.

Again, this is just a selection of songs that have been found to help those with depression. If you have a favorite that you think should be on this list, please let us know in the comments.

Other reading from Psych2Go:

7 Tips for Living With Depression


Aalbers, Sonja. “Music Therapy for Depression.” Wiley, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 16 Nov. 2017, onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD004517.pub3/full. Retrieved November 23, 2017

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  1. Hold On from The Secret Garden

    When you see a storm is coming
    See the lightning part the skies,
    It’s too late to run, there’s terror in your eyes
    What you do then is remember this old thing you heard me say:
    It’s the storm not you, that’s bound to blow away.
    Hold on,
    Hold on to someone standing by.
    Hold on.
    Don’t even ask how long or why!
    Child, hold on to what you know is true,
    Hold on ’til you get through.
    Child, oh child!
    Hold on!

  2. I have quite some songs that help me go through the bad days:
    1. This Too Shall Pass by Sinclair
    2. Stay Alive by José González
    3. Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself by Jess Glynne
    4. I’m Alright by Jake Miller
    5. Landslide by Oh Wonder
    6. Moments by Tove Lo
    7. Ordinary Angels by Frente!

    Those songs are all about positivity, and more often than not, those songs help me feel a bit better in my down times 🙂

  3. I have a playlist similar to this. Among others, it includes:
    Skyscraper by Demi Lovato
    So Small by Carrie Underwood
    The Middle by Jimmy Eat World
    A Little Too Much by Shawn Mendes
    Stronger by Kelly Clarkson
    Dark Side by Kelly Clarkson

  4. A song that helped me a lot was the song ‘Stand in the Rain’ by Superchick, I know for a fact that this helped my sister as well. Superchick has a lot of inspirational songs that only now, as I’m older, do I truly appreciate. Basically any song that blasts in my ear and drowns out my emotions makes me feel better. I do agree with pretty much all of these songs!

  5. Beautiful by Eminem
    I feel like Em put my entire life story in his lyrics.

    I think I’m starting to lose my sense of humor
    Everything is so tense and gloom
    I almost feel like I gotta check the temperature in the room
    Just as soon as I walk in
    It’s like all eyes on me
    So I try to avoid any eye contact
    ‘Cause if I do that then it opens the door for conversation
    Like I want that… I’m not looking for extra attention
    I just want to be just like you
    Blend in with the rest of the room
    Maybe just point me to the closest restroom

  6. Pernilla by Icon For Hire helps me through a lot of things
    “I will not bend until I break, how much can one bruised body take?
    Just not enough to silence me, you’re only a memory
    I’ll scream these words ’til they come true, then I will think no more of you
    Look back on what I’m going through, this isn’t my identity”

  7. Till It Happens To You- Lady Gaga
    This song literally has nearly saved my life. It helps me realize that it is ok to be angry…That it is ok to not be ok. I need that in a life that ha thought me to be seen but not heard.

  8. Iridescent by Linkin Park, True Faith by New Order and Battle Born by The Killers <3

  9. These have always worked… ok… well… most of the time, and the more I listen the more I hear. Yes, most of are from the 80’s, that’s when I needed it most. In my mind’s eye and heart of hearts, the list is always growing and I’m trying to stay in the light. ~D – – Thank you

    Hold On – Plumb
    Born To Be Alive – Patrick Hernandez
    Mr. Mister – Broken Wings
    Africa – Toto
    Chinese Wall – Philip Bailey
    Working Hour – Tears for Fears
    It’s my Life – Talk Talk

    Heaven – The Psychedelic Furs
    Trial by Fire (song) – Journey

  10. 1) The light behind your eyes by My Chemical Romance
    2) Keep Holding On by Avril Lavigne
    3) Fight by Rachel Platten

  11. One of my ultimate anti-depression song has been for decades The Cure’s Why can’t I be you?


    The sheer joy and energy of the song, the big sound, the wonderfully bonkers videoclip and it’s lovingly humble lyrics… simply perfect!
    I defy anyone to still feel low after this awesome tune, give it a try!


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