Research has shown that listening to music can be entertaining and can improve one’s health. In addition to providing pleasure and contentment, music can have various psychological benefits such as relaxing the mind, energizing the body, and aiding in pain management.
It’s not surprising that music can affect how you think, feel, and act. If you’ve ever felt energized listening to upbeat rock music or emotional at a live show, you know that music can influence moods and even motivate actions.
There are even some songs about mental health, which can help to raise awareness and reduce stigma about these issues, especially during Men’s Mental Health Month. These songs can be a source of comfort and connection for those struggling with mental health issues or seeking support. This article provides a list of the top 21 empowering songs with meaningful lyrics about mental health.
Importance of Music in Mental Health
Listening to music can positively impact brain chemicals like dopamine, associated with pleasure, and oxytocin, known as the “love hormone.” There is also some evidence to suggest that music can reduce cortisol, the stress hormone.
The latest report from the Global Council on Brain Health (GCBH), a working group of scientists, healthcare professionals, and other experts founded by AARP, is called “Music on Our Minds.” The report discusses research that demonstrates the positive impact of music on emotional well-being. These benefits include enhanced mood, reduced anxiety, and better stress management.
Impact on the Brain
According to the report, music has a significant impact on the brain as it activates various regions, including those linked with emotion and memory. This means that the music you heard at events like your wedding, religious services, concerts, or dances gets saved in your brain, along with the positive feelings associated with it.
The report contains results from the 2020 AARP Music and Brain Health Survey. This survey was conducted with 3,185 adults from across the United States and found that listening to music, whether in the background, through recordings, or at live performances, has a small positive effect on mental well-being, as well as reducing depression and anxiety.
Benefits of Listening to Music
Listening to music can also provide psychological benefits, such as improved focus and concentration. Music has the potential to help you break through mental barriers, enabling you to achieve goals that may have seemed unattainable before. Listening to music with positive emotional connotations can also reduce negative thoughts and feelings of loneliness, helping an individual cope with stress or sadness.
Stimulate the Brain
Music stimulates multiple regions of your brain, including those responsible for emotions, learning, memory, well-being, cognitive function, and movement. It also reinforces the connections between different areas of the brain. Interestingly, music and social interaction are the only two activities known to activate such a large number of brain regions.
Listening to music can regulate cortisol levels and provide stress relief. While acute stress can be beneficial in certain situations, chronic stress can cause hormonal imbalances and physical symptoms such as headaches and insomnia. By listening to music regularly, acute stress can be relieved and prevented from turning into chronic stress.
Researchers conducted a study to analyze the impact of music on the motivation levels of static bike cyclists. Without informing the participants, they modified the tempo of the music. According to the study, when the music’s tempo was increased by 10 percent, the cyclists’ performance improved in terms of pedaling speed, power exerted, and distance covered. Conversely, reducing the music tempo by 10 percent led to a decrease in performance. This indicates that higher-tempo music had a positive impact on the participants’ motivation.
Criteria for Song Selection
The song selection on the list is based on the way they have a positive impact on your emotions and mood. Music engages a large part of your brain and can produce similar effects to drugs without harmful side effects. Science explains that the feeling of chills or shivers you experience while listening to your favorite song is due to the release of dopamine in the body.
The lyrical content of these songs is also carefully chosen to bring awareness to mental health issues. In addition, the lyrics are motivational and hopeful, intended to inspire those going through dark times or struggling with mental health conditions. They are also popular and well-known enough to be easily accessible. These songs also have a cultural significance and are likely to be memorable.
Some songs have had a significant effect on some people and they immortalized these songs through tattoos. These mental health tattoos are inspired by quotes and lyrics from these songs. If you plan to get a tattoo, you can also check the lyrics of your favorite songs for mental health tattoo ideas. Some lyrics even hold a special meaning and can help you make a statement about your mental health struggles.
Without further ado, here is a list of 21 empowering songs about mental health with meaningful lyrics and meanings:
Empowering Songs about Overcoming Challenges
Songs can help people overcome challenges. It may be hard to find the courage to face an obstacle but listening to inspirational songs can help. Here are some empowering songs that focus on overcoming challenges in life:
“Fight Song” by Rachel Platten
The song “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten serves as an anthem for those facing any kind of struggle and can also encourage those dealing with mental illness. The song’s message is about bullying in schools and how it affects students. The lyrics aim to provide comfort to those who are experiencing it by letting them know they are not alone. The main theme is to stand up for oneself and not pay attention to hurtful comments. Although the song has a powerful story, it can be sad. The meaning of this song revolves around striving to gain control over your life, triumphing over challenges, and holding onto self-belief even when unsupported by others.
“Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” by Kelly Clarkson
Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” is a pop-rock song released in 2011 that inspires listeners to break free from toxic relationships and find their strength. The chorus motivates them to become stronger and not let their past hinder their progress. Over time, the song has become a well-known motivational anthem and a symbol of resilience.
When she says, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” she exudes such strength that it’s hard not to believe her. Her words are truly inspiring. The song focuses on three main themes: using past experiences to become stronger, maintaining resilience in difficult situations, and recognizing the personal power that comes from within oneself.
“Roar” by Katy Perry
Include this hit song in your inspirational playlist! Katy Perry’s “Roar” is all about believing in oneself and standing up for what you believe in. With more than 3.3 billion views on YouTube and taking the top spot on music charts worldwide, “Roar” has been one of the most popular songs since it was released in 2013. Its catchy tune and message of self-empowerment have made it enduring.
The song “Roar” by Katy Perry is an energetic and upbeat pop anthem that motivates listeners to be confident and strong. It starts softly and then gradually builds up to a captivating chorus with a tribal drum sound. Perry’s vocals are lively and full of energy as she sings about conquering fear and taking charge of one’s life.
The song “Roar” has lyrics that encourage empowerment and self-confidence. The line “I am a champion, and you’re gonna hear me roar” is particularly inspiring. It is a popular song that uplifts and motivates people to tap into their inner strength and power. The theme of this song is to inspire listeners to stand up to their failures, triumph over difficulties, and become their source of strength.
“Brave” by Sara Bareilles
Sara Bareilles wrote a song called “Brave” to inspire people to be themselves and not care about what others think. The song was inspired by Sara’s struggles and a friend’s difficulty in being brave enough to come out. It takes courage to show people who you are. The message of the song is to have the courage to express your emotions instead of keeping them inside. This inspiring message is relatable to people of all ages.
The theme of this song is choosing between being small and feeling powerless and striving to be brave. It emphasizes the importance of being brave and finding the courage to speak up for yourself. Additionally, the song encourages learning to prioritize self-care.
“Unwritten” by Natasha Bedingfield
Natasha Bedingfield’s “Unwritten” is a pop song that motivates listeners to take charge of their lives and approach their future with optimism. The song’s upbeat melody and inspiring lyrics promote self-discovery and the strength of the human soul. Bedingfield’s passionate singing effectively conveys the song’s message, emphasizing the significance of living life on one’s terms and embracing the uncertainties of life.
The song delivers a motivational message to seize life’s opportunities and persist in pursuing one’s aspirations. The song endorses the idea of breaking away from one’s past limitations and unlocking the boundless potential of the future. Listeners are inspired by the song to express their individuality and to relentlessly pursue their ambitions.
Empowering Songs About Self-Love and Acceptance
Some songs also allow people to become comfortable in who they are and learn to accept themselves. Here are some empowering songs about self-love and acceptance:
“Scars to Your Beautiful” by Alessia Cara
In one of her songs, Alessia Cara addresses the issue of societal beauty standards and how it affects people’s confidence in their appearance. She reminds her listeners that they are beautiful just the way they are and don’t have to alter themselves to fit in with society’s expectations. The music video features individuals sharing their experiences with insecurities and difficulties they have faced in life.
“Just the Way You Are” by Bruno Mars
The song “Just The Way You Are” is a classic that encourages self-acceptance and celebrates uniqueness through its memorable music and uplifting lyrics. Its popularity comes from its ability to resonate with various audiences, motivating them to embrace their imperfections and vulnerabilities. Its emotional impact has made it one of the most iconic pop songs ever. Its relatable message makes it easy for listeners to connect with on a personal level.
The song “Just The Way You Are” reminds people that they are all unique and deserve love and acceptance, regardless of societal norms or expectations. Bruno Mars’ sweet love song is especially inspiring to women. It’s not just because he sings confidence-boosting lines to his lady like “When I see your face/ There’s not a thing that I would change” or “You’re amazing, just the way you are,” but also because he wants his love to realize she should think these things about herself too.
“Firework” by Katy Perry
This song is both catchy and inspiring, especially for women and those who have ever felt lost and wanted to start over. It’s a child-friendly pop song about feeling confident and letting your light shine. The artist encourages listeners to own their uniqueness and embrace their inner strength. If you feel like you need a fresh start, remember that every moment is an opportunity to do so.
You can start by listening to this pop song where Katy Perry encourages you to feel confident and free to show your brilliance. The song is about the inner strength that enables people to overcome obstacles and persevere without giving up. It’s an empowering and inspiring message.
“Confident” by Demi Lovato
Demi Lovato’s “Confident” is an energetic pop song that empowers listeners to believe in themselves. The lyrics offer a catchy beat and the powerful vocals of Lovato. It creates an anthemic feel to the song. The song encourages self-confidence and empowerment, with Lovato’s passionate delivery, driving rhythm, and infectious melody making it perfect for dancing and boosting confidence. The song has a positive message and a lively tune that has connected with the audience, leading to its popularity in workout and self-empowerment music collections.
Empowering Songs About Hope and Resilience
Songs about hope and resilience allow people to find help and strength in the face of adversity. Here are some empowering songs about hope and resilience:
“Beautiful” by Christina Aguilera
This song is a part of Christina Aguilera’s Stripped album which is all about female empowerment. The song is particularly inspiring as it encourages self-love and recognizing true inner beauty. It talks about facing insecurities caused by negative people who aim to bring one down. It’s an amazing and empowering message that women can benefit from.
In this song, the singer declares that she is beautiful no matter what others may say, and she encourages those facing difficulties with hopeful words. Linda Perry wrote the song and was present during Christina Aguilera’s recording. While singing, Christina became emotional and wanted to redo the recording, but Linda insisted that the song is meant to promote self-acceptance, even with imperfections.
“Rise Up” by Andra Day
The song’s lyrics convey a powerful message about persevering through obstacles and remaining strong despite obstacles. Many listeners find the song to be motivational and uplifting. It reminds listeners to rise up, never give up, and keep pushing even when exhausted. If you are feeling beaten down and struggling, this empowering track by Andra Day can serve as a reminder that perseverance is possible, no matter how challenging the situation may appear.
“Skyscraper” by Demi Lovato
Demi Lovato’s performance of this song goes beyond a typical empowering pop ballad for young girls. Her vulnerability and tenderness resonate with audiences on a deeper level, possibly due to her personal experiences of pain and triumph, including rebuilding herself after going to rehab while working with Disney Channel. The song is about finding strength, fighting against negativity, and resistance, personal struggles, and rising against the odds.
She spoke about recording “Skyscraper” before and after her treatment In 2011. The song held a lot of emotional significance for her, as it did for many others. When she initially recorded it, she was struggling and saw it as a cry for help before going to treatment. After treatment, she tried to rerecord it but found that her voice had changed and it didn’t have the same impact.
The first take of the song was special because of the intense emotions expressed. The recording session was very vulnerable to the point of tears. The artist remembers it as a great experience to open up like that.