Many happiness books and podcasts tell you that being grateful leads to a happier life. And while it’s easy to get consumed with heartache and hatred, if you try hard enough, you can find things to be thankful for. Here are 15 tracks that inspire you to be a little more grateful and hopefully puts a smile on your face.
Thank U by Alanis Morissette
If you were in Alanis Morissette’s shoes after Jagged Little Pill, life could get overwhelming. She was on top of the world. The pressure was immense. She could’ve let all the success get to her. Instead, she took a pause and reflected on what has gone well. She went from an angsty Canadian to a grounded citizen of the world.
Life is Wonderful by Jason Mraz
Jason Mraz gets a bit preachy. But it doesn’t mean he’s wrong. Nor does it make his singalongs less fun. Despite the negativity we harbor and the mishaps we encounter, “Life is Wonderful” elaborates on what makes living awesome. I can complain about things going wrong. Or I can look at them as necessary steps in the journey to happiness.
Your Song by Elton John
Many tokens of appreciation get consumed easily or depreciate in value as time goes by. But a brilliant piece of art can be timeless. That is the case with Elton John’s “Your Song.” Nothing pierces through the heart like an elegant and straightforward composition, paired with a tender melody and a heartfelt vocal.
Thank You by Dido
For some, a person can make a huge difference in a shitty day. And that’s what Dido found despite being hungover, broke, and subjected to the pain of commuting. And the warmth of all this sentiment is shared through her soulful vocals and relaxing melody. Of course, having a stan like what Eminem had isn’t what you should look for.
The Heart of Life by John Mayer
With all that’s going on, it’s hard not to lose your spirit. But for our own sake, regardless of our religious background, I feel believing things will turn out fine is a necessity for survival. And John Mayer’s guitar riffs, alongside the wisdom he’s giving about life’s natural trajectory, provides us with the anthem we need to pull through a rough day.
Woman by John Lennon
Unbelievably, up to this day and age, one demographic that still goes underappreciated is women. And John Lennon’s tribute to her second wife, Yoko Ono, is a perfect homage to the diverse roles they play in our everyday lives. The song is romantic. But it also gets you into an introspective mood to remember all the efforts and sacrifices women make.
Thank You by Kavana
Where is Kavana now? My 90s were filled with his music, notably, “Will You Wait for Me.” The world hasn’t heard much from him since. But what got me hooked to his music was actually “Thank You.” In the same manner that expressing gratitude is better late than never, I’d like to express mine to this underrated single.
Blessings by Chance the Rapper featuring Jamila Woods
What drew me to Chance the Rapper’s music is how he infuses gospel with hip-hop. And no song demonstrates this mix better than “Blessings.” I’m an agnostic. But observing how his belief system helps him stay grounded with his accomplishments and guides him on the path he takes for his advocacies are admirable.
Ode to My Family by the Cranberries
When I first heard “Ode to My Family,” it sounded like a depressing and gloomy track that should be avoided. But once I moved past the melody, I got to see the band’s tribute to people who helped shape their characters. Even though criticisms pour in as they rose to fame, they kept their sanity by holding onto the family they have and always will.
Grateful by Rita Ora
I’ve never seen the movie Beyond the Lights. Nor did I know a Rita Ora single was nominated for an Oscar. Technically, the award is for the composer, so it’s Diane Warren’s nod. But just the same, I’m grateful for the film, the writer, and to the songstress for a track asking us to change our perspectives to challenges coming our way.
You Raise Me Up by Josh Groban
Josh Groban should be thankful to the duo Secret Garden for creating a track that would give him a huge hit. But to his credit, given his amazing vocals, Josh Groban elevates the praise to a higher level. And that’s the kind of sentiment you’d want to express to a person you are forever indebted to.
In My Life by the Beatles
While embarking on the journey called life, it’s difficult to assess the value of people and the meaning of things without contextualizing their role in your history. And all that nostalgia helps highlight the importance you should attribute to the one who means the most. “In My Life” is a walk down memory lane and a map to the happiness treasure.
Kind and Generous by Natalie Merchant
“Kind and Generous” is a treat for the senses that brings you badly needed good vibes. Natalie expresses admiration and awe for the unexplained kindness she’s experiencing. We often come across situations where we cannot comprehend why we deserve such generosity. And it’s important to recognize those moments and pay it forward.
Thank God I Found You by Mariah Carey featuring Joe and 98 Degrees
Matching the success of “One Sweet Day” is close to an impossible benchmark. But she still has a lot to be thankful for with a collaboration that saw her working with Joe and 98 Degrees. “Thank God I Found You” is a certified hit that took off and showered the world with gratitude. While many star-studded singles flopped, this one didn’t.
What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong
Nothing is as predictable in this playlist as “What a Wonderful World.” And that’s partly because if you take a look around, it would be easy to find things to be thankful for. The surprising thing about how our minds work is screwups and setbacks dominate our day when a majority of the things we ignore are going right.