Ever realize that certain songs make you feel a certain way? Some may make you happy or sad or angry.

Of course, we’re always looking for those feel-good songs…the ones that really make you feel joyful, especially at a time when everyone might be feeling a bit down.

One Dutch cognitive neuroscientist Dr. Jacob Jolij discovered that there’s actually a formula to the songs that make us feel good.

“A ‘feel good song’ is rather tricky to define,” Dr. Jolij wrote on his website. “Music appreciation is highly personal and strongly depends on social context, and personal associations. In that respect, the idea of a ‘feel good formula’ is a bit odd — factoring in all these personal aspects is next to impossible, in particular, if you want to come up with a quantita[ti]ve feel good formula. Basically, what you need are song features that you can express in numbers.”

The formula is a specific combination of lyrics, tempo, and key. Luckily, Dr. Jolij analyzed all the songs for us and came up with some of the happiest songs of all time. Definitely give these a listen next time you find yourself in a down mood!

  1. Don’t Stop Me Now, by Queen

  2. Dancing Queen, by Abba

  3. Good Vibrations, by the Beach Boys

  4. Uptown Girl, by Billy Joel

  5. Eye of the Tiger, Survivor

For the rest of the songs on Dr. Jolij’s list, check out this article from the Boston Globe.

There’s just something about these songs that make you feel good, isn’t there? What song always puts you in a better mood?