When the going gets tough, the tough get… singing!

Hi everyone, it’s Danielle here with MTGO! Do you remember what it was like navigating the world as an adolescent? A period in your life most likely marked by enormous growth, combined with the unavoidable struggles and stressors of simply growing up? Sometimes when you’re feeling down, all it takes is a little boost of inspiration and motivation to get your spirits back up, and what better way to do so than through songs? Research has shown, time and again, that music has the power to elevate your mood and reduce anxiety. I’m excited to share ten of my favorite inspirational songs that I’ve hand-picked for you and your young loved ones. You can find the accompanying YouTube playlist here or the Spotify playlist here. Additionally, please feel free to leave your favorite inspirational songs in the comments at the end of the post, too!

1. Rise Up – Andra Day

If you ever find yourself beaten down and struggling day after day, this empowering song by Andra Day serves as a great reminder that you can rise up and persevere no matter how difficult it may seem.

“And I’ll rise up
I’ll rise like the day
I’ll rise up
I’ll rise unafraid
I’ll rise up
And I’ll do it a thousand times again”

2. This Is Me – Keala Settle, The Greatest Showman Ensemble

Sometimes self-love and acceptance is one of the most challenging things for kids and teens to learn, especially for those who may be seen as “different” from their peers. Featured in the hit movie, The Greatest Showman, this song belts out the message that who you are is not something to be scared or ashamed of. Instead, it’s something to be proud of.

“When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I’m gonna send a flood, gonna drown ’em out
I am brave, I am bruised
I am who I’m meant to be, this is me
Look out ’cause here I come
And I’m marching on to the beat I drum
I’m not scared to be seen
I make no apologies, this is me”

3. I’m Good – The Mowgli’s

This catchy tune from the Mowgli’s, a Los Angeles based alternative rock band, captures one of the quintessential themes of adolescence: developing your own identity. From trying to figure out who you are, to worrying about what others think of you, this song encourages its listeners to not give up, be the best person you can be, and live life to the fullest.

“I’m good, I’m good, I’m good, I’m good
Living life just like I should
Wouldn’t change it if I could
I’m good, I’m good, I’m good”

4. Never Break – John Legend

As John Legend himself wrote about the powerful message behind “Never Break,” a song from his most recently released album, Bigger Love: “It’s about a commitment to staying hopeful, resilient and full of love despite the challenges the world may throw at us. Don’t give up on fighting for what’s right. Don’t give up on love.” No matter the trials and tribulations you may face out in the world, Legend reminds us that sometimes the most important things in life are hope, resilience, and love.

“We will never break
We will never break
Built on a foundation
Strong enough to stay
We will never break
As the water rises
And the mountains shake
Our love will remain”

5. Try Everything – Shakira

Recorded for the Disney film, Zootopia, this song will have you dancing away your fears and worries in no time as Shakira encourages you to never give up and try everything to the best of your ability.

“I won’t give up, no, I won’t give in
‘Til I reach the end
And then I’ll start again
No, I won’t leave
I wanna try everything
I wanna try even though I could fail”

6. Keep Your Head Up – Andy Grammer

At age 20, Andy Grammer returned to his home town of Los Angeles to try and get his foot in the door as a professional musician. After one particularly long day of being unable to sell any of his albums, he wrote this song to raise his own spirits. “Keep Your Head Up” quickly rose to the top as one of his most popular songs and its message is sweet and simple: when life gets you down, you just gotta keep your head up!

“But you gotta keep your head up, oh,
And you can let your hair down, eh.
You gotta keep your head up, oh,
And you can let your hair down, eh.”

7. Roar – Katy Perry

No inspirational playlist would be complete without this hit song! Roar along with Katy Perry as she sings about standing up for and believing in herself. With over 3.3 billion views on YouTube and topping music charts in countries around the world, it’s easy to see why “Roar” has remained one of the most popular songs since its release in 2013 with its catchy tune and enduring message of self-empowerment.

“I got the eye of the tiger, a fighter
Dancing through the fire
‘Cause I am a champion, and you’re gonna hear me roar
Louder, louder than a lion
‘Cause I am a champion, and you’re gonna hear me roar!”

8. Good Job – Alicia Keys

Originally Alicia Keys wrote this song last year as a tribute to the unsung heroes in her life, but when she debuted the song this past spring, she dedicated it to the essential workers responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Regardless of her target audience, her soulful ballad drives home the message that each one of her listeners is important, and she inspires them to keep up the good work.

“You’re doing a good job, a good job
You’re doing a good job
Don’t get too down
The world needs you now
Know that you matter
Matter, matter yeah”

9. Count on Me – Bruno Mars

For many children, cultivating friendships is an important part of childhood. This folksy song by Bruno Mars reminds us all what it means to be a good friend, inspiring each of us to be the best one we can be to those around us.

“You can count on me like one, two, three
I’ll be there
And I know when I need it I can count on you like four, three, two
You’ll be there
‘Cause that’s what friends are supposed to do, oh yeah”

10. Fight Song – Rachel Platten

To round out our list of inspirational songs, I wanted to leave you with Rachel Platten’s empowering song about standing up for yourself. It’s a great reminder that, no matter the challenges you’ve faced in the past and regardless of those who may not believe in you, you will always have the power to fight for and believe in yourself.

“This is my fight song
Take back my life song
Prove I’m alright song
My power’s turned on
Starting right now I’ll be strong
I’ll play my fight song
And I don’t really care if nobody else believes
‘Cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me”

I hope you’ve enjoyed this list of songs (YouTube playlist here and Spotify playlist here) and would love to hear about any of your or your children’s favorite inspirational songs below in the comments!