New Research Says Taylor Swift's Music Positively Impacts Mental Health

Taylor Swift singing during Eras tour.

As soon as “Shake It Off” starts playing, many of us would agree that it’s impossible not to sing along, car dance or at least do some foot-tapping. While Taylor Swift is certainly known for her soulful music that openly makes mental health references, it’s also catchy, fun and uplifting. 

So it doesn’t really surprise us that new research has discovered that Taylor Swift’s music can improve mental health

The O2 Arena in London recently took a closer look at the connection between music and live entertainment and how these things impact mental health in 14 to 25-year-old people in the UK. With the help of a consumer research company, sets of 10 questions were sent to 2,000 individuals within the age demographic. Upon compiling the findings, the arena discovered that 80 percent of young people believe that music and live events have a positive impact on mood and overall wellness.

The research also touched upon specific artists. Taylor Swift was the clear winner, with 32 percent of participants saying that her music has the most positive effect on mood.

But why does music affect mental health in the first place? And what is it about Taylor’s music that puts us in a good mood?

Why Does Music Have a Positive Effect on Mood?

“Music has a powerful ability to evoke emotional responses and trigger the release of pleasure-related brain chemicals,” says Adolescent Therapist Dr. Courtney Conley. “It's like a brain party. Music gets our happy chemicals, or dopamine, flowing.”

Additionally, she says, music can help us relax, causing the brain to let go of stress hormones, and even brings up memories and feelings that make us smile.

“In a nutshell, music can activate various parts of the brain associated with emotions and our thought processes. These factors combined give music its mood-boosting powers,” Dr. Conley says.

Dr. Jenna DiLossi, Psy.D., ABPP, Clinical Psychologist and presenter for Minding Your Mind, says that music directly targets the emotional hub of the brain or the limbic system.

“This part of the brain gets activated and ‘lights up’ when we hear music,” she says.

What Is It About Taylor Swift’s Music That Improves Mood?

When asked about this latest research that puts Taylor on top, Dr. DiLossi says that it’s “not surprising” to her at all.

“As an OG Swiftie and a psychologist, I think part of Taylor’s ‘special sauce’ is her ability to be incredibly raw and genuine in her lyricism,” she says. “She tells us the good, the bad and the ugly through her lyrics—and that is most authentically representative of the human experience.”

Dr. Conley says that apart from the O2 study, the impact of music on mood and behavior has long been studied and established within the mental health field.

“As an adolescent therapist, I am not surprised that Taylor Swift would be listed as one of the top mood-enhancing music performers,” she says. “She has a long-standing music career and passionate fan base.”

Dr. Conley also points out that since music is often shared with others, whether at concerts, through fan clubs, dancing with friends or singing in a choir, these social connections and interactions can enhance our mood, “as social engagement and positive interactions are known to boost mental wellbeing.”

Our experts listed specific catchy, empowering and feel-good Taylor Swift songs that just might improve your mood:

  • “Shake It Off”

  • “You Belong with Me”

  • “22”

  • “Love Story”

  • “Today Was a Fairytale”

  • “Delicate”

  • “Anti-Hero”

Related: 10 Taylor Swift Songs That Reference Anxiety, According to Therapists

What Are Some Specific Sounds That Can Give People a Mental Health Boost?

To improve your mindset, whether you’re listening to Taylor Swift or not, keep in mind that the music you listen to will match or even create your mood, as Dr. Conley puts it. In other words, when you’re feeling low and want to boost your mood, it can help to listen to music with an upbeat sound.

“If you are trying to reset yourself and get in a good mood, put on something upbeat that you are likely to sing,” Dr. Conley says.

Dr. DiLossi recommends music that makes you feel “seen and validated.”

“This can apply to happy, upbeat songs in addition to more somber-sounding songs,” she says. “This, of course, means that this answer is truly subjective based on the life experience at the time and the individual person. That said, there is a reason why pop melodies stick in our heads! Sometimes, the simplest of melodies with a few chords will be what sticks and lifts our mood even if we aren’t particularly a fan of pop music in general.”

And if it doesn’t feel right in the moment to listen to happy music, know that sad music also has its good points.

“Sad songs are important, too,” Dr. Conley says. “They help us feel connected to others who have gone through similar struggles. So, go ahead and put on a sad song if you need a good cry but don’t listen to music with a sad message if you want to boost your mood.” 

Related: 10 Swiftie-Approved Snacks to Sneak Into the Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour Concert Film

Other Ways To Manage Your Mental Health

While it might seem like Taylor has superhuman powers in general, her music isn’t the be all, end all when it comes to your mental health. Listening to positive music should be done in conjunction with other treatments, therapies and approaches.

“Music is great for influencing your mood, but it shouldn’t be your only wellness strategy,” Dr. Conley says. “I suggest scheduling time for hobbies, friends and activities that you enjoy. If you are tight on time, take five minutes to go through a guided meditation or step outside to get some fresh air and sunshine.”

Dr. DiLossi recommends moving your body to get into a better mood. “This does not necessarily mean a gym membership,” she says. “Any type of movement that pushes your body but leaves you feeling positive after is incredibly helpful for mood and general wellbeing.”

To bring together two mental health boosts, consider “shaking it off” to a few of Taylor’s tunes. 

Next up: Build confidence with the help of Taylor Swift’s gum-chewing trick.


  • Dr. Courtney Conley, Ed.D., Adolescent Therapist.

  • Dr. Jenna DiLossi, Clinical Psychologist and presenter for Minding Your Mind.

  • The O2“The O2 announces ticket pledge for 1,000 local young people, following new research linking live events and improved mental health”