3 songs that can boost your confidence

3 songs that can boost your confidence

Elton John once said, “Music has healing power. It has the ability to take people out of themselves for a few hours.” A recent study expounds on the famous singer’s quote and found that certain music can also empower people.

Researchers from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University conducted a number of experiments that examined how music influences people’s feelings. What their research found might have you downloading a popular 50 Cent song for a boost in confidence before your next big meeting or interview.

The study, published by the Social Psychological and Personality Science, found that individuals experience a greater sense of power when listening to a heavy-bass song compared to those who listened to a light-bass song.

“Just as professional athletes might put on empowering music before they take the field to get them in a powerful state of mind, you might try this in certain situations where you want to be empowered,” said Derek D. Rucker, study researcher, to the Kellogg Insight.

Study participants listened to a number of songs and then ranked how powerful, dominant and determined each song made them feel. Songs that were heavy in bass rated the highest among participants.

Researchers said the winning “high-power” songs that can help people take more initiative and make a lasting impression are the following:

  1. “We Will Rock You” by Queen
  2. “Get Ready for This” by 2 Unlimited
  3. “In Da Club” by 50 Cent

“Empowering music might be used strategically to get us in the right frame of mind,” Rucker said, in a statement.

The next time you turn on music for some background noise, consider playing one of these songs or another heavy-bass tune for an increased feeling of power and command.

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  1. Lisa Parro

    All good songs. Interesting study!

  2. Must be a generational thing! Hip-hop does nothing for me, but some swinging jazz (Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzberald, Tony Bennett or Count Basie) at a good tempo that makes me want to dance always puts a smile on my face. Other feel-good music: Pharrell Williams’s “Happy’ (I don’t listen much to pop radio, so it’s not overplayed for me), KT Tunstall’s “Suddenly I See,” the Beach Boys doing “I Get Around,” “Fun Fun Fun,” “Do You Want To Dance?” “Surfin’ USA” or “Little Honda,” the very young Beatles doing “Long Tall Sally,” “Eight Days a Week,” “Can’t Buy Me Love” (hit single version), or “A Hard Day’s Night,” Stevie Goodman singing “Lincoln Park Pirates” (because it’s funny to anyone who’s lived in Chicago and dodged tow trucks), just about anything by Stevie Wonder, almost anything fast by Brian Setzer and his big band, anything fast or funny by Louis Jordan or Cab Calloway, Lyle Lovett singing “She’s No Lady (She’s My Wife),” “San Antonio Girl,” or “My Baby Don’t Tolerate” just because the lyrics and his dry delivery are so clever and funny, and — a song appreciated by any single woman over 40 — K.T. Oslin’s “Younger Men (Are Startin’ To Catch My Eye).” Ha! A few of those should slap a smile on your face.

    But seriously, I work form home most of the time, and I keep a public radio station on that plays jazz all day, with few to no commercials, most of the time in the background, because it keeps me focused and in an upbeat mood, no matter how difficult the work. In fact, I have music on most of the time no matter what I’m doing and agree that it can make you more productive while reducing stress — even on a deadline. I can personally testify to that. And when I have a lot of material to read for work and have to take notes, I put on either a compilation of Pat Metheny’s slower tunes or else classical music: Mozart piano concertos, Beethoven symphonies, Ravel, Satie, Bach cello pieces, George Gershwin’s classical pieces like Concerto in F, Three Preludes, Rhapsody in Blue (the Oscar Levant version) or An American in Paris (Levant or Bernstein at the piano), John Williams playing classical guitar pieces, Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Scheherazade” (Bernstein and the NY Philharmonic), and Rachmaninoff piano concertos (preferably with Van Cliburn). That always does the trick without letting me fall asleep.

    • Julie Nakis

      I’ll definitely be checking out a few of your suggestions! I tend to listen to fast-tempo songs with no lyrics at work as the words tend to distract me but am always interested in new music genres.

  3. Interesting study indeed! I wonder if the tempo, key and instrumentation of a particular song has anything to do with confidence level.

  4. There is a great book called This Is Your Brain On Music by Daniel Levitan (sp?) if you find this kind of research interesting.

About the Author

Julie Nakis
Julie Nakis

Julie Nakis, health enews contributor, is manager of public affairs at Advocate Children's Hospital. She earned her BA in communications from the University of Iowa – Go Hawkeyes! In her free time, she enjoys spending time with friends and family, exploring the city and cheering on the Chicago Cubs and Blackhawks.