Ever wake up to a jam-packed schedule, overwhlemed by all the day’s "to dos"? As a solopreneur, music director, and DJ (with a start-up), this is par for the course for me. Thankfully, I’ve discovered a simple hack to help me start the day on the right foot. All it requires: Hitting “play” on a happy morning playlist. (I created a mix just for Shine—scroll down if you want the good tunes ASAP.)

When I listen to music I love, it can truly turn my mood around (even first thing in the morning!). And it’s a research-backed happiness hack—a 2011 study showed that music can play a pivotal role in creating good vibes. When participants in the study listened to music they enjoyed, researchers saw a 9 percent increase in dopamine levels—our body’s “feel good” or pleasure chemical.


You’ve probably experienced the mood-boosting power of music without even knowing it. Ever get chills down your back when you’re listening to a great song? That’s called “musical frisson,” and it’s the mark of increased dopamine transmission. For me, that feeling makes me want to seize the day—and dance my way right out of bed.

So, how do you use music in the morning to go from zombie to Wonder Woman in 20 minutes or less? Here, three tips that work for me:

1. Don't Procrastinate

Turn up the volume on your go-to jam right after you pop out of bed. Make it as automatic as your morning coffee. One way to do this: Keep a speaker near your alarm and press “Play” on your morning playlist right after you press “Stop” on your alarm.

2. Have a Positive Mindset


Don't punish yourself if you wake up tired or in a bad mood. Instead, actively try to catch good vibes. A 2012 study showed that the mood-boosting power of music increased when a person paired it with an intention to become happier. Decide that today, you'll have a great day—and let music help your mood improve.

3. Find What Pumps You Up

Look for upbeat tunes with real instruments, lots of C chords, and happy lyrics. We all have a tendency to sing along to the catchiest tracks, so make sure what you're singing (and ultimately saying to yourself) is positive.

Try My Go-To Mix

I curated a morning mix exclusively for Shine, which you can listen to below. Why I love it: I included lyrics that reinforce self-esteem in almost every track. Play this track right when you get out of bed, and you'll have 45 minutes of bliss to bop around to before bouncing out the door.

Ready to rise and Shine? Play my perfect morning mix:

Read next: 10 Habits for a Blissful Morning, Every Morning