Gloria Estefan is my bad mood hero. Allow me to explain: There are occasions where, when I’m left all alone, I can find myself getting a little too lost in my thoughts (a staple Aquarius trait, BTW). Overthinking plus a gloomy gray day and a mellow soundtrack—Frank Ocean, to be specific—and it becomes the perfect storm for an existential crisis.
On a recent occasion like this, I texted my boyfriend about how I was spiraling into a really sad mood. “Turn on Miami Sound Machine! Flip it, flip it!” he wrote back. Three seconds into “Conga” and I was back to my normal, chipper self. It’s been a recent discovery that Gloria Estefan—of Miami Sound Machine fame, if you’re not familiar—music has the utmost power of putting me into a good mood no matter how sad or angry I might have felt just moments before. It’s actually not surprising though, once you think about how much research backs the powerful influence of music on your psyche.
What you’re listening to, music-wise, has been proven to help with mood regulation, and with making you feel good, so something more upbeat boosts how you’re feeling on a psychological level. Hence the power of Gloria Estefan, whose voice infiltrates my body its core and sends actual dopamine to my brain to quite literally turn my frown upside down “Even just listening to a song is one of the most direct routes to emotional control, because music makes us feel things without necessarily even having to think about it,’ says Judy Ho, Ph.D., a clinical neuropsychologist. “Having a song you can listen to very quickly can really help people get into a different state of mind. Choose a song that tends to relax and give you confidence—those types of things can be super helpful.” On the other side of the coin, if you’re having a crap afternoon, you probably want to lay off the “SAD SAD SONGS” playlist you made after your last breakup.
For me, it’s the funky beats of Gloria Estefan that bring joy. My boyfriend starts his day off right by turning on “Walking on Sunshine,” while my colleague Zoë swears by Lizzo for her cheer-up playlists. You’ve just gotta find your Gloria Estefan, and you’ll be able to “Turn the Mood Around” (see what I did there?) in no time.
You can also set the mood with lighting (fun fact), or sniff some uplifting citrus essential oils to upgrade your mood from bad to good in a few seconds flat.