If you live with anxiety, you may have already discovered that music can soothe many of your anxious thoughts. When physical or emotional symptoms become overwhelming, your favorite songs or a relaxing playlist might help you find a sense of calm.
One of many annoying things about anxiety is that it tends to make you feel like you’re the only one who’s ever felt that way when that’s actually far from the case. To prove it, here are some excellent anxiety songs that can be your companion whenever you get anxious next.
These songs won’t necessarily alleviate your anxiety—if you’re looking for that, hit up some of those sea shanties all the kids are talking about on TikTok. These are the songs that really capture what it’s like when you’re panicking, overthinking, or feeling trapped under the weight of your own nerves.
This is why there are a lot of anxiety songs that are made by singers who are personally experiencing hardships in their lives. Even to this day, there are issues that people tend to shy away from like mental health and how serious it is.
They give voice to those who might fear speaking up. These great artists opened their hearts and gave us songs that get real about mental health issues like anxiety, depression, and other mental illnesses.
You might also feel somewhat relieved to realize you aren’t alone. Knowing others have faced similar anxious thoughts can offer some measure of comfort and help you cope.
Listening to anxiety songs can help normalize your experience and replace feelings of isolation with a sense of connection and solidarity.
Lyrics can have multiple interpretations, of course. We’ve settled on these anxiety songs from a range of genres because their lyrics describe, in some way, what living with anxiety can feel like.
1. “Unwell” by Matchbox 20
“It is not my genre of song, but when I heard it, it was as if that song was made for me.” — Jocelyn B.
2. “Complicated” by Avril Lavigne
“[It’s] a song I hear and think about myself when I’m overthinking situations and turn into someone I’m not.” — Madelyn H.
3. “Little Talks” by Of Monsters and Men
“My overthinking happens most at night, especially when the house is seemingly quiet. Every creak and groan of the house echoes the unrest and struggle in my head.” — Cecilia C.
4. “Numb” by Linkin Park
“I believe Linkin Park has many songs that resonate with those with mental illness. Sadly, Chester Bennington (the lead singer of Linkin Park) died by suicide, and I believe most of his lyrics are very poignant examples of his struggles. In ‘Numb,’ the line that hits me most is: ‘Can’t you see that you’re smothering me? Holding too tightly, afraid to lose control…’ When my attacks begin, I can’t breathe and it feels like I’m being squeezed, smothered or drowning, and I can’t control how my body reacts to the panic I feel.” — Laurynn B.
5. “Breaking Down” by Florence + the Machine
“Anxiety is something that is always there, though I may not feel it. And when panic attacks hit, it literally causes me to break down.” — Victoria M.
6. “Alone In a Room” by Asking Alexandria
“First, because it’s upbeat and loud. Second, because the chorus hits me hard. It’s so true that the thing I need to get through a panic attack is the last thing I want.” — Brandi M.
7. “The World at Large” by Modest Mouse
“This song is about how we get absorbed by our thoughts and the constant repetition of a daily routine and how we try to use different things as means of escapism… I also like the mellow, soothing melody in it…” — Mary J.
8. “What Now” by Rihanna
“‘There’s no one to turn to cause I’m just playing games with them all… The more I say I’m happy the more that I’m feeling alone.’ Her words explain it.” — Jami M.
9. “The Lonely” by Christina Perri
“The lyric, ‘Let you go and let the lonely in, to take my heart again,’ just hits me hard when I just don’t think I’m worthy enough to be with people or things.” — Victoria M.
10. “Breathin” by Ariana Grande
“It basically explains the physical pain of not being able to breathe and how anxiety can drain all of your energy and make you feel physically ill. I personally suffer from both of those symptoms very frequently, so it helps me to feel better.” — Rachel G.
11. “Crawling” by Linkin Park
“It describes my anxiety so perfectly. In those moments I feel like I’m crawling in my skin and feel like my wounds will not heal.” — Shana S.
12. “Breathe Me” by Sia
“It connects with me when I feel like I can’t breathe and all I am is air to be forgotten about by someone else’s lungs. It’s a calling out to many symptoms of anxiety and the toll it takes on you.” — Victoria M.
13. “Where Is My Mind?” by The Pixies
‘Where is my mind’ by The Pixies because when my anxiety gets to me, I just don’t think straight and my thoughts are everywhere.” — Victoria J.
14. “Viva La Vida” by Coldplay
“[I relate to the lyrics], ‘One minute I held the key, next the walls were closed on me. And I discovered that my castles stand upon pillars of salt and pillars of sand.’ For me, one minute I’ll be doing OK and then in a snap, I’m hyper-aware and afraid of my surroundings.” — Victoria M.
15. “Gasoline” by Halsey
“‘You can’t wake up, this is not a dream.’ My racing thoughts are all-consuming and they’re like a living nightmare I can’t escape from.” — Aylah H.
16. “Inner Demons” by Julia Brennan
“This song perfectly describes what these thoughts are like and how sometimes you just want to be free. It’s one of my favorite songs because I relate to it really well!” — Alyssa B.
17. “Tell Me You Love Me” by Demi Lovato
“I need constant assurance that he loves me. There are times I am afraid he’ll leave because of things I say or do. Some days I just need to know… that he loves me.” — Demi L.
18. “Holding Onto You” by twenty one pilots
“It helps me realize these irrational fears and such may be a big part of my life, but I don’t let it define me. I always relate the ‘and I’ll be holding on to you’ lyric to the positive things in my life such as family and friends who continue to help me.” — Katie R.
19. “Never Gonna Give You Up” by Rick Astley
“I am so frightened of being left, not being good enough and people giving up… because of my borderline disorder, I already feel like I have given up on myself.” — Beverly C.
20. “Shake It Out” by Florence + the Machine
“Whenever I feel an irrational fear, I think about how that fear might be holding me back.” — Victoria M.