Everyone experiences anxiety at some point in their life. For most, it’s temporary. For others, its situational. And for some, it’s a constant factor in their life.
Anxiety can be triggered by numerous things, such as relationships, fear, stress, work, family problems and more. And when that occurs, it’s always great to be able to turn on a song you love in an effort to cope and eventually heal.
And so, in this article, I’m going present you with a list of my favorite songs about anxiety and stress, so that you can listen to music that can help you through any rough patches in life you might be experiencing.
Songs About Anxiety and Stress
Let’s start with a song entitled “Keep the Wolves Away.”
1) Keep the Wolves Away by Uncle Lucius
Our first song tells the story of a kid watching his father struggle to provide. The job ends up taking its toll on his father, making him ill.
Instead of helping a dedicated employee, the company tries taking advantage of his dad. In return, the dad survives (but is unable to work) and sues the company.
The ending lyrics find our child character as an adult and realizing the settlement money is dwindling and that he, not his father, will be taking the important and scary role of provider this time.
2) Paranoid by I Prevail
I Prevail’s track history is full of inspiring songs related to overcoming personal demons, but “Paranoid” gets specific and that’s why it has made it to our list. Feelings of paranoia (obviously), stress and doubt are all included in this first-person view of inner struggles.
The singer says he is looking for an escape from all the noise in his head and feeling like “something isn’t right”. But is there really something wrong…or is it all in his head?
3) Girl by Maren Morris
Bringing a fresh feel to country, Maren’s ballad is not your “sunny day love song” or another “drinking my cares away” tune. No, instead our girl gets real and gritty from the very first lyric, “Man, this s*** unflattering, all up in my head again. I don’t feel myself right now. Maybe I should just lay down.”
From there, her song continues to be relatable as she describes not currently liking herself and needing a way out of her rut. Reassuring her listeners that even though what she (and they) feels “is natural”, she doesn’t want to feel that way any longer.
If your bestie ever wrote a down-to-earth pep talk in song form, this would be it.
4) Help Me by Shawn Mendez
Toxic masculinity, who? We don’t do that anymore. Now we have male artists calling for help, unashamed, in the first line of this powerful song.
Shawn’s vulnerability is moving as he begs for someone to take his emotions seriously. He never gets specific about what may be troubling him (it needn’t even be anything specific, depression just sucks) but he gets told over and over again to use drugs and/or sex to make himself “feel better.”
And the sad truth Shawn tackles is exactly what most men hear when trying to ask for any emotional help. This is probably a factor in why men don’t often report their mental health issues.
Shawn even tries going down that route by looking through his phone because he doesn’t want to be alone. Yet he wonders if there is ANYONE that can help him. A game changer. “Help Me” shows that anxiety doesn’t care who you are, it affects everyone and anyone. And ANYONE can need help.
5) Unwell by Matchbox 20
Another band with numerous songs concerning mental health, Matchbox 20 had to have a spot on our list. While other songs of theirs come from the viewpoint of someone who loves a neurodivergent person (examples: “3am” and “Push”), “Unwell” is in the first-person point of view.
Rob portrays a hopeful man who is almost begging someone not to leave despite his issues. He knows he may have a breakdown. He knows people talk about him. But he’s hoping the person he loves will see the real him underneath it all.
6) Break My Heart Myself by Bebe Rexha
We start at an anonymous meeting. We don’t know if it’s Alcoholics anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous or even a NIMH meeting, but Bebe is there, and she’s nervous about it.
She introduces herself (twice) and talks about her life; the medications she’s on and how they affect her, her doctor increasing her dosage and her mom trying to make her feel better. She reveals more, talking about her panic attacks and manic episodes.
Even getting into scarier topics, Bebe admits to watching a “jumper” on the news and being afraid that she could do the same someday. Thankfully though, she is not that person. Thankfully she is here to sing about it.
7) Migraine by 21 Pilots
Be prepared to look up all of the words to this song because it is incredible. Be warned, there are a lot, and they go by very quickly.
But it doesn’t detract from the message that anxiety can be triggered by different things and can be experienced in different ways. In fact, dealing with writer’s block, stress, feeling defenseless and tested are some of the contributing factors to our singer’s anxiety.
Writer/ singer Tyler Joseph paints us “a mental picture portrait” of his brain’s workings and it includes “violent islands” and “crazed lions”. The imagery is only part of the song though.
All of the cool wording aside, “Migraine” has serious undertones about thoughts of self-harm, insomnia and pressure. But the vocalist reminds himself, and the listeners, that, “You’ve made it this far kid”.
8) Lucid Dreams by Juice WRLD
Juice WRLD was an incredible contributor to the world of music and his passing was a tragedy. He took the world by storm with his unique voice and even more unique style of rap.
Opening the doors for so many, his rap music focused on issues that came with the dangerous side of fame. His songs admit that relationships and being famous took a toll on his mental health and he dealt with it by using drugs.
He doesn’t hide this fact and even talks about the bad side affects the drugs themselves have on his already anxious mind. Realistic dreams that paralyze him, depression, heartbreak and addiction fill this song, but they are all common themes amongst his music.
But he doesn’t gloss over them. He doesn’t glamorize it. The artist knew he had listeners that would relate, and he wanted to be honest. Thank you, Mr. WRLD.
9) Gasoline by Halsey
Halsey is no stranger to confronting serious subjects and her mental health is not an exception. Not a speck of bubblegum pop elements in the track, and you can tell from the very beginning that Halsey is not happy.
She asks the listener a series of questions. Are you insane like her? In pain like she is? Do you have the need to make decisions that don’t make sense?
Letting us in on her innermost frustrations, she informs us of people telling her what to do and who she should be. But she has a “fault” in her “code”. And she can’t be anything but herself, even if that means she is different and faulted.
10) I’ve Got a Dark Alley and A Bad Idea That Says You Should Shut Your Mouth by Fall Out Boy
Wow! That was a long title!
But, in all seriousness, the heaviness of the song name pales in comparison to the weight of what the song is actually about. Bassist and cowriter, Pete Wentz often pens lines about his struggle with addiction and bipolar disorder.
With Patrick Stump as main vocals, the song tackles fear of failure, lack of authenticity, lying to keep face and the inability to make sense of himself.
11) Hey You by Pink Floyd
What would our anxiety themed list be without Pink Floyd? Even though this classic song was released in 1979, it’s still as relevant as ever.
Our main album character, Pink, finds himself isolated behind his wall and now desperate and anxious to contact someone, anyone. He seems to call out to the outcasts, the ones “standing in the aisles with itchy feet and fading smiles.”
But he receives no answer. He keeps attempting to reach out to different people… with no one answering. But he refuses to give up hope.
12) Breathe Me by Sia
Sia has many songs that perfectly pin the feelings of her anxiety but “Breathe Me” is exemplary. No grandiose music production, no added vocals, Sia’s intentions are as clear as her pain in this song.
As if she were a troubled friend calling your phone, Sia quietly admits that she is the reason for her own wounds. She confesses she has lost herself yet again.
Hearing her reveal that this is not the first time she has been in this worrying state almost makes you want to find and care for her. You can feel her fear. But she is not asking for much in the song. She needs help, a friend to hold her until she finds herself again, some warmth to soothe the pain and someone to “breathe” her.
13) Little Talks by Of Monsters and Men
Whether you are someone with inward struggles or you care for someone struggling, this song will resonate. A duet, our female vocals is the one struggling in this situation.
She tells of insomnia, self-doubt, the inability to even dress herself at times and a “old voice” in her head that holds her back. It’s almost as if she is venting AND trying to scare her companion away by speaking about her demons.
But our male voice doesn’t get frightened or run away. Instead, he has a response to everything she says, even (not mocking) saying to the “Voice” that he misses talking to her. This song is comforting as it proves not everyone is afraid of your demons and sometimes outside help is exactly what you need.
14) Black Dog by Arlo Parks
Sticking with the theme of supportive friendship, this song not only tugs at the heartstrings but yanks on them. Even if you’re not the one dealing with personal lows, hearing Arlo beg you to get up will still tempt tears from your eyes.
You may find yourself also pleading with the song’s main character to “take your meds and eat some food” and wondering why the mind can be so needlessly cruel.
But hope remains as Parks sings to the fighting friend that she would do “anything” to get them out of their room, even if its only down to the corner store to buy fruit.
15) Surface Pressure by Jessica Darrow (from “Encanto”)
Okay, hear me out, ya’ll.
Now we know that Encanto is having a moment right now, and if you’re sick of hearing this hit (or anything mentioning the name “Bruno”—well, unless it ends in “Mars”), then you have my sincerest apologies.
But there is no denying “Surface Pressure” brings anxiety front and center.
This song is great for multiple reasons:
1) It gets the family talking about anxiety and other mental health issues.
2) The lyrics are pretty cool (the Cerberus line is a personal favorite). But with Lin-Manuel Miranda as the cowriter, how could they not be?
3) A Cuban-American is singing this song, which is a great step forward when it comes to inclusion within the checkered past of Disney animation.
Although mental health has been making its way to the forefront recently, there are still stigmas surrounding it. Especially in the Latinx community.
16) Fast Car by Tracy Chapman
This song has been covered by numerous artists and it’s no wonder why. This beautiful song tells the story of woman struggling with…well, life.
She has to quit school to care of her elderly and ill father after her mother abandons them both. He cannot work so she has to get a job at a store that barely makes ends meet.
She then ends up falling for a man with a “fast car” and promises of a better life. She has to make the hard decision to either stay and be stifled or take a chance at happiness by leaving with her love.
Well, she decides to leave.
The rest of the song tells of her continuing struggle her worries. Listen to the song and you’ll understand why so many artists make the choice to pay tribute to it.
17) Beautiful by Eminem
Many people unfortunately turn to drugs to deal with anxiety and other issues. While they may be expecting an escape, countless people have told tales of how drugs make things exponentially worse.
And Eminem is certainly one of them.
He admits that he wrote the first verse of “Beautiful” in while in rehab. Almost like a confession to his fans, the rapper talks about feeling “distant” and “hard to reach,” unable to get out of his depression.
18) Long Time II by Chance the Rapper and Nico Segal
Chance has been pretty open about his faith, but this song digs deeper into the rapper. Scenes describing pressure to succeed lead to other scenes of drug use and domestic violence.
The song shows that people who have made bad decisions aren’t necessarily bad people.
Another ugly face of anxiety rears its head. The tension of having so many expectations may have pushed Chance to his current level of celebrity, but for a time in his life, it also turned him into someone he never wanted to be.
19) Everything I Wanted by Billie Eilish
Eilish has many recent hits that deal with sometimes controversial topics. But “Everything I Wanted” can connect to almost anyone.
She takes us from her dream of jumping off “the Golden” (speaking about the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, CA) and no one caring about it and leads us to her fear of letting anyone down.
The public has not been a stranger to scrutinizing the young artist and it has affected her mentally as she admits in the line, “If they knew what they said would go straight to my head…what would they say instead?”
Though some of her subject matter may be mature, this song is an attempt to remind people that she is human. She is, in fact, “somebody’s daughter.”
20) Lonely by Justin Bieber
Benny Blanco collaborated with Bieber on this stripped-down ballad. With only a single piano accompanying his melancholy voice, the singer admits to us that even though everyone knows his name, it seems as if no one cares.
He talks about his childhood being overshadowed by fame and being in the public eye. As an adult, he knows some of the things he did as an “idiot kid” were mistakes.
Now, all grown up, Justin is overwhelmed by depression and the isolation his celebrity has caused.
Does anyone really care about him? Bieber’s famously smooth voice is heartbreaking as he wails, as if in the middle of crying, “I’m so lonely.”
21) Residente by René
Though this pick is in Spanish, this almost “spoken word” song can connect with everyone.
The official video gives the English translation, so anyone can follow along— and it is as beautiful in English as in Spanish.
Rene talks about his entire life in one song, from early childhood days to his divorce, to his thoughts of self-harm, his anxieties about providing for his son and worries about losing himself.
He cries as he talks about being ostracized from his own country after speaking out against the Puerto Rican governor and the death of his friends due to violence.
Even the baseball field he once loved has “gone dark,” tainted by strife. But he will continue to live and write because he knows his words have the potential to reach someone else, and to him, that makes all the sadness and anxiety worth it.
22) The Con by Tegan and Sara
This sisterly duo has tackled mental health often in their musical history.
“The Con” finds our singer flinging us from one end of the emotional spectrum to the other. At the beginning, she is choosing to move on from a conflict, yet it almost feels as if she’s reluctant to do so.
She goes back and forth, telling the other person to calm down because she is home and may actually be doing things to keep herself safe. Memories of her telling the other individual not to call her and then turning around and saying she pursued them pull the listener into her messy, anxiety-filled mind.
Ultimately, she just begs them to “encircle me, I need to be taken down.”
23) Smoke Break by Carrie Underwood
Parenting and high expectations are the key sources of anxiety in this country song. Our first verse tells us of a mother who tries her best to be everything to everyone, including God and her family.
But sometimes, the intensity and nerves get to her, and she needs to walk away and imbibe “a stiff drink” and a cigarette—and she doesn’t even drink or smoke!
The second verse takes us to a man who works in the city. The first to go to college amongst his farming family, the expectations for him are high.
He tries to be a quality man and “do something good that matters,” but he admits that it can just be too much, and he just wants to make the “world stop” and give in to a drink and a smoke as well.
24) Rainbow by Kacey Musgraves
The title may sound happy, but when you consider the elements that make a rainbow, you’ll realize that this song is deeper than it seems.
As if she is talking to her friend, Kacey tells the listener that she knows they’re not ok. She sees them struggling. The proof is in the way they’re keeping themselves guarded and seem to be “stuck out in the same ol’ storm again.”
A creative writer who does not hide her struggles with mental health, Kacey often uses metaphors in her music. She tries reassurance that the storm was only temporary, and this is a time to be calm and enjoy life.
Yes, the storm may come back, but it will not last. It can be interpreted to mean that we should appreciate the different stages in life, even the unpleasant ones.
After all, it has to rain before a rainbow will appear.
25) In Between by Beartooth
A stark contrast from our last pick, this song is not for the faint of heart musically (genre: metal).
A band that uses a lot of their songs as forces for good and mental health progress, Beartooth’s “In Between” almost screams that it is okay to admit that you’ve lost yourself at times.
And sometimes, a straightforward scream can be what you need to break through your anxiety.
But anxiety is different for everyone, and there is no one-size-fits-all treatment that works for everyone.
26) Death Around the Corner by Tupac Shakur
This is one of my favorite Tupac records. On this track, ‘Pac is beyond paranoid. And he acknowledges this anxiety on each verse.
This is a song where ‘Pac openly admits “no longer trusts his friends. To cope, he turns to drugs (weed in particular), but he admits that’s a problem too—it’s got him buggin’.
So now, you have a song where an openly paranoid man is smoking weed in order to ease his anxiety—but it’s only making it worse.
In the end, Tupac is worried someone is going to kill him—but he doesn’t know who it is or when it might happen. As a result, he’s a prisoner of his own mental state, as he can’t help but see death around every corner he turns.
Am I paranoid? – Tell me the truth
I’m out the window with my **, ready to *****
Ran out of **** and my mind can’t take the stress, I’m out of breath
Make me wanna **** my damn self
But I see death around the corner
27) Robocop by Kanye West
Okay, let’s end with a little bit of levity, shall we?
This is a funny song about anxiety and paranoia—well, relatively speaking, of course. But on this track, Kanye sings of being in a relationship that has absolutely no trust whatsoever.
On Robocop, Kanye sings of a woman he’s dating that’s in a constant state of anxiety and insecurity within the relationship. It didn’t start off that way, mind you, as Kanye mentions she initially was “the baddest girl I ever seen.” But soon, that dream girl turned into a living nightmare.
Or should I say, a “Robocop.”
Who knew she was a drama queen?
That’d turn my life to Stephen King?
Up late night like she on patrol
Checking everything like I’m on parole
I told her there’s some things she don’t need to know
She never let it go, oh
On the track, Kanye sings of a lover that’s turned incredibly jealous. He dismisses her as a “spoiled little LA girl” and, by the song’s end, demands that she “stop it now” and put an end to his misery.
Anyone can experience anxiety. From panic attacks to debilitating phobias or diagnosed disorders, it’s not pleasant to the person experiencing it. But by talking more about it and sharing our experiences, we continue to learn more about anxiety and how to deal with it.
Thankfully, music can help us with our pains and traumas. And so, hopefully you’ve found this list of songs about anxiety to be incredible helpful—and perhaps you discovered a couple new songs too!
You Might Also Like:
- Songs About Fighting Back
- Songs About Losing Someone to Addiction
- Songs About Believing in Yourself
- Songs About Storms
- Songs About Divorce