20 Songs about Anxiety and Being Anxious

Wouldn’t life be so much easier without anxiety?

Though anxiety can have different intensity levels and happen due to mental illness, stress, or no reason at all, we’ve all experienced it to some extent. It can be hard to deal with, especially when it just won’t go away.

Hopefully, these songs about anxiety can give you a respite from your worries and remind you to breathe.

In My Blood – Shawn Mendes

When a song starts with the line ‘help me,’ you can be sure you’re in for an emotional ride. From all the acoustic and intimate elements to its intense rock aspects, ‘In My Blood’ is a powerful song. Shawn Mendes sings about how nothing seems to help with his anxiety—not medicine, not alcohol, not companionship. But Mendes also offers hope, saying that no matter how easy it may seem to give in and give up, “it isn’t in [his] blood” to go easy.

Related: Check out the best songs of hope.

The Fear – The Shins

One of the most impedimentary things about anxiety is how it can affect relationships. It can be hard to be there for yourself when you’re anxious, not to mention another person with their own worries. ‘The Fear’ is a melancholy alternative song that perfectly captures this struggle. The line “you look into my eyes, you don’t really recognize me anymore” shows how anxiety can hide your true self, making it hard to be seen by others.

Related: Feel good with this playlist of being yourself songs.

The World at Large – Modest Mouse

‘The World at Large’ contemplates a person’s place in the world. The tentative vocals and building instrumentation follow the train of thought from “if the world’s at large, why should I remain?” to “my thoughts were so loud I couldn’t hear my mouth.” The question of existence can lead to a downward spiral with no end, beautifully shown in this song.

Related: Find similar songs on our list of the best thinking songs.

Crucify – Tori Amos

‘Crucify’ uses lots of religious imagery to describe feeling ashamed of yourself, specifically when dealing with failure. Tori Amos asks, “why do we crucify ourselves every day?” Why do we punish ourselves for our mistakes of the past when all it does is cause us pain? You can feel the frustration in the vocals, and the intense imagery adds to the desperate wonder.

Related: Here are the best loving yourself songs.

Paperbag Writer – Radiohead

Haunting strings and soft, ambient vocals create a mysterious and creepy atmosphere in ‘Paperbag Writer.’ The common thought is that this song is about a panic attack- something brought on by severe anxiety that can make a person feel out of breath and like they’re dying, even though they’re not. “Blow into this paper bag, go home and stop grinning at everyone” could be a way of telling someone to go home, breathe, take care of themselves, and stop faking like they’re okay for everyone else’s benefit.

A Million Little Pieces – Placebo

A mournful reflection on the loss of joy, ‘A Million Little Pieces’ cuts deep for those who often reminisce on better times. Expansive synth and simple piano add to the song’s emotion as the narrator falls to pieces. The narrator sings, “there wasn’t much I used to need…now my mistakes are haunting me” as life takes its toll.

Related: If you have regrets, check out the best songs about mistakes.

The Young Thousands – The Mountain Goats

If you just read the lyrics to this song, it might be hard to tell what it’s about. With mentions of boats, ghosts, diamonds, and dogs, this could be an ambiguous track about adventure, running, or being haunted. Thanks to a quote from writer John Darnielle during a live show, though, we know “this is a song about young people on speed.”

Help – The Beatles

With the title ‘Help!’ this song is very clearly a cry for help. The narrator is struggling and desperate, begging for some assistance. The song has a swinging feel to it that is almost hopeful, so at least there’s no need for complete despair! It seems there is someone who loves this narrator, seen in the line “help me if you can, I’m feeling down, and I do appreciate you being ’round.”

Stressed Out – A Tribe Called Quest ft. Faith Evans

A determined, beat-heavy song, ‘Stressed Out’ holds strong in the face of adversity. Struggling is natural and unavoidable, but the chorus reminds us that “we’re gonna make this thing work out eventually.” The music video follows various people facing problems, giving us people to identify with, as well as encouragement that we can overcome our own problems.

Breathin’ – Ariana Grande

Even pop queen Ariana Grande deals with anxiety, and she talks about it openly in her song’ Breathin.” She sings, “feel my blood running” and “I can’t control my mind” to describe how anxiety feels to her. The nervous system is on high alert when you’re anxious, which makes the blood rush and the mind unfocused. The pulsing beat of the song mirrors a racing heartbeat as Grande reminds herself to “just keep breathin’.”

Related: Take a breather and listen to this playlist of breathe music.

BasketCase – Green Day

This song bluntly describes a panic disorder over the sounds of shredding rock distinctive from Green Day. Billie Joe Armstrong, the lead singer of the band, has personal experience with anxiety and vulnerably describes it with lines like “sometimes I give myself the creeps, sometimes my mind plays tricks on me.”

In the Garage – Weezer

This song talks about the comforts of a safe place and the dangers of leaving it. This song’s safe place is the garage in which it was written: “in the garage, I feel safe.” Leaving the garage means facing judgment and the unknown, so staying put is better. Though staying comfortable is easy, sometimes it is vital to living the life you want—if Weezer hadn’t left the garage, they couldn’t have been a touring band!

Related: Feeling insecure? Here’s our list of low self-esteem songs.

Come As You Are – Nirvana

‘Come As You Are’ is a perfect grungy rock song, with a great bass line, intricate drums, and a guitar solo. Lyrically, it’s not as straightforward. With contradictory lines like “as a friend, as an old enemy” and “take your time, hurry up,” it seems like the narrator is caught in the confusion of life and what to do with it.

Related: This song features on our list of the best bass songs.

Unwell – Matchbox 20

Anxiety is sometimes irrational, but knowing it’s irrational doesn’t ever make it go away. Instead, you start to feel crazy and frustrated. ‘Unwell’ is a comforting song because it tells us this is a common feeling. “I’m not crazy. I’m just a little unwell, I know, right now, you can’t tell.” The narrator pleads to this person to wait a moment and see him as he is—just a normal person going through a hard time. This is one of the most popular anxiety songs and its upbeat tune is sure to help you feel better.

Rose-Colored Boy – Paramore

‘Rose-Colored Boy’ is an anthem that champions the messy parts of humankind. So often, people hide their hardship because of the stigma it can carry. But Paramore wants the world to take off the rose-colored glasses and accept the heartbreak and the wars of the world. Ignoring it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist—”just let me cry a little bit longer. I ain’t gon’ smile if I don’t want to.”

Related: If you need a good cry, check out this crying music.

Waving Through a Window – Dear Evan Hansen

‘Waving Through a Window’ is one of the most popular songs from the musical Dear Evan Hansen. In this song, Evan wonders if all he is destined for is to be nothing to no one. It’s an existential crisis born from feeling isolated and stagnant, likely due to social anxiety. “Will I ever be more than I’ve always been?” asks Evan, something many of us wonder when we feel caught in the clutches of insignificance.

Related: Maybe it’s you’re destiny to check out these songs about fate.

Crawling – Linkin Park

Though the literal meaning of ‘Crawling’ may have to do with the side effects of substance use, it could also be said that the song compares the feelings of anxiety to a physical sensation of something creeping under your skin. The discomfort and panic of anxiety can certainly feel that way sometimes. The intense metal rock style only adds to the anguish of the song and the need to escape the feelings of something crawling under your skin.

Concertina – Tori Amos

A concertina is an instrument similar to an accordion, which is pushed and pulled to make music. Tori Amos compares feeling anxious to a concertina, saying, “concertina, concertina, a chill that bends.” Just as a concertina squeezes, pushes, pulls, and blares, anxiety squeezes the breath out of Amos, pushing and pulling her thoughts and emotions around her head.

Disturbia – Rihanna

Despite being a chart-topper, a meme, and a classic club track, ‘Disturbia’ has surprisingly dark lyrics. Rihanna sings, “your mind’s in disturbia, it’s like the darkness is the light,” showing just how consumed this person is by their miserable mental state. Mental health struggles can creep up on you and take over without warning, but maybe this upbeat dance tune can stave them off.

Related: Wipe away your worries with this feel-good songs playlist.

Anxiety – Bmike

Bmike raps about the all-consuming and inescapable anxiety symptoms in this catchy yet emotional song. The weight of anxiety can be physical, creating a pain that makes you feel like nothing you do is enough. And no matter what you do, the pain won’t go away. The emotional and physical toll of living like this is clear with the line “every single day it breaks me to pieces.”

More songs about anxiety:

  • Stressed Out – Twenty One Pilots
  • Safe & Sound – Taylor Swift
  • Anxiety – Julia Michaels
  • Mind Playing Tricks on Me – Geto Boys

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About Ged Richardson

Ged Richardson is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of ZingInstruments.com. He has been featured in Entrepreneur, PremierGuitar, Hallmark, Wanderlust, CreativeLive, and other major publications. As an avid music fan, he spends his time researching and writing about new and old music, as well as testing and reviewing music-related products. He's played guitar in various bands, from rock to gypsy jazz. Be sure to check out his YouTube channel, where he geeks out about his favorite bands.

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