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Do you often feel anxious? Have you been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder?
Feeling anxious most of the time is a serious matter. While it is normal for people to worry about things now and then—even trivial things—extreme anxiety is a real concern.
Your feelings are valid, but you also need to acknowledge them and be aware of where they arise from.
In this post, we share with you a list of 35 songs about anxiety that can help you understand what it feels like to be living with stress.
You may be the one with anxiety, or perhaps you have a friend or family member experiencing it. Either way, we dedicate this post to you.
Let’s check out the songs!
1. Pressure, Billy Joel
“You have to learn to pace yourself (pressure). You're just like everybody else (pressure). You've only had to run so far, so good, but you will come to a place.”
Pressure by Billy Joel has a basic premise—it is about a guy who is trying hard to cope with the pressure he feels in his everyday life. An acquaintance told him that he “looked like he was under a lot of pressure,” and that is what made him create the song.
“Some days, things just take way too much of my energy. I look up and the whole room's spinning. You take my cares away; I can so over-complicate, people tell me to medicate.”
It is no secret that Ariana Grande underwent a lot of anxiety in 2017, following the terrorist attack during her “Dangerous Woman” tour in England. In an interview, she said she already had anxiety and this event just made it worse. In this song she poured out her thoughts and emotions about her anxiety.
“Sometimes, I give myself the creeps. Sometimes, my mind plays tricks on me. It all keeps adding up. I think I'm cracking up. Am I just paranoid or am I just stoned?”
Green Day lead vocalist Billy Joe Armstrong admits that he experienced various and extreme panic disorders while growing up. For this reason, this song is quite personal and emotional for him. He further explained that the only way he was able to cope with his anxiety was by writing songs such as Basket Case.
“And it's hard to dance with a devil on your back. But given half the chance, would I take any of it back? It's a fine romance, but it's left me so undone. It's always darkest before the dawn.”
Florence Welch describes this song as “getting through something and then seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.” It is probably one of the most positive songs about anxiety that you will ever hear. When things are rough and you worry too much, shake it off.
“There's something inside me that pulls beneath the surface—consuming, confusing. This lack of self-control I fear is never ending—controlling, I can't seem.”
This song sums up the experience when it feels like something is crawling under your skin. It is mostly about drug addiction and the anxiety that comes with it, but the band says it is dedicated to anyone who feels helpless and uncomfortable in the situation they are in.
“All night, hearing voices tellin' me that I should get some sleep because tomorrow might be good for somethin'. Hold on, feelin' like I'm headed for a breakdown, and I don't know why.”
Rob Thomas explained in an interview that Unwell about having to deal with a disheartened version of yourself. Contrary to popular belief, he views it in a positive light, since the song gives you a chance to know yourself a little more—particularly your anxieties and fears.
“Help me, it's like the walls are caving in. Sometimes, I feel like giving up. No medicine is strong enough. Someone help me; I'm crawling in my skin.”
Shawn Mendes once admitted that this is the closest song to his heart. It is a song about being vulnerable and fragile, yet still choosing to be strong because it is “not in your blood” to give up. It may be a song about anxiety, but it is also one that encourages you to fight.
“Ouch, I have lost myself again. Lost myself and I am nowhere to be found. Yeah, I think that I might break. Lost myself again and I feel unsafe.”
Breathe Me is all about feeling so anxious and overwhelmed by life that you almost want to disappear. Sia explains that it is about people who have “inner conniption fits” and harm themselves, but eventually seek help.
“It's a thief in the night to come and grab you. It can creep up inside you and consume you. A disease of the mind, it can control you. It's too close for comfort, oh.”
This song is not for the faint-hearted. However, the song is also praised for being bold, powerful, and real.
“'Cause Lord, I know I ain't been no saint. But tell me what I did to deserve this pain. Tell me what I did to deserve this hurt. When all I ever did was put everybody first.”
Bmike’s intention in the music video of this song is quite clear—focusing on mental health awareness and cancelling bias. He goes deep in describing the challenges people with anxiety often face, including the stereotyping of other people. He also delves into how frustrating it can be when even therapists can’t understand your thoughts and emotions.
“Help, I'm alive. My heart keeps beating like a hammer. Hard to be soft, tough to be tender. Come take my pulse, the pace is on a runaway train.”
The idea behind this song is to create a picture in every listener’s mind of a “better world” to live in. Metric thought that it would be good to write a song about a wonderful, happy future, despite all the helplessness and anxiety people may be feeling at the moment.
“Now, my life has changed in so many ways. My independence seems to vanish in the haze, but every now and then I feel so insecure. I know that I just need you like I've never done before.”
John Lennon claims that this song is actually one of his favorite Beatles songs because it is real and meaningful. On the surface, the lyrics appear to refer to a call for “help” when feeling anxious and down. But even more so, it is a song about self-awareness and knowing when to ask for “help.”
“So pull me up from down below 'cause I'm underneath the undertow. Come dry me off and hold me close. I need you now, I need you most.”
Head Above Water was the fight song of pop princess Avril Lavigne during her battle with Lyme disease. Her long absence from the music industry was due to this illness. During this time, she admits she felt extremely anxious and full of doubts.
“In the garage, I feel safe. No one cares about my ways. In the garage where I belong, no one hears me sing this song.”
We all have our sanctuary—our safe place. For Rivers Cuomo (Weezer’s lead vocalist), it was their garage when he was young—and that is very evident in this song. During his teenage years, he spent most of his time in this place, where he would turn to music to fight his anxiety.
“I wanna hide the truth; I wanna shelter you. But with the beast inside, there's nowhere we can hide. No matter what we breed, we still are made of greed.”
This is definitely one of Imagine Dragons’ top songs. It is rather short, but its impact is quite powerful. The power comes from the lyrics of the song, which are so relatable.
“I can't get to sleep. I think about the implications of diving in too deep, and possibly the complications. Especially at night, I worry over situations.”
When asked what this song actually means, Collin Hay explained that it was what his band, Men at Work, was currently experiencing at that time—stepping into the unknown. It was their first time going international, and they were all anxious about what was in store for them in the future.
“I'm holding hands with my depression. And right when I think I've overcome it, anxiety starts kicking in to teach that sh— a lesson. Oh, I try my best just to be social.”
Listening to this song is like listening to Julia Michaels’ own mental health story. She has been very vocal about her mental condition, but this song quite summarizes the situation. She added a bit of satire in it to lighten things up, because mental health is such a heavy topic.
“I know that starting over's not what life's about. But my thoughts were so loud, I couldn't hear my mouth.”
There is only a small amount of information available about the meaning of this song. Based on our research, it relates to being “disconnected” from the world. It is about finding that place where you actually belong.
“I do it every, every, every time. It's only when I'm lonely. Sometimes I just wanna cave and I don't wanna fight. I try and I try and I try and I try and I try.”
It’s no secret that Demi Lovato was admitted into a mental health facility back in 2010 to deal with her mental and physical health issues. She struggled with addiction for a long time, which was coupled with depression and anxiety. Sober was her comeback song and a way to ask for forgiveness and understanding from her loved ones.
“When you try your best, but you don't succeed. When you get what you want, but not what you need. When you feel so tired, but you can't sleep. Stuck in reverse.”
Fix You is Chris Martin’s dedication to his ex-wife Gwyneth Paltrow. It is about helping someone who needs some fixing, but more than that, it is about being available for the person you care for so that they won’t ever feel lonely and anxious again.
“You gotta lose you just a little. Lose your cool just a little. I won't judge you a little, not even a little bit.”
24/7 by Kehlani talks about the singer’s personal struggles with anxiety and depression. She was hospitalized in March 2016 due to a suicide attempt caused by severe anxiety, and it was through this song that she was able to reconnect. In the lyrics, she reminds us that it is ok to not be ok.
“Oh, I hope someday I'll make it out of here. Even if it takes all night or a hundred years. Need a place to hide, but I can't find one near. Wanna feel alive; outside I can't fight my fear.”
Hauntingly beautiful, this lead single from Eilish’s debut album talks about her experience with depression. The song also features Khalid, who struggles with the same illness. The song was co-written by the two artists, along with Eilish’s older brother and producer, Finneas O’Connell.
“I've been looking for a savior in these dirty streets, looking for a savior beneath these dirty sheets. I've been raising up my hands, drive another nail in.”
Crucify is a representation of Tori Amos’ frustration about not being able to express herself more freely. It might seem somewhat disturbing, but it is full of pain because of an inability to escape anxiety.
“Fear and panic in the air. I want to be free from desolation and despair. And, I feel like everything I sow is being swept away. Well, I refuse to let you go.”
Map of the Problematique is for people who feel like they are always making the wrong choices. It is just so frustrating when you feel like you are isolated and lonely, and you can’t seem to get out of your world that is full of panic and despair.
“So I been doin' a good job of makin' 'em think I'm quite alright, better hope I don't blink. You see, it's easy when I'm stompin' on a beat, but no one sees me when I crawl back underneath.”
Hayley Williams says that this song is actually self-explanatory—it’s about fake happiness, or pretending that you are happy and ok when you actually aren’t. She wrote the song to describe how she feels about phoniness. Hayley has also struggled with mental health issues, and the song was her way of telling the world that we should start being more honest with ourselves.
“I don't wanna live my life like this, anxious. I gotta lot of good in me to give, but I'm anxious. So many things I know I miss ‘cause I'm anxious.”
Sarah Reeves doesn’t consider herself an anxious person. In an interview, however, she said she had a “taste of what many people battle daily” before she released this song. She felt overwhelmed and triggered by fear, and that is how she came up with the lyrics.
“And, I've always been a go-getter. There's truth in every word I write. But still the growing pains, growing pains, they're keeping me up at night.”
The anxiety that emanates in this song comes from a child that is growing up in a fast-paced world. Alessia Cara was only 18 when she made her successful debut as a musician. Out of confusion and pressure of her new career, she wrote this song to describe the pains and fears of growing up.
“Trouble—feel it now in everything. Nobody knows now; nobody cares. My eyes are burning, but I still see it there. Feel it all around I'm talking trouble again.”
Hamish Anderson relates to anyone who has ever struggled with anxiety by giving us a song about the stress that comes with it. All of us go through hard times now and then, and that can feel overwhelming. But we always have a choice to depend on those who genuinely care for us.
“But I'm only human, and I bleed when I fall down. I'm only human, and I crash and I break down. Your words in my head, knives in my heart; you build me up and then I fall apart.”
Christina Perri wrote this song while struggling to write her music. She says there are times when emptiness hits her hard and all she can do is force herself to write, despite the anxiety. Sometimes even the things that take away your anxiety can make you anxious.
“On the outside, always looking in. Will I ever be more than I've always been? ‘Cause I'm tap, tap, tapping on the glass. I'm waving through a window. I try to speak, but nobody can hear.”
This is the second song from Act 1 of Dear Evan Hansen, a 2015 musical that premiered on Broadway in 2016. It talks about a guy who feels like he doesn’t belong anywhere, and becomes anxious that he might remain unnoticed for the rest of his life.
“I want you to stop insisting that I'm not a lost cause, 'cause I've been through a lot. Really, all I've got is just to stay pissed off if it's all right by you.”
Paramore wrote Rose-Colored Boy to serve as an action call for people who are struggling with their mental health. This is the band’s way of saying that toxic positivity and blind optimism do us no good, and that we need to be more honest with ourselves. The whole album is actually about validating people’s feelings, even the most negative ones.
“Everybody know me, it's like I'm a movie star. But late at night, somethin’ ain't right. I feel I'm being tailed by the same sucker's headlights.”
Paranoia and depression are often the root cause of anxiety—and they are the themes of this song. It is rare to see rap tackling mental health issues, so that alone makes this song worth listening to. Many of the lyrics were inspired by Scarface’s experiences, including surviving a suicide attempt and spending time in a mental facility.
“Come as you are, as you were. As I want you to be, as a friend, as a friend, as a known enemy. Take your time, hurry up. Choice is yours, don't be late.”
There is a bit of controversy behind this song, since it was released a few years before Kurt Cobain’s suicide. But most music experts believe that the two events are not related. Perhaps, out of respect for Cobain’s legacy, they are more inclined to believe that the song was intended for those who are confused and anxious about their choices in life.
“Life can get you down so I just numb the way it feels. I drown it with a drink and out-of-date prescription pills… So before I save someone else, I've got to save myself.”
More than anxiety, we’d like to think that this song is about self-respect and self-care. It is quite obvious from the lyrics that it is about mental health, but Ed Sheeran seems to be pretty positive about it. He knows that it is hard to deal with a mental health issue, but he believes that you can overcome by prioritizing yourself and taking care of your needs.
“You know I get depressed, are you impressed with my honesty? So I wear what I wanna 'cause I'm cool with what's underneath.”
This is another fight song for those of us who have experienced body shaming and invalidation. Anne-Marie calls it an “ode to self-love” and talks about embracing your imperfections. She says that one of the best ways to deal with anxiety is by trying to accept yourself first as a whole.
Final Thoughts on Songs About What It's Like to Have Anxiety
You might have found these songs relatable in one way or another, especially if you have anxiety. We hope that they can help you recover from whatever you are dealing with. We know that overcoming your anxious thoughts doesn’t happen overnight.
Nonetheless, we pray that you will be able to find a safe place where you can peacefully deal with them and heal at your own pace.
And if you're looking for more resources on songs, be sure to check out these blog posts:
- 21 Best Gratitude & Thank You Songs
- 25 Best Songs About Dealing with Strong Emotions
- 35 Best Songs about Moving On & Letting Go of the Past
Finally, if you want a simple way to reduce your stress and anxiety, then try writing these 35 mindfulness journaling prompts to live more in the present moment.