Home » Playlists » Top 11 Best Songs About Anxiety

Top 11 Best Songs About Anxiety

Why should we be interested in seeking out the best songs about anxiety? Well, there are occasions when it just helps. We can all experience anxiety in some ways; it is a natural human condition and is quite normal. 

I was fortunate enough to have a casual conversation with a doctor friend once many years ago. He was talking about mental illness, and I happened to ask if anxiety was one. He was slightly put out and then explained it in simple and very basic terms.

The Capacity For Anxiety Is In Us All

It is a mechanism built into all of us from our distant past when we had to make a quick escape from being eaten by something. When that happens, adrenaline is created and enters our bloodstream, which makes you react. 

You become fearful, and you are often able to react and move quicker. Sometimes, the phrase used is “butterflies in your stomach.” A very early and mild stage of anxiety.

Finding balance…

When we run away from being something’s lunch or exercise for health, endorphins are released into the body. They create the feeling of being well and dissipate feelings of anxiety. 

That is why exercise is good for the condition. The downside is that exercise is the last thing you want to do if you feel anxious. 

Different strokes for different folks…

In the majority of cases, unless we go looking for it, we aren’t going to get eaten. But, the mechanism inside all of us is still there. And, in some people, it can become overactive. This causes anxiety. 

In some, it’s temporary and goes away. But, in others, it might be prolonged. In that case, people are going to feel anxious most of the time.

Controlling it can be difficult…

I am sure you have heard people use those age-old comments. “Get A Grip Of Yourself” or “Stop Being A Baby.” But unless they have been there, they wouldn’t know. Stupid people ignore them.

It Can Affect Your Life

I knew a musician once who was consumed by stage fright. He was a decent player and was often offered jobs and studio work. The studio work was fine; with no audience, he could perform. But on stage, wow.

For some reason, he couldn’t handle it. Smaller audiences, maybe up to 200 in a night club weren’t so bad. He found ways of handling it. But, the thought of bigger places caused panic. 

He played at the Roundhouse and the Rainbow, both in London and both big venues. Both times, he came off stage saying he would never do it again.

Giving up…

He had offers to join successful, well-known bands of the time but turned them down. And one day just sold everything but his guitar and stayed home for two years. That is what it can do to you. For some, there seems to be no way out, so you take away the reason for the anxiety. It is a form of giving up.

Various reasons…

There can be lots of reasons for anxiety and the next stage, a panic attack. And there have been some great songs written about anxiety

They cover a range of reasons and how it has affected people. I have chosen some and also included some that may just help you to overcome it if you are having the experience. With all that said, let’s see what is in store with this list of the best songs about anxiety.

Heavy Load by Free

If there is one band that knows a thing or two about anxieties and the result of it, then Free would be near the top of your list. Plagued by insecurities and doubts as they strove to become acknowledged as a blues band, they often turned in other directions.

This song is an example of how good they could be. “Heavy Load” was taken from what was their breakthrough album, Fire and Water. That album was recorded at Island and Trident Studios in London in the first half of 1970. 

This is Free

A heavy drum sound that lumbers along with an inventive bass guitar pattern and wailing Kossoff guitar. This was Free. Paul Rodgers is at the forefront with his heavy blues-laden tone describing how Paul Kossoff was struggling with trying to live up to his ‘blues great’ name.

Some could deal with the pressure; others just felt terrible anxiety about their abilities. While some overcame it, some went to see the doctor. Others, and there were plenty of them, took shall we call it “unprescribed” help to overcome those feelings. Unfortunately, Paul couldn’t cope.

A song that was relevant at the time and still is in retrospect. The message being you can get help, but you’ve got to ask for it from the right people.

I Am a Rock by Simon and Garfunkel

Has there been anyone in today’s world who is likely to be able to capture the meanings and effects of anxiety in a song? The answer is one or two, but if you’re looking for the best, then it would be Paul Simon.

He writes his music and words with wonderful sensitivity about every subject he tackles. With this issue, even more so. And he has written quite a few, but this one to me always resonates.

Part Of The Scenario

This is a song that looks at “enforced isolationism.” Someone becoming reclusive and locking themselves away from the world. Very much as my friend did, which I discussed earlier. 

It’s all part of the scenario, and they see that as the solution. Keeping away from that which causes your anxiety. The reality is it makes it worse because you can’t lock yourself away forever. Sooner or later, you will have to confront the issues.

Insightful lyrics…

This song is a great insight into that feeling and how you can convince yourself of something. Paul writes:

“Hiding in my room, safe within my womb. I touch no one, and no one touches me.”

And then carries on by allowing us to see the mental torment even further by letting us into his mindset, which is:

“I am a rock, I am an island. And a rock feels no pain, and an island never cries.”

Taken from experience?

This was written at a time when he had split with Art Garfunkel again. I doubt it is autobiographical, but he may well have been remembering his split with his UK girlfriend Kathy.

She suffered from exactly what he writes about. She could not handle his growing high profile, she shunned attention and locked herself away from it all. Have we a lyrical genius in our midst these days? Yes, we have.

Help! by The Beatles

You can be forgiven for overlooking the meaning of this song. It was the name of their movie from 1965, which was perceived as, and I suppose is, a bit of harmless fun. But, the easy-to-understand lyrics and its ‘pop’ song feel could be described as masking a lot of pain.

They Were Struggling

It is well-documented that there were times when as individuals and collectively, they were struggling. It was the price of the success and what they achieved. 

Everybody wanted a piece of them, and some not always for innocent reasons. But, a close look at the lyrics reveals the anxieties they were struggling with.

Some Real-Life Emotions

Paul McCartney has talked about the feelings of helplessness they all experienced. Of not being in control of themselves. They often wanted to just scream for help. He said there were plenty of real-life, actual experiences wrapped up in John’s lyrics.

Something to consider is that they were dragged screaming from their teenage years into a strange environment. No one had ever experienced this before, and they had to deal with it. 

Johns’ words give us a little insight into being taken from not needing anyone to being reliant on people. That reliance and not being in control will breed anxiety.

Paranoid by Black Sabbath

Another song that we are so familiar with that we might not give too much thought to the words and the meaning. It was from the album of the same name, their second studio album, released in 1970.

It is a song about paranoia, but some of the lyrics still make direct references to anxiety. One of the problems that can make anxiety worse is that you feel like you may be going mad. This is because you can’t remove the bad thoughts that just won’t go away. Lost in thoughts that don’t make you feel any better about yourself.

Set To A Driving Rhythm

The song is set to a typical driving Black Sabbath rhythm, which doesn’t soothe you at all if that is what you need. However, for some, it will be a wake-up call because it creates a certain chaotic atmosphere.

Blank Space by Taylor Swift

Let’s come a little more up to date now with this Taylor Swift song released in 2014 from her album 1989. It is an interesting song in that writing this with her Swedish producers helped her rid herself of bad feelings. Almost like a therapy process, if you like.

It Sounds Angry

It is a song that sounds rather angry. Her anxieties about a certain situation turn to anger and then create an emotional backlash within herself. She was angry at the public perception of her created by the media about her relationships. She was angry because the press created this aura about her as being vindictive. 

That is, vindictive about former boyfriends about whom, they say, she wrote songs to gain some form of emotional revenge over them.

The Tables Turned

But their obsession turned the tables because she saw through it all. And, after finding it all very hurtful, it became funny. Her anxieties over her not having any control over what people wrote caused the anger. And it caused her to react in what might be deemed as not particularly well.

At some point, she came through it. She recognized these people for what they were and was able to find some amusement in it. From this experience came the song “Blank Space.” It gives a good lesson on how to deal with the anxieties created by those people who treat you badly.

Breathin’ by Ariana Grande

Let’s move up even closer to the latest releases with this track from Ariana Grande. This is a song that explores anxiety, and it certainly is a song that tries to help if you feel that way.

The words of the song are centered around her feelings and anxieties. Now, at the expense of some critical comments, I will say this. Many people in music bring the comments made about them on themselves. 

The things they say and how they behave and are sometimes advised to behave can create a situation where criticism can be made. This causes the artist to react and often start to feel anxieties when they are partly to blame for the situation.

Recent tragedy…

Miss Grande can, at times, be one of those. But, in this circumstance and song, there is a very valid reason for why she feels overwhelmed sometimes. 

Her concert in Manchester, England, and the subsequent terrorist bomb that killed a lot of people would have affected anyone. It would have affected her deeply as she was the reason they were there.

Deep Breathing Helps

People are told when they have an anxiety attack that they need to practice deep breathing exercises. Focus solely on their breathing and nothing else. I should imagine this takes a bit of practice. But, it is a sure-fire way of reducing the stress and helping to start to remove the anxious feelings. 

That is what this song is all about. Learning how to breathe when you suffer an anxiety attack. To that end, this is a great track. She should be commended for laying out so clearly how she feels. That, in itself, is not easy.

Everybody Hurts by R.E.M

R.E.M. was a band that produced some great material over the years. They will always be known for songs like “Losing My Religion,” a clever track that is not about religion at all.

“Everybody Hurts” is another one of those songs that makes a very important point for those that suffer from anxiety. One thing that often occurs with anxiety is that you think no one else feels the same. And more than that, no one could suffer more than you are. It is a common feeling.

You May Feel Alone

This song tells you the reality of life and our emotions. It emphasizes that whilst you feel alone in your existence and with your problems, there is always someone worse off. And they will be going through difficult times as well.

It is an anxiety song with a message that things will get better and encourages you to hope for the future. Understanding and accepting you are not alone in this is one big step forward. And the way the song ends makes it one of the best songs about anxiety.

Stage Fright by The Band

Can you imagine a situation where what you love doing, and what you do to earn a living, scares the hell out of you? That is what this song from The Band is all about.

It was composed by the band’s guitarist Robbie Robertson. He gives you just a little flavor of what it feels like to suffer that anxiety through performing in front of an audience.

A Different Anxiety

He gives us another slant on this problem which affects more musicians than you might think possible. It’s a song about the fear of performing but then turns it around. Whilst it is frightening, and an anxious time, he finds it addictive and wants to do more of it.

Even Though It Scares You?

It is one of those situations that some people go through. They want to do something even though it scares them to the point of hardly being able to function. But, despite the fear and the anxiety, they just have to do it. Fear and excitement at the same time.

For some, that might be bungee jumping or skydiving. But, for others, just walking out on a stage in front of a few thousand people. If you are one of those people, then this song is going to be just the encouragement you need.

Worried About My Baby by Howlin Wolf

Sometimes we can get anxious not about ourselves but other people, especially if those people are close to us and we are not with them.

This is a 50s track from bluesman Howlin Wolf that talks about that very subject. I must say the song hasn’t got the feeling that someone is particularly depressed or anxious. It has a great piano part bouncing around and a trademark harmonica solo. It is rather upbeat, which is no bad thing.

The title says it all about what this track is all about. Haven’t you ever gone to bed and not been able to sleep, hoping someone is okay? Most of us have. Anxious feelings about people we care about are not so uncommon. It is a part of caring for them.

The End by The Doors

Well, not quite, but almost. Before we end on a happy note and a positive song, it might be a good idea to go to our lowest note. We always have to hit the bottom before we can bounce up again.

This is a song about struggling with anxiety and depression. I suppose, in many ways, it is full-on mental illness. Anxiety can push you towards that condition if you don’t stop it in its tracks. 

Leading To Depression

Anxiety is considered a symptom of major or clinical depression. And depression can easily be triggered by an anxious situation. This is a song about the pain of living through anxiety. They feel it is life itself that is stopping them from achieving. Whereas, of course, it isn’t. It is them.

This is a powerful song written by the band but with the heavy influence of Jim Morrison. Some have said it is Jim’s anthem.

Morrison‘s View

He says he wrote the song initially about a breakup with a girlfriend, but it evolved into much more. His mindset is evident in the interview. He talks about “Why people fear death more than pain. Death is the end of pain, so why fear it. Life hurts much more than death.”

It is clear how far down the road he had gone. He was another who used the “unprescribed” medications to cure his pain. Four years later, he died in Paris at 27 years old. A great performer and artist was lost.

Why Worry by Dire Straits

Let’s finish this look at the best songs about anxiety with one that is there not just to discuss but to help. Taken from one of the best albums ever, Brothers In Arms, this track quite often is overlooked. 

I suppose that is understandable given the other tracks on the album. However, this song is very special. And it sends us a special message.

Is That What He Set Out To Do?

It feels as if Mark Knopfler has sat down and tried to create a song that will relieve anxiety. Is that what he set out to do? It certainly has a soothing feeling. And there is a great lyric while he is doing some gentle guitar work. Noticeably missing is some epic Knopfler solo.

This is almost like a modern-day lullaby with its easy, relaxed feel. And, it can’t be denied it has a soothing effect. He also makes a very relevant point. In life, there is laughter, and there is pain. After the pain will come the laughter. So, “Why Worry”?

Searching for Songs with Deeper Meanings?

We have you covered. Take a look at our detailed articles on the Best Songs About Change, the Best Songs about Fighting, the Best Songs About Magic, the Best Songs About HeroesSongs About Betrayal, and Songs About Bravery for more great song selections.

Of course, you need to hear all those tracks. So, check out our in-depth reviews of the Loudest Portable Bluetooth Speakers, the Best Wireless Outdoor Speakers, the Best Party Speakers, the Best Waterproof Speakers, and the Best Tailgate Speakers you can buy in 2022.

And, don’t miss our comprehensive reviews of the Best Smart Speakers, the Best Sonos Speakers, the Best Wireless TV Speakers, the Best Bookshelf Speakers, and the Best Computer Speakers Under $100 currently on the market.

The Best Songs About Anxiety – Final Thoughts

People who suffer from anxiety can learn the lessons from some of these songs and understand they are not alone. What these songs teach us is that there is a way out of this cycle of anxiety. How good will you feel about yourself when you have achieved that?

It is harder today than it was even twenty years ago. Social media is to blame for that. And the ever-increasing need for some to be like people that they often misguidedly admire. I suppose you can call it “social anxiety.”

But, the answer doesn’t depend on imaginary friends on Facebook. It lies with a few trusted real friends and, most of all, yourself. You can do it because others have. So, why worry?

Until next time, let the music play and heal your pain.

5/5 - (36 votes)
Share:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

About Joseph L. Hollen

Joseph is a session musician, writer, and filmmaker from south Florida. He has recorded a number of albums and made numerous short films, as well as contributing music to shorts and commercials. 

He doesn't get as much time to practice and play as he used to, but still manages (just about!) to fulfill all his session requests. According to Joseph, it just gets harder as you get older; you rely on what you learned decades ago and can play without thinking. Thankfully that's what most producers still want from him.

He is a devout gear heat and has been collecting musical instruments all his life. As his wife, Jill, keeps on saying, "You're very good at buying nice instruments, but terrible at selling them!".

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top