Do you have an anxiety playlist? By that, I mean a playlist of songs you always go to when you’re feeling anxious or panicky. Of course, my go to for literally any situation is Taylor Swift, but sometimes, I need to break out the big guns. Over the years, I’ve put together a whole playlist of songs that have gotten me through some pretty dark moments, and I wanted to share it with you for today’s post. These are songs that not only have calmed me down, but sometimes they’re just perfect for listening to when you need a good cry. Enjoy!
Everything’s Not Lost – Coldplay
I’m not the biggest fan of Coldplay. You’ll probably find that quite surprising seeing as they feature twice in this playlist. I didn’t truly appreciate this song until a few years ago. A little backstory – I love Scrubs. I was obsessed with it back when I was younger, and a while back we watched the whole series through again. This song featured at the end of one episode, and it was the context of said episode that caused me to become attached to the song. Basically, this song features in an episode of Season 3 of Scrubs, called My Catalyst. The focus of the episode is on Dr Casey (played by Michael J Fox), an amazing doctor who suffers with OCD. At the end of the episode, JD witnesses Dr Casey at an incredibly low point post surgery. This song plays over the entire scene, and it’s where JD realises that while Dr Casey’s OCD makes him untouchable as doctor, it makes him completely cursed as a human being. I didn’t realise the sheer impact of this scene until I had been formally diagnosed with OCD myself. Since then, every time I hear this song, I think of this scene and while it breaks my heart, it also gives me some comfort. I’ll never be a doctor, but I’ve experienced the anguish that this character experiences, and it lets me know that I’m not alone.
Keep Breathing – Ingrid Michaelson
This is a song I discovered through watching Grey’s Anatomy and the main line “all we can do is keep breathing” is perfect if you’re going through a crappy time. It’s a song I regularly listen to when I’m feeling panicky, and it’s one of the things I remember listening to during take off on my first ever plane journey.
Scratch – Kendall Payne
You may notice a pattern emerging here. I only discovered this song a couple of years ago while watching Grey’s (again). There’s an episode where Meredith has a panic attack in the medical supply closet after witnessing an elderly patient die. This song plays over the whole scene and I instantly fell in love with it. However it wasn’t until I listened to it separately from the episode that I realised how much it calms me down. Ever since it’s one of my go to songs when I’m feeling sad or anxious.
Sober – Kelly Clarkson
From what I’ve read, everyone interprets this particular song differently. The main thing I think of when I listen to this song? Recovery. I’ve talked about it before in my Ten Songs post, and this is one of the songs that makes me feel empowered and gives me hope. It’s something I used to belt out in the car while driving to and from my CBT appointments. Over 2 years on from my last session, whenever I listen to this it still makes me think of how far I’ve come with my OCD.
Lullaby – Sia
We all know what an incredible songwriter Sia is, but I don’t think many people have heard of this song. It was another song that I discovered through a TV show, after it featured in The Big C, and it’s just so powerful and emotional. Again, everyone has their own interpretation about the meaning of the song, but for me, it’s all about finding hope when you’re at your absolute lowest. I’ve listened to it during some of my absolute worst panic attacks and when I’ve been feeling horrifically low, and it’s just such a beautiful song.
Safe & Sound – Taylor Swift feat. The Civil Wars
You knew she was going to appear in this list eventually, right? I don’t think many will have heard of this unless you’re a fan of The Hunger Games, however, I am not. I discovered this song through a blog post about music and anxiety, and upon seeing it was by Taylor Swift I was straight on YouTube. I find it very calming to listen to, and the chorus is incredibly apt for when you’re in the wake of a panic attack.
Rise Up – Andra Day
Again, for me this is another song that signifies hope. I absolutely love the vocals in this and her voice is so powerful. It’s another one of those songs that is just so empowering, and it inspires you to keep going during crappy times.
Fix You – Coldplay
It’s a little cliché, but there’s no denying that this is one of those songs that everyone has related to one way or another. For me, it’s always been one of those songs that I turn to when I’m feeling low, but it genuinely hit me the most when they featured it in an episode of Glee! A common theme that frequently comes up in the early seasons is guidance counsellor Emma Pilsbury suffering from OCD. After a visit from her parents, her OCD starts to worsen due to stress, and Mr Shuester sings this song to her as she struggles to control her compulsions. I related so much to her during that scene, and every time I hear this song, I think of it.
Peace – Taylor Swift
There’s no denying that the entirety of Taylor Swift’s Folklore album is actually a really good one to listen to when you’re feeling anxious, however Peace is one of the songs that has the most calming effect on me. While the song is said to be about Taylor dissecting the impact that her fame has on her relationship and the challenges that comes with it, I relate a lot of the lyrics to my mental health and the impact that it’s had on my own relationship. In particular, I find that “But there’s robbers to the east, clowns to the west, I’d give you my sunshine, give you my best, but the rain is always gonna come when you’re standing with me” really demonstrates that there can be a lot of challenges to a relationship when a mental health condition is involved, and for me that interpretation is quite cathartic.
What songs would be on your anxiety playlist? Let me know in the comments!