I know the title says "Anti-Anxiety" but I thought I'd just preface this article by saying that I'm not clinically diagnosed. However, I am 87% positive that if I were to be checked on, I would have some level of anxiety. What level exactly, I won't know unless I ever choose to go to a therapist. Anyways...
This is a midnight-made playlist of some of my favorites songs that never fail to calm me down. They truly make me feel like there is nothing wrong in the world and that everything is perfect. While it can't really change the reality and chaos that might be ensuing in the world around me, it can give me temporary solace long enough for me to think through my daily stressors. These songs are also great for car drives, given that you blast the volume. There isn't any specific order to listen to, even though the ones listed below will be numbered; I usually just hit shuffle and curl up under a blanket wearing PJs.
I now present to you my Anxiety/Stress-Reducing Playlist, titled "girl what's wrong wit u come back down", a title inspired by one of my favorite songs. Some songs will have explanations, and some won't; the ones who don't are just calming because of their instrumentals and feelings of calmness they invoke. Some of the explanations are also just my favorite lyrics in each one. Remember, there's no order. And if you want to follow my Spotify, it's @suvistar17 (shameless plug, I know).
1. Vienna- Billy Joel
Perfect for realizing that you have all the time in the world to accomplish everything you want...and to just slow down, you crazy child.
2. Pure Imagination ("Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory")- Gene Wilder
A timeless melody beckoning the listener to just take a moment to let your mind wander.
3. Cough Syrup- Young the Giant
Trust me, playing this song at full blast erases your mind of all worries. "Life's too short to even care at all."
4. Tongue Tied- Grouplove
Just like the above song, you should also blast this at the highest volume. Even though the lyrics don't specifically say to calm yourself, the music, the instrumentals, and the sheer joy in the song should reduce your stress. If it doesn't, yikes.
5. Wildest Dreams- Taylor Swift
Interestingly, Swift recorded her actual heartbeat for this 1989 album track. It's a fairly mellow-medium tempo, so your own heartbeat almost ends up matching hers and essentially slowing down.
6. Begin Again- Taylor Swift
I always pay attention to lyrics and "On a Wednesday, in a cafe, I watched it begin again" is a reminder that things will get better and new chapters are always good for the soul.
7. get well soon- Ariana Grande
This song is the aforementioned inspiration for the title of my playlist. It's an ode to the 2017 Manchester terrorist attack at one of her concerts, and the song features 40 seconds of silence as tribute to the victims. Grande has mentioned in a few interviews that the dense layers of interwoven vocals represent her feeling of "floating last year and not in a nice way" and feeling like "she was outside of [her] body" and that she had breathing problems. The song is intended for people who have anxiety and who need to be comforted. A key lyric, "you can work your way to the top, I'm with you (x3) just call me, no matter the issue," is always super reassuring.
8. Turning Page- Sleeping At Last
A key song in the Twilight Saga soundtrack, this melody creates a feeling of love and appreciation of the little things.
9. Flightless Bird, American Mouth (Wedding Version-Twilight Saga)- Iron & Wine
Who doesn't love weddings?
10. Sweater Weather- The Neighbourhood
"Head in the clouds but my gravity's centered."
11. Happy Little Pill- Troye Sivan
This song is about loneliness and the different ways that people cope with the things that are going on in their lives. Some turn to healthy ways of coping, and others can't quite find their way. But either way, it's still the same battle.
12. Put Your Records On- Corinne Bailey Rae
"Just go ahead let your hair down...You're gonna find yourself somewhere, somehow."
13. Best Part- H.E.R., Daniel Caesar
This song honestly makes you feel like you're sitting on a swing, attached to a tree at the edge of the world. But it's not scary. In fact, you can see the sun as it rises and there's just miles of sky and clouds.
14. breathin- Ariana Grande
A newer anthem dedicated to the singer's struggle with anxiety, and how breathing truly is the most important thing to remind yourself to do.
15. Soledad y el Mar (feat. Los Macorinos)- Natalia Lafourcade
"Let the sea sing to me, I've been feeling alone with loneliness" This Spanish song is by one of my favorite Latin artists. There's no way to not feel soothed by her light and sweet tone, paired with the lovely guitar line in this track.
16. Everything Has Changed- Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran
This song has always been a reminder that things will keep changing, but always for the better in the end.
17. It's Time- Imagine Dragons
It's time to begin, isn't it? I get a little bit bigger but then I'll admit I'm just the same as I was. Now don't you understand I'm never changing who I am.
18. bellyache- Billie Eilish
This is more of a low-fi beats song, that really connects to your heartbeat again. Eilish's airy harmonies also making you feel light on your feet and like your head is in the clouds.
19. I Wanna Get Better- Bleachers
Another song to blast at full volume in your car.
20. Paris- Magic Man
It's a bop that takes you on an adventure to Paris...or I guess away from it.
21. Anna Sun- WALK THE MOON
"What do you know? this house is falling apart. What can I say? this house is falling apart. We got no money, but we got heart. We're gonna rattle this ghost town."
22. San Francisco- The Mowgli's
"I've been in love with love and the idea of something binding us together, you know that love is strong enough. I've seen time tell tales about that systematic drug, yeah that heart that beats as one- it's collectively unconsciously composed."
23. Out Of My League- Fitz and The Tantrums
Repetitive lyrics, but again, perfect for blasting.
24. Red- Taylor Swift
Colors are always calming, and Swift really plays on that in the song, even though the track is about a love that truly spanned the emotional spectrum.
25. Fix You- Coldplay
The second the organ music starts, you can't help but feel weightless.
26. Chasing Cars- Snow Patrol
"If I lay here, if I just lay here, would you lie with me and just forget the world?"
27. New Soul- Yael Naim
This song is the physical manifestation of new beginnings.
28. All Too Well- Taylor Swift
This song is an emotional diary entry about relationships, but to me, it's more of a reminder about the past and to just keep in mind that your memories don't really fade, regardless of whether they are good or bad. I know I sound like I'm contradicting myself, but trust me, I find a really meaningful message in this melody.
29. Weightless- Marconi Union
According to neuroscientists from the UK, listening to this song reduces anxiety by 65% and a 35% reduction in physiological resting rates. It was specifically designed to slow your heart rate, reduce blood pressure, and lower cortisol (stress) levels. In fact, it's so effective that it's dangerous to drive while listening to it. It makes your whole body relax, and makes you hyper aware of how tense you really are.