top of page

Musical Remedies for Anxiety and Stress

By Grace Pawsey

What is Anxiety and Stress?

Anxiety is more than just feeling stressed or worried. While stress and anxious feelings are a common response to a situation where we feel under pressure, they usually pass once the stressful situation has passed, or ‘stressor’ is removed. Anxiety is when these anxious feelings don't go away – when they're ongoing and happen without any particular reason or cause. It’s a serious condition that makes it hard to cope with daily life. Everyone feels anxious from time to time, but for someone experiencing anxiety, these feelings aren't easily controlled. Anxiety is the most common mental health condition in Australia. On average, one in four people – one in three women and one in five men – will experience anxiety at some stage in their life. In a 12-month period, over two million Australians experience anxiety. Anxiety is common, but the sooner people with anxiety get support, the more likely they are to recover.

What types of anxiety are there and what causes it?

There are many different types of anxiety, but the most common include; Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety, specific phobias and panic disorder. An anxiety condition isn't developed or caused by a single factor but a combination of things. A number of other factors play a role, including personality factors, difficult life experiences and physical health.

For us Year 11s and 12s (or just high school students and teenagers in general) the usual cause of anxiety is from ongoing stressful events; like school and work stress.

How can music help anxiety and stress?

Researchers have documented that listening to music can be effective for reducing stress in high-anxiety persons. Investigators discovered music can be used as a distraction and is effective among those who can easily become absorbed in cognitive activities. Music helps relax and focus people – hopefully also helping students to overcome anxiety around school or social life.

Here is some recommended music genres and songs to listen to if your struggling with anxiety or stress:

Boppy 80s music

Anxiety is commonly linked with depression, and so taking a break and listening to a couple of these artists and playlists will definitely lighten the mood. Having a break from work or stressful activities helps to relieve stress and boost endorphins, making getting back to work, focusing and feeling much more energised so much easier. Some Spotify playlists you can look at are; All Out 80s, Easy 80s, and 80s Hits. Here are some top 80’s artists, along with some of their most popular songs from the era:

● Toto – Africa, Rosanna, I’ll Be Over You

● Journey – Don’t Stop Believin’, Anyway You Want It, Open Arms

● Michael Jackson – Billie Jean, Thriller, Beat It, Man in the Mirror

● Cindi Lauper – Girls Just Want To Have Fun, Time After Time, True Colours

● Hall & Oats - You Make My Dreams, Maneater, All American Girl

● Bruce Springsteen – I’m On Fire, Dancing in the Dark, Born in the U.S.A

● Prince – Kiss, When Doves Cry, Purple Rain, 1999

● Queen – Somebody to Love, Killer Queen, Another One Bites the Dust, Radio Ga Ga

Rock Anthems

Everyone is different, but for some people, these classic rock songs definitely help to change to an upbeat mood and get in the zone. Listening to bands like Def Leppard and ACDC make school work so much easier because you get it done quicker and stay focused. Maybe it’s just me – but I would highly recommend listening to a couple of these. Some Spotify playlists you can look at are; 80s Rock Anthems and 80s Hard Rock. Here are some head-banging worth artists and bands with their most well-known songs:

● ACDC – Thunderstruck, You Shook Me All Night Long, T.N.T, It’s a Long Way to the Top

● Bon Jovi – It’s My Life, Living On a Prayer, You Give Love a Bad Name

● Guns and Roses – Paradise City, Sweet Child O’ Mine, Welcome to the Jungle

● Def Leppard – Pour Some Sugar On Me, Hysteria, Love Bites

● Led Zeppelin – Stairway to Heaven, We’re Gonna Groove, Darlene

Sad Songs

As was mentioned before, anxiety is closely linked to depression, and for most people, anxiety can also trigger certain physical and emotional responses in the human body – such as crying. Listening to negative and sad music makes us feel better because we can use it as an emotional outlet. There's a reason why people are encouraged to listen to sad music when they're sad; the music connects with the mood of the listener and allows them to express their emotions in a healthy way. It is important to release built up emotions when anxiety and stress gets the better of you – so taking a break to listen to some of these songs will help you release them and then get back to work much more focused and feeling a lot better.

● Vance Joy – Georgia, Fire and the Flood, Saturday Sun

● XXXTENTACION – NUMB, changes, Jocelyn Flores

● Billie Eilish – hostage, idontwannabeyouanymore, ocean eyes, when the party’s over

● Dean Lewis – Be Alright, Don’t Hold Me, Wave

● Sam Smith – Pray, Too Good At Goodbyes, Stay With Me

Do some research:

There are many playlists and websites out there designed to help with anxiety that you can search up online.

One of these is from, which outlines ten different songs that have been scientifically proven to reduce stress and anxiety. The songs are:

1. Marconi Union – Weightless

2. Airstream – Electra

3. DJ Shah – Mellomaniac (Chill Out Mix)

4. Enya – Watermark

5. Coldplay – Strawberry Swing

6. Barcelona – Please Don’t Go

7. All Saints – Pure Shores

8. Adele – Someone Like You

9. Mozart – Canzonetta Sull’aria

10. Cafe Del Mar – We Can Fly

Or simply listen to your favourites:

What you enjoy will always make you feel better no matter what the situation.

Not working? Try these other management strategies.

- Get help. See a counsellor of call a helpline – you could look at Beyond Blue, Headspace or ReachOut Australia.

- Maybe you have your one coping mechanism? And that’s ok, use whatever works for you.

- Don’t be afraid to get help – remember that it is a very common thing to have anxiety, so talk to someone about it, whether that be a friend or family member. Talking can be the best remedy.


Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page