19 Songs That Have Helped People Get Through Panic Attacks
Sometimes panic attacks hit out of nowhere, and — unfortunetly — in a public place. But when we feel a panic attack coming on, or if we’re in a place where we can slip in some ear buds, music can be a great way to bring ourselves back to a place of calm, and take back power in a situation that leaves us powerless.
To find out which songs help people who experience panic attacks, we asked our community to share their go-to songs that help them through.
Here’s what they had to say:
1. “Migraine” by Twenty One Pilots
“And I will say that we should take a day to break away / From all the pain our brain has made, the game is not played alone / And I will say that we should take a moment and hold it / And keep it frozen and know that life has a hopeful undertone.”
2. “Nightingale” by Demi Lovato
“[Demi Lovato] has helped me through some of the darkest moments of my life. ” — Emily K.
“I need a voice to echo / I need a light to take me home / I kinda need a hero / Is it you?”
3. “Shake It Out” by Florence + The Machine
“And it’s hard to dance with the devil on your back / And given half a 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.”
4. “Hello” by Adele
“Any song I can sing the words to (even terribly) seems to calm me down. I think it’s because it forces me to breathe normally and focus on trying to sound decent versus [focusing on] my tight chest and pounding heart. A lot of Adele’s songs require some acoustic effort. It draws my attention away from forcing my body to be ‘normal’ without making me focus on all the panic symptoms.” — Mindy A.
“Hello from the other side / I must have called a thousand times / To tell you I’m sorry for everything that I’ve done / But when I call you never seem to be home.”
5. “Return to Innocence” by Enigma
“The chanting is almost primal and it’s almost like I’m yelling/letting my feelings out when I sing along. It really helps calm me down when I’m being super emotional and panicking.” — Alicia M.
6. “How to Save a Life” (piano version) by The Fray
“It’s my favorite song, and the words can sometimes be triggering, but just the music is familiar and soothing to me.” — Amelia H.
7. “Canon in D Major” by Pachelbel
“It reminds me of my childhood, when things were easier, and I didn’t know how isolated I would grow to feel. It was my wedding song also, and makes me feel safe, like I’ve come home.” — Sarah R.
8. “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen
“It’s impossible for me to not belt out every word of that song, even in a bad time such as a panic attack. It distracts me from the pain and anxiety by putting me in a more carefree and fun mood.” — Katie C.
“Is this the real life? / Is this just fantasy? / Caught in a landslide, / No escape from reality.”
9. “It’s Time” by Imagine Dragons
“This song has helped me get up when I feel too weak as to even smile.” — Angela M.
“So this is where you fell / And I am left to sell / The path to heaven runs through miles of clouded hell right to the top / Don’t look back.”
10. “Here Comes a Thought” from Steven Universe
“It’s beautiful and I love the video as well. That whole show in general is amazing for those who have many different forms of mental illness.” — Gina F.
“And it was just a thought, just a thought, just a thought, just a thought, just a thought / It’s OK, it’s OK, it’s OK, it’s OK, it’s OK / We can watch, we can watch, we can watch, we can watch them go by / From here, from here, from here.”
11. “We Know Where You Go” by Blue October
“My kids know the words and sing along when I play it. It brings me back to reality… hearing their voices and really listening to them reminds me they need me and I have to be strong, and the panic will pass.” — Rowen K.
“We know where you go / We’re watching you close / We know where you go / We know that you’ve tried / Your heart’s died and goodbye / Seems the only way to go / But please stay with us.”
12. “Uninvited” by Alanis Morissette
“The combination of intriguing lyrics and eerily beautiful music can sometimes take my focus off of the episode.” — Deborah S.
“But you you’re not allowed / You’re uninvited / An unfortunate slight.”
13. “A Better Son/Daughter” — Rilo Kiley
“The lyrics are actually about depression, anxiety and panic attack. It makes me feel like there’s someone out there that just gets what I’m going through. And by the time the music get really loud I start screaming the lyrics until that overwhelming feeling goes away.” — Isabella C.
“Sometimes in the morning I am petrified and can’t move / Awake but cannot open my eyes / And the weight is crushing down on my lungs I know I can’t breathe / And hope someone will save me this time.”
14. “Stubborn Love” by The Lumineers
“No matter how hard things can get and how much I let my anxiety interfere with the people I love, I know they love me and are there for me. This song reminds me that no matter how ‘stubborn’ I may be they will keep trying to lift me up.” — Dana S.
“So keep your head up, keep your love / Keep your head up, my love / Keep your head up, my love / Keep your head up, keep your love.”
15. “Don’t Panic” by Coldplay.
“The title may seem a little obvious, but I find the song so calming and lyrics like ‘we live in a beautiful world’ and ‘oh, all that I know, there’s nothing here to run from, yeah, ’cause everybody here’s got somebody to lean on’ help me regain control of my breathing and return to Earth, so to speak. The whole Parachutes album is my go-to when it comes to panic attacks.” — Emma H.
“Oh all that I know / There’s nothing here to run from / Cause here / Everybody here’s got somebody to lean on.”
16. “First Day of My Life” by Bright Eyes
“It reminds me I’m loved and that I have people who care about me. My boyfriend is my rocks during attacks when I listen to this song I remember I’m not worthless and I matter.” — Niki D.
“And so I’d thought I’d let you know / That these things take forever, I especially am slow / But I realized that need you / And I wondered if I could come home.”
17. “Don’t Know Why” by Norah Jones
“Calms me down quite quickly. It’s so soothing, and it was the album I used to listen to when I was being abused by my ex-husband, which resulted in my anxiety and panic attacks along with post-traumatic stress disorder. It helped me cope during the painful years and still helps me now. But I’m survivor of domestic violence! However not doing so well in the recovery. I will get there — it will not beat me!” — Andrea Moth
“When I saw the break of day / I wished that I could fly away / Instead of kneeling in the sand / Catching teardrops in my hand.”
18. “Rylynn” by Andy McKee
19. “We Don’t Know” by The Strumbellas
“Oh we don’t know the roads that we’re heading down / We don’t know if we’re lost, that we’ll find a way / We don’t know if we leave, will we make it home / We don’t know, there’s hope, then we’ll be OK.”
What would you add?
If you or a loved one is affected by domestic violence and need help, call The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.