Considering that 1 in 3 suffer with anxiety, globally, there is undoubtedly numerous ways that one can cope with anxiety or panic attacks. There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way, it depends on the nature of the person with this mental illness. However, listening to music has been said to be a way to help those who suffer with high levels with anxiety and the pains that comes with anxiety and/or panic attacks. According to Rick Nauert(PhD) , a study partook by researchers from the university of Utah showed that music, upon being listened to, can significantly decrease emotional or physical pain. As, participants in the study were (safely) shocked at the fingertips, upon listening to music, the music helped “reduce pain by activating sensory pathways that compete with pain pathways”. There is a short list below of musicians that have helped me, personally. Though, there is most likely many more artists that could help someone when suffering with an anxiety or panic attack.
1 – Keaton Henson
Keaton Henson is an indie-folk artist, he suffers from anxiety himself and seldom pursues live shows due to it. His songs are full of this pain that he clearly feels due to his anxieties. If you suffer from anxiety, Henson truly makes you feel as though you are not alone. His crafted melancholic vocals in ‘Alright’ from his recent album ‘Kindly Now’ and stunning instrumentals from his album ‘Romantic Works’ anxious folk may be enabled to purge of all woes. Henson provides his listener with something to relate to, he is truly lovely, in my view, so raw.
2 – Tom Rosenthal
Tom Rosenthal’s songs are something to listen to when you’re truly down. He has a song about a lizard giving hope to a bloke, who wouldn’t get cheered up by that? Rosenthal’s unique style and pieces are inherently underrated, his music has gotten me through many anxiety attacks in my life. With lyrics such like “Go keen and go boldly” (‘Run for Those Hills, Babe’. Bolu, 2015) and “We’re all a bit scared” (‘We’re all a bit scared’ . B-Sides, 2013) it isn’t hard to feel a little better about everything and calmer about situations when listening to good ol’ Tom. I’d also recommend his songs ‘It’s Ok’, ‘Go Solo’ and ‘All of Them Dreams’.
3 – Sleeping At Last
“When I break pattern, I break ground, I rebuild when I break down…Show me where my armour ends, show me where my skin begins.” – Pluto, Atlas: Year One (2014)
If this quote from Sleeping At Last’s song ‘Pluto’ isn’t enough to demonstrate that they are a band that can help you realise how mentally strong you are on days you feel that you cannot go on, this is not a band that will aid you on anxious days. With poignant lyrics in this certain song such like “I’ve been worried all my life, a nervous wreck most of the time” such a raw piece that will build you up when you need to be built up. The lyrics in this song points out the strengths you gain from suffering rather romanticizing pain. There are also calming pieces the trio (Ryan and Chad O’Neal, and Dan Perdue) have crafted. Their album titles are artistic too, titled matters out of ‘Land’ and ‘Space’. I would recommend ‘Saturn’, and ‘The Ink from Books’ to calm your nerves on any day an unfortunate attack may strike.
4 – Daughter
Daughter is a band formed by singer/guitarist Elena Tonra, Igor Haefeli and Remi Aguilella (Drummer). Their pieces, in a sense, have the potential to lull you out of an anxious state. The instrumentals behind Tonra’s vocals are almost transcendental. The kind of music you would listen to in the car on a night drive. The musical equivalent to your mother’s home cooked meal. Daughter’s song ‘Human’ is a good song I would recommend to listen to if you’re feeling uneasy. “Despite everything i’m still human” is a lyric one may feel less alone upon hearing. In fact, i’d recommend you just listen to every single song by this great band, anxious or not.
5 – Birdy
Jasmine Bogaerde (Birdy) created ‘Wings’ (2013). ‘Wings’ has gotten me, personally, through one too many anxiety attacks. With its layers of vocals and slow piano it is instantly calming. Yet, Birdy too creates up beat pieces that can get you through those episodes feeling stronger than your mental illness. For example, ‘Keeping Your Head Up’ (2016). The crescendo of the strings are enough to untie the knot in your chest within an instant alongside lyrics such as “Hold tight you’re slowly coming back to life” it is almost as though Bogaerde is there to help you through it all personally.
6 – Bon Iver
Bon Iver is a band founded by Justin Vernon. Bon Iver’s songs, particularly from his albums ‘For Emma, Forever Ago’ (2007) or ‘Bon Iver’ (2011), are all the epitome of serene. When listening to Bon Iver’s pieces to calm down, they are good paired with ‘rainymood’ or wave sounds. If you were to try ‘mindfulness’ as described in one of my previous articles, this is perhaps a kind of mindfulness. To try and ease, or rid of your anxiety or panic during an attack by just focusing on Vernon’s unique vocals and (often) soft instrumentals depending on which song you listen to. I would recommend listening to any of Bon Iver’s songs listed on either album above in order to calm down and be mindful.
Commenting below more artists to discover that have not been covered above may aid more people than you think it will.