21 Of The Best Songs About Stress

Written by Dan Farrant

Stress comes in different forms in everyday life: from work, school, friends, family, partners, and more. Music is often a great way to cope with these types of stressors and can help you relax and de-stress.

For singers and songwriters, music serves as a mirror to their inner turmoil and struggles. It provides a platform for them to articulate their stress, transforming it into a universal language that resonates with others.

In this list, we present to you 21 of the best songs about stress that will help make your day a little easier. Let’s start!

1. “My Stress” By NF

We start off with a song with “stress” in the title: “My Stress” by rapper Nathan John Feuerstein, best known by his initials NF.

“My Stress” is an introspective track that delves into the artist’s inner turmoil and the weight of the daily stresses in life. The chorus reinforces the theme of seeking relief from stress. NF yearns to escape the negativity in his head, longing for a respite from the constant pressure to impress others. 

Through “My Stress,” NF crafts a poignant narrative that resonates with anyone who has grappled with the weight of anxiety and the relentless pursuit of perfection.

The song’s raw vulnerability is a reminder that even amidst fame and success, mental health battles persist. It underscores the importance of acknowledging our emotional burdens and seeking support. 

2. “Stressed Out” By Twenty One Pilots

Next up, we have a song with “stress” in the lyrics. Twenty One Pilot’s “Stressed Out” is a song that explores the stress and anxiety that comes with growing up and transitioning into adulthood.

The song’s lyrics are told from the perspective of the character Blurryface, who represents the insecurities of the lead vocalist, Tyler Joseph. This adds a layer of complexity to the song and makes it more interesting to listen to.

The chorus describes the desire to return to the “good old days” when life was simpler and less stressful. It also touches on the pressure to conform to societal expectations and the fear of failure.

“Stressed Out,” overall, reflects a larger cultural trend of young adults yearning for simpler times and feeling overwhelmed by adult responsibilities. However, it’s also a reminder that life is a journey, and we must find ways to cope with the challenges that come our way.

3. “This City” By Sam Fischer

Living in a city is much faster compared to living in a smaller town. And the stress amidst the hustle and bustle of city life is poignantly captured in Sam Fischer’s 2021 track. 

“This City” is a perfect song that mentions “stress” metaphorically by creatively describing the stress and loneliness that come with living in a big city. He uses poetic lines such as “it’s all about smoke screens and cigarettes” to describe how people often use vices to cope with the stress of city life.

Another poignant line is “covering their old heartbreaks with new tattoos,” describing the way people try to hide their pain and struggles. This highlights the idea of our tendency to always try to keep up with the rush of everyday life, often without dealing with our inner demons.

And as younger people usually do, Fischer looks back on simpler times and pines for a slower pace of life. As depressing as the song might be, it serves as an important reminder that our immediate surroundings and the culture within them heavily shape our emotions.

4. “Comethru” By Jeremy Zucker

Transitioning to a new phase in life can be stressful, and this is what Jeremy Zucker sings about in his song “Comethru.” In the song, he describes the drab feeling of trudging through life while searching for something that will bring him joy. 

He perfectly captures the “boring” life between the sleepy days of summer vacation and the anticipation of entering into new territory, such as joining the workforce. And the pressure of transitioning from a student to a full-time young adult can be overwhelming and stressful.

The chorus of the song “Now I’m shaking, drinking all this coffee, / these last few weeks have been exhausting… / and there’s one thing that I need from you” suggests that the singer is looking for someone to help him cope with his stress and loneliness. 

Amidst the juxtaposition of a boppy rhythm and gloomy lyrics, “Comethru” is a relatable song that many of us have gone through at some point in our lives. It’s also a reminder that while the transitions of life can be challenging, having people around us will help us get through them with greater resilience and understanding.

5. “Brutal” By Olivia Rodrigo

If there’s one song that could describe what stress feels like, it’s Olivia Rodrigo’s “Brutal.” In her punk-rock hit, Rodrigo perfectly captures the raw emotions of teenage angst and frustration while transitioning into adulthood. 

The lyrics are a power punch to anyone who has ever gone through adolescence and the misleading promise of a stress-free youth. She sings, “And I’m so tired that I might / quit my job, start a new life… / If someone tells me… ‘enjoy your youth,’ I’m gonna cry.”

That line alone can sum up the feeling of being overwhelmed by stress and wanting to abandon all obligations in pursuit of a better, simpler life. Rodrigo’s song speaks to the struggles while growing up and trying to make sense of this world.

All too often, we invalidate the struggles that young people go through with the false notion that teens and kids have naught to worry about. Indeed, as Rodrigo says in her song, “it’s brutal out there,” and that goes for every person of all ages.

6. “Bad Day” By Daniel Powter

A sharp contrast to the previous song on this list, with its harsh guitars and brutal lyrics, Daniel Powter takes on a much more melancholy tone with his alternative indie song “Bad Day.” 

The song’s lyrics describe a person who is having a bad day — in a literal sense — and is struggling to cope with the challenges of life. 

The song’s opening lines, “Where is the moment we needed the most? / You kick up the leaves, and the magic is lost,” suggest that the person is feeling lost and disconnected from the world around them. 

Looking deeper into the song, it speaks of the universal truth that we all have days that are not so pleasant. It is in moments like these that our resilience and strength of character are tested. The song suggests that even on bad days, it is important to take a step back and remember the beauty of life — even when things feel overwhelming.

7. “Unwell” By Matchbox Twenty

One of the most beloved songs in the early 2000s, Matchbox Twenty’s “Unwell” is an extremely relatable song that explores themes of mental health and stress. 

The song opens up with lines about feeling like an outcast and using lines that could indicate symptoms of mental illness. The singer sings about making friends with shadows, hearing voices, and having a breakdown.

However, the chorus of the song is particularly poignant, as it describes how the singer is not actually crazy but “just a little unwell.” He goes on to emphasize that people around us tend not to care about others, but with genuine empathy, we can still understand and relate to each other.

This is a powerful statement about the stigma that often surrounds mental health issues and how people who are struggling with stress and anxiety can feel like they are being judged or misunderstood.

8. “Basket Case” By Green Day

In the same vein as the previous song on mental illness, next, we have Green Day’s iconic song “Basket Case.”

Released at a time when conversations about mental health were hushed, “Basket Case” is a brave attempt by lead vocalist Billie Joe Armstrong to express his inner challenges. The title itself is slang for someone who is deemed “crazy.”

The overall theme of the lyrics describes the feeling of being lost and confused, which can be huge factors leading to stress. The song’s chorus, “I think I’m cracking up. / Am I just paranoid? / Or am I just stoned?” suggests that people often turn to vices to cope.

In real life, it turns out that Armstrong was diagnosed with a panic disorder — a mental illness that is very much undeserving of the stigma that is attached to it. It’s important to remember that it’s okay to talk about mental illness and that talking about it can help make sure people get the support they need.

9. “As It Was” By Harry Styles

We all yearn for the stress-free yesteryears, especially when something drastic happens in our lives. This is exactly true in Harry Styles’ song “As It Was” — a song written amidst the tumultuous years of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite its upbeat rhythm, the song’s lyrics are bittersweet and indicate a sense of loneliness. In one line, Styles describes the feeling of being held back by gravity, which can be interpreted as a metaphor for the weight of stress. 

In the song’s chorus, Styles sings, “You know it’s not how it was,” suggesting that he is struggling to come to terms with the changes in his life. In an interview, Styles expressed his feelings of nostalgia, knowing that the world will never be the same again after the pandemic.

Indeed, the pandemic and its effects have been felt around the globe, with many people experiencing difficult times as a result. Stress was at its peak at that time, and Styles perfectly captured it in “As It Was.”

10. “Stressed Out” By Rex Orange County

One of the most intricate aspects of life is dealing with our social lives, and this is what Rex Orange County’s “Stressed Out” is all about. 

The song is a solemn yet beautiful take on the stresses of dealing with difficult people in your life — and especially those you once considered as friends.

Rex Orange County opens the song with a straightforward message: “They wanna take what’s yours… / They wanna see me stressed out every day… / They wanna lie and still be friends.” This suggests that his fame has gotten him into a situation where he is taken advantage of, which is stressful to anyone as it is.

The chorus hits home with “But when you’re at your worst, they’re not there. / And you discovered that they don’t care,” which speaks to the feeling of being alone in one’s struggles. The fading of his voice at the end of the song is poignant, denoting the isolation he feels in his moments of great stress.

11. “Train Wreck” By James Arthur

When you’re deep in the trenches of despair, there’s nothing more accurate than describing your situation as a trainwreck. James Arthur’s pop ballad “Train Wreck” beautifully captures the feelings of anxiety that plague many of us who’ve been through the worst time in our lives.

In the chorus, Arthur belts out, “Unbreak the broken… / Pull me out of the train wreck… / I’m not ready to die, not yet” — a powerful line that speaks directly to the heart of anyone who’s ever felt stuck in a cycle of despair. 

His lyrics evoke feelings of hope and strength, reminding us that our situation isn’t hopeless and that there is light at the end of the tunnel: “Still a home here. It’s not too late to build it back, / ’cause a one in a million chance is still a chance.”

Despite the song’s somber tone, it’s ultimately a hopeful and uplifting tune that gives people the courage to keep going and make something out of their “train wreck” — no matter how desperate or dark things may seem.

12. “Sick Boy” By The Chainsmokers

Music artists are often seen as celebrities with no troubles in the world, but The Chainsmokers’ “Sick Boy” indicates otherwise. A song with a slightly political undertone, “Sick Boy,” revolves around themes of the contrasting cultures of the American East and West coasts.

In the bridge, The Chainsmokers chant the lines, “Feed yourself with my life’s work. / How many likes is my life worth?” This delves into the toxic culture of how “fans” unfairly criticize the work of artists, especially in the era of social media.

“Sick” in the title could also mean two things: the literal sense of being unwell or the colloquial sense of being cool — two polar opposites of the typical life of a celebrated artist. This duality is reflected in the lyrics, wherein The Chainsmokers move between the theme of criticism to that of admiration.

All these contribute to the singer’s feelings of self-doubt and stress, which can be isolating and even damaging mentally. However, it’s also a reminder for us that we never know what someone is going through and that we should take a moment to appreciate the work of artists — who are just like us.

13. “All The Kids Are Depressed” By Jeremy Zucker

Depression is often associated with high amounts of stress, and Jeremy Zucker is on point about this in his song “All the Kids Are Depressed.” The overall theme of the song is as straightforward as it is: depression is a reality among many younger people, and Zucker explained this in an interview.

While he takes on a lighter tone with his song “Comethru,” which is also on this list, “All the Kids Are Depressed” takes on a more serious take on the sensitive topic of depression. The song’s chorus, “All the kids are depressed, / nothing ever makes sense,” highlights the feeling of hopelessness that many young people experience.

The song’s lyrics also touch on the issue of substance abuse, which is often linked to depression and stress. This is apparent in the line, “I’m getting sick of sleeping in, / while all my friends are popping pills.”

Adults often discount the mental health struggles of the youth, and Zucker aims to bring attention to these issues in this poignant song. If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or anxiety, it’s important to seek help from a mental health professional.

14. “Sad Forever” By Lauv

A related song about depression, the lyrics of Lauv’s “Sad Forever” describe the feeling of being trapped in a cycle of sadness and anxiety, unable to escape the negative emotions that consume the mind. 

Throughout the song, Lauv uses vivid imagery to describe the physical and emotional toll that stress can take on the body. The song’s chorus is particularly striking, with Lauv repeating the phrase “I don’t wanna be sad forever” as a plea for help and a desire to break free from the cycle of stress.

Lauv revealed in an interview that he touches on a slightly pessimistic view of taking medications for mental health with “Sad Forever” — he wrote this at a time when he was at the peak of his struggles. 

However, after writing the song, Lauv realizes that anti-depressants are not “the enemy”; instead, they are one of the many things that can help in managing mental health. And with this song, he wants to encourage others who are feeling the same way to not be ashamed of seeking help.

15. “Help, I’m Alive” By Metric

Rock bands are often so on point when describing strong feelings in their songs. And this indie rock band, Metric, couldn’t have been more descriptive with their song “Help, I’m Alive.”

The song is an emotionally vulnerable piece penned by the band’s frontwoman, Emily Haines. The lyrics describe the feeling of being paralyzed by others’ expectations of you, which in itself is a stressful experience.

The line “Help, I’m alive, my heart keeps beating like a hammer” is a powerful expression of the emotional toll that stress can take on a person. It also literally describes some of the physical sensations associated with anxiety.

The verses further explore the dichotomy of feeling alive yet burdened, struggling to meet external standards while grappling with one’s own identity. Through its powerful lyrics, the song encapsulates the human experience in all its highs and lows, offering solace to those who feel overwhelmed and unheard. 

16. “Bored” By Billie Eilish

Another artist known for her raw songwriting is Billie Eilish, and her song “Bored” is one that’s sure to resonate with those struggling with the monotony of life. This song captures the emotional turbulence of a stagnant relationship, where the lyrics paint a vivid picture of the protagonist’s sense of ennui.

As the haunting melody unfolds, Eilish’s vocals convey the frustration of someone caught in the inertia of a relationship going nowhere. The lyrics, with their piercing honesty, reflect the universal experience of feeling confined and restless in a situation that lacks fulfillment.

The chorus, however, weaves a more powerful narrative, with the singer declaring, “I’m not afraid anymore. What makes you sure you’re all I need?” This suggests her determination to liberate herself from the chains of monotony.

“Bored” stands not just as a song about stress but as a powerful anthem for those seeking to confront their emotions and embark on a journey toward self-discovery and empowerment.

17. “Lonely” By Justin Bieber

To say that growing up in the limelight from a young age is stressful is an understatement. Justin Bieber, who is no stranger to the challenges that come with fame and scrutiny, provides a glimpse into the emotional toll of his early experiences in the music industry with “Lonely.”

The song’s lyrics reflect the loneliness and isolation that Bieber felt despite being surrounded by adoring fans and a seemingly glamorous lifestyle. 

The chorus, with lines like “What if you had it all, but nobody to call?” encapsulates the paradox of fame and success without genuine human connection. The vulnerability in his voice and the raw honesty of the lyrics make “Lonely” a powerful expression of the stress and emotional struggles he endured.

More than just a song about stress, it’s a reflection on the human side of being a celebrity and the toll it can take on an individual’s mental and emotional well-being.

18. “The Climb” By Miley Cyrus

For those looking for a less depressing song about the stresses of life, Miley Cyrus’ “The Climb” is the perfect choice. Released in 2009 as the lead single for the soundtrack of the film Hannah Montana: The Movie, the song quickly became a symbol of resilience and perseverance.

In the track, Cyrus reflects on the journey of life and the struggles that come with it. The lyrics convey a message of hope and determination, emphasizing that the difficulties faced along the way are part of the climb toward success and growth.

In the chorus, Cyrus sings, “There’s always gonna be another mountain. / I’m always gonna wanna make it move,” encapsulating the universal themes of the inevitability of stress and challenges in life. The song also encourages the listener to confront challenges head-on and strive for progress.

This message resonates with people dealing with stress, as it offers a perspective that views challenges not as insurmountable roadblocks but as opportunities for personal growth. 

19. “Breathin’” By Ariana Grande

Another inspirational song about stressful situations, Ariana Grande‘s Breathin'” is a poignant exploration of coping with anxiety and stress.

The song begins with the lines “Some days, things just take way too much of my energy,” describing the general lethargy one feels on stressful days. The song crescendoes to a more descriptive and intense portrayal of the internal struggles she faces.

The chorus, with its repetitive mantra of “just keep breathin’,” emphasizes the significance of finding calmness and solace during overwhelming moments. The song’s soothing melody and Grande’s soulful vocals contribute to creating an atmosphere of introspection and healing.

Grande’s emotive delivery adds a personal dimension to the song, making it relatable for many who have grappled with stress and anxiety. The lyrics not only articulate the struggles but also convey a message of perseverance

20. “Help!” By The Beatles

Youth often gives us the confidence to tackle everyday stress with more ease. However, as we get older and the more experiences we gain through life, we often find ourselves in a blip when things get tough. And this is what “Help!” by The Beatles is all about.

The song, written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, delves into the vulnerability and the plea for assistance that many people experience during difficult times. 

The contrast between the catchy tune and the heartfelt lyrics creates a touching dynamic that emphasizes the internal struggles that may not be immediately apparent to those around us. The repetition of the word “help” highlights the urgency and the desire for a comforting presence.

The Beatles managed to create a song that resonates across generations — “Help!” serves as a timeless reminder that stress is a shared human experience, and seeking support is a courageous and necessary step toward overcoming life’s challenges.

21. “The Lakes” By Taylor Swift

We end this list with Taylor Swift’s solemn indie pop song “The Lakes.” A bonus track in Swift’s folklore: the escapism chapter, the song delves into the theme of seeking solace in nature, away from the pressures of the public eye. 

The lyrics paint a vivid picture of a serene landscape, with Swift singing about the desire to escape to a place where she can be free from the demands and criticisms that often accompany fame. The lakes mentioned in the song serve as a metaphor for a place of refuge, where she can find respite from the stressors that come with her high-profile career.

The song’s delicate instrumentation and atmospheric production add to the overall reflective theme. The song beautifully captures the universal desire for a retreat from the hustle and bustle of life, offering a soothing musical journey that encourages introspection and self-care.

It also serves as a reminder that, despite the challenges and stress that may arise, there is always the possibility of finding peace and tranquility in the midst of it all.

Summing Up Our List Of Songs Talking About Stress

There’s nothing like curling up in your favorite spot and letting the music speak to the depths of your soul. When it comes to stress, music has the uncanny ability to capture the essence of our struggles and provide a cathartic release.

From NF’s “My Stress” to Daniel Powter’s “Bad Day” and The Beatles’ “Help!” the world of music has no shortage of songs that resonate with listeners on a profound level.

If you have some songs in mind that talk about stress, mental health, and the challenges of life in general, please feel free to share them to us! We’d be more than happy to add them to our list.

Photo of author

Dan Farrant, the founder of Hello Music Theory, has been teaching music for over 15 years, helping hundreds of thousands of students unlock the joy of music. He graduated from The Royal Academy of Music in 2012 and then launched Hello Music Theory in 2014. He plays the guitar, piano, bass guitar and double bass and loves teaching music theory.