On the Verge of a Panic Attack? Try Dancing. Seriously.

I take a long, deep breath in. The papers and books in front of me have blurred into such a dizzying mess that I can’t tell if I want to cry or puke. Biting my pencil doesn’t offer relief, and I know it’s unhealthy to pull my hair out, and my sleeping parents wouldn’t appreciate screaming. The muscles on my back are so tense, that deep breathing for too long hurts. Being a senior in high school is tough, and only gets tougher as the days before graduation tick by one by one.

When I feel like this, there’s usually one solution that works, and that’s dancing like nobody is watching (because who’s gonna watch you jump around your room at eleven o’clock at night?).

I can’t be the only one who dances after panic attacks. Being able to shut your bedroom door, turn on some music, and just let go is one of the most freeing feelings in the world. The song choice for said post-panic attack dance parties can either release all remaining anxious energy, or drag you right back down into more worries.

Here are a list of songs that have helped me help you bop, jam, and belt to keep my anxiety at bay.


“Baby Hotline” by Jack Stauber

This playlist begins in an unusual place, but let me explain. Jack Stauber’s discography is filled with strange, homemade tunes that will make you feel nostalgic for a song that you’ve never heard before. “Baby Hotline” may not be a get-up-and-dance song, but its nonsensical lyrics and fun beat is a great way to start de-stressing.

“Echoes” by The Rapture

Forget Jack Stauber’s mellow and endearing music, it’s time to break something. I’m just kidding. Please don’t break anything. The Rapture’s “Echoes” comes from the British show Misfits, which is a program about British delinquents, for British delinquents. If you’re an anxious overachiever who wants to pretend you’re cool, then this song is also for you. As soon as you hear the opening guitar riff, punching the air until you feel less stressed will just make sense.


“I’ll Make a Man Out of You” from the Mulan soundtrack

If this song doesn’t get you hyped up, you’re lying. This song is arguably one of the best parts of the movie Mulan, so why wouldn’t you want to make it a part of your de-stress routine? You already know all the words. Pretend you’re way manlier than you will ever be for three minutes and twenty two seconds. Be warned, you will probably want to take a sword and hack off all your hair before the song is over.


“The Bus is Late (Waiting for the Bus in the Rain)” by Satellite High

The beauty of Satellite High’s “The Bus is Late” is that it’s the perfect song for two occasions: bopping your stress away, and, of course, waiting for the bus in the rain. This particular tune was popularized by the podcast Welcome to Night Vale, and has since become a meme closely associated with the program. Whether you’ve heard of Night Vale or not, “The Bus is Late” is a ridiculous song that will put a smile on your face.


“I’m Breaking Down” from the Falsettos (2016) soundtrack

Instead of singing about your own troubles, sing about someone else’s. “I’m Breaking Down” is a dramatic tune about how a character named Trina is dealing with her husband leaving her for a man. Falsettos was revived on Broadway in 2016, but has been a vital piece of theatre since the late ‘70s. That being said,  Stephanie J. Block as Trina is perfect casting, and being able to (horribly) belt the notes along with her is an honor.


“Break Your Heart” by Trixie Mattel

It’s hard to believe that this song is sung by a drag queen. Trixie Mattel, RuPaul’s Drag Race season 7 contestant and All Stars 3 winner, is not your average country music star. Brian Firkus is a singer-songwriter whose drag persona, Trixie Mattel, is a cartoonish, over-the-top character who is somehow a mix of Dolly Parton and a cereal box mascot. “Break Your Heart” is a teenybopper tune that will make you yee and haw, even if country music isn’t really your thing.


“Mamma Mia” from the Mamma Mia soundtrack

Let’s face it: it would be amazing to live in the Mamma Mia cinematic universe. Drop your homework and inhibitions, and fantasize about living on a remote Greek island for just a few minutes. “Mamma Mia” is one of the most recognizable songs on the soundtrack, and therefore, is the perfect song to jump around to like a complete fool.


“Hazy Shade of Winter” by Gerard Way

Are you a former emo kid? Do you like modern day covers of eighties songs? Did you watch The Umbrella Academy? “Hazy Shade of Winter” is the perfect song for you! This Gerard Way cover was originally created for the Umbrella Academy soundtrack, and serves as a great upbeat rock-n-roll tune to dance to. This particular cover is more similar to The Bangles’s cover of the Simon and Garfunkel song, but still goes just as hard.


“I Wanna Get Better” by The Bleachers

This song is three minutes and twenty four seconds of therapeutic goodness. The catchy lyrics and profound chorus serve as a mantra: a refreshing beacon of light in the ongoing struggle to get better. Sure, your study habits are unhealthy, and you’re dancing your anxious energy away at 1:00 am, but The Bleachers have got your back. You’re gonna get better… eventually.


“It’s the End of the World As We Know It” by R.E.M

I’ve been listening to this song for the past 14 years, and I barely have a grasp on the lyrics. This song is jam packed with fast lyrics, which can serve as a great distraction from whatever it is you’re trying to avoid doing. The catchy chorus is easy to learn, and will probably be the only thing you retain after listening to the song once. Nonetheless, “It’s the End of the World As We Know It” is a somewhat nihilistic way to look at your responsibilities and completely accept the fact that you’re stressed out. It may be the end of your world, but you feel fine, and that’s okay.

(Sidenote, this song was played at my parents’ wedding, and is also, coincidentally, the staple of the Chicken Little (2005) soundtrack)