Is Humming A Sign Of Anxiety? – Uncovering What’s Behind The Melody

Everyone is familiar with the soothing sound of a loved one humming. But is it possible for humming to indicate something more? Could humming be a sign of anxiety? Recent studies suggest that this is, in fact, the case. While a single episode of humming is generally not cause for alarm, repetitive and prolonged humming can be an indicator of underlying anxiety.

So, if you’ve noticed someone close to you engaging in continual humming, it is worth taking into consideration that they may need some extra support. We’ll explore this further in our article to answer the question— is humming a sign of anxiety?

Is Humming A Sign Of Mental Illness

Humming can be a sign of mental illness, but only if it is frequent and persistent. Humming can be a symptom of various forms of mental distress, including anxiety disorders, depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder. When humming becomes disruptive or obsessive-compulsive in nature, it may be indicative of an underlying mental health issue.

For example, people with schizophrenia might hum excessively to drown out auditory hallucinations they are experiencing. People with depression or anxiety may use humming as a coping mechanism or distraction from negative thoughts. This can be done unconsciously and without any awareness of the behavior.

It is important to note that humming does not always indicate mental illnessit is only when this behavior becomes frequent and disruptive that one should consider consulting a doctor for further assessment. If you are concerned about someone close to you who is displaying signs of excessive humming, it is best to seek professional help in order to get an accurate diagnosis and determine the best course of action.

In some cases, humming can also be a sign of tinnitus— a condition characterized by ringing or buzzing in the ears.

It is important to remember that humming can be an indicator of different physical and mental health issues, so it’s always best to seek medical help if you are concerned about your own or someone else’s behavior. Finally, it should also be noted that humming can simply be a form of self-expression or a way to relax as well.

So while it is important to look out for signs of anxiety or depression in those around us, it is also just as important to take a moment to appreciate the beauty and simplicity of humming when done purely for the sake of enjoyment.

Is Humming A Sign Of Anxiety

Yes, humming can be a sign of anxiety. Research has shown that humming is a common behavior seen in individuals with anxiety disorders and other mental illnesses including depression. It is thought to be an unconscious way of providing distraction or relief from negative thoughts and feelings associated with anxiety.

Humming can indeed be a sign of anxiety, but it is important to remember that this behavior alone should not be taken as a sure indication of an underlying mental health issue. It is only when hummed in excess and on a persistent basis that one should consider consulting a doctor for further assessment.

Humming may also serve as a form of self-soothing— it activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps to reduce physical tension and stress. Studies have found that people who hum are more likely to have higher levels of cortisol—the body’s primary stress hormone—indicating that they are in a chronically anxious state.

Humming can also become compulsive, as it offers temporary relief of symptoms but does not address the underlying issue. It can become a habit that is difficult to break, which further reinforces the anxious state and further entrenches it in the individual’s behavior.

Also, researchers at Harvard Medical School found that people who engage in frequent humming may become “lost” in the sound, helping to calm their anxious thoughts and providing a sense of security.

Humming can also be used as an effective way to manage stress in the body, as humming sends vibrations through the air which can help reduce tension in the body. A study conducted by Queen’s University Belfast found that humming at certain frequencies can induce physiological relaxation similar to meditation.

In some cases, humming can even be seen as an indication of panic attacks. Those experiencing panic may find themselves repeatedly humming or singing without realizing they are doing so as if their mind is trying to block out negative thoughts associated with anxiety. 

It is important to remember that anxiety is a normal part of life and not everyone who hums has an anxiety disorder. However, if you or someone close to you are displaying signs of excess humming or singing as a way of trying to cope with anxious thoughts, it may be beneficial to seek professional help in order to get an accurate diagnosis and develop an effective treatment plan.

12 Symptoms Of Humming Due To Anxiety

Humming can be an indication of anxiety in certain individuals and is usually seen as a way to cope with stressful or overwhelming thoughts. Here are 12 symptoms that may indicate an individual has been humming in order to manage their anxiety:

  1. Incessant humming or singing, even when there isn’t any music playing.
  2. Humming for long periods of time without pausing.
  3. Difficulty completing tasks due to humming.
  4. Constant fidgeting or tapping feet/hands while humming.
  5. Humming during tense situations to try and relieve stress.
  6. Humming increases in volume or intensity when anxious or stressed out.
  7. Uncontrollable urge to hum during social interactions. 
  8. Persistent humming even when asked to stop.
  9. Humming can interfere with daily activities.
  10. Humming becomes compulsive and difficult to disrupt or break.
  11. Feeling “lost” in the sound when humming.
  12. Uncontrollable urge to hum or sing even when inappropriate.

If any of these symptoms are present, it is important to seek out professional help in order to determine the underlying cause and work towards developing an effective treatment plan. With the right guidance and support, individuals can learn how to manage their anxiety in a healthy way without resorting to humming as a coping mechanism.

Is humming a sign of anxiety

12 Examples Of Humming In Response To Anxious Situations Or Thoughts

Humming is a common response to anxious situations or thoughts for many individuals struggling with anxiety. It can be used as a form of self-soothing and calming, providing a sense of security and comfort in times of distress. Here are some examples of how individuals may use humming to manage their stress and anxiety:  

  1. Singing along to familiar songs – This could include singing a favorite song from childhood, humming the theme song from a TV show, or simply singing “la la la” in order to calm down during an anxious moment.
  2. Making random noises – This could include humming, clicking of the tongue, blowing a raspberry, or making any other sound that provides a sense of comfort.
  3. Repeating mantras or affirmations – Repeating positive statements to oneself such as “I am strong” or “everything will be okay” can help provide reassurance and reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.
  4. Humming nursery rhymes – Singing familiar nursery rhymes from childhood can help bring back comforting memories and provide calming vibrations throughout the body.
  5. Creating a personal song – Writing an original song with encouraging lyrics can be helpful in overcoming difficult times and bringing peace to anxious moments. 
  6. Making random noises that are not typically associated with music: An individual may hum randomly in order to distract from their anxious thoughts or to create a sense of control.
  7. Repeating words or phrases over and over again: This can provide an anchor point for the individual, providing them with something familiar they can focus on in order to manage their anxiety.
  8. Humming During Tasks: Individuals may find themselves humming or singing during activities that normally cause them stress, such as taking tests or completing tasks at work. This can provide a sense of comfort and help ease the pressure felt in these situations.
  9. Humming To Block Out Negative Thoughts: Many people use humming as a way to block out overwhelming or negative thoughts associated with anxiety. Creating an audible distraction from their anxious thoughts can help individuals cope better in difficult situations.
  10. Humming In Social Situations: People may also hum in social settings, particularly when feeling uncomfortable or anxious about interactions with others. The sound of the hum can be used to fill up space and provide a sense of security in uncertain environments.
  11. Humming During Bedtime: Humming can also be used to help ease an individual into sleep, providing a sense of comfort and calm before bedtime. This can help individuals relax and drift off more quickly, avoiding the anxious thoughts that come with struggling to fall asleep.
  12. Humming While Driving: Some individuals may find that humming during car rides or other forms of transportation helps them keep their anxiety in check. The sound of the hum can provide a distraction from any irrational worries associated with being on the road, allowing for a calmer journey overall.

It is important to remember that these are just some examples of how individuals may use humming as a coping mechanism for anxiety. Everyone responds differently and it is best to consult with a mental health professional in order to develop an effective treatment plan tailored to your individual needs.

Compulsive Humming

Compulsive humming is an instinctive and repetitive vocalization that is most often associated with anxiety, stress, or other forms of mental distress. It is not necessarily a conscious decision to hum, but rather a natural response to feeling overwhelmed or uneasy. This type of humming can be very loud and disruptive and may even cause physical discomfort for the individual doing it.

Causes Of Compulsive Humming

The exact causes of compulsive humming are unknown but there are several possible contributing factors. These include:

Signs And Symptoms Of Compulsive Humming

The signs and symptoms of compulsive humming can vary depending on the individual but may include:

  • The individual hums loudly, often without being aware they are doing it.
  • Feeling embarrassed or anxious when asked to stop humming.
  • Struggling to concentrate on tasks due to the distraction caused by their own humming.
  • Avoidance of social situations due to fear of humming in public.
  • Difficulty sleeping due to the humming.

Mental health can actually benefit from humming

Is Humming A Sign Of Happiness

Humming is often associated with feelings of joy and happiness, but it can also indicate anxiety or other mental distress. While it may be seen as a sign of contentment in some situations, humming can actually have a range of meanings depending on the individual’s mental state and environment. 

5 Positive Effects Of Humming:

Humming can have a positive effect on one’s mental health and well-being. It can help reduce stress, provide comfort in difficult situations, block out negative thoughts, foster relaxation before bedtime, and even increase happiness.

  1. Stress Relief: Humming has been known to help lower the stress hormone cortisol in the body. This can be a great way for individuals to manage their anxiety levels and relax in times of distress.
  2. Comfort In Difficult Situations: For some individuals, humming can act as an emotional regulator—allowing them to remain calm despite facing difficult life circumstances or activities. This can be particularly helpful for those dealing with chronic illness, grief, or trauma.
  3. Increased Happiness: Studies have shown that humming can help improve mood and create feelings of happiness due to the release of endorphins in the brain.
  4. Blocks Negative Thoughts: Humming can help to block out negative thoughts and keep them from taking over an individual’s mind. This can be beneficial for individuals who struggle with excessive worrying or rumination.
  5. Facilitates Relaxation Before Bedtime: Humming can also be used to help ease an individual into sleep, providing a sense of comfort and calm before bedtime. This can help individuals relax and drift off more quickly, avoiding the anxious thoughts that come with struggling to fall asleep.

6 Physical Benefits Of Humming:

In addition to its mental health benefits, humming can also provide physical benefits. Humming can help improve respiratory function and boost energy levels, as well as reduce muscle tension and promote deep relaxation.

  1. Improved Respiratory Function: Humming has been known to extend the exhalation of breath, which can help to strengthen the diaphragm and other muscles used for breathing. This ultimately helps improve overall respiratory function and capacity.
  2. Boosts Energy Levels: Research suggests that humming may be able to stimulate the Vagus nerve—a major nerve involved in regulating the body’s energy levels—resulting in an increase in alertness and energy.
  3. Reduces Muscle Tension: Humming can help to relax the muscles by increasing blood flow and decreasing stress. This can be helpful for individuals who experience tension or soreness in their neck, shoulders, back, or other areas of their body due to stress or posture.
  4. Promotes Deep Relaxation: The vibrations created from humming have been known to promote a deeper sense of relaxation than regular breathwork alone. This can be beneficial for those looking for a more soothing form of relaxation.
  5. Stimulates Vagal Tone: Humming stimulates the vagus nerve which is responsible for emotional regulation and relaxation. By stimulating this nerve, humming can help an individual feel calmer and more relaxed.
  6. Decrease In Stress: Humming can help to reduce the stress hormone cortisol in the body. This helps individuals relax and feel more at ease.

6 Mental Benefits Of Humming:

Humming has also been known to provide mental health benefits such as improved concentration, increased creativity, and enhanced problem-solving skills. Here are some of the mental benefits of humming:

  1. Improved Concentration: Studies suggest that humming may be able to increase focus and concentration by blocking outside distractions and calming an individual’s thoughts.
  2. Increased Creativity: The vibrations created from humming have been known to stimulate creative thinking and help individuals come up with new ideas or solutions.
  3. Enhanced Problem-Solving Skills: Humming has been known to increase problem-solving skills by increasing blood flow to the brain and improving cognitive function. This allows individuals to be better equipped in tackling difficult tasks and coming up with creative solutions.
  4. Improved Memory: Humming has been known to improve memory formation and recall by stimulating certain parts of the brain that are responsible for learning and memory. Humming may help improve memory retention by stimulating the hippocampus—the area of the brain responsible for memory formation.
  5. Reduced Anxiety: Regularly humming can help reduce stress levels, which in turn can decrease anxiety symptoms such as racing thoughts, restlessness, and irritability.
  6. Increased Self-Awareness: Humming also helps to increase self-awareness by calming the mind and allowing for more clarity and insight into one’s thoughts and feelings.

Humming is a great way to process emotions and relieve stress. The vibrations generated from humming can help stimulate the brain, which in turn helps to promote better concentration and clarity of thought.

Regular humming has also been linked to improved mental health, lessening symptoms of depression and anxiety. Finally, it can be used as a form of self-care to help create an atmosphere for relaxation and peace within oneself.

Is It Normal To Hear A Hum?

Humming is a natural and normal phenomenon that can be heard in many different environments. It is a low-frequency sound produced by air vibrations, which can either be intentional or unintentional.

From everyday life to scientific experiments, humming can be heard in many places. Here are some of the more common occurrences of humming:

  • Hummingbirds: These fast-flying birds use their wings to create a unique humming sound while they fly through the air.
  • Insects: Some types of insects such as mosquitos and bees are known to produce a distinctive buzz when they fly or move around.
  • Machines: Many machines generate low-frequency hums due to their internal components moving or vibrating at high speeds.
  • Music: Certain types of music, such as meditative music, often use low-frequency humming for relaxation and calming effects.
  • Wind Turbines: Wind turbines are known to generate a distinct buzzing sound when they rotate at high speed to produce energy.

Humming can be heard in many places and is an important part of our everyday lives. From providing musical harmony to creating a tranquil atmosphere, humming is essential for living life in balance and harmony.

Why Do I Hum When I Am Anxious

Humming is an unconscious behavior that many people engage in when they are feeling anxious or overwhelmed. It is a form of self-soothing, providing comfort and security in times of distress. Humming acts as a distraction from negative thoughts and emotions while calming the mind, resulting in improved mental clarity and focus.

Sometimes humming can be an unconscious behavior

Also, humming can help to reduce stress levels, which can provide relief from the symptoms of anxiety such as restlessness and irritability. Here are some other reasons why people may hum in moments of anxiety:

  • Helps to Create Connections: Humming can help create connections between individuals by allowing them to express their feelings without using words. Through humming, individuals can create a sense of closeness with one another and foster a sense of understanding and support.
  • Enhances Emotional Regulation: Humming can help to regulate emotions by providing a soothing rhythm that can calm the mind and body, allowing for better emotional control. Humming can also provide an outlet to express emotions without feeling vulnerable or exposed.
  • Stimulates Brain Activity: Engaging in humming activities stimulates areas of the brain associated with language processing and memory formation, which can result in improved concentration and mental clarity.
  • Reduces Stress Levels: Regularly humming can help reduce stress levels, which in turn can decrease symptoms of anxiety such as racing thoughts and irritability.

Humming is a great way to process emotions and relieve stress while providing comfort during moments of anxiety. It can help individuals to find inner peace and relax, creating a more balanced and harmonious life.

Is Humming A Nervous Habit

Humming is a common behavior that many people engage in when they are feeling nervous or anxious. While humming can be calming and provide comfort during moments of distress, for some, it may be difficult to control and could become an unconscious habit. Here are some of the reasons why humming might be considered a nervous habit:

  • Unconscious Behavior: Humming is often an unconscious action that people engage in without even realizing it; this is why it can become a habitual behavior over time.
  • Self-Soothing: Humming can act as a form of self-soothing, providing comfort during times of stress or anxiety. However, if done too often, the reliance on humming as a coping mechanism could lead individuals to become dependent on it as a form of emotional regulation.
  • Stress Reliever: Humming is often used as a way to reduce stress levels and alleviate symptoms of anxiety. However, if humming becomes an uncontrollable habit, it could lead to further feelings of stress or exhaustion due to the strain that it puts on the body.
  • Lack of Control: When people are feeling nervous or overwhelmed, they may find themselves automatically engaging in humming without having any control over it. This lack of control could be indicative of a larger issue such as anxiety or depression that needs to be addressed.

15 Practical Tips For Dealing With Excessive Anxious Humming

Humming is a normal behavior that many people engage in when they are feeling anxious or overwhelmed. While it can provide comfort and relief during moments of distress, excessive humming can be difficult to control and could become an unconscious habit. Here are 15 practical tips for dealing with excessive anxious humming:

  • Understand the Reasons Why You Hum: It’s important to understand why you feel the need to hum when you are feeling anxious. Identifying the source of your anxiety can help you develop better-coping strategies.
  • Practice Mindful Breathing: Take some time to practice mindful breathing techniques. Inhaling and exhaling deeply can help you relax your body and relieve stress.
  • Identify Other Stress Relief Techniques: Identifying other ways of relieving stress can help to reduce the need to rely on humming as a coping mechanism. Try activities like yoga, meditation, or journaling when feeling anxious.
  • Redirect Your Attention: When feeling overwhelmed by anxiety, try to redirect your attention towards something else in order to take your mind off of it. Listen to music, read a book, or do something creative that takes your focus away from your anxious thoughts.
  • Talk To Someone: Don’t be afraid to reach out and talk to someone about how you’re feeling. Talking to a friend, family member, or therapist can help you process your emotions in a healthy way.
  • Identify Triggers: Keeping track of the triggers that cause anxious humming can help you develop better coping strategies for when they arise.
  • Take A Break From Stimuli: Taking a break from any stimuli such as screens, noise, or social interactions can help reduce stress levels and reduce the need to engage in anxious humming.
  • Try Progressive Muscle Relaxation: Progressive muscle relaxation is an effective technique for reducing tension and relieving stress. This involves tensing and then releasing each muscle group in the body one at a time to reduce overall tension.
  • Reduce Caffeine Intake: Caffeine is known to increase anxiety levels and cause restlessness which can contribute to anxious humming. Reducing the amount of caffeine you consume can help reduce stress levels and improve your overall sense of well-being.
  • Exercise Regularly: Regular exercise can be an effective way of managing stress and reducing anxiety levels. Even just a few minutes of physical activity each day can make a big difference in how you feel.
  • Get Enough Sleep: Making sure that you get enough quality sleep is essential for maintaining good mental health. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night to ensure proper rest and relaxation.
  • Avoid Negative Self-Talk: Negative self-talk can increase feelings of stress and anxiety, so it’s important to challenge these thoughts and focus on more positive statements.
  • Eat Healthily: Eating a balanced diet and avoiding processed foods can help reduce anxious humming. Pay attention to how certain foods make you feel and make sure that you are eating nutritious meals.
  • Practice Self-Care: Taking time for yourself is essential for managing stress levels. Make sure to schedule time each day for activities that bring you joy such as taking a bath, reading a book, or going for a walk.
  • Engage in Distracting Activities: When you feel the urge to hum, try distracting yourself with activities such as listening to music, reading a book, or taking a walk.
  • Set Limits on Humming: If you find it difficult to control your humming, try setting limits such as only allowing yourself to hum for five minutes at a time. 
  • Experiment with Different Sounds: There are many different sounds that can be used for relaxation, such as humming or singing. Instead of relying solely on humming, try experimenting with different sounds to find what works best for you. 

Following these tips can help reduce the amount of excessive anxious humming that you experience and allow you to better manage your emotions when feeling overwhelmed by stress and anxiety. Remember to be gentle with yourself and try your best to practice self-care in order to reduce feelings of stress.


Understanding where your humming comes from can be an important part of managing and minimizing the feelings of anxiety that can cause it. Treating the underlying factors with self-care techniques or therapy can help you feel more in control over the humming behavior.

Anxiety can manifest itself in many different ways, but knowing somebody is not alone and there are steps they can take to manage the symptoms is reassuring. Humming may seem like a strange symptom, but if it helps someone feel better, then it’s worth exploring further how to handle it in a way that works best for them.


Mallik, A., & Russo, F. A. (2022). The effects of music & auditory beat stimulation on anxiety: A randomized clinical trial. PLOS ONE, 17(3), e0259312.

Goldman, J., & Goldman, A. (2017). The Humming Effect: Sound Healing for Health and Happiness. Healing Arts Press.

Leave a reply