Stress Quotes to Soothe You: Dive into These 21 Calming Quotes

Written by Dr Lucy Russell DClinPsyc CPsychol AFBPsS
Dr Lucy Russell Clinical Psychologist Founder of They Are The Future
Author: Dr Lucy Russell, Clinical Psychologist

I want you to take the stress quotes in this article as an opportunity to reflect and re-set.

As a clinical psychologist I recommend that we each develop a personal “toolkit” of strategies for stress relief.

Add these calming quotes for stress to your toolkit!

middle aged woman calm serene

Stress Quotes

Today’s world is stressful. There are so many competing demands, and our culture celebrates “doing” and being busy rather than stillness or calmness.

So how can stress quotes help you with this?

Well, your nervous system needs regular opportunities to feel calm and relaxed. This is known as the “rest and digest” phase.

Your body and mind can unwind and process recent events.

Once rested, you will have the inner strength to face the demands and challenges you will face for the rest of the day.

Good health – including mental health – relies on you getting into “rest and digest” regularly.

If you don’t prioritise it, there’s a real risk you could burn out.

Calming quotes can be a potent reminder for you to “rest and digest” each day. Put your favourites in prominent places like above your bed or even on the bathroom mirror.

Stress Quotes: Realising We Have More Control Than We Think

On particularly stressful days we may feel completely out of control.

It may feel like the universe is conspiring against us.

But there is one area where we do have control, and that is over our thoughts:

“The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.”

William James

Worried thoughts are simply worried thoughts.

They are not truths or facts.

During a stressful period we often forget this, and let our thoughts control us, rather than choosing which ones to engage with.

I absolutely love this empowering quote by Deepak Chopra:

“Every time you are tempted to react in the same old way, ask if you want to be a prisoner of the past or a pioneer of the future.”

Deepak Chopra

calming quotes for stress deepak chopra pioneer of the future

Calming Quotes: Gratitude

According to Psychology Today, gratitude helps us manage our stress levels by lowering levels of cortisol in the body. Cortisol is known as the stress hormone.

Gratitude is a skill we need to practise regularly, to form a habit. 

This quote from the Dalai Lama offers one practical suggestion to make gratitude a habit.

“Every day, think as you wake up, ‘I am fortunate to be alive. I have a precious human life. I am not going to waste it.”

Dalai Lama

calming quotes dalai lama daily gratitude

Another great way to cultivate gratitude is to reflect on three good things that have happened that day, in the evenings before bed. They can be as big or small as you like.

Even if you have had many stressful situations to deal with, think about what got you through those situations.

I find that practising gratitude in the evenings actually helps me sleep, because it gives me a peace of mind I wouldn’t otherwise have felt.

Calming Quotes About Staying in the Present

Eckhart Tolle is the author of the best-selling and life-changing book (for me and many thousands of others) The Power of Now.

He is the best person to explain the benefits of “being in the now”:

“As soon as you honor the present moment, all unhappiness and struggle dissolve, and life begins to flow with joy and ease. When you act out the present-moment awareness, whatever you do becomes imbued with a sense of quality, care, and love – even the most simple action.”

Eckhart Tolle

Of course, this sounds easy but in fact it’s very, very difficult.

I recommend starting with just a few moments each day.

Bring yourself into the present and focus on your external and internal senses.

For example, you might hear the sound of your breath, and see cars driving by outside your window, and smell your morning coffee. Just notice, without judgement.

Very gradually, you can then increase the length of time.

a mum and child reading together happy and calm

We should also remember that good humor is one of the best ways to ease stress.

This quote from the late American author Grenville Kleiser is fantastic.

“Good humor is a tonic for mind and body. It is the best antidote for anxiety and depression. It is a business asset. It attracts and keeps friends. It lightens human burdens. It is the direct route to serenity and contentment.”

Grenville Kleiser

Oprah Winfrey is also an advocate for living in the present moment.

She reminds us that living in the present doesn’t have to be all about stillness.

“Every day brings a chance for you to draw your breath, kick off your shoes, and dance.”

Oprah Winfrey

calming quote for stress oprah winfrey

Stress Quotes About Self-Care

I always tell my patients that during tough times the number one priority is self-care.

Think of mental health as a pyramid, with self-care at the bottom. Without self-care we are unable to function well, think clearly or take care of others.

If you have read any of my other articles, you will know that I believe sleep is the cornerstone of mental health.

Deepak Chopra agrees:

“Sleep is when our soul actually refreshes our body.”

Deepak Chopra

calming quote on sleep by deepak chopra

Breathing is also vital.

This may sound like a ridiculous statement. Of course breathing is a vital part of life! But it is how we breathe that can make the essential difference.

Chronic stress can result in shallow breathing, which in turn sends a message to the brain that we need to be alert for danger.

Slow, deep breath triggers the body’s parasympathetic nervous system – rest and digest – which I described above. Deep, conscious breathing for even 5 minutes per day will help reduce your stress levels.

Not only that, but it will help you become more conscious of your body in the present moment, as spiritual leader and peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh explains:

“Breathing in, I calm body and mind. Breathing out, I smile. Dwelling in the present moment I know this is the only moment.”

Thích Nhất Hạnh, Being Peace

Thích Nhất Hạnh quote about being in the present moment

As well as deep breathing, you can calm your body using strategies like progressive muscular relaxation.

Again, relaxing your muscles can trigger the parasympathetic nervous system, telling your body, “I’m safe”.

“Your calm mind is the ultimate weapon against your challenges. So relax.”

Bryant McGill, Simple Reminders: Inspiration for Living Your Best Life

Calming Quotes: To Help You Slow Down

The best antidote to stress is to slow down. Slowing down helps provide those essential spaces for the mind to rest, recover and reflect.

However, this is very hard to do when our culture tells us to do more.

For me, it’s a constant work in progress. I find the following quotes incredibly helpful, particularly at times of great stress.

“Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

ralph waldo emerson calm spirit quote

“We do not have to become heroes overnight. Just a step at a time, meeting each thing that comes up, seeing it as not as dreadful as it appears, discovering that we have the strengths to stare it down.”

Eleanor Roosevelt

calming quote Eleanor Roosevelt: We do not have to become heroes overnight

“Don’t underestimate the value of Doing Nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering.”

A A Milne, Pooh’s Little Instruction Book

a a milne calming quotes for stress power of doing nothing

Comforting, aren’t they?!

I also like this soothing quote by Maya Angelou. She gives us permission to be a “homebody” and retreat to our safe place whenever we need to.

“The ache for home is in all of us. The safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.”

Maya Angelou

Calm quotes: Maya Angelou The ache for home is in all of us

This article wouldn’t be complete without the following iconic quote by former UK prime minister Sir Winston Churchill, which bolstered the British during World War Two.

Sometimes the simplest quotes are the most memorable!

“Keep calm and carry on.”

Winston Churchill

calming quote: churchill keep calm and carry on

Calming Quotes For Stress During Dark Times

If you are navigating difficult roads in your life, you need to start by developing your toolkit for managing emotional stress. This will help you find your way through.

As I mentioned before, the calming quotes for stress in this article can be used as just one of the strategies in your toolkit.

You don’t need to use all of them.

Just take the ones that are most meaningful for you, and keep them somewhere you will see them regularly, like in a journal or even on a wall.

“When I had nothing to lose, I had everything. When I stopped being who I am, I found myself.”

Paulo Coelho, Eleven Minutes

“After all, the wrong road always leads somewhere.”

George Bernard Shaw

stress quote: George Bernard Shaw wrong road always leads somewhere

“New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings.”

Lao Tzu

lao tzu calming quote about new beginnings

“Only in the darkness can you see the stars.” 

Martin Luther King

stress quotes: Martin Luther King Only in the darkness can you see the stars.

“A very wise man once told me that you can’t look back — you just have to put the past behind you, and find something better in your future.”

Jodi Picoult, Salem Falls, 2001

calm quote Jodi Picoult wise man once told me

I hope that if you’re having a tough time one or more of these fantastic calming quotes resonates with you.

Calmness Quotes: Your Approach To Life

These inspirational calming quotes by Albert Einstein and Anais Nin demonstrate that if we can handle stress and find ways to overcome the overwhelm in our lives, we tend to lead fuller lives.

“Anxiety is love’s greatest killer. It makes others feel as you might when a drowning man holds on to you. You want to save him, but you know he will strangle you with his panic.”

Anaïs Nin

stress quote: Anaïs Nin Anxiety is love's greatest killer

“A calm and modest life brings more happiness than the pursuit of success combined with constant restlessness.”

Albert Einstein

albert einstein quote calm and modest life

I really hope you plan to incorporate some of my calming quotes for stress into your coping toolkit!

Please share this article with any friends of members of your family who may need it.

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Dr Lucy Russell is a UK clinical psychologist who works with children and families. Her work involves both therapeutic support and autism assessments. She is the Clinical Director of Everlief Child Psychology, and also worked in the National Health Service for many years. In 2019 Lucy launched They Are The Future, a support website for parents of school-aged children.

Through TATF Lucy is passionate about giving practical, manageable strategies to parents and children who may otherwise struggle to find the support they need.

Lucy is a mum to two teenage children. She lives in Buckinghamshire with her husband, children, rescue dog and three rescue cats. She enjoys caravanning and outdoor living, singing and musical theatre.

UK parents, looking for expert parenting advice?

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