Do you feel paralysed by anxiety sometimes? Or perhaps you have a child whose anxiety is affecting their everyday life? I have hand picked these inspirational quotes for anxiety sufferers who need a boost. Anxiety quotes can be reassuring, calming and motivational.
I am a clinical psychologist working with children, teens and their parents in my clinic, Everlief Child Psychology. By far the most common difficulty I work with is anxiety. Overcoming anxiety quotes can be part of an anxious person’s recovery plan. Over the years I have witnessed the inspiration anxiety quotes can give to young people and their families.
Introduction: Anxiety Affects Us All
Anxiety is a huge issue in our society. Approximately 8 million adults in the UK have an anxiety disorder. According to NHS Scotland, between 5 and 19% of all children and adolescents in the UK have anxiety, and 2-5% of children under the age of 12.
In the USA, the National Institute for Mental Health estimates that a huge 31.1% of adults experience an anxiety disorder at some time in their lives.
The Power of Anxiety Quotes
Quotes about anxiety can provide a sense of clarity that can be a motivating force in overcoming anxiety. They can be a catalyst towards developing a positive attitude and a feeling of empowerment.
I have picked these anxiety quotes for their moving simplicity, and I really hope you love them as much as I do.
If you or your child are currently having a hard time with anxiety and feel bogged down by constant fear or worried thoughts, take some time to reflect on each of these inspirational anxiety quotes.
Choose one or more that resonate with you the most. Perhaps even write them down, ready to pick you up on bad days when your mental health is not at its best.
Without further ado, let’s get onto the anxiety quotes!
1. Anxiety is Normal
Anxiety is a normal emotion. The normal anxiety of life is part of our biological make-up. There are several evolutionary reasons why it can be a good thing.
Firstly, it can improve our ability to stay sharp and focused in our daily activities.
“It’s normal that people experience anxiety. It’s our body and brain’s way of keeping us alert and it can actually improve performance.”Hayley Vaughan-Smith, Person-Centred Counsellor – How to Deal With Morning Anxiety in Children
Secondly and even more vitally, anxiety keeps us safe. This quote from my article on helping teens with anxiety explains more.
“We have anxious thoughts because the brain is trying to keep us alive. To the brain, survival is much more important than happiness. So, the brain often conjures up worst case scenarios and “what ifs”, so that we can prepare for disaster. The trouble is, the brain regularly gets it wrong.”Dr Lucy Russell, Clinical Psychologist
For children and teens, there is a perfect storm which often contributes to high anxiety rates.
First of all, they are changing and developing, and experiencing so many things for the first time. This can be scary and anxiety-provoking, as my colleague Hayley Vaughan-Smith explains in her article – A Feeling of Insecurity and Anxiety in a Teenager: 9 Parent Tips:
“A child’s teenage years can be a time of huge change. With change, it can be common for teenagers to experience feelings of insecurity and anxiety as they navigate their world as developing young adults.”Hayley Vaughan-Smith, Person-Centred Counsellor
Secondly, teens in particular are significantly affected by the pressures of modern life such as social media and our “outcomes driven” education system.
When anxious people have strong strategies to manage this emotion, they can minimise its effect on their lives and even overcome anxiety completely.
2. Over-Thinking Magnifies Anxiety
Almost without exception, people who suffer with anxiety are over-thinkers.
Occasionally reflecting on something bad that has passed – or something that may be scary or bad in the future – can be helpful. It can help us to problem-solve how we might deal with issues next time.
However, beyond that first reflection, the ability to “let it go” is a great thing, and hugely powerful. If we cannot let a worry go, we risk magnifying it. It can become all-encompassing.
Many influential and wise people agree, as you can see in the following short anxiety quotes:
“How much pain have cost us the evils which have never happened.”Thomas Jefferson
“Anxiety’s like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it doesn’t get you very far.”Jodi Picoult, author
“Present fears are less than horrible imaginings.”William Shakespeare
“Worry often gives a small thing a big shadow.”Swedish proverb
“Do not anticipate trouble or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight.”Benjamin Franklin
“The best use of imagination is creativity. The worst use of imagination is anxiety.”Deepak Chopra
“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength.”Corrie Ten Boom, Dutch writer and public speaker
“Worry is a thin stream of fear trickling through the mind. If encouraged, it cuts a channel into which all other thoughts are drained.”Arthur Somers Rache, American author
3. Quotes on Worrying
Sometimes we take on worries that should never have been ours in the first place.
For example, some children take on adult worries and feel that it is their responsibility to deal with them.
These quotes about stress and worry can help us reflect on which worries to let go.
“Not everything that weighs you down is yours to carry.”Anonymous
“Worry pretends to be necessary but serves no useful purpose.”Eckhart Tolle (Author of The Power of Now)
“People become attached to their burdens sometimes more than the burdens are attached to them.”George Bernard Shaw
“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, French-born American writer
TAKE THE QUIZ!
4. Living in the Now
One of the best antidotes to anxious feelings is bringing yourself (or your child) back to the present moment, rather than getting caught in worries about the past or the future.
Modern mindfulness, like many older practices such as meditation, emphasises the importance of being in the present moment. Mindfulness quotes for anxiety remind us to come back to the present.
We all reflect on the past sometimes, and we all worry about things in the future. But beyond a certain point, this can make us miserable. More importantly, it can prevent us enjoying our current lives.
As Mother Teresa so wisely suggested:
“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.”Mother Teresa
The ability to bring to bring ourselves out of ruminations on the past or on possible futures is truly an essential ingredient of a life worth living.
It is essential to finding inner peace.
This is summed up beautifully in the following encouraging words for anxiety sufferers:
“He is rich who owns the day, and no one owns the day who allows it to be invaded with fret and anxiety.”Ralph Waldo Emerson, American lecturer, poet, and essayist
Author Kahlil Gibran also makes the powerful point that so much of the future is beyond our control.
Our worries are often more damaging to us than any potentially negative outcome. The following is one of the most insightful quotes about anxiety I have come across:
“Our anxiety does not come from thinking about the future, but from wanting to control it.”Kahlil Gibran, author of The Prophet
5. Living With Anxiety Quotes
Anxiety is normal. Everyone experiences it to some extent.
We can learn to manage our minds, and we also need a degree of acceptance, as these anxiety quotes demonstrate so concisely:
“You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.”Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of modern mindfulness
“Anxiety was born in the very same moment as mankind. And since we will never be able to master it, we will have to learn to live with it— just as we have learned to live with storms.”Paulo Coelho
You may be wondering if you can help others with their anxiety (such as your children or other family members), if you are anxious yourself.
As you will see in this quote from my article on supporting an anxious child as an anxious parent I believe having anxiety puts you in a unique position to support others:
“If you suffer from anxiety or you have periods where you feel anxious, you may feel that you are not in a good position to help your child. This is not true. Supporting an anxious child as a family member gives you advantages over a parent who has never had anxiety difficulties.”Dr Lucy Russell, Clinical Psychologist
Small steps are so important. Anxiety can rarely be overcome overnight.
If you have a bad day where you feel you have taken a step backwards, that is okay and normal. Just take a deep breath, and try to move forward again tomorrow.
This quote from Martin Luther King Jr. is beautiful and one of the most calming quotes for anxiety that I have come across:
“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”Martin Luther King Jr.
6. A Different Perspective is Powerful
Another successful strategy is to take a step “out of your mind” and view things from the perspective of others.
If we get too caught up in our own heads, we give our thoughts too much power. Here is one of my favourite anxiety quotes demonstrating this.
“One of the most effective ways to overcome anxiety is to try to shift the focus of attention away from self and toward others. When we succeed in this, we find that the scale of our own problems diminishes. This is not to say we should ignore our own needs altogether, but rather that we should try to remember others’ needs alongside our own, no matter how pressing ours may be.”Dalai Lama
When it comes to social anxiety we often believe that our perspective is the same as that of others.
If we can see our mistakes or faults, then surely others can see them too?
Here is one of the most brilliant, simple quotes about social anxiety to help us re-think this assumption:
“You wouldn’t worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do.”Attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt
7. Worries and Troubles Will Pass
We must also remember, when we get caught up in our worries and anxiety, that they will not last forever.
The wise Charlie Chaplin had the following encouraging words for anxiety sufferers:
“Nothing is permanent in this wicked world—not even our troubles.”Charlie Chaplin
8. There are Practical Ways to Calm Your Body and Soothe Anxiety
Below are some of the best anxiety quotes if you are looking for practical ways to deal with anxiety.
Soothing the Nervous System
Calming the senses can have a profound effect on our nervous system, reducing anxiety.
Sylvia Plath knew this, as you can see in this humorous quote:
“There must be quite a few things that a hot bath won’t cure, but I don’t know many of them.”Sylvia Plath
Writing to Ease Anxiety
Writing is another fantastic way of managing anxiety which may be helpful as part of your “toolkit” (or your child’s).
There is something about putting your anxious thoughts into words in black and white which diminishes their power like nothing else.
Here is an inspirational anxiety quote by former UK Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill:
“It helps to write down half a dozen things which are worrying me. Two of them, say, disappear; about two of them nothing can be done, so it’s no use worrying; and two perhaps can be settled.”Winston Churchill
Conscious Breathing for Anxiety
Learning how to breathe slowly and deeply is essential for managing anxiety effectively.
If you are interested in understanding more, the book The Art of Breathing is highly recommended. Here are my favourite positive anxiety quotes on the power of slow breathing:
“Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.”Thich Nhat Hanh
“Slow breathing is like an anchor in the midst of an emotional storm: the anchor won’t make the storm go away, but it will hold you steady until it passes.”Dr Russ Harris, author of The Happiness Trap
Learning to Identify and Gently Challenge Your Anxiety
Developing awareness of our thoughts can be life-changing.
Once we can identify thoughts, we can gently challenge them, or choose not to engage with them at all. I often teach people to use quotes to overcome worry and anxiety. Here is one of my favourites:
“The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.”William James, author
The following quotes for anxiety are extracts from two of my articles. Use these techniques for yourself or introduce them to your child.
“Look for opportunities – when your child is in a positive state of mind – to gently challenge the fear. Take baby steps. For example if your child is terrified of dogs, you could park near a park and watch some dogs go by at a distance. Your child feels safe in the care but they have taken a tiny step to approach, rather than avoid, the fear.”Dr Lucy Russell, Clinical Psychologist – Phobia: Supporting Your Child
“Thoughts trigger emotions , even if they are not true or the worry is not likely to happen. Teach your child to spend time observing their thoughts – or writing them down – like an interested bystander watching clouds passing. The idea that your child is an observer of what’s going on inside their brain is much more helpful than letting thoughts “happen” to them, allowing the thought to trigger worried feelings.”Dr Lucy Russell, Clinical Psychologist – Helping Your Child Cope With Worry
Therapy for Anxiety
If severe anxiety and/or panic attacks become every day events, therapy can help a person deal with it effectively.
The best thing about therapy is that it helps you unpick individual anxious thoughts, as well as behaviours which are contributing.
Another great thing about therapy – particularly in CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) – is that you create a plan and work towards it, with your therapist alongside you all the way. This can be incredibly empowering.
One of the biggest obstacles to overcoming anxiety can be the feeling of overwhelm, and one direct route to beat overwhelm is to accept a little bit of help from others. I wanted to include some anxiety disorder quotes that give a clear message about therapy. Seeking therapy is not a sign of weakness. Accepting help from an experienced professional is a sensible way to learn how to break out from the traps that anxiety sets.
“When teenagers experience mental health disorders such as social anxiety, mental health professionals can offer a structured and scaffolded framework of support with practical steps and goals.”Hayley Vaughan-Smith, Person-Centred Counsellor – Social Anxiety in Teenagers
CBT is the therapy with the strongest evidence base when it comes to anxiety.
This quote from my colleague Hayley Vaughan-Smith explains more:
“CBT is an evidence-based therapy for anxiety. Your child will learn how to better handle their anxiety and understand the situations that lead to it. The therapist will help your child to identify and gently challenge thoughts which are not helping them. They will also learn to approach their fear rather than avoiding it, taking baby steps.”Hayley Vaughan-Smith, Person-Centred Counsellor – Separation Anxiety in Teenagers
CBT is suitable for most children from 8-10 years of age upwards, and for adults.
I hope you have enjoyed these inspirational quotes for anxiety sufferers. Why not share this article with a fellow anxiety sufferer, whether that’s your child, a family member or a friend?
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.
Are you the parent of a 6-16 year-old? Join They Are The Future’s free Facebook group for regular tips on supporting teens and pre-teens with their mental health! Join the group: Parent Tips for Positive Child Mental Health UK.