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Have you ever received well-intentioned advice while facing intense anxiety, only to feel judged, misunderstood, or condescended?
Like, “Calm down!” Or “Just be positive!” Or “Don’t worry so much!”
The people who try to help generally want to do just that, but it’s always easier to advise someone when you’re not feeling what they’re feeling, because you have the benefit of rational thought—which goes out the window when fight-or-flight mode takes over.
And if you’ve never felt the depth of anxiety some of us experience—perhaps because you weren’t conditioned that way through trauma, or you’ve learned to block or resist your emotions—it’s hard to truly understand what it’s like or what it takes to get through it.
This is why I have appreciated reading stories and advice from people who’ve been there and truly get what it’s like. People who are intimately familiar with anxiety’s blood-pumping, heart-racing, mind-spiraling madness, and have both empathy and insight to offer.
Reading about their experiences and what’s been helpful to them always makes me feel a little less alone and a lot better equipped to handle the tornados in my head and my heart.
With this in mind, I decided to amass a collection of powerful quotes from anxiety posts through the years. I hope something here provides you with the same peace and comfort these thoughts have offered me!
10 Quotes You Need to Read If You Struggle with Anxiety
1. “Without a doubt, the most important thing to remember is that it’s okay to feel overwhelmed and stressed out. It’s okay to feel lost and unsure. It’s alright to have no idea how you’re going to hold it together sometimes. We put so much pressure on ourselves to be happy all the time. It’s okay to acknowledge when times are tough. It’s alright to feel anxious, even if it’s uncomfortable.” ~Ilene S. Cohen (from When You Feel Bad About Feeling Sad and Anxious)
2.”When you observe your thoughts, you’re able to choose which to believe and which to let pass. You can choose not to believe that someone else meant to hurt you, that you did something wrong, or you deserve to be judged. You can see these thoughts as nothing more than knee-jerk reactions to a perceived offense, and not reflections of reality or ideas you need to let influence your state of mind.” ~Kimberly Diaz-Rosso (from How to Stop Dwelling: A Simple Practice to Let Go of Anxious Thoughts)
3. “When you feel like running or fleeing, it’s time to face your fear with courage. Although our automatic response is often to run away, numb our feelings, or somehow distract ourselves, escaping only temporarily relieves anxiety. Fear will return, possibly in a different form, until you choose to confront it with kindness.” ~Carly Hamilton-Jones (from How to Tackle Fear and Anxiety, Cognitively, Behaviorally, and Spiritually)
4. “No matter how close to home anxiety hits, there is always a lie hiding in it somewhere. Maybe it’s based on a false belief. Maybe the problem doesn’t have to be dealt with as immediately as it feels. Maybe there are options we haven’t considered. But anxiety always—always—contains a lie. It might be big and in-our-face, or it could be small, tricky, and subtle. Look hard enough and we will uncover it… Finding the lie takes the teeth out of the anxiety.” ~Jason Large (from 4 Life-Changing Lessons for People Who Struggle with Anxiety)
5. “Instead of stuffing down your depression, anxiety, shame, loneliness—or whatever emotion you’re tempted to resist—ask yourself: What message is it trying to send to me? What would I do differently in my life if I listened to this emotion instead of suppressing it?” ~Kelly Martin (from How Embracing and Loving My “Negative Emotions” Helped Me Heal)
6. “‘I need to be doing something right now.’ This is an incredibly subtle belief that most of us don’t even realize we are holding onto. It stems from our obsession with productivity and achievement, and it manifests as a constant, itching discontent. Though our ego tricks us into believing we need this feeling to get things done, when we can let it go, we see a lot of our anxiety dissolves and our relaxation deepens. We’re also much more likely to enjoy what we need to do without the constant internal pressure of feeling that what we’re doing in this moment is never enough.” ~Benjamin Fishel (from 9 Beliefs You Have to Let Go if You Want to Find Inner Peace)
7. “When we draw conclusions about a situation without checking the facts first, we can escalate it into a full-blown crisis in our minds. In other words, our negative thinking can spiral out of control, rapidly increasing our anxiety, unnecessarily. That’s called globalizing. How we think about our circumstances can make all the difference in the level of stress we feel.” ~Paula Jones (from To Reduce Stress, Stop Globalizing and Put Things in Perspective)
8.“Eventually, it passes. It always does. We are left feeling drained or numb or depressed or ashamed. I tend to get angry… We recover, though, and that’s exactly why people who have panic attacks are warriors. We fight battles every day. We know the nature of The Beast. We don’t always know when he’ll strike, but we know that we will survive whatever he throws at us. We’ve faced death in our own way, and it hasn’t beaten us yet. We survived the last panic attack, and we’ll survive the next one. We have no choice.” ~Haley West (from Inside a Panic Attack: What It’s Like When Anxiety Strikes)
9. “Our primal brain is wired to seek pleasure and avoid pain; and anxiety is often caused by worrying about the potential pain that we might feel in the future. Sometimes we’re so afraid of emotional pain and loss that we forget that they can’t physically harm us. And this is where the saying ‘make peace with discomfort’ will serve you very well, because your ability to be uncomfortable is directly related to your ability to be a relaxed person. Sometimes we assume that we need to be comfortable in order to be relaxed. But sometimes being relaxed simply means feeling uncomfortable and being okay with that. The more discomfort you’re able to tolerate, the less you’ll worry about preventing it from happening.” ~Kari Dahlgren (from 3 Ways to Stop Worrying and Feel Less Anxious)
10. “In the middle of uncertainty-induced anxiety, our vision narrows, literally and metaphorically. Fight-or-flight takes over and our vision literally focuses sharply while our brain diverts resources to survival, leaving no energy for creative problem-solving. So, relax. Know that this is what is happening and remind yourself that there are options that you can’t possibly see right now. Just because you don’t see them doesn’t mean they aren’t there. Acknowledge that there is a whole lot that you don’t know that you don’t know—and that some of those unknown, currently unforeseeable options will make you very, very happy.” ~Dr. Amy Johnson (from How to Feel Less Stressed About the Uncertain Future)
Which of these quotes resonated most strongly with you? And are there other quotes you’ve found particularly comforting or helpful?