Living with chronic anxiety is an isolating, stress-filled experience. Even though millions of Americans are living with some form of anxiety, it can be a struggle to feel understood when your fears spiral out of control. And it’s not just about feeling worried or nervous; anxiety disorders affect every aspect of daily life for those living with them—from work to relationships to self-esteem. They can have physiological side effects as well. As the Mayo Clinic notes, these mental illnesses can cause gastrointestinal distress, sweating, increased heart rate, and difficulty sleeping.
Like other mental health issues, anxiety can’t always be overcome by changing your thought patterns, and it’s not helpful to tell someone in the throes of a panic attack to “just calm down.” Some people with anxiety require medication to manage their condition, and it’s important to acknowledge that different anxiety treatments will work for different people. That being said, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, it can be helpful to take a step back and re-focus your thoughts. It’s useful to remind yourself of your own value and of the fact that no emotion is permanent.
Let these anxiety quotes give you strength when you feel overwhelmed.
1 “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, The Path to Love: Spiritual Strategies for Healing
2 “Stay afraid, but do it anyway. What’s important is the action. You don’t have to wait to be confident. Just do it and eventually the confidence will follow.”
—Carrie Fisher, in an interview with HT Health
3 “It’s not a mountain that you climb or a hurdle that you jump, it’s something that you live with in an ongoing way. People want that narrative of illness being in the past tense. But a lot of the time, it isn’t.”
—John Green, in an interview with The New York Times
4 “The news is beyond terrible right now, but don’t forget, despite all your care & concern, to make a little room for your own brain in all this so you can show up to fight another day.”
—Tweet from comedian Aparna Nancherla
the news is beyond terrible right now but dont forget, despite all your care & concern, to make a little room for your own brain in all this so you can show up to fight another day— Aparna Nancherla (@aparnapkin) June 26, 2018
5 “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.”
—Paul Coelho, Manuscript Found in Accra
6 “Whatever happens to you belongs to you. Make it yours. Feed it to yourself even if it feels impossible to swallow. Let it nurture you, because it will.”
—Cheryl Strayed, “Dear Sugar,” The Rumpus Advice Column #72
7 “You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.”
—Maya Angelou, Letter to My Daughter
8 “So, what if, instead of thinking about solving your whole life, you just think about adding additional good things. One at a time. Just let your pile of good things grow.”
—Rainbow Rowell, Attachments
9 “I need my mantra to help keep me relaxed. ‘You are brave. You are courageous.'”
—Lady Gaga, while visiting the Ali Forney Center for homeless LGBT youth
10 “No amount of regretting can change the past, and no amount of worrying can change the future.”
—Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart
11 “There’s no ‘should’ or ‘should not’ when it comes to having feelings. They’re part of who we are and their origins are beyond our control. When we can believe that, we may find it easier to make constructive choices about what to do with those feelings.”
—Fred Rogers, The World According to Mister Rogers
12 “Be not afraid of life. Believe that life is worth living, and your belief will help create the fact.”
13“Every moment is a fresh beginning.”
—T.S. Eliot, The Cocktail Party
Of course, these anxiety quotes won’t replace self-care, but it can be soothing to read others’ advice when you’re feeling overwhelmed. At the end of the day, just remember that you are not alone.