Stress is constantly present in our lives. We cannot be productive if we feel too much constraint. So, we’ve prepared these twenty-three stress quotes to inspire you to face high-pressure situations with a level-headed attitude.
Learn to separate yourself from the turbulence in your life. Plan to integrate stress, not evade it or implement coping mechanisms that create dire long-term consequences. Switch your mind to a positive state of mind right now. Stop bad habits and replace them with good ones. You are in charge. Take control and power through!
Twenty-three Stress Quotes to Help You Power Through
1. “I promise you nothing is as chaotic as it seems. Nothing is worth diminishing your health. Nothing is worth poisoning yourself into stress, anxiety, and fear.”
— Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience
While there’s no need to give context to this quote, it’s merely powerful and inspirational, we’d like to emphasize this idea for you to remember when the going gets tough: “Nothing is worth diminishing your health.” Period. Shake the thought that what you’re going through is hopeless, irreparable, or impossible to get out of. These nine famous people have all gone through bankruptcy before knowing success.
Failure is more often than you think a precondition of success, so don’t let it pull you down. Use your mistakes, your errors, your omissions as stopping points to learn from. Just that. Nothing more. Remember this next time you feel down. Don’t project negativity, you’ll only get more of it. There aren’t any alternatives, only one decision, to move forward.
2. “Perhaps the best way to begin is by making a mental list of the sorts of things we find stressful.”
— Robert M. Sapolsky, Why zebras don’t get ulcers
“Why zebras don’t get ulcers” is an excellent synopsis into the physiology of stress. The parallel with the zebras is that while we’re not very well trained or innately good at dealing with stressful circumstances, these brave beings can use their sense of predictability to increase the feeling of control and, on top of all, are immune to stress.
They also seem to have fabulous social support, an optimistic outlook, and an exceptional venting system for frustration. Where we can all start in our journeys to reduce stress is by making a list of the things we find stressful and mentally rehearse better ways to deal with them.
3. “When you think about it, the real difference between animals and ourselves is that although we both experience stress, humans re-experience and ‘pre-experience’ traumatic situations.”
— Joe Dispenza
This is another one of the best stress quotes you could actually print on paper and display at home or at your desk in the office. Although there to help us avoid danger, our brains on stress don’t instantly switch to a state of homeostasis. On his blog, Dr.’ Joe Dispenza explains that the massive warehouse of memories stored in our minds, don’t always work to our favor. We, unfortunately, fall into our own mind traps by either fixing on the past or project negative experiences in the future.
Dr. Joe stresses on the fact that we need to learn to use our cognitive faculties in different ways. “When we can’t think greater than how we feel then it’s time to change,” says Dr. Joe. And this should be your cue to be more like animals and not go where the mind pulls you. His “Breaking the habit of being yourself” serves as an excellent explanation for how to do this.
4. “The one thing we know about stress is that it is inevitable, unavoidable and continuous. (…) Stress [however] is not contained in people or events themselves, but only in your reaction to those people or events.”
— Brian Tracy, Stress that motivates
Since stress is as inevitable as taxes or death, we’ll want to create the space and time for it to unroll and be fully in control regardless of the moment it arises. As Brain Tracy said, stress isn’t contained in the event itself; it’s our reaction that makes us feel bad. If you learn how to recognize these situations and adapt accordingly, you’re building a rare skill.
And it’s not just a skill; you’re protecting your health from severe mental and physiological disease. If you haven’t heard it yet, stress does kill. We’re not used to telling the difference between what’s really going on and what’s in our heads and we let unnecessary suffering in.
5. “(…) if you are looking to reduce your stress levels, you might want to start by getting more sleep. And a behavior you could adopt immediately is to start going to bed earlier each night.”
— Dean Dwyer, The willpower solution
Try this for two weeks, weekends included. Weekends are a fun time to unwind, but partying until daybreak interrupts your circadian rhythm and disrupts your sleep patterns. And it’s not that you won’t be able to sleep well, you’ll eat more and be less productive. Be the protector of your sleep, be methodical and firm about your sleep routine, you’ll feel better, and you’ll cope better with the situations you have to deal with.
6.“Surprisingly, the simple act of scheduling tasks on your calendar—instead of
writing them on a to-do list—will free your mind, reduce stress, and increase
— Kevin Kruse, 15 Secrets successful people know about time management
Consistency and the pursuit of healthy behaviors to grow stems from the seemingly simple act of scheduling priorities. Doing it committedly and systematically will reduce stress, increase your cognitive performance, and free your mind to generate more creative solutions to complex and unforeseen problems.
7. “The constant stress of trying to decide what I should do in the middle of all I could do creates a constant tension.”
— Stephen R. Covey and A. Roger Merrill, First things first
By wanting to do good, the idea that we might be able to approach the problem differently thus better is continuously in the back of our minds. But “first things first.” By enabling systems or routines that are specifically set to deal with one thing at a time (measurement, execution, adjustment, etc.), you’ll clear the coast for productivity and generate an improved sense of accomplishment and fulfillment. As stress quotes go, this one is a keeper!
8. “The most effortful forms of slow thinking are those that require you to
think fast [thus stress].”
— – Daniel Kahneman, Thinking fast and slow
In his book, “Thinking fast and slow,” Nobel prize winner Daniel Kahneman teaches about the two systems of thinking: one slow, that’s deliberate and logical, and another one, fast, that’s impulsive and emotional.
In our everyday lives, we are often required to think fast, but take conscious and logical decisions all the while. Daniel’s particular quote – just like the other stress quotes on this list – reminds us that this is the most effortful form of thinking, therefore the most stressful. Below you’ll find Brian Tracy’s advice on how to do this effectively and reduce the stress of fast slow-thinking.
“Unbeknownst to most fun-loving bipeds, not all stress is bad.”
— Timothy Ferriss, The 4 Hour Workweek
We do need a little bit of stress in our lives. We need a bit of a challenge. The alternative is stagnation, boredom, or feelings of being unmotivated and uninspired.
Worst yet, when it gets to such points, some people engage in dangerous behaviors such as gambling, risky sexual behaviors or other types of addictions. Make friends with the stress in your life, tame it, and call it eustress – the prefix “eu” comes from the greek “eus” meaning “good.”
10. “Take work as a game and enjoy it. Everything is a challenge. Just don’t go on doing it, dragging yourself because it has to be done.”
— Osho, Beloved of my heart
I know of people who have quit their jobs because they weren’t enjoying what they were doing anymore. Everything became a chore either because they had no control over the situation or because they failed to create challenges for themselves.
Once you reach the point where you’re dragging yourself to do something because it merely has to be done and you draw no value out of it, it’s just a matter of time until you’ll start feeling miserable.
Reach out to whoever is more equipped to lend you a hand in making the work that you do enjoyable. Don’t do it alone. You have better chances of success if you enroll someone capable of bringing in skills, mentorship, or emotional support. Sure, time management apps help, and concentration exercises do too. But if you feel you don’t belong there and you want to make a change, start now and bring the best people to take on this journey with you.
“11. It was then that I realized what was the real cause of my stress. The problem wasn’t that I didn’t know what to do or how to do it, the problem was I had forgotten WHY. I had gone through what I now know is a split, and I needed to rediscover my WHY.”
— Simon Sinek, Start with why
Next in line on our list of quotes about stress is a piece of wisdom from Simon Sinek. Fixing your attention on your major goal, on “why” you are doing what you’re doing is a tremendous anti-stress aid. Simon Sinek wrote an entire book on it. Working towards your why or rediscovering it will give you focus and shield you from unwanted mind traps. If you don’t really like what you’re doing but you feel you have to make a living out of something, that’s okay.
You’re not alone. Just make sure you’re not stagnating, unhappiness will burst out of you eventually. Use the rest of your time and income to get to your WHY. Find like-minded people, reach out, learn from others, build your net support. You’re doing great, don’t worry, you’ll align with your why sooner or later. Commit to doing it.
12. “If you want to understand stress, begin by realizing that you carry around with you your own set of preconceived notions of how things should be.”
— Michael A. Singer, The Untethered soul
Michael A. Singer gives us one of the best stress quotes on this list and a crucial point to focus in all aspects of our lives: irrational beliefs. In many forms of therapy, the term “should” is often associated with irrational thoughts. Don’t let your subjective impressions reign over you, notice you’re experiencing one of those moments when something happened or something you can’t control is about to happen and that your brain is running on cortisol (the stress hormone).
We’re carrying it semi-dormant with us everywhere we go and each time you start feeling an inner turmoil, remember to send it back to sleep. You’re safe, no predator is after you, you can tackle whatever life is throwing at you. Notice the feeling and let it go.
13. “Stress is caused by being “here” but wanting to be “there”, or being in the present moment but wanting to be in the future. You can move fast, work fast, or run without projecting yourself into the future and without resisting the present. As you move, do it totally, enjoying the flow of energy at that moment. Or when you do nothing and the mind says “you should be working. You are wasting time” – observe the mind.”
— Eckhart Tolle, Power of now
If you practice meditation or mindfulness often, the idea of observing your mind isn’t new to you. Both Eckhart Tolle and Michael Singer, two of the authors featured here on this list of best stress quotes talk about this quality of observing yourself without judgment. They point out to this skill of witnessing you can develop to prevent yourself from being pulled by the energy created around you. You are not defenseless.
Once again, your mission is to stand up when you’re being thrown down. Don’t project yourself into the future by totally ignoring your present. While reading much about energy isn’t my cup of tea, I do find it’s a recurring theme some truly enlightened people often consider.
14. “In stressful situations, people defer to the person with the best plan.”
— Francis Shenstone, The explorer’s mindset
This quote is for all the parents, students, team leaders, managers, and entrepreneurs who need a reminder to hang in there and continue working on their plan. The explorer mindset is a recurring theme some very productive and accomplished people talk about.
Nothing about stress management is easy, but the more thoroughly you approach this demand, the better. You’ll become a reliable source of advice and inspiration not only for yourself but for those around you too.
15. At midlife or midcareer (however we may define it), people gain more urgency for change, seeing it as a now-or-never proposition. They feel that they still have enough time to play out another chapter of their lives or careers but not enough to waste time in an outdated one.”
— Herminia Ibarra, Act like a leader, think like a leader
The urgency of change that you might feel midlife, mid career, or in random moments throughout your life creates a highly stressful situation. As the quote says, we’ll feel like there’s no more time to waste. Some panic, others feel hopeless, and the most successful take planned action.
Thus it’s important to understand time management. Kevin Kruse, another great author featured here, teaches us that time management isn’t about obsessing over to-do lists. When time management is truly efficient, is when we focus on great habits, value, and prioritization. Do you relate to this idea?
16. “Highly successful people don’t think about time much at all. Instead, they think about values, priorities, and consistent habits.”
— Kevin Kruse, 15 Secrets successful people know about time management
As we’ve mentioned above and in a previous introduction to one of our productivity infographics, time management isn’t actually about to-do lists, but about creating consistent habits that add value. It’s about prioritizing routines that generate value. It’s quite hard for us to wrap our heads around the idea of adopting short-term behaviors without immediate results.
Delaying gratification is a hell of a concept. Willpower doesn’t just happen. That’s why consistency is the key to time management and reduced stress. Be consistent in pursuing healthy behaviors you’ll grow from.
17. “As others grow more intelligent under stress, I grow heavy, as if I were an animal on a chain.”
— Lillian Hellman, An unfinished woman: a memoir
Lilian’s quote is the voice of many; from high-profile individuals who transform their burnout moments into Ted talks to my friends and colleagues on monthly progress meetings.
We don’t always feel equipped to deal with the pressures of performing, and we can’t help but compare to those that seem to know it and have it all. But even animals break out of chains or use their cages to make a comfortable bed to lie in. You’re allowed to feel down, you’re not allowed to stay there!
18. “My personal time and stress transformation started as I began to ask my suc-
cessful friends how they managed time.”
— Kevin Kruse, 15 Secrets successful people know about time management
This quote is from Kevin Kruse’s excellent book on the productivity habits of billionaires, Olympic athletes, entrepreneurs, and accomplished students. You won’t just read about their habits you’ll learn how to emulate success in your life.
It’s mainly about stress management and transformation straight from some of the most highly acclaimed and inspirational people out there filtered through the lenses of the author. If you haven’t already, go check it out, you’ll most likely enjoy it and benefit a lot from reading it.
19. “How do you free yourself? In the deepest sense, you free yourself by finding yourself. You are not the pain you feel, nor are you the part that periodically stresses out. None of these disturbances have anything to do with you. You are the one who notices these things.”
— Michael A. Singer, The untethered soul
Now we have another stress quote from Michael A. Singer and I absolutely love its layered meanings. It’s a relief to know that what you are experiencing is somehow separated by who you are. Viktor Frankl, a well-known Holocaust survivor, is the emblem of resilience, a real model of how to cope with the most stressful situations a human being can ever face in a lifetime.
He was capable of genuinely freeing himself by separating himself from the pain he was undergoing. As a result, the disturbances around Viktor were happening in a plain he never allowed himself to go to. He was simply the one noticing what was happening around him. If you were looking for an inspirational role model, pick Viktor.
20. “The mind can go either direction under stress—toward positive or toward negative: on or off. Think of it as a spectrum whose extremes are unconsciousness at the negative end and hyperconsciousness at the positive end. The way the mind will lean under stress is strongly influenced by training.”
— Frank Herbert, Dune
I like to read sci-fi from now and then; I think all productivity enthusiasts are into it as we want to control our futures a tad more than others do. However, this makes us prone to anxiety and more stress than we’d like to admit.
Dune is a masterpiece where I found this little stress quote in, and it’s a brilliant reminder for those who will use their time to train their minds as much as they exercise their bodies. Use this quote as a reminder to envision the positive unfolding and to improve your performance. Plan. Measure. Then adjust, adapt. Plan again. Measure again. Your execution will be greatly improved by the time you spend visualizing your results and preparing.
During these troubled times, I want to offer you another quote from Dune that you can put on your list of stress relief quotes. I know people who use this line as a mantra to fight off anxiety, phobias, or simply the stress of everyday life and work. It does not technically belong to a list of quotes about stress, but it is – or should be – a quote to repeat to yourself when you feel that life becomes too much. So here it is from the Science Fiction king himself:
“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”
21. “Stress only happens when you resist life’s events.If you’re neither pushing life away, nor pulling it toward you, then you are not creating any resistance. You are simply present. In this state, you are just witnessing and experiencing the events of life taking place.”
— Michael A. Singer, The untethered soul
Here’s another stress quote reminder for you to not let your mind mislead you. Live life, don’t resist it, don’t fight it, don’t fear it. Be present. Focus your mind on your breathing, on a positive thought, on your goal or mission. Witness the events that are happening around you without letting yourself be pulled into rumination or negative judgments.
22. “Some of the most difficult and stressful moments of our lives also end up being the most formative and motivating.”
— Mark Manson, The subtle art of not giving a f*ck
Those stressful moments end up being the most formative and motivating ones of our lives is great news. You’ve probably heard this before; many performers, entrepreneurs, or athletes talk about how their peak moments are tied to the most challenging times.
Mark Manson’s extraordinary book not only teaches you to distance yourself from the stress around you and not give a damn, but he also motivates the reader to learn from this pressure, to make friends with it.
Another great stress quote from his book, on the same idea is: “The person you marry is the person you fight with. The house you buy is the house you repair. The dream job you take is the job you stress over. Everything comes with an inherent sacrifice—whatever makes us feel good will also inevitably make us feel bad.” The trick is acceptance and moving on.
23. “The prerequisite to true freedom is to decide that you do not want to suffer anymore. You must decide that you want to enjoy your life and that there is no reason for stress, inner pain, or fear. Every day we bear a burden that we should not be bearing.”
— Michael A. Singer, The untethered soul
We always fear that we’ll fail or that we’re not good enough. We feel anxiety when it comes to our work, school, or personal relationships; we feel insecurity, and the self-consciousness of our shortcomings tends to get exaggerated. We either feel bad, or we try to protect ourselves from experiencing distress or psychological pain.
But always remember you can let go of this burden. Keep in mind you can be the observer and get out of your emotional rollercoaster. If you feel stress is too much to handle, don’t isolate yourself, reach out and ask for professional help.
Best Stress Quotes to Power Through: Conclusion
This article has been our twenty-three stress quotes collection for you to power through regardless of the situation you’re in right now. Don’t less stress be the ruler of your life. Don’t let stress dictate how much you live or how you live your life.
You can do this. If you feel you’re struggling with cognitive dissonance and can’t allow positive thoughts in right now, check out the techniques we’ve suggested in the hyperlink. You have this! Take it easy and stand tall, no matter the hardship, these cloudy days will pass, turn them into your propelling ramp.
We’ve also created a positive energy quotes compilation and another one on perseverance quotes that you might find inspiring. As always, thanks for reading and sharing!
Now, if you do have some stress quotes of your own that helps you power through and navigate life smoother, share it in the comments section below! As always, we are always open to suggestions and to learn new things. Share your favorite quotes about stress or stress relief quotes and let’s keep the conversation going!
Executive editor, project manager, clinical psychology master’s graduate with a life-long obsession for personal development and mind hacking, inspirational quotes, and, productivity tools.
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