Everyone experiences stress. Even the renowned Buddhist monk Thích Nhất Hạnh was once quoted as reminding himself to “smile, breathe, and go slowly.”
The truth is that stress is a natural response to life's challenges. It can even be quite useful, helping us stay focused and motivated to reach our goals. However, when stress becomes excessive or prolonged, it can have serious negative effects on our physical and mental health. From fatigue and headaches to depression and anxiety, the symptoms of stress can be debilitating — which is why it’s crucial that we learn to recognize stress and do what we can to unravel it.
There are many techniques we can use to manage stress, such as relaxation exercises, mindfulness meditation, and physical activity. Of course, everyone experiences stress in different ways, and it's important to find the right coping strategies that work for you. Here, we’ve collected 15 of our favorite quotes about dealing with stress to help you on your way. May they guide you when you’re feeling overwhelmed, and remind you that you’re not alone.
Stress is like spice — in the right proportion, it enhances the flavor of a dish. Too little produces a bland, dull meal; too much may choke you.Donald Tubesing, author
You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.Martin Luther King Jr.
The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.Sydney J. Harris, journalist
Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest taken between two deep breaths.Etty Hillesum, author
Much of the stress that people feel doesn’t come from having too much to do. It comes from not finishing what they’ve started.David Allen, productivity consultant
We can easily manage if we will only take, each day, the burden appointed to it. But the load will be too heavy for us if we carry yesterday’s burden over again today, and then add the burden of the morrow before we are required to bear it.John Newton, cleric and abolitionist
Relax. No one else knows what they’re doing either.Ricky Gervais, comedian
The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.William James, philosopher
Stress acts as an accelerator: It will push you either forward or backward, but you choose which direction.Chelsea Erieau, sociologist
It’s not stress that kills us, it’s our reaction to it.Hans Selye, endocrinologist
Times of stress are also times that are signals for growth, and if we use adversity properly, we can grow through adversity.Abraham Twerski, rabbi
Don’t believe every worried thought you have. Worried thoughts are notoriously inaccurate.Renee Jain, psychologist
In times of life crisis, whether wildfires or smoldering stress, the first thing I do is go back to basics… am I eating right, am I getting enough sleep, am I getting some physical and mental exercise every day?Edward Albert, actor
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