25 Inspirational Stress Quotes To Read When Upset

There are going to be days when life makes you feel completely stressed out. At such times, all you might need will be a gentle cue that a sunny day waits right around the corner. These quotes on stress are those cues.

Read and bookmark the few you want to revisit the next time you feel the stress. We also have a short video on stress quotes at the end of this post.

After the quotes, we go over a quick primer on the science of stress—do check that out.

25 Meaningful Quotes When You Feel Stressed In Life

Science of Stress

Stress can affect how you feel emotionally, mentally, and physically, as well as how you behave. Here are 25 meaningful quotes when you feel stressed:


It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it. – Hans Selye


Doing something that is productive is a great way to alleviate emotional stress. Get your mind to do something that is productive. – Ziggy Marley


Stress is caused by being here but wanting to be there. – Eckhart Tolle


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. You can do anything—but not everything. – David Allen

You can do anything but not everything - David Allen (stress quote)


Remember that stress doesn’t come from what’s going on in your life. It comes from your thoughts about what’s going on in your life. – Andrew Bernstein


Give your stress wings and let it fly away. – Terri Guillemets


Adopting the right attitude can convert a negative stress into a positive one. – Hans Selye


I think that we have to realize that times of stress are also times that are signals for growth, and if we use adversity properly, we can grow through adversity. – Abraham Twerski


The truth is that stress doesn’t come from your boss, your kids, your spouse, traffic jams, health challenges, or other circumstances. It comes from your thoughts about these circumstances. – Andrew Bernstein


The real man smiles in trouble, gathers strength from distress, and grows brave by reflection. – Thomas Paine


The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another. – William James


You must learn to let go. Release the stress. You were never in control anyway. – Steve Maraboli


In times of stress, the best thing we can do for each other is to listen with our ears and our hearts and to be assured that our questions are just as important as our answers. – Fred Rogers


It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default. – J.K. Rowling

J.K. Rowling stress quote


Events may create physical pain, but they do not in themselves create suffering. Resistance creates suffering. Stress happens when your mind resists what is… The only problem in your life is your mind’s resistance to life as it unfolds. – Dan Millman


Reality is the leading cause of stress amongst those in touch with it. – Jane Wagner


The biggest enemies of willpower: temptation, self-criticism, and stress. (…) these three skills—self-awareness, self-care, and remembering what matters most—are the foundation for self-control. – Kelly McGonigal


Stress is the trash of modern life-we all generate it but if you don’t dispose of it properly, it will pile up and overtake your life. – Danzae Pace


Being under stress is like being stranded in a body of water. If you panic, it will cause you to flail around so that the water rushes into your lungs and creates further distress. Yet, by calmly collecting yourself and using controlled breathing you remain afloat with ease. – Alaric Hutchinson


The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one. – Elbert Hubbard


Stress is negative thoughts going through our brain that we can’t get passed. Most of the time we’re overthinking a problem that hasn’t even happened yet, or a problem we have no control over. Let it go! Right here; right now that’s all that matters. Clear space in your mind for the positive things you have to do today, and the wonderful people that surround you. – Ron Baratono


If the mind can cause stress, the mind can alleviate it. It’s within our power to choose one thought over another—to choose optimism over pessimism. – Ernest Cadorin


The more stress you accumulate, the heavier it becomes. If you accumulate too much, the weight of carrying it can break you. – Oscar Auliq-Ice


Is this stress I’m feeling mine, or someone else’s? – Matt Purcell


Our anxiety does not come from thinking about the future, but from wanting to control it. – Kahlil Gibran

The Science of Stress

Stress is the body’s preparation to a danger that needs an immediate change in our behavior and physiology.

In 1926, Hans Selye, called the Father of Stress, coined the term “stress” while he was still a second-year medical student at the University of Prague.

Later, in 1974, Selye defined stress as:

The non-specific response of the body to any demand.

— Hans Selye

Stress is our “fight or flight” response system — so that either we fight or we escape. The system lights up when we perceive something as a threat to our survival.

The perceived threat is called a stressor. Every stressor causes an arousal.

1. Yerkes–Dodson Law

In 1908, researchers Yerkes and Dodgson laid out a law that says the arousal strength and the task performance have a relationship such that there is an optimal level of arousal for optimal performance.

According to this law, if the arousal is either more or less than the optimal level, then task performance suffers.

So, for performing at your best, you need to have the right amount of stress — neither more nor less.

Yerkes Dodson Law - 25 Inspirational Stress Quotes To Read When Upset - 1
Yerkes-Dodgson Law: Peak of the hump = Optimal performance

2. Stress Response: Brain & Hormones

A stressor can be real or imagined. But our stress system acts the same way: it jolts our nervous and hormonal systems into action to get us ready for that danger.

In the brain, the main parts playing a role in setting up a stress response are:

The brain also helps the process with two main of its chemicals, called neurotransmitters:

And the prime-time hormones that feature in this fray are:

  • CRF,
  • ACTH,
  • adrenaline,
  • vasopressin and
  • cortisol

Before stress happens, and after stress ends, the body is in homeostasis (a steady internal state).

3. Types of Stress

American Psychiatric Association (APA) recognizes two stress disorders:

  1. Acute Stress Disorder — can cause numbing, detachment, memory loss, and emotional freezing.
  2. Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) — can cause anxiety, avoidance, sleeplessness, and re-experience of the trauma (such as rape, war, abuse, or torture).

Stress is our body’s natural reaction we cannot sidestep. We always have to have some stress to keep us going.

Stress is not something to be avoided. Indeed, it cannot be avoided.

— Hans Selye

Stress that’s good is called eustress, and one that’s bad is called distress. We need eustress to perform at our best, as the Yerkes-Dodgson law makes clear.

Stress in itself is not a disease. And, all stresses do not have a negative effect.

But prolonged stress (chronic stress) can harm and invite a host of diseases. Research shows almost every system in our body can be affected by chronic stress.

Chronic stress has been linked to diabetes mellitus, asthmatic attacks, obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, stomach ulcers, depression, social withdrawal, and even suicide.

4. Symptoms of Stress

Stress can affect how you feel emotionally, mentally, and physically, as well as how you behave. Some common signs of bad stress are:

  • Anger, irritability, hostility
  • Fatigue, lethargy, mental slowdown
  • Lack of interest, drive, or energy
  • Sleep disorders – insomnia, daytime sleepiness, broken sleep
  • Headache, body aches, muscle tension
  • Tummy upset, eating disorders, weight gain or loss

Final Words

You do not always need to stay hooked up to your work as if the world out there cannot wait while you take a break. That is never the truth.

One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one’s work is terribly important.

– Bertrand Russell

The world will always find a replacement for you and your work, whether you are here or not. Winston Churchill reminded us thus, “When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened.”

So, do not take things too seriously. As Mark Black said, “Sometimes the most productive thing you can do is relax.” And Anne Lamott assured, “Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.”

Quotes on Stress In Life
Quotes on Stress In Life

No matter how dark the stress you feel today, there is always a bright day full of ease and hope waiting for you. All you might need to do is unhook from your daily grind, and see the glimmers of that warm morning. Mark the words of Stephen Covey, “The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.”

And now, a few quotes-video to help you breeze through your stress:

Quotes on Stress in Life

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Author Bio: Researched and reviewed by Dr. Sandip Roy. His expertise is in mental well-being, positive psychology, narcissism, and Stoic philosophy.

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When it comes to mental well-being, you don't have to do it alone. Going to therapy to feel better is a positive choice. Therapists can help you work through your trauma triggers and emotional patterns.