Self-Love: Positive Affirmations for Anxiety & Hard Times

Positive Affirmations for Anxiety & Hard Times

I think it's fair to say we are living in some hard times. I think it's also fair to say that anyone prone to anxiety, will be feeling a heightened state of anxiousness and even those who haven't experienced anxiety before will be experiencing some level of it now. So that is why I've put together this list of positive affirmations for anxiety.

This list will not specifically tackle the specific state of affairs much of the world finds ourselves in, and this way they can be a more evergreen list of positive affirmations for difficult times. That means I have not only written these positive affirmations for anxiety, but also for other states some of us will be experiencing like overwhelm, grief, loneliness and exhaustion.

When I write these lists of affirmations - and you can find a list of 100 daily positive affirmations here as well as a list of 100 healing affirmations for all kinds of people here - it is never my intention that every single affirmation will "work" for every single person. In fact, it's more my goal that every reader who lands here finds just one or two, or maybe a handful of affirmations that speak to them.

It's my experience that affirmation works infinitely better when you find just a few that really resonate as you are more likely to remember them and use them repeatedly, which is really the key to affirmation. However, having a longer list of affirmations, and being exposed regularly to all different kinds of positive affirmations still has a purpose and huge potential to slow negative thinking, boost your mood and give you new focus or energy.

If you're completely new to affirmation, first of all, WELCOME! And second of all you can read more about how and why affirmation works here, and find out a bit more about my personal journey with it here.

Positive Affirmations for Anxiety by an Anxious Person

So. Full disclosure. I am an anxious person. Actually that's not wholly true. Rather I am a person who experiences mild to severe anxiety when I am exhausted, stressed or just generally not in a good place.

I was first diagnosed with anxiety about four months after the birth of my first baby, back in 2015. I had previously experienced depression in my early 20s so although it took me a while to acknowledge it I was ready to accept I had post-natal depression at this time, but when my doctor and a psychiatrist put it to me that I also had post-natal anxiety I was surprised but after some time reading about anxiety and understanding some of my behaviours better, I could see how possibly most of what I had experienced since my son's birth was more anxiety than depression even. (If you want to read more about my first year of motherhood you can read my weekly motherhood diary here and my experience of post-natal depression and anxiety here.)

To keep it short and sweet (not that it was AT ALL), my anxiety manifests itself as a general uptight feeling in my whole body but specifically in my chest, arms, neck and shoulders, uncontrollable intrusive thoughts (often about my kids being in danger, and bouts of insomnia. I would also say that during my heightened anxiety I withdraw from others, become sensitive to anything and everything (from loud noises and bright lights, through to other people including those I love most) and I also experience a complete and utter sense of humour failure! In other words, I am super fun to be with when I have anxiety!

Another disclosure. I have taken and will continue to taken (when need arises) anti-anxiety medication. This is mainly to help me sleep (because sleep deprivation is like Miracle Gro for anxiety!) during those periods of insomnia or if my children are making sleep difficult, and in all honesty, I consider those pills life-saving drugs. This is to say that if you experience anxiety that is strongly affecting or impacting your way of life, please do seek help from a medical professional.

Furthermore, I should make it clear that nothing in this post is going to cure your anxiety. These affirmations are not going to take it away completely. I am NOT AT ALL qualified to offer any medical or otherwise professional advice on how you should manage your anxiety. I wrote these affirmations essentially to give myself some positive thoughts as I need them as part of a multi-level plan of attack that I have to try and keep my own anxiety at a healthier level. And share them with you in the hope that maybe one or two can be part of your plan of attack too.

Positive Affirmations for in a Crisis

As I mentioned above, although right now we are all experiencing something of a crisis (on varying levels) on a global scale, these positive affirmations weren't written specifically with this sole event in mind. Rather, they are positive thinking affirmations you can turn to in any crisis, or during any unexpected challenging time. I specifically turn to many of these affirmations when I feel panic, and even close to a panic attack.

  1. I can do the most difficult things.
  2. Thinking I will not survive something does not make it true. 
  3. No matter what I feel, there is always calm inside me.
  4. I breathe deeply to slow my thoughts and give my body the oxygen it needs.
  5. No feeling or thought lasts forever.
  6. Even when I feel afraid, I can still feel love.
  7. As hard as it is to bear at times, to feel pain, is to be human.
  8. In times of crisis, I turn to the people, places and things that bring me joy.
  9. The more unkind life feels, the more kindness I show to myself.
  10. I give myself permission to cry, sob, and sigh as much as I need to.
  11. When I feel panic is nearby I remind myself that only my next breath matters.
  12. Feeling pain is already the first step in any healing journey.
  13. I am stronger than I will ever know.
  14. As much as it feels like I am experiencing a setback, there really is only one direction I move in, and that is always forward.
  15. I turn inwards to gather my strength because it is already inside me waiting patiently for me.

Positive Affirmations for Anxiety

All of the above affirmations could easily work well for someone experiencing anxiety, because of course moments of crisis and challenge bring about new anxieties, worry, and fear. But as many of you will already know, it's possible to experience varying levels of anxiety including low-level, high-functioning anxiety which can often accompany people for years and years. The following positive affirmations for anxiety are there for these people and for all other experiences of anxiety and anxiousness.

  1. Sometimes, anxiety is simply one way I am trying to tell myself something.
  2. I stay curious about my anxiety. I never judge myself for experiencing it.
  3. I listen to the message anxiety is trying to tell me. I then tell anxiety that their work is done. They may leave now.
  4. Slowing down and making time for self-care is not the same thing as giving into anxiety; in fact, it's the opposite.
  5. I have a lot more power over my thoughts than my anxiety does.
  6. I let go of what I cannot control, even if this feels hard to do.
  7. When I feel anxious, I love myself without conditions or restrictions.
  8. Anxiety is not just in my head; it's in my body, and so I rest both body and mind when I feel anxious.
  9. It is not my fault that I experience anxiety.
  10. My anxiety will slow down if I do too by breathing deeply, resting and showering myself with self-love.
  11. I am stronger than anxiety.
  12. Acknowledging my anxiety to myself and others is a bold, brave thing to do.
  13. I am not my anxiety and my anxiety is not me.
  14. I am so much more than my anxiety.
  15. Anxiety is a cloud in my life, but I am the sky. I am always the sky.*

Positive Affirmations for Feeling Overwhelmed

If there's one emotion I have experienced far more than I would like since becoming a parent (and especially since becoming a parent to two) it's overwhelm. And in the last few weeks for personal reasons as well as the state of the world, I have felt more overwhelmed than I can remember.

One thing that's been different about my recent state of overwhelm is how it's not actually being overwhelmed with how much I have to do; it's more about the many extreme feelings and fears I'm feeling combined with a long to do list (that is mostly just the day-to-day domestic chores of life with two young children). So these affirmations really do come from a place of personal experience and a need for me to manage overwhelm better because just because you feel overwhelmed, doesn't actually mean you are in terms of losing your ability to do what you have to or want to do... Huh, I think I'll just make that last sentence into an affirmation right now!

  1. There are many things that I cannot control; but there are always some I can; my next breath, closing my eyes, focusing on the love inside myself.
  2. Being overwhelmed is not a sign of weakness or failure; it's a sign that I love life and want to live it fully.
  3. I cannot control what I feel right now, but I can control my next thought. I will pause and make it a positive one.
  4. My heart carries limited space for what others are doing, but it is always fully interested and invested in what I am doing.
  5. Overwhelm is not a sign of weakness or failure; it's an opportunity to slow down.
  6. Not knowing where to start is not the same as not being able to start.
  7. As the thief of joy, comparison serves me no purpose and is adding to my overwhelm.
  8. Thinking I cannot do something does not mean I actually cannot do it. My thoughts are not facts.
  9. It is always okay to feel and do things differently compared to others.
  10. I will not stay overwhelmed forever. It does not feel like it but time will ease the load I am carrying.
  11. Feeling overwhelmed does not mean that I am incapable or too weak to do things. Overwhelm has no bearing on my ability or worth.

Positive Affirmations for Feeling Exhausted

I'm a parent of two young kids so heck, yes, I'm exhausted... constantly! But it's not just parents who feel utterly exhausted and I don't think it helps (especially right now when you are already feeling anxious or have a very full plate) to analyse (or God forbid, compare!) WHY we are all exhausted rather it is more helpful to respond to our exhaustion in a way that helps us manage it better.

  1. I acknowledge the exhaustion I feel and I do not fight or ignore it. I save my energy for finding ways to rest.
  2. Energy is never steady or static; it's one of many things in life that constantly ebbs and flows.
  3. Rest is not always an easy thing to do so I give myself grace to do it however I can.
  4. I know that by gifting myself permission to rest, I am showing myself the greatest kindness.
  5. Sometimes doing nothing is actually doing the most important thing of all.
  6. When I feel exhausted, I rest. This is not the same as stopping or giving up.^
  7. Resting is a vitally important part of any process or journey.
  8. I have not done anything wrong by experiencing burnout or exhaustion.
  9. Rest is not a period of inactivity. In fact, rest is essential for creativity and productivity.
  10. Learning the best ways to rest my mind and body is an investment in my mental health, productivity and enjoyment of life.

Positive Affirmations for Experiencing Loneliness

If there's one thing I don't experience very often these days it's being alone. However, that doesn't mean I don't experience loneliness. The days when I am the only adult in a house with two children can often feel quite lonely especially when naps don't go to plan, meals are thrown on the floor and tantrums are the order of the day.

BUT all this being said, I know that there are many, many people out there who do live alone and have very limited social and/or physical contact with others. Loneliness is a huge problem in our Western society and it has serious implications for those it affects. I have tried my best to therefore make these affirmations sensitive to the fact that yes, we do feel lonely and it is a problem, rather than brushing it off as a state of mind that can be changed.

  1. I am not alone in feeling lonely. That in itself unites me with others.
  2. Feeling alone is not a weakness or failing. It proves I'm a loving and loved person.
  3. Being alone prompts different reactions from different people; there is no right reaction.
  4. I take advantage of this time alone to invest in self-care and seeking joy in the things I do.
  5. I am loved, thought of, and cherished by others.
  6. I acknowledge my loneliness for what it is and I don't fight it. At the same time, I do not let it consume me. My light is too bright.
  7. To crave connection, be it physical, emotional or spiritual is to crave the finest things in life - and it is a good and human thing to want.
  8. I am creative about soothing my loneliness through self-care, reaching out to others, and enjoying nature and art.
  9. I do what I can to remove things that make me feel worse, like watching the news and going on social media.
  10. Loneliness may make me feel empty, but that is not true. I am full of light and love.

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* Credit to Matt Haig for this concept of being the sky and mental illness being a cloud. You can read this quote and so much more brilliant take-aways in his book Reasons to Stay Alive.

^ Credit to Banksy for his quote "When you're tired, learn to rest, not to quit."

Frances M. Thompson

Londoner turned wanderer, Frankie is an author, freelance writer and blogger. Currently based in Amsterdam, Frankie was nomadic for two years before starting a family with her Australian partner. Frankie is the author of three short story collections, and is a freelance writer for travel and creative brands. In 2017, she launched WriteNOW Cards, affirmation cards for writers that help build a productive and positive writing practice. When not writing contemporary fiction, Frankie shops for vintage clothes, dances to 70s disco music and chases her two young sons around Amsterdam.
Find Frankie on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Google+.

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