Thoughtful anxiety-related tattoos to symbolize your mental health journey (2023)

Many people have been looking for anxiety tattoo ideas to serve as a daily grounding reminder or to spark a conversation that can help raise awareness about mental health, especially in recent years. “In 2020 and 2021, compared to 2019, we saw an increase in the number of requests for designs related to mental health,” says Milena Petrovic, co-founder oftattoo artist. "Themes ranged from symbols battling depression, anxiety, addiction or self-harm."

A common option is semicolon tattoos (an idea inspired bysemicolon project, a non-profit dedicated to mental illness), says Petrovic. However, fear tattoos can come in many shapes and sizes, with variations in images and symbols that relate to a person's experience and serve as a deeply personal in fear. "Designs are often associated with self-strength, self-empowerment, and the motivation to keep going when [it's tempting] to give up," says Nic El, owner and tattoo artist atpaphos gorilla tattoo.

Popular phrases also include "breathe" or "be here now," as well as smaller illustrations painted to serve as a reminder that hard days will pass, says Petrovic, who adds that the tattoo stylist has seen an increase in anchor or root designs. (a symbol of keeping one's feet on the ground) and geometric patterns (to encourage clarity when thoughts are overwhelming). Then there are words or images that are completely unique to with fear.

Below are 14 fear tattoos with explanations of what these illustrations represent behind the surface.

fear tattoo ideas


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"Anxiety is something I've struggled with since I was 17," says Claire Miller, who decided to get an ellipse tattoo. “In stories, [an ellipse] tells the reader to slow down and there's more to come, which is exactly what I need when I'm feeling anxious. No matter how difficult it seems right now, I can stop and remember that these feelings do not define my story and that there is more to come as I move forward.”


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"I keep an Ursa Major on my wrist to remind myself that the world is bigger than me when I'm scared," says Julia Joy Sweeney, pictured above. "The tattoo is also a tribute to Nantucket, where I grew up. It was a tradition to sit on our patio most nights looking up at the Big Dipper and shooting stars. They are some of my happiest memories, so I wanted a daily reminder of them. "


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For some, butterfly tattoos may symbolize nothing more than a pretty design, but Arvie Narido associates tattoos with them.Mental health. “Although it wasn't my first tattoo, I got [this tattoo] in 2017 at the height of my anxiety,” says Narido. “The tattoo symbolizes my thirst for freedom and transformation. For three years I was in the wrong relationship. I wanted so badly to leave, but I couldn't at that moment. This tattoo helped remind me that despite all the shame, pain and fragility, I am still beautiful and there is hope for me. At the same time, it helped me to believe that there is salvation and transformation at the end of the road.

polar bears

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Petrovic created this design for a client who wanted to draw attention to their issues.insanity. "This design represents two polar bears in their opposite but complementary states of mind," she says. “One of the bears is awake, happy, alert and ready for action. The other is sleepy, sad and depressed. They also don't interact and don't look at each other. The one who is ready for action is looking right at you. The other closed his eyes.

"Walk in Faith"

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Autumn Grant got this tattoo to match her other employees.under the skin, a nonprofit mental health organization. "I personally struggle with anxiety and need to be reminded that I'm never alone," she says. “Our nonprofit's mission is to help millennial and Gen Z women find hope and connection. We were each given the words 'walk by believing' to remind us of the amazing work we are doing and to know that we are not alone at any stage in life. Life can be scary, and sometimes you have to take it one step at a time. We have faith in ourselves, our community, and our program to overcome anxiety and other mental health issues.


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Maryland tattoo artistsAshley Paigecreated this tattoo inspired by the fearless and protective nature of lions. “My client was a black woman and young mother who was very anxious about the state of the country, but especially in recent years,” she says. "She has two daughters that she adores and we spent most of the session talking about her and the life she wants for her. She needed a sense of peace about her daughters' safety and her ability to protect them. We chose a lioness. fearless with her pups leaning against each other as a gentle reminder that their mothers will support each other even as time passes The world is so unpredictable and scary, but sometimes a picture speaks a thousand words is surprisingly grounded and a new tattoo can bring you peace."

mushrooms; arrows

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When Madison Tong thought of anxiety tattoo ideas, she chose this simple design. It's meant to be a reminder to keep going even when fear strikes, says Tong. "Fear has always been a struggle for me and having these arrows tattooed on me reminds me to keep going and that I can overcome this difficult time. This tattoo helps me overcome my fear and power through it."

Symbol of the National Eating Disorders Association

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"I have an anxiety tattoo that I got to commemorate my journey of healing from my eating disorder," says Amanda Feldman Jay, pictured above. "While you're fighting aeating disorderin college and deeply painful recovery, I told myself I would get a tattoo as a symbol of my strength after my recovery, and I am proud that I got it almost exactly eight years ago. I still struggle with anxiety nearly every day of my life, but my tattoo is a daily reminder of what I've overcome and what I'm capable of. It's a small symbol on my left wrist and it's the official symbol ofNational Eating Disorders Association(NEDA). It is recognizable as a stylized heart, which can also be interpreted as the outline of a female body. Many people also associate it with a combination of two lines that together represent strength and recovery."

two part mandala

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"Anxiety comes in different forms and levels: it can be chronic, the result of a major incident, or an accumulation of 'minor' events," says Nic El, owner and tattoo artist atpaphos gorilla tattoowho has this mandala tattoo. "When I'm overcome with fear for whatever reason, I get a tattoo." He sees the tattoos as a reminder to clear his mind and block out negative thoughts. "These tattoos are checkpoints in my life, they help me to never forget what I've been through and they motivate me to keep going," he says. “Spiritual tattoos – mandala, hamsa, chakra, tree of life, budha, lotus, etc. – are common to combat fear. They symbolize overcoming, struggle, protection, self-care, rebirth, the cycle of life, kindness, strength, new challenges and new beginnings."


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Grichell Pelizzari, L.M.F.T., therapist frombloomin Pflugerville, Texas sees tattoos as a sign to channel your emotions and clear your mind. "Pain therapy sessions have become a great outlet for me when I'm stressed," she says. "It's easy to let fear cloud the mind with fear and doubt." Unalome, her chosen symbol of Buddhism, represents the path to enlightenment, she notes. "As you follow your life path, the twists and turns and ups and downs in the pattern reflect life's struggles," says Pelizzari. “This tattoo reminds me that each of my trials and tribulations in life is meant to teach me a lesson. I have to learn from all the ups and downs to reach enlightenment. I experienced many twists and turns where I evolved to become a better person."

colorful mandala

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Paige created this tattoo for a client who had struggled with body anxiety for years. "This client experienced a lifetime of self-consciousness and anxiety driven by social beliefs about her weight," she says. “She hadn't worn shorts or felt confident enough to show her legs in years.ThoughtShe was "too dark and plump" to feel sexy in her lower body. I am also a black woman who has suffered from obesity even though she has worked for years to lose over 100 pounds. I remember feeling less than beautiful because of my body. I had the honor of presenting my client with a beautiful colorful piece that she posed in the mirror and planned a whole new wardrobe before leaving the studio. She walked with renewed confidence and less anxiety about her body, and it filled my heart."(

Racism needs to be part of the conversation about dismantling food culture


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Kari Martin opted for a trio of sigils, which are symbols used in magic. "I chose to have a series of stamps on the back of my leg," says Martin. "The upper seal represents 'I am protected', the lower left represents 'I am powerful', the lower right represents 'my fear and my fear will not control or define me'."

shoulder mandala

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Bri Hamlet, owner and founderJustBriFree Yoga, chose a mandala because he considered the symbol to be more than just a pretty design. "Mandalas are widely visible sacred symbols in Buddhism and Hinduism," she says. “Contemplating the repetitive, geometric nature of mandalas is incredibly calming and meditative. It's also familiar because my mother's family is Buddhist. Having one on my body is a constant reminder that I too am sacred and unique - a wonderful affirmation for someone in fear."

semicolon butterfly

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"This tattoo symbolizes children's suicide attempts, growth and sanity," says Grichell Pelizzari, proud owner of the body art. "The semicolon means that your story is not over yet. The butterfly shows that you can be reborn into something beautiful and unique. The colors green and white represent children's mental health. I work with many children and young people who struggle with thoughts and attempts I've struggled with these thoughts my whole life, too. I got the tattoo after a tough week with two doctors. We wanted something to show our kids that they're not alone, and while as adults and psychiatrists we seem to have it all under control, we fight too. The tattoo is small and says I see you, I hear you, but keep going."

Over-Symbol My Lotus

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Pelizzari also has this design with an Om and lotus symbol, both important symbols with meaning in various eastern religions. "The Om represents the union of mind, body and spirit, and the lotus symbolizes purity, enlightenment, self-regeneration and rebirth," notes Pelizzari. "Even when its roots are in the dirtiest waters, the lotus produces the most beautiful flowers. The tattoo shows how I thrived, no matter how much I struggled. I could not have become who I am today without the struggles."

grasshopper mouse

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Instead of one of the more conventional anxiety/mental health tattoo ideas, Heath Fradkoff opted for a grasshopper mouse. "The grasshopper mouse lives in some of the harshest desert climates," says Fradkoff. "It comes out at night to feed and you wouldn't think too much about it if you saw one. However, this little creature has evolved to hunt scorpions and other dangerous prey, sometimes twice its size. It has evolved the ability to take multiple stings. that kill larger animals (possibly humans) and not just keep fighting, but actually turn those toxins into a sort of "energy drink" cocktail in its bloodstream. Oh, and when it's done, it actually howls into the night to claim its territory For me, this image is particularly ambitious and symbolic. It's a reminder to be humble, sometimes even dismissive. But when the situation calls for it, be fearless. Step out of the shadows, get out your stitches without even flinching and rip the damn scorpion's tail off ."

"Keep dancing"

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"I have 'Keep Dancing' written across my ribs," says Dan Lindley of this tattoo. "It's my therapist's advice for dealing with anxiety. Admit it's there, but don't make it my dance partner, so to speak. Stick with your current commitments, they'll pass on their own. Give your full attention to fear is not good."


What tattoo ideas represent anxiety? ›

"Spiritual tattoos — mandala, hamsa, chakra, tree of life, Budha, lotus, etc. — are common for battling anxiety. They symbolize the overcoming of struggle, protection, self care, rebirth, the circle of life, kindness, strength, new challenges, and new beginnings."

What tattoo symbolizes mental health? ›

The green ribbon, also referred to as the mental health ribbon, is the global symbol of mental health awareness and can also be associated with bipolar disorder. The green ribbon Tattoo is an excellent mental health tattoo choice, especially for people who want to show their support for mentally ill people.

What is the symbol for mental health anxiety? ›

Over time, the semicolon has been used to represent mental health awareness, including anxiety.

What symbol represents mental health? ›

The green ribbon is the international symbol of mental health awareness. Wear a green ribbon to show colleagues, loved ones or simply those you walk past that you care about their mental health. It can also be worn in memory of a loved one.

What are the symbols of anxiety? ›

There are several different anxiety disorders, which can present with different symptoms.
Typical symptoms of anxious feelings include the following :
  • restlessness.
  • uncontrollable feelings of worry.
  • increased irritability.
  • difficulty concentrating.
  • sleep difficulties.
Feb 2, 2023

What color best represents anxiety? ›

The study found that people with or anxiety were more likely to associate their mood with the color gray, while preferred yellow.

What flower symbolizes mental health? ›

Jasmine. Jasmine is not just a beautiful bloom, it is also one of the preferred flowers for mental health preservation.

What tattoo symbolizes overcoming depression? ›

Traditional Semicolon

The meaning of the semicolon tattoo is reflective of what a semicolon means to a writer; that the story isn't over and there is more to be written. Similarly, Amy wanted the semicolon tattoo to represent that a person with depression is choosing to keep going.

What does butterfly tattoo mean mental health? ›

What does a butterfly tattoo mean mental health? The butterfly reminds Nguyen that self-harm would mean injuring or killing the butterfly, a symbol of life and rebirth. The butterfly is a living being, and so is she; the butterfly deserves care, and so does she.

Is there a color for anxiety? ›

Green – Quiet and restful, green is a soothing color that can invite harmony and diffuse anxiety. Blue – A highly peaceful color, blue can be especially helpful for stress management because it can encourage a powerful sense of calm. Purple – In many cultures, shades of violet represent strength, wisdom and peace.

What Symbolises social anxiety? ›

You may have social anxiety if you: worry about everyday activities, such as meeting strangers, starting conversations, speaking on the phone, working or shopping. avoid or worry a lot about social activities, such as group conversations, eating with company and parties.

What is the hallmark of anxiety disorders? ›

All anxiety disorders share the hallmark symptoms of excessive fear or worry related to behavioral disturbances. Generalized anxiety disorder is characterized by an underlying excessive worry related to a wide range of events or activities and an inability to control their worry through coping strategies.

What colors symbolize mental health? ›

Green is the color used for awareness in mental health. It is a symbol for mental illnesses, bipolar disorder and depression. Green symbolizes the continual awareness of mental health in order to help fight the stigma that is often associated it.

What does a lotus tattoo symbolize? ›

Lotus flowers symbolize a number of different things, making them unique and highly personal tattoos. In general, the flower is believed to represent rising above temptation and becoming a better person. In Hindu belief, lotus flowers are referred to as Padma and symbolize beauty, purity, and spiritual awakening.

What symbolizes overcoming struggle? ›

The lotus symbolizes growing and overcoming obstacles, hardship, and whatever life throws at you.

What animal represents anxiety? ›

Piglet represents an anxiety disorder. Tigger represents attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Eeyore represents major depressive disorder. Rabbit represents obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).

Can tattoos help with anxiety? ›

But for some anxiety sufferers, tattoos have a place in their healing journey. If they can mark their bodies with reminders, and turn to those reminders in their darkest times, maybe they can loosen anxiety's grip or at least breathe through the grasp.

What are the 4 levels of anxiety? ›

The four levels of anxiety are mild anxiety, moderate anxiety, severe anxiety, and panic level anxiety, each of which is classified by the level of distress and impairment they cause.

What color represents fear and anxiety? ›

The color red was most associated with anger, green with disgust, black with fear, yellow with happiness, blue with sadness, and bright with surprise.

What color represents depression and anxiety awareness? ›

Summary: People with anxiety and depression are most likely to use a shade of gray to represent their mental state. Researchers describe the development of a color chart, the Manchester Color Wheel, which can be used to study people's preferred pigment in relation to their state of mind.

What color helps panic attacks? ›

Blue light therapy is often claimed to help mood disorders and anxiety perhaps by influencing the biological clock. Studies for the same are underway. Some studies have reported that people with anxiety were more likely to associate their mood with the color gray.

What flower stands for anxiety? ›

Lavender is most commonly used in aromatherapy. The fragrance from the oils of the lavender plant is believed to help promote calmness and wellness. It's also said to help reduce stress, anxiety, and possibly even mild pain.

What flower is associated with anxiety? ›

Jasmine - The calming scent of jasmine provides therapeutic benefits. Jasmine is often infused into medicinal alternatives for conditions like depression, stress, anxiety, and even insomnia. Chamomile - Chamomile is another well-known plant lauded for its relaxation benefits. Chamomile inspires calm.

What does lotus mean for mental health? ›

By Fatima Doman

In many traditions, the lotus flower symbolizes purification of mind, body and speech; of awakening and letting go. It embodies resilience, as rain from dark clouds slides easily off its petals and it opens itself to the sunshine that follows.

What are symbols for overcoming mental illness? ›

The green ribbon is the international symbol for mental health.

What is the symbol to keep going? ›

The semicolon is used as a symbol to keep moving on in life.

What does 4 dot tattoo mean? ›

Also known as the quincunx, the four dots on the outside represent four walls, with the fifth on the inside representing the prisoner.

What butterfly represents anxiety? ›

The Monarch Butterfly is a majestic butterfly which has been chosen as a symbol for people affected by mental illness. In the early stage of its development, the cocoon like condition of the butterfly resembles the depressed and withdrawn feelings commonly shared by people whose lives are affected by mental illness.

What does butterfly semicolon tattoo mean? ›

The semicolon tattoo is a sign for those who battling suicidal thoughts and depression. The symbol is often etched into butterfly ink design. Less. lynn Marie.

What does a butterfly and moon tattoo mean? ›

Mystical symbol of soul, immortality, rebirth and resurrection. Butterfly in triangle, half moon and moon . Tattoo Design. Mystical symbol of soul, immortality, rebirth and resurrection.

What is the most anxious color? ›

High A-Trait students were significantly more anxious while viewing blue, red, and green than were the low A-Trait students and blue produced significantly more state anxiety than did either yellow or green.

What is a symbol for fear? ›

The Skull and Crossbones. Most popularly associated with the Jolly Roger flags flown above pirate ships, the skull and crossbones is frequently used to strike fear in the hearts of its beholders and foster a sense of dread or danger within a story.

What symbolizes stress? ›

The conventional symbols for stress are the Greek letters σ and τ and the symbols used for strain are ε and γ.

Is there a symbol for depression? ›

You might have seen rainstorm images, ravens, and skull or grim reaper symbols. Barren landscapes and faces of cliffs are popular, too. All of these are commonly associated with depression because they capture the essence of the darkness, despair, struggle, and thoughts of death that are hallmarks of major depression.

What is the 3 3 3 rule for anxiety? ›

Follow the 3-3-3 rule.

Look around you and name three things you see. Then, name three sounds you hear. Finally, move three parts of your body — your ankle, fingers, or arm.

What is the rarest anxiety disorder? ›

Illness anxiety disorder (hypochondria) is extremely rare. It affects about 0.1% of Americans. It typically appears during early adulthood. Illness anxiety disorder can affect all ages and genders.

What is the most dominant symptom of anxiety disorders? ›

Symptoms. Anxiety disorders are a group of related conditions, each having unique symptoms. However, all anxiety disorders have one thing in common: persistent, excessive fear or worry in situations that are not threatening.

What color is emotional wellness? ›

Pink is emotionally soothing and calming, and gives a feeling of gentle warmth and nurturing. It lessons feelings of irritation and aggression, surrounding us with a sense of love and protection. Purple can give you a large feeling of power, as well as an increased peace of mind and strengthened spirituality.

What color stimulates your mental process? ›

Stronger shades of blue supports the brain's thought processes, while lighter shades help improve concentration.

What color represents mental strength? ›

Red. Red attracts the most attention and is associated with strong emotions, such as love, passion, and anger. It's the universal color to signify strength, power, courage, and danger.

What does dragonfly lotus tattoo mean? ›

Transformation. The dragonfly symbolizes magic and transformation while the lotus flower is a symbol of strength and overcoming adversities.[...] More at

What does Zen tattoo mean? ›

It symbolizes enlightenment, strength, elegance, the universe, and the void.

What does crescent moon tattoo mean? ›

Crescent moons, in particular, represent motherhood and fertility, though several different communities claim the symbol. It can also be symbolic of growth, creativity, and manifestation.

What symbolizes moving forward? ›

Delta Symbol. Upper (arrow) means progress, moving forward; open delta means opennes to change.

What symbolizes hope and healing? ›

Petunia. Petunias are colorful flowers that have been associated with hope, healing, and well-being for a long time.

What symbolizes strength and resilience? ›

Lotus Flower

It's an aquatic plant that grows out of murky water. Despite this, the lotus flower actually blossoms with no stains. This is because of its protective outer layer when it is growing. Because of this, it is the symbol of strength and resilience.

How do you get an anxiety tattoo? ›

How to Calm Your Nerves Before Getting a Tattoo
  1. Remind Yourself of the Worthy Reason for Getting a Tattoo. Anything that is worth doing is hard. ...
  2. Express Your Anxiety to Your Tattooist. Your tattooist is putting their handiwork on your body, for life. ...
  3. Start Small. ...
  4. Get Tattooed With a Friend of Family Member.
Sep 19, 2022

Does the semicolon tattoo represent anxiety? ›

Project Semicolon is about people who have suffered from mental health issues – including anxiety, depression, self-harm and suicidal thoughts – drawing, stencilling or tattooing semicolons on to their skin.

Why do people with anxiety get tattoos? ›

For anxiety, someone may get a tattoo to remind them to stay grounded or to stay focused. This could be because it's common for those with anxiety to face challenges related to concentration, focus, or feeling grounded. Someone may also get a tattoo to remind themselves to use self care or to symbolize self care.

What does a lotus flower tattoo mean mental health? ›

Another popular tattoo in the mental health community is the lotus flower. This can represent a spiritual connection and the ability to overcome anything. Or, since the lotus grows in muddy water, some people also get it inked to represent their rise from hardships. Others use the idea of breathing in their tattoo.

What tattoo stands for depression? ›

What does a semicolon tattoo mean? A semicolon tattoo is a tattoo of the semicolon punctuation mark (;), which is used as a message of affirmation and solidarity with those who have dealt with suicide, depression, addiction, and other mental health issues.

Can tattoos be a form of therapy? ›

Dr Kimberly Baltzer-Jaray, a lecturer in Women's Studies at Kings University College, says that getting tattoos has supported her journey with PTSD, depression, and auto-immune disease. In particular, tattooing has offered a positive transition from unhealthy coping mechanisms such as self-harm.

Is there a tattoo for depression? ›

Depression tattoos can be a way to express yourself, a way to give yourself a visual reminder of the need to stay strong, and also a symbol to those around you of your beliefs and the difficulties that you are facing. If you've considered getting a depression tattoo, you might have wondered what type to get.

What does a 3 dot tattoo mean on wrist? ›

Three dots in a line tattoo

This can mean the wearer is still on their life's journey, or is going through a process of change. This type of tattoo is also known as an 'ellipsis' and can have a spiritual meaning with the three dots illustrating a number of different spiritual concepts.

What does a lavender tattoo mean for anxiety? ›

First of all, the most obvious meanings of the lavender tattoo are relaxation and serenity. Lavender is scientifically proven to help people relax. One such meaning is elegance and luxury, which comes mostly from the fact that lavender is purple.

Are tattoos good for anxiety? ›

But for some anxiety sufferers, tattoos have a place in their healing journey. If they can mark their bodies with reminders, and turn to those reminders in their darkest times, maybe they can loosen anxiety's grip or at least breathe through the grasp.

What does a broken clock tattoo mean? ›

This broken clock symbolizes that struggle and will help you remember both the importance and the fleeing character of time. On your shoulder, arm or your ribs, this bewildering and astonishingly realistic temporary tattoo is sure to look nothing less than amazing.

What does a rose and snake tattoo mean? ›

What's the meaning of a rose and snake tattoo? People see it as a symbol for love or passion that becomes so strong that it turns to temptation and the loss of innocence. The snake is fierce and determined, the rose is beautiful and elegant - together they are practically unstoppable!


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