How Anxiety Tattoos Can Change Your Life

By William Drake|Updated April 8, 2022
CheckedMedically Reviewed By Melinda Santa, LCSW

When it comes to anxiety, people cope with it in different ways. Some will take to social media, blog about their experiences, and make sure others are listening. Some people have their therapy system to help combat anxiety, which can be done by a professional or self-taught. Some use medication, and it's okay to take medicine that helps reduce your risk of having an episode. But there's a new trend that's renovating how some handle anxiety, and that's through tattoos.

Wondering How Anxiety Tattoos Can Change Your Life?

Some people get tattoos because they look interesting and make them stand out. Others may get a tattoo of something they like. There are some who think tattoos must have a deep meaning and will only get a tattoo when they find something sacred enough to put on their body.

The point is there's no wrong reason to get a tattoo, even if it’s for therapeutic reasons.

Some people get a tattoo for a lost loved one. You've probably seen people who will get tattoos for their deceased relatives or friends. They may have their birth and death date, a portrait of them, or maybe something a little more subtle. For example, if your friend liked a certain TV show, you may get a tattoo of a character from the show.

Going through a traumatic event can be tough. Getting a tattoo to symbolize the struggle can be a therapeutic way to know you've moved on from that trouble, and as a way for you to say, "This is now, that was then."

If someone has survived cancer or any other deadly disease or situation, tattoos make good reminders of what you've gone through. There have been women who have tattooed their chest after a mastectomy to remind them of surviving breast cancer. It's a way to tell yourself that you're a strong person, and what tries to kill you becomes a trophy on your body, never to harm you again.

People may receive a tattoo regarding a mental disorder. Having a tattoo that reminds you of the struggles you're going through on the inside can be quite relieving. For one, it shows the world what's going on inside, and the tattoo helps to invite people who may be experiencing the same mental condition. Some use symbols, like the puzzle piece for autism, while others may try to be subtle. Anxiety tattoos have become a good way to relieve some anxiety around issues and conditions you’re experiencing.

Do Anxiety Tattoos Work?

Those who aren't in the tattoo scene may be confused. For some, having a reminder that your friend died or you survived a traumatic experience on your body that you'll have to see every day seems like it would be quite triggering. Some may say you should move on and forget the past.

For those who have tattoo therapy, they don't see it that way. Tattoos are a way to close a part of your life. Think of your memories as an art gallery. You're proudly displaying your past in a way that respects it and tells you not to forget. It also brings forth a historical feeling of closure.

Those who get tattoos may find relief from the pain. As the tattoo is etched on them, they're thinking of what it symbolizes. They're struggling one more time, and it's a way for them to move on to the next stage.

What Does the Science Say?

There are plenty of treatments and therapies that people swear by. However, many end up being placebos at best and dangerous at worst. So, does tattoo therapy fall into either of these categories? Is it scientifically backed?

Plenty of psychologists are seeing the benefits of tattoo therapy. It certainly is not a one-size-fits-all way of coping. There will be people who will benefit more from doing something else, but it's becoming more acceptable as a form of grieving.

Tattoos For Anxiety

When it comes to anxiety, what kinds of tattoos do most people like to get? If you look up anxiety tattoos online, you'll see tattoos that are encouraging and may have messages. These tattoos symbolize that people who have anxiety tattoos are content people who just have their moments. Some find therapy in looking at their tattoos and reminding themselves that everything will be alright.

Below are a few examples of anxiety tattoos.

Serotonin

Serotonin is a chemical in the brain that improves one’s mood. Of course, the brain is a little more complex than that. But, the spirit of the idea makes people tattoo an image of the molecule on themselves. It's a little reminder that your moods are just chemicals in the brain, and it’s a way to encourage happiness.

Assuring Messages

Another tattoo that's good for anxiety is a little message or phrase that tells you that everything is going to be alright. Some may be phrases like "this too shall pass" or "it's going to be okay" to remind themselves that their episode is just temporary. When the storm ends, everything is going to be okay.

Some also see a message inked on the body to be more powerful than saying the same message aloud or reading it.

Something Calming

Others may want a tattoo that brings forth a feeling of tranquility, like a waterfall, a beautiful butterfly, or anything else that's soothing or cute. Looking at your body and reminding yourself that you're going to be just fine is a good way to make yourself feel better.

A Hidden Message

There are some who put words on their body, but they mean something else when viewed from a different angle. For example, you can get a tattoo that says, "I'm fine," when viewed by someone else, but from your angle, it's upside down, and the letters read "save me." It's a way to symbolize that just because someone looks okay, they may not be. Some have battles on the inside that they must conquer, and they want other people to realize that.

Something Sentimental

Think of something that makes you happy and makes you remember better times. It can be a TV show, a place, or anything that has ever made you feel bliss. Getting a tattoo of that and travelling back in time whenever you feel an episode coming can be soothing. It won't be a substitute for going there, but the memories can help relieve the pain you're feeling.

Anything You Want

If you're thinking about getting a tattoo for yourself, it can be whatever you feel like. If you want to get a tattoo you found online, there's no shame in that. If you want to make something new and important to yourself, that's good too. Tattoos are flexible like that, and there isn't one anxiety tattoo that works for everyone. Some like subtlety, others like the message spelled out.

Are Tattoos Right for Me?

If you've never gotten a tattoo in general and are thinking about it, why not do some research? Figure out the cost of a tattoo in your area, talk to some people who have tattoos, and visit a tattoo artist. If you're scared of the pain, look up some pain charts. There are some areas of your body where it will hurt a lot less.

If you don't like the idea of a tattoo being permanent, you can always investigate temporary tattoos as well. Tattoos like henna are good for experimenting and to see if tattoos are right for you.

One Of Many Tools

Wondering How Anxiety Tattoos Can Change Your Life?

Tattoo therapy can be a powerful tool in fighting anxiety, but for many, tattoos are one of several tools. These can include the tools mentioned in the introduction as well as lifestyle changes. A combination of self-help, professional therapy with either an in-person or online counselor, and medication are great tools in managing anxiety.

If you’re considering online therapy, BetterHelp has qualified, licensed therapists and counselors. They can teach you techniques in how to deal with anxiety and provide emotional support and understanding. You can meet with them at a time that’s convenient for you and from the comfort of your own home. Below are a couple reviews from people experiencing similar issues.

Counselor Reviews

"Norma is attentive, thoughtful, and clearly cares about helping you. I was dealing with a lot of self-doubt and deep anxiety over bad life events and she helped me get back on my feet. She had deep insights into my experiences and helped me see them in new and helpful ways. I feel so much better now because of that."

"Kelly has been amazing. From our first few interactions, she put me at ease, told me exactly what to expect, and started building a rapport. She is easy to talk to and has helped my anxiety significantly decrease in just a few short weeks."

Conclusion

Tattoo therapy is growing in popularity because it has proven its effectiveness. There are many other effective tools to help you move forward to a fulfilling life, free from anxiety holding you back-take the first step today.

For Additional Help & Support With Your Concerns
Speak with a Licensed Therapist
The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. For more information, please read our terms of use.