Stress and anxiety are two words used interchangeably. But there’s a fine line between both of them. Both of them are a natural part of your body’s fight or flight response and your body’s reaction to danger. They ensure you are alert, focused, and ready to deal with any threat.
They are not abnormal feelings or reactions. You experience them at different times and to varying degrees. But it still does not change the fact that they are different. So, if you are curious enough to know the difference between them, scroll to know!
What Is The Difference Between Stress And Anxiety?
Any event that makes you feel frustrated or nervous can trigger stress. While anxiety can occur as a reaction to stress, you can be anxious without any trigger.
Your stress is tied to a specific situation if you try to observe yourself keenly. Once it resolves, the stress you feel resolves too. For example, you have an exam or appraisal meeting that you are worried about. There is a root cause of stress in this case. Once the exam or appraisal meeting is over, your stress levels begin to reduce. Stress may not be short-lived but chronic in many cases. It could be due to a demanding job or ongoing family conflicts.
Anxiety does not always have a specific stressor. It is excessive and consistent worries that do not go away even when there is no stressor. It has nearly identical symptoms as stress like:
- Finding it difficult to concentrate
- Muscle tension
Here are the warnings signs you need to be watchful about that indicate you may have been dealing with chronic stress or anxiety:
- If you feel excessive anxiety and it is interfering with your everyday life
- If there’s a significant change in sleeping habits, eating habits, or personal hygiene habits
- If your mood remains low for a prolonged time
- If you are getting self-harming thoughts
Can Stress Turn Into Anxiety Or Vice Versa?
Stress and anxiety are two different things, but they are closely connected. In some cases, stress does trigger anxiety. Say, if something is stressing you, you might feel nervous for no specific reason. That’s how stress turns into anxiety in no time.
How To Understand Whether You’re Experiencing Stress Or Anxiety?
There may be a possibility you are experiencing a little bit of both. Here are your signs to distinguish between stress and anxiety:
- Stress is external, and anxiety is internal. You can stress yourself out through negative self-talk or a sense of perfectionism, but something external triggers it usually. However, if you remove these stressors and still feel overwhelmed, you are dealing with anxiety.
- Anxiety is your excessive reaction to a specific situation. It is a pretty outsized reaction too. If the worry and distress you feel in a certain situation are too much or unusual, it may be anxiety that you are dealing with and not stress.
- You may find it hard to function due to anxiety. Most stressful situations are difficult to endure. But they are still manageable. If you are stressed to the point where you find it hard to work, its underlying issue is anxiety and not stress.
- Anxiety causes you to feel fearful of things that have not occurred before or do not exist. Stress is a response to something that’s happening or a pressure you feel. Hence, anxiety can be completely internal and is not a reaction to something that exists in reality.
- If you have certain symptoms, they indicate you have something beyond simple stress. For example, if you are feeling panic attacks or a sensation that something serious might happen, it sure is more than just stress.
To Wrap Up!
Stress and anxiety are normal human reactions to worrying situations. While you can expect some stress and anxiety, it should not be a cause for concern. Hence, it is crucial you use various methods to cope with stress. If you are still unsure where to begin, this stress less set is just what you need!