Is This Stress or Anxiety?
Everyone feels stress from time to time. But have you ever started to wonder, is this normal stress or is this anxiety? Sometimes, it can be hard to disentangle stress and anxiety because they can both affect our mind and body. Let’s take a closer look at them individually and together.
What is stress? Stress is a physical or mental response to an external cause, such as a significant life change or having an illness. Stress can be ‘positive’ or ‘negative.’ For example, planning a wedding can be stressful, yet positive. Stress can come and go quickly, or it can stick around for an extended period of time. Typically, once the situation is resolved, stress goes away. It is important to manage stress to lessen the likelihood of stress developing into an anxiety disorder.
What is anxiety? Anxiety is your body’s reaction to stress and can occur even if there is no current threat. Anxiety can include constant feelings of apprehension or dread. If anxiety doesn’t go away, it can begin to disrupt daily life and may even impact our health. Anxiety could also cause us to avoid doing things that matter to us, like spending time with friends or pursuing meaningful goals.
Both stress and anxiety can include symptoms such as:
Headaches or body constriction
Some warning signs of an anxiety disorder could be if symptoms:
Interfere with daily life
Cause you to avoid doing things
Seem to always be present
How can we Better Cope with Stress and Anxiety?
Learning what causes or ‘triggers’ stress and what coping techniques work for us can help reduce stress, anxiety, and improve daily life. It may involve some trial and error to discover what works best. Here are a few coping strategies ideas:
Keep a journal. This can help us process emotions and make sense of experiences.
Use an app that offers meditations, breathing, and relaxation exercises.
Identify unhelpful thoughts and practice challenging them.
Use support systems who can help us cope in positive ways.
Exercise, spend time outside, stick to a routine, sleep well, and eat nutritious meals.
If you find that stress or anxiety is interfering with your life, it may be time to seek help from a professional. Therapy is one treatment option that can provide a safe space to learn adaptive coping skills and strategies while aiming to restore life’s balance and joy. Informational phone consultations are available at Grow True Psychology.
Disclaimer: Please note that visiting this website does not constitute a doctor-client therapeutic relationship. The information and resources included or linked on this website are for informational purposes only and are not intended to assess, diagnose, or treat any medical and/or mental health disease or condition. The information obtained from this site should not be considered a substitute for a thorough medical and/or mental health evaluation by an appropriately credentialed and licensed professional. We do not know the specifics of your situation or have the facts to provide this type of evaluation and recommend that you seek an appropriately credentialed and licensed professional to establish a doctor-client therapeutic relationship. This website also includes links to other websites for informational and reference purposes only. This website does not endorse, warrant or guarantee the products, services or information described or offered at these other websites.
Resource: National Institute of Mental Health. NIH Publication No. 20-MH-8125.