Stress and anxiety are both very prevalent in today’s fast-paced world. Thirty-one percent of American adults have an anxiety disorder at some point in their life. Almost half of Americans report feeling “a lot” of stress in their daily lives.
While both of these conditions are “normal,” they can be a lot to live with. Keep reading to learn more about the key differences and how to know if you have anxiety or stress. Knowing which is affecting you more can make it easier to find your way to a less stressful and anxious life.
Anxiety or Stress? The Key Differences
The main difference you need to know between anxiety VS stress is how it’s being triggered.
An external trigger causes stress. It is usually short term and comes as a response to a threat you’re facing. You may feel stress due to your responsibilities or pressures at work.
Anxiety is more of an internal process. It’s how you react to the stressors you’re experiencing in your life. It can linger on for many years and may not have any identifiable trigger.
People with anxiety may find it difficult to function some days. While it can feel that way when you’re stressed, you can almost always return to “normal” once the stressor is gone.
There is some crossover between stress and anxiety disorder symptoms. Both can cause digestive upset, fast heart rate, headaches, and sleep disruptions.
The symptoms of an anxiety disorder are often exacerbated. The way your anxiety manifests itself in your body may depend on which type you have.
General anxiety sufferers may find themselves with excessive and difficult-to-control worries. Panic disorders may leave you sweating and gasping for air. People with social anxiety may find themselves blushing and trembling in public.
People with anxiety often feel fear about events that haven’t happened yet. They may feel dread and worry, even though there doesn’t seem to be a reason they should feel that way.
The good news is that there are plenty of treatment options for both stress and anxiety.
Talk therapy is a very effective treatment to try. Ask your therapist for an anxiety or stress test to determine what you’re dealing with.
If you live in the Bay Area, you might consider visiting the San Francisco Stress and Anxiety Center. The therapists provide online and in-person counseling to help calm your busy mind.
Many people have success with at-home treatments like meditation, yoga, and visualizations.
Exercise is another excellent treatment modality to try. Regular physical activity releases endorphins, which can boost your sense of well-being.
Knowing the Difference Can Make a Difference
You should always speak to your doctor about any concerns you have with your mental health. But knowing the differences between stress and anxiety is a great place to start. You will now be able to discern between the two conditions and know where to start with treatment.
Life is much more difficult when you’re experiencing signs of anxiety or stress. That’s why it’s so important to practice self-care and reach out for help when you need it. Keep reading through our blogs to find more ways to manage your anxiety and stress symptoms.