The words stress and anxiety are often used together and interchangeably. To add to the confusion, people often experience stress and anxiety at the same time.
So are they the same? Or are they different?
Stress and anxiety are very similar, and they often occur together, but there are some differences. Anxiety refers to the feelings of fear and worry that are brought on by stress. Stress is the general feeling of tension that is brought about by the environment. We experience stress as a result of various pressures such as starting a new job, getting married, speaking in public, a new relationship or having a baby. Feelings of stress are a natural response to the challenges that we all face. Stress can be considered a normal response to an actual event or situation.
Anxiety is just stress that has gotten out of control. If a person is becoming overwhelmed by feelings of fear and panic, this means that they have moved beyond stress and into anxiety. Acute anxiety can cause a variety of very severe reactions that include heart palpitations, shortness of breath, dizziness and the sensation that the person may be dying. Another factor that separates anxiety from stress is that stress is the result of a real stressor, and anxiety is the result of fear and worry about something that has not happened.
Another fundamental distinction is that stress is often manageable, whereas anxiety is often not. Stress tends to resolve itself when the situation is over. After a person settles in to their new job, or once the wedding is over, the feelings of tension dissipate. With anxiety, the feelings of fear and tension remain even though there is no outside cause.
It is important to note that people react differently to stressful situations. Some people have higher or lower tolerances for stress. A person’s ability to deal with stress or anxiety depends on many different factors. Some of these include, the strength of their support system, their genetic makeup and their life’s experiences.
While no two people experience stress or anxiety for the same reasons, anyone can benefit from the same remedies for it. There are many simple things that any person can do to cope with stress. These include; eating a healthy diet, getting enough rest, learning breathing exercises and taking the right supplements.