Many words of the “psychological dictionary” have become part of popular culture. So, it is not strange to hear phrases such as “I am stressed” or “I am anxious”. Often even doctors and other health professionals use the terms stress and anxiety interchangeably, although they are not the same. Let’s discover the differences between stress and anxiety.
The problem is that both states cause the same symptoms, so it is not always easy to recognize the differences between stress and anxiety. In fact, these are adaptive responses to the environment. The problem arises when these states are maintained over time. Keep reading: How to get rid of a dehydration headache?
What are the main differences between stress and anxiety?
1. The cause
The cause of anxiety is not. As a general rule, stress appears in the presence of stressors, such as an excess of work, a broken relationship, interpersonal conflicts or problems of illness. On the contrary, anxiety is a more diffuse state of character, which is still present even if the stressor has disappeared. In practice, we know where stress comes from because there are one or several situations that concern us, but it is more difficult to determine what causes us anxiety.
Another difference between stress and anxiety lies in the feelings and sensations that both states generate. Although at first glance they may seem identical, the truth is that anxiety acts like a snowball and tends to become a fear of a generalized nature, whose maximum expression is panic attacks. On the contrary, when we suffer from stress what usually prevail are the worries, which generally revolve around the triggering situation, as well as a feeling of nervousness and frustration. In anxiety, these concerns have a vaguest and general character.
3. Excess of present
One of the differences between stress and anxiety is its projection over time. Anxiety is often the response to the anticipation of situations, the idea that something bad may happen, so it is more a fearful look into the future, a fear of something that has not yet happened. In fact, the fear of feeling anxious is one of the main factors that trigger anxiety.
On the contrary, stress is usually an excess of the present as it is usually accompanied by the feeling of not being able to deal with the situations we are going through, it is triggered when we believe that we do not have the resources to face a certain event.
A very simple example to understand the difference: the person is stressed when he is late for an important meeting and spills his glass of coffee right after leaving home, on the contrary,
4. External factors
Although it is difficult to distinguish between external and internal factors, stress is often the result of events that are difficult for us to manage. The situation that causes them often escapes our control. On the contrary, anxiety is fed more by internal factors since it implies an anguished anticipation of events that have not yet happened, it is an expression of catastrophic anticipatory thoughts.
The difference between the factors and internal and external is important because if you know exactly what you are worried and anguish, you can take the necessary steps to deal with that situation, whether it is an external event or a problem that you feed in your mind.
One of the main differences between stress and anxiety is its duration. The usual thing is that when the situation that worries us is solved, the stress disappears or at least diminishes. For example, when we finally finish the project and deliver it, we get rid of the heavy burden of tension and burden that we carried on our shoulders. However, anxiety does not happen as it is not caused by a specific event, sometimes it is necessary to resort to psychological therapy to learn how to cope with this state and relax.
When to worry?
It is important to know that eustress, as it is called positive stress, is not harmful. On the contrary, it gives us the extra dose of energy we need to face the task before us. Neither is anxiety negative, that state of apprehension that develops fundamentally when we feel vulnerable also prepares our body for action. That is the reason why both states generate an increase in adrenaline, increase heart rate and produce muscle tension.
The problem begins when these states, which must be transitory, feel home. At this point, our body is overloaded and the endocrine and nervous systems begin to give the first signs of saturation or may even collapse.
Therefore, although these are normal responses to certain situations, it is important to check them as soon as possible. In fact, in many cases, when stress is maintained over time, it can become anxious, and this can end up causing panic attacks, which severely limit the person’s life. You may also like: http://www.speakymagazine.com/10-effective-activities-to-relax-the-mind/