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What Is the Different Between Stress and Anxiety?

The difference between stress and anxiety is that stress is a response to a certain situation, whilst anxiety is the response to that stress.

Both of these reactions can have a whole host of negative impacts on the body, and much of the UK will suffer from them at some point in their lives: with 74% of UK adults, and 83% of 18 – 24 year olds, having felt overwhelmed and unable to cope due to stress.

Whilst different in definition, anxiety and stress share similar symptoms, and are also responsive to similar coping mechanisms. Much of the tactics in managing anxiety can be easily incorporate in your daily routine, and can also provide a whole host of other health benefits.

 

What Does Anxiety Feel Like? 

Just as people experience stress differently, people will also experience anxiety in different ways. Below is a list with some of the effects anxiety can have on both the body and the mind:

 

Effects on the Body

Effects on the Mind

Headaches (and other bodily aches and pains)

Feeling tense and unable to relax

Nausea

Worrying and fearing the worst case scenario

Panic attacks

Worrying about the anxiety in itself (e.g. scared about panic attacks)

Restlessness/irritability

Feeling disconnected from yourself  (dissociation)

Stomach churning

Wanting reassurance from others

Faster heartbeat

Worrying that people are annoyed/angry at you

Sweating/ hot flushes

Feeling disconnected from your world (another type of dissociation)

Difficulty sleeping

Worrying a lot about the future and what might happen

Faster breathing

Feeling like everything is slowing down (or speeding up)

 

Anxiety can have many of the same symptoms as stress, including insomnia, fatigue and irritability. As the two reactions are so interlinked, they can also be managed by similar coping mechanisms.

There are a range of different tactics you can do yourself which may help to manage feelings of stress and anxiousness. Many of these methods can be easily incorporated into your daily life, however, it’s important to know when to seek outside help.

The American Psychological Association states that if these types of management techniques are not working “or if you feel that either stress or anxiety are affecting your day-to-day functioning or mood, consider talking to a mental health professional who can help you understand what you are experiencing and provide you additional coping tools.”

 

Tips for Dealing With Anxiety 

 

dealing-with-anxiety

 

When feeling anxious, there are a few things you can do to help yourself cope, including the following:

 

  • Understand your triggers – identifying what it is that makes you anxious and why can help you to isolate the problem and work through it.
  • Try to keep positive – although this may be hard, trying to replace your negative thoughts with more positive ones can help to reduce feelings of anxiousness.
  • Keep a healthy diet – making sure you eat a healthy, well balanced diet can provide you with enough energy for the day, promote your feeling of wellbeing and further positive thinking.
  • Reduce caffeine and alcohol intake – both alcohol and caffeine can exacerbate feelings of anxiety, and could even trigger a panic attack. By lowering your intake of caffeine and alcohol, you could help to lower your anxiety levels.
  • Reach out to family and friends – speaking to family and friends who can offer good, practical advice can really help you to manage your anxiety, and make the struggle feel less lonely. 
  • Exercise regularly – exercising can help to lower your anxiety by making you feel good. Exercise helps to trigger the production of endorphins around the body, which can promote a better quality of sleep that may have been adding to your stress and anxiety in the first place.
  • Have enough sleep – sleep is vital for both our physical and mental health, by making sure you get the right quality and quantity of sleep, you can help to reduce feelings of stress and anxiousness.

 

 

Weighted blankets have also been shown to promote better sleep and alleviate feelings of stress and anxiety. More and more studies are beginning to show that using a weighted blanket can increase sleep quality and quantity, in addition to reducing levels of stress and anxiety.

 

Sources:

https://www.apa.org/topics/stress-anxiety-difference

https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/news/stressed-nation-74-uk-overwhelmed-or-unable-cope-some-point-past-year

https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/related-illnesses/stress

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