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Stress vs Anxiety: How to tell the difference
It could be difficult to identify stress and anxiety differences. This is due to similarities of symptoms that manifest in both situations, and due to the fact the two conditions often co-exist.
A common group of symptoms such as rapid heartbeat, sweating, dizziness and muscle tension are experienced by people who suffer from stress and anxiety. The symptoms for anxiety and stress could be interchanged leading to difficulties crafting the right coping technique, such as the use of deep breathing.
The internet is also full of incomplete and sometimes contradictory information about stress and anxiety. Relying on the online opinion of untrained commentators who lack the discipline of professional training is not recommended.
The only way to get a proper diagnosis is to talk to a professional. Moreover, you can also seek help for stress and anxiety through different forms of therapy. Body Mind Psychotherapy is a good choice as both anxiety and stress manifest in both the mind and body of sufferers.
What is the difference between stress and anxiety?
Stress is a normal reaction to daily life experiences. It is categorised into two types which are often known as good and bad stress. Good stress can bring a positive effect on your body and perspective. Bad stress is associated with the potential long term to develop an anxiety disorder and other types of mental conditions.
On the other hand, anxiety is triggered by stress which is characterised as excessive worrying, nervousness, and apprehension. It is a sustaining mental condition that can lead to social, emotional and occupational impairment.
Anxiety is a normal reaction to stress. It also presents positive and negative effects on the physical and psychological aspects of our bodies.
Symptoms of Stress
- Sleeping problems
- Muscle tension
- Reactivity to events and frustrations
Symptoms of Anxiety
- Panic attacks
- Breathing difficulty
- Chest tensions and pains
Anxiety has more extreme symptoms which can impede social responsibilities. These extreme symptoms can happen suddenly (without conscious warning) and may require a medical intervention or attention if the symptoms are severe.
How to Manage these conditions
Physical activities such as breathing exercises, yoga, relaxation and adequate sleep can help cope with stress. You can easily manage or lessen your stress-related health issues through stress management plans and therapies.
Anxiety is also treatable. There are different types of approaches that you can try to prevent the rise of anxiety levels, and to manage your anxiety once it has manifested.
However, relying on self-help treatment is not recommended for dealing with chronic stress and anxiety. Professional help is needed to properly address these conditions.
What is the best thing to do?
If you think that you are stressed or anxious, there are a few self-help tips that you should try. These include:
- Consider taking a break.
Step out of the situation to clear your mind. It can help you regain your focus and look at things from a different perspective.
Take your dog for a short walk, go to the gym or visit your favourite cafe. In that way, you can relax for a while and clear your mind.
- Think positive.
If you fail, do not be frustrated or disappointed. Try to think positive as much as you can. Do not live your life to a mindset of having to be perfect or needing to always win.
Negativity won’t take you anywhere. So, be optimistic, no matter what! Live in the present moment as it’s the only one that is real, and the only one you can create a new experience within.
Talk to someone. Reach out to the people around you. Open up slowly. Let your friends and family help you overcome your stress or anxiety issues.
- Slow down.
Take things slowly. Do not rush as there is always a perfect timing for everything.
Rushing things will lead to mistakes which can make you feel disappointed. So, be sure to take things slowly and only consider the best steps to rectifying your issues.
- Eat properly.
Your diet has a direct relationship to your physical, mental and emotional health. Eating healthy and reducing or eliminating the use of alcohol and hyper-stimulating substances such as drugs or even too much caffeine.
A diet of junk food, whether salt or sugar laden, can create the basis for gut health issues, which affect our brain function as a consequence.
- Stay away from a toxic environment.
Do not be afraid to let go. Stay away from people, places, objects and situations that are contributing to your stress or anxiety level. Too much stress can worsen your condition. A healthy environment is needed to prevent sustaining stress levels.
Lastly, be sure to include what we have mentioned in your stress and anxiety management plan! Remember that Body Psychotherapy examines and deals with stress and anxiety issues from a multi-disciplinary approach that conventional psychology tends to ignore.