Do you know the difference between stress and anxiety? In order to find affluence and realize joy, you need to understand the difference between these two harmful states. High levels of stress and anxiety can interfere with your life and even have serious physical consequences. If you are feeling overwhelmed, stretched, overextended, and constantly on overdrive, then you are either struggling with stress or anxiety.
I want you to live a beautiful and fulfilling life. Stress and feelings of anxiety steal joy and cause physical harm. So, let’s talk about these negative factors in your life and what you can do to get rid of them for good!
What is the Difference Between Stress and Anxiety?
Even though the two terms are often used interchangeably, there is a fine line separating stress and anxiety. That fine line actually is a watershed point because the things that cause stress and anxiety are different. So, the things that will help you regain your wellness and peace are going to be different too!
Accurately pinpointing stress or anxiety in your life is the first step in understanding the cause of your issue and knowing how to effectively work through it.
Stress is Caused by External Overwhelm
Stressors are key events that cause us to be physically, mentally or emotionally overextended. They could be short-term stressors or long-term stressors. If those stress-inducing events end, your feelings of stress will fade.
Incredible stress could be experienced because of the death of a loved one or a major upcoming deadline. You could experience stress with a responsibility change, like becoming a first-time parent or getting a promotion at work. Frustrating experiences, like a big fight with someone you love or experiencing discrimination, can be serious sources of stress. Taking on too much without adequate rest or downtime will also lead to high levels of stress.
Your natural stress response can be positive in certain settings. If you are feeling that last-minute rush of energy to meet a deadline, then the stress has added a welcome boost. Stress that increases productivity, then it is a positive thing. More often than not, stress is negative. Symptoms of stress include:
- Regular headaches
- Back and neck pain
- Feeling light-headed or faint
- Sweaty palms
- Difficulty swallowing
- Muscle tension
- Stomach issues and nausea
- Irritability or low energy
- Low libido
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Scattered or forgetful
- Rapid heart rate
- Fight-or-flight reactions
Anxiety Occurs Within the Mind
When your mind is always on level ten and can’t seem to calm down, it might be hard to make decisions in your life. Anxiety means struggling with persistent worries that aren’t grounded and won’t go away. If you are feeling pressure from excessive concerns, the issue is stemming from your mind.
With excessive anxiety, your worry may jump from one topic to the next. Anxiety disorders are very common in the United States, with the National Institute of Mental Health reporting nearly a third (31%) of Americans will experience an anxiety disorder at some point in their lifetimes. An anxiety disorder might include panic attacks, phobias, social anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), separation anxiety, and more. Symptoms of anxiety include:
- Worries you have trouble controlling
- Unfounded concerns
- Fatigued quickly
- Finding it hard to concentrate
- Muscle tension
- Digestive issues
- Overacting or exaggerated startle response
- Pins and needles
- Rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath
- Excessive sweating
- Restlessness or feeling on edge
While stress and anxiety are different, they can be intertwined in many situations. Anxiety can be a catalyst for stress. Stressful situations can trigger anxiety. The most effective plan is going to start by addressing the true cause.
Coping with Stress
When you realize the underlying issue is being overextended in some way, then you can begin to put coping measures in place. We tend to think busyness is something valuable. When you talk to a friend, they will likely tell you just how busy they are (not how centered or how relaxed!). I want you to stop glorifying “busy” and reduce the things that are overextending you. Here are some great everyday life changes you can make to reduce your stress levels.
- Relaxation Breathing Exercises
- Creative Outlets
When to seek Help:
If you are feeling overwhelmed and out of control, it may be time to get outside help. When stress starts impeding your life, you should take action to reduce its impact. If the above lifestyle changes don’t make a big enough change in your feelings of stress, it is time to talk to a professional.
Treating Anxiety Disorder
If the deeper issue is anxiety, you will need to address your mental health issues. While anxiety is being more recognized as a common issue, mental illness is still stigmatized. I want you to be brave and push past any feelings of stigma to get the help you need. You will feel so much better when you are treating your anxiety disorder!
There are two main treatments to reduce anxiety attacks:
Psychotherapy: Talking to a professional is a huge help if you have anxiety because it allows you to identify triggers, process behaviors and establish coping responses. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a talk therapy that focuses on changing unhelpful negative thinking or irrational beliefs.
Medication: Your doctor may prescribe antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications to help reduce your symptoms. As with all medication, there is a potential for side effects. Take medications under the direction of a healthcare provider and report any negative symptoms. Try to reduce or get off your medication as you can, but only with the supervision of your doctor.
You can also reduce your anxious feelings with changes to your daily life. These aren’t a substitute for professional help, but a healthy lifestyle will be a huge help when paired with the therapy and medication your doctor prescribes.
- Adequate Sleep
- Healthy food choices
- Avoiding caffeine and sugar
- Reducing alcohol
- Powerful, positive mantras
Finding Joy and Affluence in Life
Your feelings of stress and anxiety are normal human responses, but they shouldn’t control your life! The longer you allow those feelings to stick around, the more of an impact they will have on your health and wellbeing. The difference between stress and anxiety largely comes down to the root cause. When you treat that underlying issue, you will have a much more effective treatment plan.
I highly encourage you to join my Healing Center to get support for your stress or anxiety. We unpack some really powerful struggles in my courses there. I will help you address the thoughts and behaviors that are adding to your stress or anxiety. And, classes are all backed by the power of our Healing Center