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Is Stress And Anxiety The Same Thing

Yoga For Stress Relief

Stress Vs. Anxiety

Yoga has come a long way over the last few years. It is now recommended for everyone, from kids to seniors its great for your mental and physical health!

The majority of those practicing yoga consistently report experiencing significant reductions in stress after starting yoga. You dont need to become a hard core yogi to experience its benefits performing short, simple yoga stretches is often enough to help you start to feel your stress subside and your mood lift. So remember, at least 20 minutes a day of some exercise its your choice.

How To Deal With Stress And Anxiety

Everyone deals with stress and anxiety differently. I teach my clients to learn to develop a personal first aid kit. It can be a notebook, a binder, or a file on your computer. Your first aid kit needs to have a list of things that you like to do that help you recharge. Your first aid kit must be broken up into different categories from daily, monthly, yearly.

How Does Anxiety Work

Remember how stress is a natural response to a threat? Well, anxiety is the same thing except there is no threat.

Anxiety in some ways is a response to a false alarm, said Dr. Marques, describing a situation, for example, in which you show up at work and somebody gives you an off look. You start to have all the physiology of a stress response because youre telling yourself that your boss is upset with you, or that your job might be at risk. The blood is flowing, the adrenaline is pumping, your body is in a state of fight or flight but there is no predator in the bushes.

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Whats The Difference Between Stress And Anxiety

Knowing the difference can ensure you get the help you need.

Whats the difference between stress and anxiety?

Theres a fine line between stress and anxiety. Both are emotional responses, but stress is typically caused by an external trigger. The trigger can be short-term, such as a work deadline or a fight with a loved one or long-term, such as being unable to work, discrimination, or chronic illness. People under stress experience mental and physical symptoms, such as irritability, anger, fatigue, muscle pain, digestive troubles, and difficulty sleeping.

Anxiety, on the other hand, is defined by persistent, excessive worries that dont go away even in the absence of a stressor. Anxiety leads to a nearly identical set of symptoms as stress: insomnia, difficulty concentrating, fatigue, muscle tension, and irritability.

Both mild stress and mild anxiety respond well to similar coping mechanisms. Physical activity, a nutritious and varied diet, and good sleep hygiene are a good starting point, but there are other .

Anxiety disorders are common. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 19% of Americans over the age of 18 had an anxiety disorder in the past year, and 31% of Americans will experience an anxiety disorder during their lifetimes.

Stress And Anxiety Statistics

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The difference between stress and anxiety are recognized in statistics.

The American Psychological Association reports there has been a 30% increase in the number of students seeking counseling on campus. Of that percentage, 45% reported stress and anxiety as their reason for needing help.

A recent study of 67,000 college students showed 3 out of 4 students reported stress. Some reported this stress has led to other mental health disorders, including panic attacks.

A study conducted at Penn State University found anxiety surpassed depression as the number one mental health issue facing college students. They also found 21.9% of those studied admitted anxiety had negatively affected their academic performance.

Knowing the causes of stress and anxiety may help students.

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What Causes Stress And Anxiety

There are five main causes of stress and anxiety in college. However, thats not to say there are only five causes studying for exams, financial burdens, social pressures, feeling homesick, relationship issues, homework assignments, and meeting expectations of parents and professors are just a few.

A student can react to any of these stressors with anxiety. Just thinking about their responsibilities can cause some students with great anxiety. When you are anxious, you may find it hard to sleep, unable to concentrate or focus, poor diet, digestive issues, and even using substances to overcome the effects of anxiety.

All these reactions will produce further negative effects.

Students can prepare for these causes by recognizing the difference between stress and anxiety and being ready for them when they occur. Preparation includes knowing specific symptoms related to each.

Am I Experiencing Stress Or Anxiety

Chances are that you are probably experiencing a little bit of both, but one may be more overwhelming. Here are some signs that can help you distinguish between anxiety and stress:

  • Stress is mostly external. While you can cause yourself stress through negative self-talk, a pessimistic attitude, or a sense of perfectionism, it is usually triggered by something external. Too many responsibilities or a high-stakes work project trigger a stress response. Anxiety, on the other hand, is more internal. It is how you react to stressors. If you remove those stressors and still feel overwhelmed and distressed, you are likely dealing with anxiety.
  • Anxiety is an excessive reaction to a given situation. Certain situations are stressful, and would be for anyone, such as dealing with arrangements for the death of a loved one. Anxiety is more of an outsized reaction. If the worry and distress you feel in a given situation is unusual, excessive, or goes well beyond the reactions of other people, it may be anxiety rather than stress.
  • Anxiety can cause you to be unable to function. Most stressful situations are difficult to get through but are ultimately manageable. Anxiety disorders can leave you completely unable to manage normal, everyday tasks. If you are distressed to the point of being unable to work or of having a panic attack, an anxiety disorder may be the underlying issue.
  • Begin Your Recovery Journey.

    Also Check: Why Am I Getting Anxiety

    Stress Vs Anxiety: How To Tell The Difference

    While the terms stress and anxiety are often used interchangeably, and while theres some overlap in the symptoms, they actually dont mean the same thing. Anxiety disorders affect nearly 5% of the household population, while stress is much more common. And the differences dont stop there. Heres how to tell one from the other.

    DISCLOSURE: This advice is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a qualified healthcare practitioner. Always seek medical advice that is specific to you and your situation.

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    5. Stress feels situational anxiety feels personal.

    Because stress is often conceived as relating to external pressure, it often feels situational and therefore outside our control. In this way, stress seldom generates feelings of responsibility or shame. Instead, stress is sometimes even culturally prized as a badge of honor or status symbol. Anxiety, on the other hand, is neither associated with feelings of pride nor a sense of doing our best. Instead, it is usually experienced as a weakness, a mental failing, and therefore something to be ashamed of.

    6. Stress and anxiety share physiological similarities.

    And yet, despite the definitional, clinical, and cultural differences, stress and anxiety are physiologically indistinguishable. At their most intense, they share the almost reflexive defensive survival reaction, commonly known as fight-or-flight, that sets off a cascade of physical changes along the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis preparing the body for threat. Attention is sharpened, energy is boosted, while oxygen and immunity are heightened readying the body for action. While the intensity of the threat response can vary, the experience of stress and anxiety in our bodies is almost indistinguishable physiologically. One persons experience of stress is another persons experience of anxiety, and vice versa.

    7. We control how we define stress and anxiety, and our experience of it.

    This post originally appeared on my my blog.

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    Start By Understanding Anxiety

    Anxiety, like all emotions, is made up of three parts: how we experience it, how our bodies react to it, and how we express it, Elizabeth Fessenden, M.A., LMHC, director of Dialectical Behavior Therapy Services at The Bridge of Central Massachusetts, Inc. told me via email.

    Some of the more common signs and symptoms of anxiety include feelings of nervousness, restlessness, and tension having a sense of impending danger feelings of fatigue, an increase in heart rate, rapid breathing, sweating, trembling, and gastrointestinal problems and difficulty with sleep, concentrating, or thinking about non-worry thoughts. Urges to avoid things that trigger anxiety are also quite common.

    “Your anxiety, although painful, can be giving you clues about what you could potentially do to help yourself. Let this be motivation for you to listen and respond in a way that will benefit you and potentially reduce the discomfort you are feeling.”

    There are also different types of anxiety disorders, and each disorder has additional symptoms. These include panic disorder , obsessive-compulsive disorder , any phobia, social anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder , and generalized anxiety disorder. Its important to work with a mental health professional to learn more about each.

    Is Anxiety And Stress The Same Thing

    The triggers for both are short terms. But, stress is caused by external triggers.

    Like, people with stress experience mental & physical symptoms like irritability, anger, fatigue, & difficulty in sleeping.

    On the other hand, anxiety leads to excessive worries & also gets some other symptoms like insomnia, difficulty in concentration, and some irrational feelings.

    Well, some of the symptoms of both are the same, but there is a question like is there any difference between stress and anxiety in psychology.

    So, to get the answer to this question we need to explain it in detail to you

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    The Anxiety Disorder Spectrum

    Anxiety in itself is not bad. Normal levels of anxiety lie on one end of a spectrum and may present as low levels of fear or apprehension, mild sensations of muscle tightness and sweating, or doubts about your ability to complete a task. Importantly, symptoms of normal anxiety do not negatively interfere with daily functioning. They may actually improve your attention and problem-solving, motivate you to work harder toward a goal, or warn you about a potential threat. For example, anxiety about an upcoming exam will likely drive you to prepare fully, and the anxiety a hiker might experience when encountering a bear allows the hiker to run away to safety. These examples demonstrate how normal levels of anxiety can be adaptive and helpful to your everyday life.

    Clinical levels of anxiety fall toward the other end of the spectrum. Diagnosable anxiety disorders occur when anxiety levels rise enough to rapidly decrease performance and cause impairment.

    How would you know if you have crossed over into the zone of a full-blown anxiety disorder? Anxiety disorders are characterized by severe, persistent worry that is excessive for the situation, and extreme avoidance of anxiety-provoking situations. These symptoms cause distress, impair daily functioning, and occur for a significant period. For instance, a person who needs to stay home from work several days in a row due to panic attacks is likely suffering from an anxiety disorder.

    What Is Almost Anxious And How Can You Handle It

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    As anxiety moves along the spectrum from normal to clinical, a gray area in the middle may still have a negative impact on your life: the almost anxious region. When the level of anxiety you experience is no longer adaptive or helpful to your performance and becomes a barrier to your enjoyment of life, but does not yet meet the diagnostic threshold for an anxiety disorder, you are almost anxious. You might find yourself struggling to focus your attention on tasks, distracted by negative thoughts, fear, or unpleasant body sensations. For example, someone who is almost anxious may sit at their desk all day, making minimal progress on an assignment due to constant worries and tightness in the stomach. While anxiety did not make it impossible to come to work, the level of anxiety experienced is making it hard to function. Using this concept of almost anxious can help you catch anxiety before it becomes too extreme, and target it using evidence-based strategies that help move anxiety back along the spectrum to an adaptive level.

    When you find yourself feeling too anxious, try evidence-based techniques highlighted in the book Almost Anxious to bring your anxiety levels back to normal. Here are a few tools to try:

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    Treatment Of Anxiety Disorders

    The two main treatments for anxiety are psychotherapy and medication, and many people benefit from a combination of the two.

    • Psychotherapy: Talk therapy is effective in helping people identify, process, and cope with their triggers of anxiety. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a highly effective, short-term treatment that helps people learn specific skills to target their specific triggers.
    • Medication: Antidepressants generally have some mild side effects but help alleviate some symptoms of anxiety. Antidepressants can be used for an extended period of time. Buspirone is an anti-anxiety medication that can also be used on an ongoing basis. Benzodiazepines can be used on a limited basis to mitigate anxiety symptoms, but they can be habit-forming. All medications should be thoroughly discussed with your healthcare provider. Any side effects should be reported immediately. Never discontinue the use of these medications without supervision from your healthcare provider.
    • Lifestyle changes: There are several changes you can make at home before you try medications. Daily exercise, good sleep hygiene, healthy eating, and avoiding caffeine and alcohol are all home remedies that can decrease symptoms of anxiety.
  • American Psychiatric Association, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, American Psychiatric Publishing, Washington, D.C., 2013: Pages 222-226.
  • The Difference Between Anxiety And Excitement

    Tim JP Collins, the host of The Anxiety Podcast, says via email that Physiologically anxiety and excitement are very similar. The difference is in our interpretation. If we were stepping onto a sports field for the game of our lives and the crowd was roaring and music playing, that feeling would be invaluable. Enhanced vision, hearing, extra adrenaline for increased performance. It’s exactly what you need at that moment. Listen to the sports star being interviewed after his debut game: ‘So were you nervous? No, I was just super excited, couldn’t wait to get out there and help my team.'”

    In my opinion, anxiety is a negative experience and excitement is a positive experience. The difference is all in how you use it. Unfortunately, its much easier said than done. When I have a panic attack, it is impossible to think rationally.

    To turn things around, its important to have tools available at your disposal.

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