Stress vs Anxiety Disorder – How are they Different?

Stress and anxiety are partners in crime. Sometimes it’s hard to tell if you have stress or some sort of anxiety disorder. Do know, that a lot of stress does stem into anxiety. So, they work hand in hand. You must have stress to have anxiety, but you don’t need anxiety to have stress. If your stress is at an unbearable level then you might find yourself having an anxiety disorder. Do you have stress vs anxiety disorder? Find out below!

Stress vs Anxiety Disorder - Comparison Chart

ANXIETY Causes Paralysis (Figuratively and Literally)

Anxiety can cause you to feel a sense of paralysis figuratively and literally. Figuratively, you feel as though you can’t move, or you don’t want to. You feel as though you are trapped in your feelings, or stuck in your body. You can’t get yourself to leave the house or do anything. This is because your mind and body are taken over by anxiety. You body has the natural instinct to respond to fear and threat, as your body uses fight or flight to react to danger. This can occur even if not rational fears are causing your anxiety. You may experience paralysis no matter how hard you try to get through things.

On the other hand, paralysis can happen literally, or at least feel like you’re paralyzed. This happens when you are so anxious your body parts start to tingle, or feel like you literally can’t move them. You may feel as though your hands, arms, legs, torso, or face are stuck and cannot move. This can be caused by hyperventilation, or breathing too fast so your body has to slow down your blood flow. The other reason is a little more complicated. Normally, your mind signals your nerves to move and do their job. When you have anxiety, you tend to focus deeply on how your body feels. You’re very aware and conscious of your movements, that would usually be preformed automatically. Basically, because you are very attuned to how your body is functioning, which are aspects that would normally function automatically, you make it more difficult for your body to move and do normal functions. This causes you to experience a sense of paralysis. But, not to worry this feeling will go away, and you won’t be paralyzed forever. It’s a temporary sensation your body will go through.

On the other hand, stress makes you want to fix the issue. With stress, you may have issues come up, but your mind will want to make the problem go away. Rather than your body tensing up and becoming paralyzed, it will react in a more optimistic state. You will think of ways as to get out of the issue you’re stuck in, and with this way of thinking your body will not go into paralysis. With stress your body has a normal response to do something to make your mind and body feel better. Although you don’t want to undergo too much stress, some stress is normal. When it gets to be too much stress, your stress may turn into anxiety.

ANXIETY Causes Vague Concerns

With anxiety, you will have concerns that are difficult to describe or explain. You may not even know why you have anxiety, but you do. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly why you have concerns, you just know they’re there. For example, your body may feel strange all of a sudden, and you think you might faint. You have no idea why you might faint, or what the concern even is. All you know is that you don’t feel quite right. If someone were to ask you what was wrong, you probably wouldn’t know what to tell them. You might just say that you don’t feel right.

On the other hand, with stress, you will have specific concerns. You will know exactly how to explain what you are going through. For example, if you are concerned about running a marathon, you can easily explain how you feel. You know why you have a problem, and can simply explain what it is about.

ANXIETY has a Source that is Vague, Generic or Unknown

When you have anxiety the source of the anxiety is difficult to pinpoint. This goes hand-in-hand with having vague concerns. But, the source of the issue is also unknown or cannot be explained. This is when you aren’t able to figure out why you’re feeling the way you are. You know something is wrong, but what is this coming from? You don’t know what caused it to begin with. You’re unable to tell what brought about your anxious feelings.

On the other hand, with stress the source is definite, specific or realistic. With stress, you know exactly what caused you to feel that way you feel. If you are upset you have to go to the dentist, you know the source of the issue is getting a cavity. This is a source that is specific and you know exactly why you feel the emotions you feel. When you have stress, you know what the source is, and it is realistic. Your concerns are within reason.

ANXIETY Often Can’t be Explained with Words

With anxiety, you usually have a hard time explaining what you’re going through. If someone were to ask what was wrong. You wouldn’t know exactly what to tell them or how to explain your situation. It might be that you truly don’t know why you feel the way you feel. Anxiety can do this to a person. With anxiety, you may have an underlying issue that you just can’t explain, because you don’t know where to even begin. You might often wonder why you even have the feelings you do if you don’t even know how to explain them. There isn’t usually a simple way of explaining what your mind is going through.

On the other hand, with stress, you can verbally communicate issues. You are able to tell exactly what is wrong with you, and what your concerns are. You have a concern that you could easily talk to someone about, and they would comprehend what you’re telling them.

ANXIETY Causes a Severe Emotional Response

When you have anxiety, you body will have a very severe emotional response. This can cause a variety of things to happen, it varies from person to person. But, your emotions will run wild. You will feel a major sense of doubt, disgust, or the unknown take over your body. Your emotions won’t be in check, and your mind will be running like a racehorse.

On the other hand, stress causes a mild emotional response. This means that you understand the emotion you are going through. You may feel stressed because you lost at something, but you comprehend that this makes you feel sad. You simply feel an emotion, but you aren’t over-feeling it.

ANXIETY Controls You

When you have anxiety it seems to control your life, as much as you want to have control, you seem to be out of the drivers seat. You feel as though you can’t stop the anxiety from happening, it just happens. You may avoid being a part of certain situations because you know it will bring about anxiety. This means anxiety is controlling what you are doing. If you have social anxiety, you might not go to certain events with others, and avoid many situations altogether. This is because your mind feels as though avoiding a situation is better than being stuck in a worse situation. You may feel like you want to do certain things, but your mind just doesn’t want to allow it. You may want to attend social events, but why bother if your anxiety will be in charge? You feel like your mind and body are run under the jurisdiction of your anxiety.

On the other hand, with stress, you feel in control. With stress, you still feel like you are in the driver’s seat, and you are the head of your life. You won’t avoid certain situations because you think they will be intolerable. You go about your daily life and feel as though you have authority.

ANXIETY Manifests Physically in the Body

If you experience anxiety, you will feel it in your body, and of course your mind too. But, because the way your mind reacts, you will experience physical symptoms as well. If you’re interested in learning more about what physical symptoms anxiety can cause, check out this list here. Your mind controls how your body feels. When your mind is an emotional wreck, this in turn affects your body. Your mind and body work together, and when your mind isn’t functioning properly, your body will react physically.

On the other hand, when you have stress it manifests in your mind. When you’re stressed you feel all of your emotions in your mind. You will not experience physical symptoms, because your mind is able to properly control your feelings. You may be worried, but your mind can handle the worry you’re enduring.

ANXIETY Can Linger and Last for Days

Anxiety may not be something that comes on and leaves after a few minutes, or ever hours. You may experience anxiety that sticks with you wherever you go. For example, you might constantly feel lightheaded or “out of it” and you may feel this way for days. You will probably feel anxiety sensations that come about, leave and come about again. You might have a physical symptom that peaks out of no were here and there. Anxiety isn’t something that will just simply go away. It is a feeling you’ll experience until you do something about it.

On the other hand, stress is fairly temporary. Stress may last a little while, but you will get over it. You will be able to pinpoint the concern and fix it. Since you know what the concern is you can feel better. This may take a bit of time, but it won’t continue to linger like anxiety does. Stress is temporary and may come about in certain stressful situations.

ANXIETY Completely Inhibits your Ability to Function Properly in Personal and Professional Situations

With anxiety, you won’t fully feel like yourself. You will always have anxiety that is causing you trouble. For example, while at your job you may not function like you’d like. You have anxiety that seems to control you. You basically, can’t shake your anxiety no matter what. It’s a part of you that takes over your way of life.

On the other hand, stress does not completely inhibit your ability to function properly in personal and professional situations. You may feel stress while at work or at home, but it doesn’t seem to take over your ability to function. You can still go about your daily life feeling as though you are in control. Stress may arise here and there, but you can still go about your days without feeling helpless.

Check out this video on what anxiety may feel like to some people:

Anxiety Isn’t Stress

Although enough stress can cause anxiety, anxiety is not stress. Anxiety basically takes over your life and your ability function. With anxiety, you will feel physical symptom that affect your body. Your body doesn’t feel in tune with your mind. Stress is a normal response to concerns, where as with anxiety, your mind has a heightened response. If you feel like anxiety is taking over your life, try some natural remedies found here. Anxiety alters your ability to function, whereas stress does not.

If you have any questions, ask them below. I’m always happy to help!

Interested in jewelry for stress and anxiety relief? Check out this article!

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