4 months ago · lizzie · 0 comments
Stress and Anxiety
What is the difference between Stress and Anxiety?
When you think about Stress and Anxiety it can be a bit confusing – they seem very similar, yet they refer to different things.
Stress refers to a stimulus (stressful event) and the body’s response to this stimulus, whereas anxiety is more associated with the feelings caused by the stress.
Let’s delve into stress and anxiety a bit more…
What it Stress?
The term “stress”, as it is currently used was coined by Hans Selye in 1936, who defined it as “the non-specific response of the body to any demand for change”.The American Institute of Stress
Stress causes a bodily reaction. This is why you may experience stomach aches, headaches or bodily pain when stressed. This is also why stress has been linked to so many serious health conditions – the body cannot endure being placed under stressed year after year, without some form of consequence.
Long term stress, or chronic stress pushes the body to be in a regular state of tension. This tension, over time, is what causes the body to have negative physical reactions (i.e. shoulders, neck, stomach, head and lower back pain). When you are stressed for a long period of time, it places the heart under constant and regular stress, which can then result in heart attack or stroke. Stress also takes a toll on your immune system which can lead to depression, or chronic fatigue.
The level and extent of your stress has an impact on your health long term. Whilst we cannot avoid being stressed, we can address the extent to which stress affects us. Learning healthy response strategies through counselling and life coaching for instance, will provide effective strategies for dealing with potentially stressful situations. Being more balanced by living a healthy lifestyle also can significantly reduce physical and mental stress and improves overall wellbeing.
What is Anxiety
Stressful events can lead to feelings of anxiety. Anxious feelings can be fleeting – like panicking before you have to speak publicly. However, when anxiety takes hold, it tend to cause a range of negative feelings, such as:
- excessive worry
- imagining the worst
- inability to concentrate
- self doubt
When anxiety lasts for a while and you find yourself not coping well with day to day life, it can become chronic. This is when anxiety can become debilitating and significantly impact daily functioning or performance.
When we think about anxiety there is a tipping point. Anxiety (or mild worry) is good for us when it gets us ready (pushing you to train harder or study more to ensure you’re ready for a performance). However there is a point where this positive motivation turns into negative hinderance. This occurs when you allow your mind to race with negative thoughts. These thoughts often lead to procrastination, avoidance or general poor performance and ultimately sabotage your motivation efforts.
When anxiety takes hold, it can begin to interfere with future performance and lead you to become more anxious in the future worrying about whether the anxiety is going to kick in at the worst time again.
Where you ever taught how to deal with stress or anxiety?
The problem is that we rarely taught how to ride the anxiety wave. It’s common to panic when any signs of anxiety set in. You may remember the negative impact anxiety had on you the last time it passed over the threshold from positive to negative anxiety.
Become more attune to anxiety and use it to pump you up, rather than to bring you down!
So… are stress and anxiety the same?
The answer is that they are very related, yet slightly different. Understanding the difference if useful because it helps to separate events that may be causing you stress, versus your thoughts that are caused by the stressful events,
The way you see a stressful event and the way you cope with it, will determine your level of stress each day. Most reactions to stress are caused by expectations. It’s important to look at your expectations to see if they are impacting on your stress levels. For instance, as a parent you may expect your home to be tidy all the time. If you see mess, this causes you to be stressed and then worrying thoughts such as “I am a failure, no-one ever helps me, no-one cares, this house is disgusting….” will set in and cause you to feel anxious on a regular basis. This is NOT good for your health. So it’s vital that you review where your stress is coming from and whether you can adjust your expectations from time to time to reduce your levels of stress.
Grab Your Free Guides
You may also like our Free Guide to understanding your child’s personality temperament. Armed with this knowledge, you can be a much calmer, supportive and confident parent.