What It Means To Be Anxious
Anxiety, on the other hand, is something you deal with on an ongoing basis. You live your life in a constant state of dread, and you struggle to calm yourself.
In addition to the physical symptoms, the suffocating feeling of dread accompanying anxiety disorders can even compel you to avoid places or situations that incite these uncomfortable symptoms. These feelings and negative coping behaviors eventually begin to interfere with your day-to-day life.
For instance, it’s normal to feel nervous about going to the doctor because of what you could learn. But if your fear becomes so overwhelming that you avoid going to the doctor altogether, you may have a diagnosable anxiety disorder.
Stress Anxiety Whatever: Do I Need Professional Help
While stress and anxiety are normal emotions and reactions, they can become outsized. If stress or worry overwhelm you, take over your life, and prevent you from functioning, you could benefit from some professional therapy and treatment. Here are some more specific signs that anxiety or stress has gotten out of control in your life:
- Stress or anxiety interfere with important parts of your life, including relationships, work, school, and responsibilities.
- The reactions and emotions you feel are overwhelming, cause you significant distress, or are difficult or impossible to control and lessen.
- You also have physical health problems that may be related to stress and anxiety.
- There are other mental health issues going on, either triggered by or simply occurring at the same time as stress or worry. These could include depression, substance abuse, or anything else that concerns you.
- You experienced something traumatic, either in your past or recently.
- Your stress or anxiety is leading to thoughts of self-harm, hopelessness, or suicide.
Treatment for excessive stress or an anxiety disorder is available and is highly effective. You may benefit from medical care to manage any underlying illnesses or for complications caused by stress. Therapy can teach you useful strategies for managing stress, for coping with stress and anxiety, and for changing your patterns of thought and behavior that worsen mental health.
Common Anxiety Disorders Include:
- General anxiety disorder: Excessive, uncontrollable worry about varied events in your daily life.
- Social anxiety: Excessive fear of being watched, judged and criticized by others, even strangers.
- Phobias: A strong and unsubstantiated fear of something, such as agoraphobia arachnophobia or autophobia , to name a few.
Don’t Miss: Can Stress Make Your Period Late
Stress And Anxiety Pills
There are no magic stress and anxiety pills. Antidepressant medications can definitely be useful for treating the symptoms of anxiety in some people. They usually take several weeks to a month to take effect, but they can be taken for long periods of time, if not permanently.
A physician may prescribe stronger drugs, like benzodiazepines, to manage severe symptoms of anxiety. However, there is the risk of developing a dependency and these should only be used under the care of a doctor and on a temporary basis.
Common Symptoms Of Stress Can Include:
- Tension headaches
- Problems focusing on one situation
- A sense of being constantly overwhelmed
Of course, some of these symptoms may be a normal response to stress, especially if theyre fleeting. We can sometimes identify whats causing our stress by recognizing events, situations or people that induce the symptoms to begin, and when they abate.
When we dont work on lowering our stress levels, the risk of developing poor mental health increases. Unaddressed stress can lead to bouts of depression or evolve into anxiety disorders.
In fact, anxiety disorders affect around 40 million adults in the U.S. every year, making them the most common type of mental health issue in the country, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America .
The hallmark of anxiety is that the fear is not in proportion to the reality of a given situation, event or problem.
Intense anxiety can really cripple a person for long periods of time, as they deal with the warning signs.
You May Like: How To Help Stress Incontinence
Learning How To Deal With Stress And Anxiety Includes Introducing Routine Habits Like Some Of The Following:
- Get regular exercise
- Eat a healthy diet rich in fiber, vegetables and lean proteins
- Practice moderation or abstinence from alcohol and drugs
- Find ways to volunteer that are meaningful, even if its just once a month
- Enjoy hobbies, such as reading, going to the movies, hiking or any positive, healthy pastime that interests you
- Find a confidant in a friend, a loved one, a family member or a counselor with whom you can speak to and talk about things that are troubling you
- Meditation for anxiety and stress has shown to be extremely effective at calming the symptoms
Too Worried Stressed Or Anxious To Read The Whole Article
Heres the takeaway: Worry happens in your mind, stress happens in your body, and anxiety happens in your mind and your body. In small doses, worry, stress, and anxiety can be positive forces in our lives. But research shows that most of us are too worried, too stressed and too anxious. The good news, according to Dr. Marques, is that there are simple first steps to help regulate your symptoms: Get enough sleep eat regular, nutritious meals and move your body.
Read Also: How Does Stress Make You Lose Weight
Dealing With Stress And Anxiety
Stress can lead to anxiety and anxiety can lead to stress . Because of the relationship between stress and anxiety, it can be assumed that learning to better cope with either stress or anxiety would also help with the other. There are many selfhelp techniques for coping with the stresses and anxieties of day-to-day life, such as the following :
- Get involved This is a great way to surround yourself with a good social support network. In addition, serving helps you to feel good about yourself.
- Take care of yourself Get adequate sleep, eat healthy meals, and exercise regularly in order to give your body the best chance of functioning properly.
- Focus on the positive Avoid negative self-talk and focus on what you can do, instead of what you cannot do. Think about how you have successfully coped with stressful situations in the past.
- Participate in activities you enjoy Take time to step away from the stresses and worries of life to do something that you enjoy. Taking this kind of break will help you come back to the stressors with a clearer mind and renewed energy.
- Apply relaxation techniques and meditation Learning how to calm a troubled mind can be very helpful. Even just a few minutes spent relaxing the mind and body can be effective.
When To See A Doctor For Stress Or Anxiety
If you feel overwhelmed by stress or anxiety, if it is taking a toll on your health, if you are using drugs or alcohol to cope with your symptoms, or if you have new or unusual symptoms, it is a good time to get professional help. Your primary healthcare provider can examine you, and refer you to a mental health professional if necessary. There is nothing to feel embarrassed or hesitant about. Stress and anxiety are very common, and your doctor will be glad you came to them for help.
Sometimes, symptoms of anxiety can feel like a heart attack. Even if you think you are having an anxiety attack, it is best to go to the emergency room to rule out life-threatening conditions. If you are unsure or hesitant, it is safer to go to the emergency room so you can be quickly evaluated by a healthcare professional.
If you are having thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK immediately or go to the emergency room.
Read Also: Can Stress Cause Chronic Migraines
Tips For Managing Mild Anxiety
There are different ways that you may be able to overcome mild anxiety on your own to enjoy better emotional wellness. Below are three strategies you might try to cope with your anxious feelings:
- Smile. Smilingeven when you don’t feel like itincreases endorphins, replacing anxiety with calm and making you feel good.
- Breathe. Deep breathing is a great way to reduce anxiety. It also helps get oxygen to your brain and will enable you to think more clearly.
- Journal. Journaling naturally forces you to slow down and work through your anxious thoughts. It can also help you identify your negative thought patterns, which can help you find new ways to cope.
Whatever you do, try not to avoid anxiety-provoking situations. Although avoidance may give you some short-term relief, it only hurts you in the long run.
Lets Talk About Stress
For one, stress is typically defined as a response to an external trigger, and can either be acute or chronic . In an ideal world, the duration of the stress response corresponds with its trigger: Once a stressor has been dealt with, the body can return to its natural baseline state.
Acute stress. Remember the pit in your stomach from before? Thats an example of the stress response, which you might know better as fight-or-flight. When youre triggered by something stressful, your brain floods your body with hormones that push you to react: Blood moves away from digestive organs and into your limbs, allowing you to move more efficiently and quickly. Your heart beats faster and breathing speeds up, bringing more oxygen into the bloodstream.
Stress evolved as a survival mechanism, designed to make it easier for us to fight or flee from life-threatening triggers. Today, even though unreasonable emails do not warrant the same urgency as a hungry tiger on the savannah, our bodies dont know the difference. While stress might not feel great in the moment, it can still be helpful by motivating us to stay alert and take action when we need to.
In fact, the Yerkes-Dodson law in psychology proposes that moderate levels of stress are optimal for peak performance. We tend to talk about this state as being in the zone or in flow. Too little stress leads to low level performance, whereas too much is a recipe for needless fight-or-flight.
Don’t Miss: How Do You Manage Stress
Techniques To Manage Stress And Anxiety
Its normal to experience stress and anxiety from time to time, and there are strategies you can use to make them more manageable. Pay attention to how your body and mind respond to stressful and anxiety-producing situations. Next time a stressful experience occurs, youll be able to anticipate your reaction and it may be less disruptive.
Factors That Turn Stress Into Anxiety
Why does anxiety, a response to stress, continue in some people even when the original stress has lessened? Stress, anxiety, and people are all complex and multi-faceted, so there are no obvious or definitive answers. What researchers have discovered is that there are certain factors that impact the likelihood that anxiety will become life-inhibiting. These factors can include:
- nature of the stressor
- number of stressors faced at once
- degree of control one has over his or her stressors
- biological factors
- presence of protective factors
Also Check: How Can You Reduce Stress
Pay Attention To The Duration
With anxiety, even if youre able to resolve the cause, you might still feel overwhelmed and distressed. It is because anxiety is persistent and doesnt go away even after a long time. In contrast, the physical effects of stress do not last long since stress is typically short-term and will subside as soon as the stressful situation is over.
How To Know If You Have An Anxiety Disorder
If your anxiety is so intense that you’re unable to cope with it, you may have an anxiety disorder.
This anxiety can be a symptom of many conditions, including:
- Phobia-related disorders
Each condition presents its unique symptoms. However, all anxiety disorders involve excessive fear, worry, or dread that interfere with your daily activities.
If you or a loved one are struggling with anxiety, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for information on support and treatment facilities in your area.
For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database.
You May Like: How Can I Sue My Employer For Stress
How To Relieve Stress And Anxiety
Looking for quick fixes for how to relieve stress and anxiety is normal. Unfortunately, this can sometimes lead to other problems, like self-medicating with alcohol or drugs.
Along with the risk of developing a substance use disorder, alcohol and many other drugs are depressants. While drinking might make a person feel better in the short-term, alcohol can disrupt the brains natural chemistry and make anxiety and stress even worse.
Though its not always as simple as it may seem, one of the best ways to manage stress is to practice healthy living.
It’s Easy To Get The Care You Need
See a Premier Physician Network provider near you.
Anxiety, depression and stress just about everyone feels these emotions at some time. All are common reactions to lifes challenges, from losing a loved one to going through a divorce. On the surface they can look a lot alike, but there are distinct differences.
Don’t Miss: What Are Stress Reduction Techniques
Tips For Managing Nervousness
If you are prone to nervousness, there are several ways to ease your symptoms. The following are some easy tips to can help get your nerves under control:
- Practice, practice, practice. You’re less likely to freeze up if you’re prepared. If you have a presentation coming up, practice until you feel relaxed. If you’re nervous about a hard conversation you must have with a friend or loved one, try thinking through or even writing down what you want to say. Nothing calms nerves and gives you as much confidence as being well-prepared.
- Breathe. When you’re nervous, your muscles tighten and you may even hold your breath. Take a few deep breaths to get oxygen to your brain and relax your body.
- Stay positive. When the nervousness bubbles up, don’t freak out. Remember, that it’s normal to feel nervous sometimes and remind yourself that it will pass.
What About Stress
Stress and anxiety may seem similar, but theyre not the same. The difference? Stress is a response to daily pressures or a threatening situation, while anxiety is a reaction to the stress. Anxiety, which has no clear cause, tends to last longer and be more difficult to treat.
Stress affects a lot of people, and can influence your health. Symptoms include:
- Skin rashes
- Loss of sleep
Stress typically goes away when the stressors disappear. However, chronic stress can escalate into anxiety or depression, so its important to take steps to reduce or eliminate stress whenever possible.
If youre not sure whether youre suffering from stress, anxiety or depression, dont delay in talking to a health care provider to get the help you need. The journey to recovery begins with defining the cause of your issues and getting the right treatment.
Don’t Miss: How To Make My Cat Less Stressed
What Is The Long
Stress and anxiety can be unpleasant to deal with. They can also have negative effects on your physical health if untreated for long periods of time. While some amount of stress and anxiety in life is expected and shouldnt be cause for concern, its important to recognize when the stress in your life is causing negative consequences. If you feel like your stress and anxiety are becoming unmanageable, seek professional help or ask others to help you find the support you need.
When To Seek Help
If youre having thoughts about harming yourself or others, you should seek immediate medical help. Stress and anxiety are treatable conditions and there are many resources, strategies, and treatments that can help. If youre unable to control your worries, and stress is impacting your daily life, talk to your primary care provider about ways to manage stress and anxiety.
Also Check: Why Am I Always Stressed And Anxious
Whats The Difference Between Anxiety And Being Stressed
The words stress and anxiety are sometimes used interchangeably. So how can you tell the difference between common stress and an anxiety disorder? Both share many of the same physical symptoms, such as increased heart rate, muscle tension, or rapid breathing. In both cases, your body is releasing hormones to trigger these symptoms.
Stress is a normal, proportional reaction to a stressful situation or external pressures. Its normal to feel stressed about a final exam or job interview.
When we talk about anxiety as in anxiety disorders, anxiety is a condition characterized by feelings of apprehension or unexplained thoughts of impending doom.
Another way to tell the difference between stress and an anxiety disorder is noticing how long your feelings of stress last. When stress lingers for days or weeks and prevents you from carrying out day-to-day activities, then you may be experiencing anxiety. You could be avoiding certain places or situations in fear of what might happen. You may even feel anxious about the fact that youre anxious. If you are having these concerns, you are not alone. Anxiety disorders are common and manageable.
Anxiety I Thought I Was Just Stressed
Stress and anxiety are related, but not synonymous states. Both are normal, adaptive responses to lifes challenges work, relationships, mortality, to name just a few and share many symptoms, including worry, stomach aches, restlessness, muscle tension, racing thoughts, headaches, sleepless nights, or all of the above.
For these reasons and more, we often use the words anxiety and stress interchangeably. Yet despite their similarities, there are important differences between the two. Determining whats going on for you is the first step towards finding relief.
You May Like: How To Cope With Stress During Pregnancy