How To Know If It’s Stress, Anxiety Or Worry?
Ever felt really on-edge but not sure what you’re dealing with? Maybe you’re stressed out, anxious or just worried about something? You struggle sleeping, have tightness in your chest, overthink even minor situations, feel restless, and constantly second-guess your decisions to name a few? It can be difficult to know the difference between stress, anxiety and worry, and how to know what you’re dealing with. Allow me to help dispel any of the confusion between the three, and empower you take the next step once you’ve figured out what you’re dealing with.
What Is Stress?
Stress is something that happens to us when we’re overstimulated. It’s a physical response to a real perceived event. Stress is a natural response to pressure, changes in your environment and physical demands. The good news about high stress is that it can be largely alleviated by making a few simple changes. Examples of these are taking a vacation, exercising, eating well, reading a book and or incorporating more self-care into your life. Relaxation techniques such as yoga, deep breathing, guided imagery, listening to calming music, aromatherapy, doing one thing at a time and spa trips can also chip away at stress quite effectively. If you try all of these methods and still feel no relief, it’s a sign your stressors have turned into anxiety. Booking an appointment with a therapist can help this problem become a thing of the past.
What Is Anxiety?
Anxiety is a response to our thinking patterns about future events. We’re never anxious about the past or present. Anxious thoughts always dwell in the future. Unlike stress anxiety isn’t something that goes away by just slowing down and increasing self care. It’s a response to unhelpful thinking patterns and beliefs. These anxious thoughts and beliefs make you want to avoid things you’re anxious about which perpetuates the anxiety cycle.
When you continue procrastinating it’s a sign you have problematic anxiety. Anxiety can form from high stress and can even create panic attacks. If you find that you continue to avoid things that you would benefit more from confronting, and struggle with procrastination, difficulties sleeping, over/under eating, and relaxing—it’s a sign your anxiety would be best dealt with working with a skilled therapist.
What Is Worry?
Worry is a symptom of high anxiety. Worry happens when you constantly churn in your head over and over again about the future and bad things that could potentially happen to you. Worry is typically about a specific topic or two that you can worry about at the same time. When you frequently worry it’s a sign you have a harder time letting go of control. Worry tricks you into thinking you can control the forever uncertain future. Often you worry thinking it’ll somehow protect you from bad things happening, even though there’s the same probability of it happening whether you worry or not. Since the future will forever be unknown, it can always seem like there’s something to worry about. Until you’re able to fully accept the future is uncertain, and let go of trying to always control it, you’ll most likely keep worrying. If you worry daily or even multiple times a week it’s a sign that it’s time to book an appointment with a therapist so you can move beyond it.