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What's the difference between stress and anxiety?

Sometimes we use the words “stress” and “anxiety” interchangeably, but the thing is, they are really two very different things. According to the Huffington Post, we typically feel stressed because of external factors, like tests or parties or friend drama. Anxiety, however, is usually brought on by fear—fear that we won’t perform well on a big exam, fear of being around new people. 


Both feelings can speed up your heart beat and breathing, make your palms sweaty and cause your muscles to tense up. But anxiety—when it gets really bad—can bring on a panic attack, which can often feel like a heart attack.


So how can you tell which one you’re really experiencing? Consider…


What the cause is. Is it something you have to do or deal with, or something you’re afraid of? The first is stress, the second, anxiety.


How you feel. Stress is usually signified by frustration or nervousness, while anxiety is unease, worry or helplessness.


Now what? Conquer the emotions!

Now that you know what’s causing your discomfort, you can fix it.


When it comes to stress, it’s best to tackle it head one: roll up your sleeves and get to it. It can help to break down your task into smaller, more manageable goals, and to reward yourself once you accomplish each one.


Anxiety, on the other hand, can be more difficult. Because it is based on your fears, it’s rooted more deeply in your psyche. Try to find a mentor, someone outside your family, like a pastor or counselor, who you can speak to honestly about how you’re feeling. Lean on them for support and challenge yourself to confront your fears slowly. Remember: You can do it!


Note: If you can’t handle stress or anxiety by yourself, there’s nothing to be ashamed of. Please speak to your physician—he or she will be able to help, whether that means referring you to an experienced therapist who can get to the root of the problem, or prescribing you medication, or suggesting other lifestyle changes that might make you feel better.




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BY BRITTANY TAYLOR ON 3/2/2014 12:00:00 AM


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