Learn to Manage Stress and Anxiety
Most of us experience stress and anxiety at some point in our lives. Depending on the level of severity, they can detrimentally impact our quality of life. Although stress and anxiety share many of the same emotional and physical symptoms – uneasiness, tension, headaches, high blood pressure and loss of sleep – they have very different origins. Research has determined that nearly 40 million people struggle with stress and anxiety (nearly 18% of the population). Determining which one you’re experiencing is critical to finding an effective treatment plan and feeling better.
The good news is that stress and anxiety have solutions. Our goal is to determine the tools and solutions that work best for you.
Generally speaking, stress is more of a temporary condition. Stress often has external causes such as an argument with a friend or being swamped with work at the office. One definition of stress describes it as “the inability of the system to respond to demands being made on it”. Think about a car stuck in second gear going at high speeds on the freeway; sooner or later the transmission will breakdown because 2nd gear is not designed to operate at that level for that long. When stress goes unresolved or unaddressed it can become a trigger for anxiety.
In his book, When Panic Attacks, David Burns describes anxiety: “Anxiety is a person’s specific reaction to stress; its origin is internal. Anxiety is typically characterized by a “persistent feeling of apprehension or dread” in situations that are not actually threatening. Unlike stress, anxiety persists even after a concern has passed. In more severe cases, anxiety can escalate into an anxiety disorder, the most common mental health issue in the U.S. “.
Anxiety has more of an inside source. We may worry about the future and even things that haven’t happened (and may never happen). Anxiety is more of a continuous or chronic condition while stress more often has peaks and valleys.
Anxiety comes in many forms. Do any of these seem familiar to you?
- Chronic Worrying
- Fears and Phobias
- Performance Anxiety
- Fear of Public Speaking
- Social Anxiety- Worries about how people/coworkers see me
- Panic Attacks
- Obsessions and Compulsions
- Overly Worried about one’s Health
- Symptoms for Anxiety and Stress can include:
- Restlessness or feeling keyed up or on edge
- Easily fatigued
- Difficulty concentrating or mind going blank
- Muscle tension
- Sleep disturbance
- Exaggerated startle response
- Psychosomatic symptoms: Headaches, stomachaches, dizziness, pins and needles
- Physical symptoms: Shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat, excessive sweating, shortness of breath, chest pain
- The anxiety, worry, or physical symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other areas of functioning