Understanding the Difference Between Persistent Anxiety and Common Stress

Every day, millions of Americans struggle with some form of anxiety. Anxiety can be a debilitating disorder that prevents people from living their most meaningful life. Many times, anxiety is mistakenly explained as common stress. This may be part of the reason that many do not seek help. However, while anxiety and stress are in the same family, they manifest in very different ways.

Understanding the Difference Between Persistent Anxiety and Common Stress

Everybody faces stress at some point in their life. Stress is a normal part of being human. When we feel stressed, our bodies will often react before our conscious does. Many times, our shoulders will tense, we will find ourselves clenching our jaw, getting headaches, or not being able to think clearly. Stress can be brought on by having an abundance of responsibilities, or a temporary situational event. Typically, when that event passes, or life circumstances become more manageable, our stress level decreases. Conversely, persistent anxiety oftentimes is not linked to a life situation. Instead, those that suffer with anxiety will often find that they experience attacks in situations that are not easily explained.

Those whom live with a constant anxiety will often describe themselves as always feeling on edge. While it is possible to manage anxiety, it never fully goes away. In some cases, it can manifest into a panic attack, which many describe as the feeling of having a heart attack. While stress can be triggered by life situations, persistent anxiety does not always come with clear triggers.

For those that suffer with an anxiety disorder, it is important to explore situations that may cause an attack. Many times, there is a common theme that occurs. For example, one might find that they are triggered by social situations. Therefore, anytime that they are in a situation that involves people, they are running the risk of their anxiety increasing. Knowing triggers can help the individual use tools that will help center them so that the anxiety that they are feeling does not manifest into a panic attack. Some of these tools may include breathing exercises or tapping. Becoming mindful of surroundings can help to relax the body.

Those experiencing consistent anxiety should know that it is treatable. A mental health professional can help to explore causes of anxiety and work to provide tools that will help to diffuse incidences. Please contact us for additional information.

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