What's The Difference Between Stress and Anxiety?

While stress and anxiety can feel similar at times, they are distinct concepts:

  • Response to external pressures or demands, often stemming from situations or events that require adaptation or adjustment.
  • Can be caused by various factors such as work, relationships, financial issues, or major life changes.
  • Can be both positive (eustress), such as the excitement before a performance, or negative (distress), such as feeling overwhelmed by responsibilities.
  • Typically manifests with physical, emotional, and cognitive symptoms like tension, irritability, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating.

  • Broader psychological condition characterized by excessive worry, apprehension, and fear about future events, often without a clear or immediate threat.
  • Involves excessive and persistent thoughts about potential threats or dangers, leading to feelings of unease and discomfort.
  • Anxiety disorders, such as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and others, involve more severe and chronic symptoms that significantly impact daily functioning.
  • Unlike stress, which is typically linked to specific stressors, anxiety can be more generalized and may not always have an identifiable cause.

While stress and anxiety both involve feelings of tension and discomfort, stress is often a response to external pressures or demands, whereas anxiety involves excessive worry and fear about future events. While stress is typically tied to specific stressors and situations, anxiety can be more pervasive and generalized, often characterized by chronic and excessive worrying.
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