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The Difference Between Stress & Anxiety

Both stress and anxiety can manifest in very similar ways. In today’s vernacular they seem to be used almost interchangeably. However, stress and anxiety are very different from one another. As your Hermosa Beach therapist, I help clients who suffer from both stress and anxiety, or a combination of the two. Today, I want to explain the unique differences between stress and anxiety, and the emotional and physical effects both of these can have on the mind and body.

Physical Similarities Between Stress & Anxiety

Experiencing feelings of stress and anxiety can cause very similar physical responses in the human body. These responses include:

Our body’s physical reaction when dealing with stress and anxiety may be similar. However, the psychological bases of these two states are very different. As a therapist in the South Bay, I have found that many of my clients initially lump the two into the same category. That is why I want to provide some clarification around what makes them distinct.

Acute Stress

Often, we are overwhelmed with the number of things we need to accomplish, like studying for exams, a project at work, raising children, or all of these things at once. This is the feeling of stress. With stress, we often know exactly what is worrying us: the big presentation at work next week, being on time for practice, ect. Stress is caused by external factors. To overcome stress, I usually suggest the following:

Stress reduction often comes with improved management of your time, enhanced self care, or taking things off your plate. At the end of the day, you do not need to be involved in every activity. By identifying where we are feeling overwhelmed and actively taking steps to regain a sense of balance and control, we are able to reduce are daily experience of stress. To sum it up, we can deal with stress by addressing the external factors in our life that are contributing to our stress.

Acute Anxiety

Unlike stress, anxiety is much more difficult to pinpoint. A lot of anxiety can be caused by fear, but in most clients, what their afraid of is harder to identify. Instead, it manifests itself in a client’s feelings. Anxiety normally converts fear into feelings and those suffering from anxiety then avoid what makes them afraid. This in turn can make their anxiety worse. Anxiety is a cycle. Anxiety can be very difficult to handle on your own, because often we are unaware of why we feel so anxious, scared, or nervous. In these cases, therapy can be very helpful. For anxiety, there are three main steps that can be taken:

For some, anxiety can be a life-long battle. However, we can find ways to effectively cope with it. For others, anxiety may be connected to a specific period of time in their life. As your Hermosa Beach therapist, the greatest tool we have to combat anxiety is by talking about it. It is when we hold in our emotions and feelings that we become even more anxious. I work with all of my clients to confront anxiety directly. Together, we can ensure that anxiety does not take over your life and that you have the tools and resources to address it when it arises.

Come Speak With Your South Bay Therapist

BeachIf you are feeling stressed, anxious, or maybe a little bit of both, schedule a session with me at my Hermosa Beach office. Both conditions are manageable. We can talk through your triggers and address each one individually. The best approach to stress and anxiety is to confront it directly. Call my office in the South Bay today. I look forward to hearing from you!