Published on November 01, 2018

Stress vs. Anxiety

stress meter with the works stressed, anxiety and panic attackLife comes with its fair share of stressful situations and anxious occasions. The feelings are so similar, it’s easy to get them confused. Know how to spot their differences and what to do when you experience either feeling.

Stress and anxiety share many of the same physical symptoms, making it tough to tell them apart. Both can cause:

  • Excessive worry
  • Exhaustion
  • Frequent headaches
  • Irritability
  • Muscle tension
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Sleepless nights
  • Trouble concentrating

But, they are very different and require different care.


Stress is a short-lived feeling with an identifiable cause. It’s once-and-done and doesn’t leave you in a constant state of worry. Stress can have a positive or negative impact. For example, when stress motivates you to meet your boss’ deadline, that’s a good thing. However, if high-level stress is a constant companion, it can have serious health consequences. If it’s not managed, stress can build into anxiety.


Anxiety, on the other hand, is a mental health condition that causes you to worry constantly without good reason. It sticks around for the long term, and can be felt every day. Severe cases can affect your social life, your work life and your daily life.

Strategies such as getting regular sleep, exercising often and practicing relaxation techniques, like meditation and yoga can help manage stress. Yet, you feel extremely stressed most of the time or think you may have anxiety, the first step is to talk with your doctor, who can refer you for more specialized help, if needed.

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