The Difference Between Stress and Anxiety (and How to Manage Both)
Who isn’t stressed out, especially right now? With so many things being thrown at us in the world, and not to mention, oh, everyday things like managing money, work, and figuring out family stuff, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and stressed. Some people even find themselves now dealing with anxiety they never experienced before. Why is this happening? To figure that out, first we need to lay the foundation of how stress and anxiety form, how they’re different, and how they’re connected.
Stress vs. Anxiety
The difference between stress and anxiety really comes down to one thing: stress is a response to the perception of a threat; whereas, anxiety is a reaction to stress. Both cause physical, psychological, and mental reactions depending on the situation.
Now let’s complicate things! Stress falls into two buckets: acute stress, or short-term stress, and chronic stress, which is long-term stress. Acute stress happens and then once the situation that prompted it is over, the brain cues the body to go back to normal. Chronic stress, however, is more constant, so the body never receives the signal to go back to normal since the brain believes the threat is still lurking. Chronic stress can cause things like insomnia, anger, headaches, and irritability and can also lead to serious health issues such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease, among others.
Stress is also not always a bad thing. “Good” stress helps us accomplish things like meeting deadlines, painting the living room, or pushing ourselves a little harder at the gym. Of course, stress can also be a negative thing, and that is how the majority of people view stress, as a problem rather than recognizing its dual nature.
Anxiety too can be short-term or long-term. Short-term anxiety usually occurs before a test, when dealing with a relationship issue, or talking to your boss. Most people describe it as worrying or being extra nervous. Those people who feel anxiety all the time may suffer from an anxiety disorder, which is where the anxiety not only doesn’t go away after a given time, it gets worse. An anxiety disorder manifests when anxiety interrupts daily activities at home, work, or school. Unfortunately, unlike stress, there’s really no “good” version of anxiety though there are many types.
Can Anxiety Cause More Stress?Stress causes anxiety, but can it work vice-versa? The answer is kinda. Once anxiety builds into a disorder, it can interrupt daily life, putting more stress on the mind, body, and emotions. Remember, acute stress is a response to a threat; anxiety can cause regularly non-threatening life situations to be perceived as threats, signaling a new stress response which increases anxiety.
See that stress-anxiety rollercoaster forming there? Sadly you can be any height to ride it and it can be really dangerous. The good news is you can get off the rollercoaster any time you want with the right tools and a little work.
Managing Stress and AnxietyAn immediate way to manage stress right now is to use supplements that support stress management and calm anxiety. R3SET’s Calm helps chill you out and keep you focused during the day, edging out daily stressors (like talking to the boss) and quelling anxiety that can make you fuzzy and jittery. Unwind supports your daily unwind, helping your brain find a little peace after a long day and setting your brain and body up for restorative and rejuvenating rest. R3SET’s Calm and Unwind are a one-two punch to stress that you can feel immediately.
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