The terms “stress” and “anxiety” are both words that are used commonly in our language. They’re often used interchangeably, but this doesn’t mean that they’re the same thing. In fact, while the two can have the same symptoms, there are significant differences between stress and anxiety that are important to understand.
When we think of stress and anxiety, the symptoms that come to mind are often loss of sleep, uneasiness, headaches, high blood pressure, etc. And while it is true that these symptoms are all symptoms of both stress and anxiety, the difference between the two is mainly in the origins.
When it comes to stress, the origin is often something external. It’s something that we can put our finger on as a reasonable cause for said stress. For example, you might feel stress in relation to an upcoming test or exam. You might feel stress about an unanswered medical diagnosis. You might feel stressed because your work deadlines are coming up. Stress can be caused by an array of things, but the commonality in all these things is that the cause is easily pinpointed.
On the other hand, anxiety is often something that is harder to pinpoint. This is because the origin is often internal, and it may not make sense. In many cases, untreated anxiety can develop into an anxiety disorder, making it even more important to know the signs and symptoms.
Whether you’re experiencing stress or anxiety, know that you’re not alone. Both are incredibly common in our society, and both deserve our attention. If you’re experiencing symptoms of stress and/or anxiety, reach out to someone! Whether it’s a trusted adult, a parent, or a counselor, coping with other people is always more effective.
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Helpline: 1-800-950-NAMI (6264)
Winnebago County Crisis Hotline: 920-233-7707
By Lexi Breunig