Stress vs Anxiety: What's the Difference?

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Community Leader
Registered: 09-23-2010
Stress vs Anxiety: What's the Difference?
Fri, 02-28-2014 - 3:15pm

It’s safe to assume that most of us have experienced stress in one form or another, whether it’s a deadline at work, a family conflict or an important decision. The constricting, chest-pressing fear can feel never ending and can put us into a state of unrest.

With stressful elements churning in our minds, it can be difficult to sort out how we’re feeling, and more importantly, whatlevel of stress we’re experiencing. It’s human nature to exaggerate, so there are many times when we claim we feel something more than we actually do. Enter (often false) statements like “This situation is giving me anxiety.” and “This whole thing is going to make me have a panic attack.”

So how can we tell when our stress is actually yielding to these conditions? David Spiegel, Stanford University’s associate chair of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, says that while the line between stress and anxiety often gets blurred, there are distinct things to be aware of -- including how these emotions affect the body and the root causes of each. Below, find five things you should know about stress, anxiety and how they really compare to each other.

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Have you falsely assumed your stress was anxiety?