eli5 the difference (for you body) between anxiety and excitement


Is excitement bad for your heart the same way anxiety is? They strike me as similar emotions with similar affects on the body (heart pumping etc.) apart from the fact that one is associated with joy and the other is associated with stress. There might be a fine line between both.

In: 9

It is a fine line and the primary difference is your emotional state. In fact, one way of dealing with anxiety is to turn it into excitement. While this doesn’t eliminated the state of biological excitement, it turns it into a positive experience.

Anxiety is a normal response to many situations and is only a problem when it is persistent or excessive.

Short answer, we don’t know for sure. They definitely overlap a lot. E.g., the amygdala in the brain reacts to emotional intensity. People usually think negative emotion, but a study found the it also does positive intensity, too.

Longer story: what is excitement, scientifically?

It’s a debate in psychology what emotion states are supposed to mean, or if they’re even real (just bc we have names for them doesn’t make them unique states in the brain).

The short answer is that we haven’t settled the debate. And it’s unclear what you mean by excitement, scientifically. To my knowledge most studies are not about excitement, but rather things like joy which isn’t as physically energetic. So there may not be any studies specifically about anxiety v excitement.

Still, as far as we know so far, there don’t appear to be strong UNIQUE links between physiology and emotion. Example, an increase in heart rate can imply multiple emotional states, so they’re not unique. Still being studied though.

Physiologically speaking they’re the same. In both cases your “fight or flight” system (sympathetic nervous system) is getting activated. This isn’t bad for the body in the short term, it’s part of our survival mechanism.

The reason anxiety causes issues is that it tends to be unrelenting. It’s normal to be nervous before a big speech for example, and it may make it hard for you to eat or sleep the day before. But then you do the speech, and everything goes back to normal, no harm done.

For someone with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) or mixed depression/anxiety, they feel that way constantly. This puts the body under strain because it is not meant to be constantly on “high alert”. It causes some changes metabolically and neurologically that can be difficult to overcome (like on PTSD).

excitement is simply anxiety with a little push. Anxiety is also associated with future expectations. and is a good thing. Like the anxiety a person feels meeting their significant other after being separated for a while. Anxiety is more about not knowing, some folks corrupt Anxiety and turn it into a stress, when in fact, it is simply the mind acknowledging possible outcomes, not all which are good. Like the women’s anxiety about how she looks when reconnecting with her significant other. Anxiety is not stress…it can be a stressor if one allows it. but they are two different things.

Anxiety is a feeling of fear, dread, and uneasiness. It might cause you to sweat, feel restless and tense, and have a rapid heartbeat. It can be a normal reaction to stress. they are not the same. The stress is not-knowing how her significant other will see her after all this time, her anxiety is the result of that not-knowing.