the difference between stress and anxiety?



the difference between stress and anxiety?

In: Other

To put it simply: stress is a physiological state, anxiety is an emotion.

To elaborate: stress is our response to a perceived threat, you’ve probably heard of the fight-or-flight response. Our body releases hormones to do things such as increase our heart rate to prepare for action. Stress is often supposed to happen reactively; something sudden might startle us such as an animal jumping out at us. It’s an involuntary process, and our mind is more often preoccupied with making snap decisions.

Anxiety is a general mood often based around dread, the anticipation of a perceived threat. It’s the fear that an animal might attack us, though we haven’t seen one yet. It starts as a mental state that then might lead to a stress response.

In general use, people might interchange the terms to mean the other.

Either can cause the other. But they’re separate things.

Ever had butterflies in your stomach because you were going to ask someone out or had to do public speaking? That weird feeling of uneasiness and maybe queasiness that leads you to second guessing decisions and playing scenarios out in your head and worrying about them. Usually you can’t sit still, you’re restless and maybe pacing around or keep checking the time or your phone without any reason to… just fidgety?
That’s anxiety. It’s in your head.

Now, anxiety or tension causes your body to react. Your pupils dilate, your heart rate increases, your brain releases hormones, your metabolism slows down etc.
That’s stress. It’s in your body.

When people talk about “stressing” over something, they’re usually referring to anxiety, but that’s because anxiety makes us feel stress (as do many other things) so people who don’t have an acute awareness of anxiety like those with PTSD etc just associate them together and get their terminology wrong.

You manage stress.

You experience anxiety.

This is the simplest understanding I have come to managing both in my life.

I’m happy you have what appear to be serious answers here. Because there’s an old classic joke that’s related:

**Q:** *What’s the difference between anxiety and panic?*
**A:** Anxiety *is the first time you can’t get it up a second time.* Panic *is the second time you can’t get it up the first time.*

Hope that helps!

The shortest way possible..

Stress = body reacting to something currently happening

Anxiety = your body reacting to something that will/might be happening in the future