Stress vs Anxiety: What's The Difference?

Stress vs Anxiety: What's The Difference?

Stress is one of those parts of the human experience that most of us would prefer to skip over, like filing taxes, getting a cavity filled or cleaning the gutters. But, the more we learn about stress, the better we can manage this everyday annoyance. One thing that can help is learning the differences between stress vs. anxiety.

Read on to find out more about both stress and anxiety – and how to keep your cool.

The Difference Between Stress and Anxiety

Stress and anxiety are somewhat similar. Think of stress as the result of external forces and anxiety as internal ones. Like digestion, breathing and sleeping, stress is going to happen as long as you’re alive. It’s part of how humans evolved to stay safe and outrun dangers. Stress can even be positive, like when you react quickly to avert a fender bender or dig deep to reach a deadline.

Your body has a pre-wired cycle for coping with stress: Danger happens, and your body switches into “fight or flight” mode to give you the energy to get to safety. Once you’re safe or the stressor/danger passes, you switch back into “rest and digest” mode. You stay here until next time.

Today’s on-the-go, 24/7 world sometimes leaves us stuck in the “on” mode, so that’s why it’s important to have a self-care toolbox full of tips and ideas for helping you manage stress regularly.

Occasional anxiety is part of that natural stress cycle. Think of it as your “spidey sense” that clues you into a danger or threat. It, too, is part of everyday life. Like stress, it should turn on when something’s “off,” then turn itself off once you’re safe. That doesn’t always happen, since life can sometimes feel like a video game, with obstacles to dodge at every turn!

Stress vs Anxiety: Symptoms and Signs

As a general rule, stress is a short-term feeling with a traceable cause, while occasional, mild anxiety may not have a clear-cut reason behind it. Some of the physical signs can overlap.

Always reach out to a trained health-care professional if you need help managing your emotional or physical health.

Symptoms of Stress

  • breathing faster
  • changes in sleep
  • changes in productivity
  • dizziness
  • feeling like things are moving too fast
  • feeling lonely or isolated
  • feeling moody, irritable or upset
  • feeling overwhelmed
  • increased heart rate
  • occasional nausea
  • trouble focusing

Symptoms of Mild, Occasional Anxiety

  • breathing faster
  • feeling nervous
  • feeling physically tense
  • feeling restless
  • feeling uneasy or a sense of dread
  • increased heart rate
  • sweating (not due to physical exertion or heat)

How to Deal with Stress vs Anxiety

Luckily, the same techniques and healthy habits you use to deal with one can help with the other. Here are a few that might help:

  1. Get plenty of rest. Easier said than done, we know, but sleep gives you more energy to deal with everyday stress and occasional anxiety. Need some support? Reach for Hello Dreams™ Sleep Strips with Melatonin & Calm Down™ herbal blend. With more than melatonin, each fast-acting strip helps you fall and stay asleep (and fall back to sleep, if need be), to wake up rejuvenated.*
  2. Find a preventative outlet. Whether you like to journal your feelings, run laps at the track or knead dough to unleash frustration, find what works for you – and then make it part of your weekly routine. Self-care isn’t selfish. It helps you build a superhero forcefield against the annoyances and hiccups life throws at you (before they cause you stress).

3. Know what to do in the moment. Since anxiety is that feeling that signals stress is happening, having a way to cope can help you stay calm and steady. Meditation, deep breathing, splashing cold water on your pulse points and taking a walk may help. So can supplements for stress.*


*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.