Though similar, anxiety and stress are two very different psychological issues. People who are stressed sometimes try to compare themselves to people with anxiety, but anyone who has ever experienced chronic anxiety knows that the two will never be the same. In my practice as an online mental health counselor, I have worked with several people as they cope with both stress and anxiety. I’m dedicating this week’s blog to helping people understand the difference between these different psychological challenges.
Understanding The Difference: A Few Real-Life Examples
Approaching Big Deadlines
People with stress will experience a great deal of pressure as the deadline approaches. They may experience difficulty sleeping and find themselves unable to put their projects out of their minds until it is finished and the deadlines have passed. Once it’s over, however, they will be able to relax and focus on something else.
People with anxiety will also experience a great deal of pressure and stress as the deadline approaches, and may suffer the same types of symptoms as their stressed counterparts. The big difference is that once the deadline has passed, these people will still feel anxious.
Meeting New People
Some people may experience stress when they meet someone new for the first time, but typically only when the person they are meeting is of great influence, since in these instances it is especially important to make a good impression. In general, however, they don’t feel any stress leading up to or during introductions with new people.
People with anxiety often feel extremely anxious any time they meet someone new – and frequently even when interacting with people they already know. After the interaction is over, they typically replay everything they said in their minds, over-analyzing and criticizing their comments and behavior.
Understanding The Difference: Illustration In Action
The Mighty recently released an exceptional video that helps illustrate the difference between stress and anxiety: