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Stress And Anxiety Are Not The Same Thing
Many of the emotional and physical symptoms of stress and anxiety are the same and quite often they’re used interchangeably because, they’re so similar and hard to tell apart that they’re like identical twins. In fact, when trying to describe the sensation of stress, we are also describing the sensation of anxiety.
Medically, the term ‘stress’ per se is used to describe acute stress: that bolt of stress we experience for a short period of time until the threat has been adequately dealt with. Is’s also the gearing up in preparation to handle something that’s arisen or is just coming up. Stress typically has an external stressor, some specific external factor that acts as a trigger to activate the stress response. When we’re stressed, we usually know what has caused us to be stressed, we can identify the reasons.The Difference Between Stress And Anxiety Click To Tweet
Anxiety, however, doesn’t always have an obviously identifiable trigger, and the trigger is typically internal, generated by excessive thoughts, rather than external, although stress, too, can trigger anxiety. If, once the external stressor has passed, we’re still experiencing distress, overthinking, self-judgement, rumination, and overwhelm, then that’s more likely anxiety. When we’re feeling relenting apprehension and worry about something that’s not yet happened, about things that might occur, then there’s usually anxiety present as well.
A BOOK OF TWO HALVES…
When we’re feeling stressed, we’re already buckling beneath the weight of it all. The last thing we need is a tome to add to the pile of burdens we’re already carrying. We need effective solutions and we need them quickly.
The first part of the book is full of all of the things I wish I’d known about stress; that there’s such a thing as good stress, that there are five stress responses – not just fight and flight, how stress is contagious and how it affects our executive functioning, to name a few. These are bite-sized dollops of information. This section underpins the ‘why’ of the things we might ‘try’, which form the basis of the second part of the book.
Part two is the toolkit – head there first if you need guidance ASAP. It’ll meet you right where you are and hold your hand right through it. Perhaps you’re in the thick of it and need quick-acting stress-relieving tools to calm and ground you. Maybe you’re in the aftermath, feeling a bit thrown and needing to express what you’ve been through. There are techniques for building resilience to stress, identifying stressors, and suggestions aplenty of things we can do to promote healing.
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