While anxiety, is defined as persisting, excessive concerns, worries, and intrusive thoughts that persist even in the absence of stressors that initially cause the anxiety, stress is better defined as a proportionate response to environmental or situational stressors that lessen in intensity when the initial cause of the stress will resolve.
When held in the body, stress shows in physical manifestations like lethargy, changes in blood pressure, headaches, dizziness, fatigue, inexplicable aches, and/or wide-span muscle pain. Other symptoms include digestive troubles (persistent constipation, bouts of nausea, gas pains, acid reflux, or bouts of diarrhea), and disturbed sleep (restless sleep, insomnia, snoring, broken sleep, sleepwalking, etc).
Stress is any number of things, and is usually caused by an outside force, leaving little to control but ourselves.
Environmental and Situational Stressors May Look Like This:
- Changes in career, job interviews, or opportunities for promotions
- Mounting academic work, the need to pass tests or get licenses
- Arguments with friends, partners, or family members
- Personal loss and grief
- Financial strains or a failing economy
- Issues with an individual’s health or the health of a loved one
- Discord at home, or within a union
- Transitions, such as moving to a new city or state
- Personal or shared crisis’
The difference between anxiety and stress means that, with stress, when the stressor is absent, has gone away, or otherwise handled, the feelings of unease leave with it.
However, finding yourself with chronic stress means that it can feel like clinical anxiety, in that the stress never seems to go away. Chronic stress is stress that is compounded with no real relief or reprieve.