Health & Fitness

Anxiety and Stress: What Are the Differences and How to Deal With These Problems

Despite the fact that the symptoms of stress and anxiety are similar, there are several key differences between them.

The Difference in the Causes

Stress is a state in which tasks or challenges are perceived as something with which a person is unable to cope. It’s as if it’s beyond one’s strength.

Anxiety is more intense but uncertain. It has to do with the expectation of likely impending danger, catastrophe, or misfortune.

Differences in the Nature of Reactions

Stress is caused by external stimuli. They can usually be identified, named, and described. Anxiety is an internal reaction. It occurs when the stress cannot be recognized and dealt with. Because of this, it’s also difficult to identify the causes of anxiety. It can also persist even after the situation has been resolved.

Different Manifestations

Stress is manifested by irritability, a sense of urgency, decreased energy levels, changes in appetite, etc. Signs of anxiety can be nervousness, restlessness, inability to concentrate, the need to control everything, obsessive thoughts about the future or the past, etc. During hard times, such emotions are faced, even while playing at the best Canadian sportsbooks or chatting with beloved relatives.

If we compare stress and anxiety to illness, then stress is like a cold and anxiety is like allergies. Sometimes they can manifest themselves in the same way. But the symptoms of a cold disappear after recovery, while in the case of allergies, they need to be constantly monitored. After all, an unexpected trigger can make the situation worse. Often a person is highly stressed and prone to anxiety until their basic needs are met. To restore the balance, normalize sleep, add a complete balanced diet and physical activity.

We don’t expect a car to run without gasoline. At the same time, we demand from ourselves calmness, ease and intelligence at the end of a difficult week spent in an office chair with fast food instead of lunch. It doesn’t work that way.

Where do you start? Get enough sleep on a regular basis. Walk every day, eat breakfast, limit caffeine, sugar and alcohol. Make time for yourself, hobbies and friends.

These rules seem trivial, like the advice to fill up your car when you run out of gas. But the trick is that it works!

How to Deal With These Problems

Breathing Technique for Relaxation

During the breathing exercises, try to focus on the very process of breathing without distracting yourself with extraneous thoughts.

  1. Take a comfortable body position and start breathing through your nose.
  2. Close your eyes and concentrate on how the air passes through your nose.
  3. Take a deep and slow breath and try to feel a slight coolness in the air.
  4. Hold your breath for a few seconds.
  5. Make a quiet exhalation and try to feel that the escaping air is already warm.
  6. Perform this sequence of actions several times until the tension is released.

Muscle Relaxation Technique

Often a concomitant factor in the occurrence of stress is our physical state. Try to normalize the emotional background at the physical level with the following actions:

  1. Adopt a comfortable body position and take a few calm breaths and exhales.
  2. Clench your fists and then relax them; spread your fingers and then relax them.
  3. Tense your arm muscles (biceps and triceps) and then relax them.
  4. Pull your shoulders back, then relax them; bring your shoulders forward, then relax them.
  5. Turn your head all the way to the right and then relax your neck; turn your head all the way to the left and then relax your neck; press your chin to your chest and then relax your neck.
  6. Open your eyes wide and relax them; then close your eyes with all your might, and then relax your eyes and nose.
  7. Take a deep breath and then get some air in; breathe normally for 15 seconds; exhale all the air from your lungs and then exhale some more; breathe normally for 15 seconds
  8. Gently arch your thoracic spine forward, and then relax your back
  9. Draw your belly in as much as possible and then relax it; inflate your belly as much as possible or tense your abdominal muscles and then relax them
  10. Tense your glutes and move your pelvis up slightly, then relax your glutes.
  11. Extend your legs forward and lift 15 cm from the floor, then lower your feet and relax them; press your feet firmly to the floor, then relax them.
  12. Lift your toes up and then relax them; lift your feet up and then relax them.

Relaxing Visualization Technique

One of the most effective ways to relieve stress is to shift your attention.

  1. Get into a comfortable body position and close your eyes.
  2. Take a few deep breaths and exhales.
  3. Imagine that you are in a quiet, peaceful and pleasant place where you can easily relax (like the forest, the beach, etc.).
  4. Hold the imagined image and concentrate on the feeling of relaxation, trying to intensify it and to sink into it as deeply as possible.
  5. Detail the image, imagining it in every detail (birdsong, or the sound of waves, or the coolness, or the warm rays of the sun, etc.).
  6. Slowly open your eyes and breathe slowly for a few minutes.

From the suggested methods of stress relief, choose the most suitable for you and use it at the moment of a stressful situation.

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