I struggle with stress and and anxiety on a regular basis! But recognizing the difference can be crucial! Stress, worry and anxiety are not one and the same, but are often used interchangeably.
- Stress is our body’s reaction to a trigger and can be positive or negative ( basically is it helping you accomplish something or making life difficult?)
- Worry is also thought based and occurs in our minds and limbic systems.
- Anxiety is the reaction to stress—which can also evoke a fear response and create associations in our minds.
So when we get stressed out and worried, we associate a negative thought and it creates anxiety. It is the fight, flight, freeze response. Our minds have created a reaction to stress which is anxiety. This activates a safety mechanism to protect us. So our anxiety is often self-preservation, it just doesn’t feel like it! We need to re-teach our minds what is truly safe, and what is not. Then our bodies can properly respond to the stress and worry we are faced with on a daily basis.
Jamie Coyne, LCSW