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Confusing stress with anxiety

Confusing stress with anxiety and how to avoid it.

On occasion and more often that you’d think, I’ll hear a client say that thy are stressed with anxiety. I get where they are coming from but what they’ve done is conflate two related but separate issues.

Stress is your body’s reaction to a trigger and is generally a short-term experience. Stress can be positive or negative. When stress kicks in and helps you pull off that deadline, it’s positive. When stress results in insomnia, poor concentration, and impaired ability to do the things you normally do, it’s negative. Stress is a response to a threat in any given situation. Stress is not a mental health diagnosis, but it can make you feel very anxious and emotional.

Anxiety, on the other hand, is a sustained mental health disorder that can be triggered by stress. Anxiety doesn’t fade into the distance once the threat is gone, or the deadline has passed. Anxiety hangs around for the long haul, and can cause significant impairment in social, occupational, and other important areas of functioning.

Ok, so now that I’ve shown you the difference, what next?

I’ve written about this before; part of your journey with Motivation is about learning about your body, in both its physiological and psychological states. By arming yourself with the knowledge, you are both better and best placed to handle and deal with life’s curve balls that will inevitably come at you from out of the blue.

Perhaps that is one of my most satisfying moments as a consultant; when a client looks me straight in the eye and is able to recount how she disarmed a tricky situation because she’s taken the time to arm herself or ‘tool up’ as one client said to me.

It’s three years ago since we published an excellent guide, ‘Understanding Anxiety & How To Successfully Deal With It’. I’ve included a link to the guide here. Confusing stress with anxiety and how to avoid it – it’s well worth 10 minutes of your time.


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