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I have to admit, anxiety still grips me sometimes; my mind racing through many equally horrid outcomes. Whilst my mind races in destructive patterns of thought, I fuel my fear which is immediately accompanied by an impending sense of dread.  It’s true that I have made several lifestyle choices to reduce the effects of anxiety but, being a huge advocate of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (or CBT) as I’m sure you know, I decided to investigate a more structured approach in how to tackle anxiety.

 

Today I share the lifestyle choices I learnt with you and explore the CCI InfoPax featured on my best resources page named ‘Panic Stations’, so you too can live a lighter life, one where you control your mind, rather than being held hostage by it. So take heart, when it comes to wars of the mind, this is a fight you can definitely win!

 

The Difference Between Stress and Anxiety

 

Many people use the terms anxiety and stress interchangeably however though they may be similar they are actually different and need to be treated as such. In simple terms stress induces at times severe tension and lack of focus which is caused by the existing pressures we feel in life, whereas anxiety is an irrational form of fear and causes worry in relation to the future (possible outcomes or perceived future life conditions).

 

If you are still unsure whether you are suffering from anxiety or stress it can be helpful to distinguish between stress and anxiety’s symptoms which are listed below. Though there are similar physical symptoms the most noticeable difference can be found in the emotional symptoms, such as the feeling of dread (as opposed to feeling overwhelmed when stressed) and feeling as though others can see you are anxious and are looking at you.

 

Symptoms of Stress Symptoms of Anxiety
Headaches Headaches
Upset stomach Churning in the pit of your stomach
Low energy Pins and needles
Tense muscles Nausea
Insomnia Insomnia
Dry mouth Tense muscles
Clenched jaw Needing the toilet more frequently
Nervousness or shaking Faster breathing and / or dizziness
Becoming easily agitated Becoming easily agitated
Changed appetite Sweating
Difficulty relaxing Panic attacks
Worrying and racing thoughts A sense of dread
Forgetfulness Feeling like the world is speeding up or slowing down
Inability to focus Inability to focus
Impaired judgment Feeling numb
Pessimism Pessimism
Feeling overwhelmed Racing thoughts and / or obsessing over possible situations (rumination)
Procrastinating Feeling like others can see you are anxious and are looking at you
Increased use of alcohol, drugs or cigarettes Increased use of alcohol, drugs or cigarettes

 

Do you think you’ve ever confused stress with anxiety? Have you ever suffered from anxiety? Can you recall a time that you were anxious and how, in experiencing your anxiety, it differed from stress? Please share your thoughts in the comments below to gain encouragement, insight and support from our community, we’d love to hear from you.

 

Exercises:

 

  1. List a time when you were stressed, what it was about and how it affected you.
  2. List a time when you were anxious, what it was about and how it affected you.
  3. Note down what the differences were between these two experiences (this will help you better decipher between how anxiety and stress impacts you specifically).

 

Further resources:

 

Overcoming Anxiety: A Self-Help Guide Using Cognitive Behavioral Techniques by Helen Kennerley

 

Stay tuned – next week we will examine the thinking traps we can fall into so we can begin to notice and avoid them!