Nova Scotia Journal

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

What’s the difference between anxiety and stress?

anxiety and stress

A large number of responsibilities or a high-stakes work project can usually cause a stress response. “Anxiety is largely internal” and is determined by how you react to stressors, according to clinical psychologist Narendra Kinger, founder of ‘Talk To Me.’

The terms stress also anxiety are frequently used interchangeably. However, there is a perfection to be made between the two. Stress and anxiety both have physical and psychological effects on us, but they affect different people in different ways. So, how does one differentiate themselves?

According to experts, while stress is primarily external, anxiety is “largely internal.” Anxiety is a psychological reaction to some change. “As a conditioned response, this reaction is usually caused by fear.” Thus, an overpowering emotional response to stress causes anxiety.

Stress is essential to retaining the spark of life while anxiety consumes energy,” said Dr. Karthiyayini Mahadevan, Head of Wellness and Wellbeing at Columbia Pacific Communities.

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There is always an external stressor rather a trigger when it comes to stress, such as a strict teacher, an impending deadline, or a fight with a friend. However, anxiety does not require a stressor; it can simply be apprehension about something that might happen in the future. “What we worry about may not even happen, but the thought of it happening causes us to grow anxious and panicked,” said Dr. Shireen Stephen (Ph.D.), counseling psychologist at Mind Talk at Cadabams Hospitals in Bengaluru.

Dr. Stephen uses an example to differentiate between the two. “Stress is the pressure you may be feeling to give a presentation at a team meeting, finish a project on time, or finish studying for an exam.”

“Anxiety is the fear that the presentation will not go well, that the project will be incomplete, or that you will fail the exam,” Dr. Stephen described. Another distinction, according to Dr. Stephen, is the duration stress lasts until the event is resolved, whereas anxiety can be persistent and last for a long time.


Moodiness, irritability or anger, feeling overwhelmed, dizzy, lonely, nauseous, and a general sense of unhappiness are all symptoms of stress. Anxiety symptoms include feeling restless, tense, nervous, and a general sense of dread.

Source: Indian express

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