Stress and anxiety are a part of life. Everyone experiences them. Because stress and anxiety share many physical symptoms, it can be difficult to tell which is which. The main difference between them is that stress is a response to a threat while anxiety is a reaction to the stress. While mild anxiety can be expected and even normal in some situations, persistent anxiety can interfere with well-being. Making matters worse, we can develop anxiety over having anxiety!
Stress is your body’s reaction to a trigger. It’s generally a short-term experience that can be either positive or negative. When you pull off a deadline, it’s positive. But when stress results in insomnia, poor concentration, and impaired ability, it’s negative. Anxiety, on the other hand, doesn’t fade into the distance once the threat is gone. It hangs around for the long haul, and can cause significant impairment in social, occupational, and other important areas of functioning.
Anxiety intensifies over a period of time and often goes hand in hand with excessive worry. The symptoms of anxiety may include:
- increased startle response
- increased heart rate
- muscle tension
- disturbed sleep
- difficulty concentrating
- shortness of breath
If you have difficulty managing stress and anxiety, talk therapy can help you learn to identify triggers and find strategies that work for you.
The following website offers a wide variety of free, self-report questionnaires for anxiety, worry, stress, OCD, depression and more. They are not a substitute for clinical advice, but are intended to provide you insight and direction should you want to seek further help.
The following is a free online self-report attachment style questionnaire. It’s been around a long time, but is still my favorite. It does not replace a clinical diagnosis but is intended to shed more light on your style of relating.