The Difference Between Anxiety and Worry

Although the words worry and anxiety are often used interchangeably, the way we experience them is incredibly distinct. The two are separate emotional states which each have unique effects on your current and long-term mental health. A person experiencing worry tends to feel it in their mind, while a person experiencing anxiety may feel it in their body as well. To some, anxiety brings nausea, hyperventilation, or digestive problems like irritable bowel syndrome.

Worry is considered a normal psychological state, while anxiety is not. For those suffering from anxiety, the only way to find relief may be psychological treatment. Understanding the difference between the two can help you make the changes you need to achieve growth and stability.

The Symptoms of Worry Versus Anxiety

Worry is usually brought on by a specific cause, such as the need to get somewhere by a designated time. When you can resolve the source of concern, your worry can diminish or disappear. Developing problem-solving skills can help you navigate your worries with confidence and attain inner calm when facing challenges.

By comparison, anxiety can persist over a long period, even when the issue at hand is irrational or unrealistic. It can affect numerous areas of your life and interfere with your ability to function. Anxiety can spread from one source to another, causing you to spiral into an ever-deepening well of panic.

While worry tends to be temporary, anxiety is longstanding. While worry can be addressed through problem-solving, you may not be able to pinpoint the source of your anxiety, making it challenging to fix. Anxiety can be likened to a hamster wheel that continuously spins. No matter how long or how fast your mind spins in place, it may never lead you to a solution.

Living With Worry and Anxiety

Worry is grounded by reality by a logical component, while anxiety is fueled by catastrophic thinking. When you experience worry, your brain is trying to make sense of potential danger or discomfort while leaving room to find a way to protect yourself or avoid the situation altogether. When you experience anxiety, your brain is constantly overestimating risk. People who suffer from anxiety tend to also underestimate their ability to cope with outcomes.

While worrying does not generally impact your ability to function in your personal and professional life, anxiety can make regular daily functioning seem impossible. Anxiety can make you feel constantly restless or uncomfortable, to the point that it can become a tremendous effort to even get out of bed. It’s not uncommon for people to take sick days from work or school because of debilitating anxiety.

If You’re Consumed By Worry:

There’s never a shortage of things to worry about. The ongoing pandemic has dramatically changed our lives. You may have been forced to homeschool your children, lost your home or business, or encountered intense financial and personal strains. These are all legitimate causes of worry. If you’re struggling with excessive worrying or find yourself developing symptoms of consistent anxiety, there are steps you can take in pursuit of relief.

  • Take a break from the news and social media. Too much information can increase feelings of stress. It’s understandable to want to be informed – just remember to take a break from the endless digital cycle to bring yourself relief.
  • Engage in mindfulness activities. Take some time out each day to tune into yourself and enjoy the world around you. By going on a walk around your neighborhood, meditating, or cooking, you can reduce stress and anxiety.
  • Challenge yourself to reshape negative thoughts. If you often tell yourself, “I can’t do…” try to reshape this thought. An uncomfortable or anxious mind often fuels negative thoughts. Reset your mind by actively thinking in a new direction.
  • Accept the things that make you anxious. You don’t have to do everything that others do. There are plenty of people who find excitement in rock climbing and plenty who don’t. It doesn’t define you. Let yourself sit some activities out if it’ll help you feel better.
  • Learn how to tolerate things that make you uncomfortable. While it’s always acceptable to sit out trying situations, exposing yourself to small doses of the things that make you anxious can help you build up a tolerance. Desensitizing yourself to discomfort is a type of exposure treatment that has been shown to promote relaxation and inner calm.
  • Reach out to people who bring you relief. Sometimes all we need is to hear someone else’s voice. While the pandemic has made it harder to connect in person, you can still communicate with your loved ones through smartphones and other devices. Set up zoom calls with the people you love and whose presence can soothe your mind.

Although the words worry and anxiety are often used interchangeably, they are distinct emotional states that can negatively affect your mind. It is normal for you to feel worried throughout your lifetime. While you can often find solutions that reduce feelings of worry, it’s rarely that simple if you’re dealing with anxiety. Anxiety is a deep-rooted consistent experience that can have destructive consequences on your mind and body. Anxiety can make you feel stuck in a rut, surrounded by danger with no way out. Worry and anxiety can be debilitating, and you don’t have to fight them on your own. If you’re ready to reduce your negative emotions and access resources that can help manage your symptoms, reach out to Achieve Concierge today. We provide individualized care designed to help you overcome challenges in your mental health and reach your goal of living a balanced, successful life. Call us at (619) 393-5871 to learn more.

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