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Stress and anxiety: How to tell them apart?

It's hard to deal with something you don't understand. This is why we have decided to explain the difference between stress and anxiety. We will also suggest tips on how to better manage them.


Stress

Stress is a reaction of the body that is completely normal.


It is a cause and effect relationship.


For example, it is normal to be stressed on your first day of school. However, it is a stressful situation that quickly dissipates once the day is over.


Stress is an essential source of energy deployed by our brain. It is what gives us the motivation to go on a scary ride. And it is, also, what gives us the energy to study for an exam.

The 4 triggers of stress

  1. Weak control (e.g. work overload)

  2. Unpredictability (e.g. a car accident)

  3. Novelty (e.g. a new job)

  4. Threatened ego (e.g., a dispute with a loved one who throws flaws in your face)

How to manage your stress?


Step #1 is to target the source of your stress. This way, we give ourselves the impression of having a little more control over the situation.


Step #2 happens when we are not able to calm ourselves. At this point, there are abdominal breathing techniques. They are very effective in getting back to a normal breathing pattern.

Reduce stress with good lifestyle habits

  • Limit your consumption of coffee, tea, soft drinks and alcoholic beverages

  • Do a little physical activity every week

  • Eat a healthy diet

  • Get enough sleep

  • Talk about your worries and problems openly with those around you

  • Use relaxation techniques (like meditation or yoga)


Anxiety


Anxiety can be categorized as the fear of being afraid.


It is an intense feeling of anticipated danger by the anxious person.


Anxiety is not an event that is happening, but the idea that an unfortunate event COULD happen. For example, "I'm 28 years old and I don't have a spouse or children yet, so I'll never have any. I'll end up alone. Oh my God! I don't want to end up alone, it's so sad.


It's really amplifying what might happen in your imagination.


The hard thing about anxiety is that it feels uncontrollable. It paralyzes the person experiencing it and, when it persists, it can interfere with normal life.


Anxiety symptoms to watch for



How do you manage your anxiety?


The most important thing to understand about managing anxiety is that you should not try to control it. But you shouldn't try to avoid it either.


Learning to let go

It is normal to want to control the risks of an event that we do not want to happen. But how can we be sure that it will happen or not? It is better to detach ourselves from the feeling that everything could go wrong. And to focus on the fact that we simply have no control.


Avoiding avoidance

When anxiety levels rise quickly, we tend to want to avoid it so we don't feel bad. On the other hand, the more we ignore it, the more the anxiety continues to grow inside us. Then, in the future, the situation may be much worse than if we hadn't avoided it in the first place. Facing our fears a little bit each time allows us to overcome them in the end.


Change your way of thinking

It is important to make more room for positive thoughts. Your worries should no longer get the better of you. You must be indulgent with yourself. This way, your expectations and demands will no longer cause you anxiety.



** These tips for anxiety are without prejudice. If you feel you need help, you can always consult a doctor or psychologist.



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