We often use the words “anxiety” and “stress” interchangeably. Both are normal, adaptive responses to life’s challenges and share many symptoms ( for example, worry, stomach aches, restlessness, muscle tension, racing thoughts, headaches, sleepless nights, etc.)
But despite their similarities, there are important differences between the two. And knowing the differences is the first step towards finding relief.
Anxiety is mostly triggered internally by excessive thoughts (for example, judgments about the past or worries about the future).
Like stress, anxiety can be useful in the right scenarios. The discomfort it makes us feel was designed to alert us of something, precisely so that we listen up and protect ourselves.
When left unchecked, both stress and anxiety can escalate into more severe mental health conditions.