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The Difference Between Worry, Stress and Anxiety


Stress is a biological response(or a reaction) to external changes and forces beyond one's resources. Signs of stress include a rapid heart rate, shallow breath, and an adrenaline rush.

Acute stress or temporary stress is normal and even beneficial. Chronic stress is linked to health concerns like heart disease and a weakened immune system.

Ways to Handle Stress:

  • Exercise daily.
  • Focus your energy on what you can control.
  • Know that your stress response is unique to you.


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The Difference Between Worry, Stress and Anxiety

The Difference Between Worry, Stress and Anxiety


Key Ideas


Worry is the cognitive part of anxiety, with it's repetitive and obsessive thought patterns in our mind. Worry is sometimes essential for us to solve problems or take action, provided we are not stuck in a constant state of worry.

Ways to Handle Worry:

  • Allot some time a day, say 15 to 20 minutes, to worry about problems.
  • Be aware of your worrying, and push yourself into action.
  • Write your worries down, as it can calm obsessive thoughts.


Stress is a biological response(or a reaction) to external changes and forces beyond one's resources. Signs of stress include a rapid heart rate, shallow breath, and an adrenaline rush.

Acute stress or temporary stress is normal and even beneficial. Chronic stress is linked to health concerns like heart disease and a weakened immune system.

Ways to Handle Stress:

  • Exercise daily.
  • Focus your energy on what you can control.
  • Know that your stress response is unique to you.


Anxiety is the culmination of worry and stress. It is a state of body and mind which is stressed and worried for no apparent reason, like a response to a false alarm.

An anxiety disorder is an acute form of anxiety and a serious medical condition.

How to Handle Anxiety:

  • Curb your sugar, alcohol and caffeine consumption.
  • Calm yourself by deep breathing and refocusing on your body parts.
  • Distract yourself by listening to music or a little exercise.
Stress, worry and anxiety can be helped by regular exercise, a nutritious diet and an ample amount of sleep.


    Stress as a personal choice
    Stress as a personal choice
    • Getting psychologically and visibly stressed out could be "manufactured stress". It is a way of showing that what we are doing is important. 
    • Sometimes we cause our own ...
    Understanding Stress
    • Dealing with Stress is imperative as it is unavoidable in modern life.
    • Our work, family and our finances create daily stress and other external factors (like politics and terrorism) co...
    Your Perception About Stress

    With stress, the mind and the body are intrinsically linked. You can view stress as something that is wreaking havoc on your body (and it can) or as something that is giving you the strength and energy to overcome adversity.

    Exposure to Stress

    Regular exposure to stress in small quantities can prepare us to handle a big stressful event in our lives. Prepare yourself for stress by self-education about the stressful event, by doing some physically stressful activities like completing a marathon, or something you dread, like giving a speech.

    Repeated exposure to mildly stressful conditions can alter your body’s biological response to stress, making you manage stress in a better way.

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    Normal And Clinical Anxiety

    Short-lived episodes of anxiety are normal and can actually enhance productivity. But if they last beyond truly stressful moments and seep into everyday situations, they can be a clinical proble...

    Risk Factors For Anxiety
    • Being female (women are twice as likely to suffer from anxiety than are men
    • Caving into societal pressures to be ‘nice’ or be a high achiever
    • Being a perfectionist
    • High reluctance to share feelings
    • Childhood trauma
    • Cumulative stress
    • Genetic predisposition
    Tips For Treating Anxiety
    • Visit your primary care doctor. Your symptoms may be from another condition with similar symptoms.
    • Ensure your chosen mental health professional is well versed in cognitive behavioral therapy, which involves the active restructuring of anxious thoughts and behaviors.
    • Consider skipping the caffeine and other stimulants that may exacerbate anxiety.
    • Exercise. Research indicates that routine exercise wards off the development of panic-related disorders.
    • Remind yourself that it’s okay to be anxious—in fact, the more demand you put on yourself to not be anxious, the more stressed you become.
    • Recognize, identify and cope with your anxiety to stay in control.

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    The Goldilocks Principle
    The Goldilocks Principle

    Just like the fairy tale of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, where the preferred porridge has to be neither too hot nor too cold, and the preferred bed has to be neither too soft nor too har...

    The Optimal Level of Stress

    Whether it is the stress that is taken by schoolchildren or workplace challenges, we have to find an optimal level where there is just the right amount of pressure. There is a balance that has to be achieved for stress levels (which comes from external factors) and anxiety (which is usually through our internal thought mechanisms).

    Stress to some extent is beneficial as it releases hormones like cortisol in the brain, increasing your performance in the short term while enhancing brain functions.

    Healthy Levels Of Anxiety
    • If we are occasionally stressed out or worry prior to a big presentation, we are well within the healthy levels of anxiety and it can be our motivation as well.
    • If we are unable to sleep at night, have constant health issues or are unable to eat, then we are in the unhealthy stress/anxiety territory and need to take corrective action.
    Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
    Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

    PTSD is a mental health disorder that begins after a traumatic event. Events may include:

    • A natural disaster like a tornado
    • Military combat
    • Assau...
    PTSD symptoms

    Words, sounds, or situations that remind you of trauma can trigger your symptoms. Symptom categories:

    • Intrusion: Flashbacks, where you relive the event. Clear, unpleasant memories or nightmares about the incident and intense distress when you think about the event.
    • Avoidance: Avoiding people, places, or situations that remind you of the event.
    • Arousal and reactivity: Trouble concentrating, easily startled, feeling of being on edge, irritability, moments of anger.
    • Cognition and mood: Negative thoughts, feelings of guilt, worry, blame, trouble remembering parts of the event, reduced interest in activities you enjoyed.
    PTSD treatment

    If you're diagnosed with PTSD, you will likely be prescribed therapy, medication, or both.

    • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or "talk therapy" helps you to process the traumatic event.
    • Exposure therapy lets you re-experience elements of the trauma in a safe environment. It desensitizes you to the event and lessens your symptoms.
    • Antidepressants, anti-anxiety drug**s, and sleep aids** may help relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety.

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    2 kinds of people
    • Those who believe they can make things happen. They are convinced that the outcome of their lives and careers is more or less in their own hands
    • Those who believe things...
    When hard times strike

    Those that feel they are in control over their lives also feel stress and anxiety, but they use this anxiety differently: their anxiety fuels passion instead of pity, drive in lieu of despair, and tenacity over trepidation.

    Expect and prepare for change

    Set aside some time regularly to create a list of important changes that you think could possibly happen. The purpose of this task is to open your mind to change and sharpen your ability to spot and respond to changes. 

    Even if the events on your lists never happen, the practice of anticipating and preparing for change will give you a greater sense of command over your future.

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    Struggling with anxiety

    Avoidance is a major factor in maintaining anxiety.

    "Being willing to fully experience themselves and their private experiences (thoughts, feelings, physical sensations, etc.)...
    Handling anxiety in the workplace
    • Don't suppress your anxiety. Practice acceptance rather than pushing it away.
    • Be mindful. "What do you notice when anxiety shows up? What are you thinking and feeling?"
    • Invite anxiety along for the ride. Confront your anxieties head on. If you're nervous about public speaking, take point on a presentation.

    • Practice self-care. 
    • Remind yourself that your mind is not always the best advisor. You get to decide whether the thoughts are worthy of your attention.
    • Take a break. It actually helps with managing anxiety.
    •  Stay connected. Social support is vital to managing stress.
    • Engage in exercises that relax your body and set your mind at ease.
    • Lay off the coffee as it can increase heart rate and physiological symptoms of anxiety.
    • Seek professional help.

    The Immediate vs Delayed Return Environment

    Immediate-return environment: your actions instantly deliver clear and immediate outcomes. 

    Delayed Return Environment: the choices you make today will not benefit you imme...

    Source of anxiety
    Constant uncertainty. There is no promise that investments will go up in the future. 

    What you can do:

    • You can measure something. The act of measurement takes an unknown quantity and makes it known.  You can't know for certain how much money you will have in retirement, but you can remove some uncertainty from the situation by measuring how much you save each month. 
    • Shift Your Worry from the long-term problem to a daily routine that both rewards you right away (immediate return) and resolves your future problems (delayed return).  Instead of worrying about living longer, focus on taking a walk each day.

    Anxiety vs. Fear
    • Fear is what you feel in the moment when someone comes at you with a knife. 
    • Anxiety is about the anticipation of an event. Anxiety is often problem-solving — but wi...
    Mindfulness = anxiety antidote

    Trying to push the worries out of your head is inherently problematic because to be vigilant about not thinking about something, your brain needs to keep it in mind. 

    Mindfulness does the opposite by making you aware of your state of anxiousness.

    Build the Mindfulness muscles
    • Acceptance: accept that the worries are here and stop trying to make them go away.
    • Attention: get out of your thoughts and focus on the world around you.
    • Labeling: When a worry pops up, label it as “a worrying thought.” It’s not you. Do not identify with it and don't let it overtake you.

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    Stop And Breathe

    Anxiety is typically experienced as worrying about a future or past event. But anxiety loses its grip when you clear your mind of worry and bring your awareness back to the present.

    When a...

    A Simple Breathing Technique
    • Sit in a comfortable position.
    • Close your eyes and inhale slowly through your nose.
    • Exhale deeply.
    • Continue to breathe deeply and fully. Allow your breath to be a guide to the present.
    • With each breath in, think to yourself “be” and with each breath out, focus on the word “present. ”
    Figure Out What's Bothering You

    The physical symptoms of panic and anxiety, such as trembling, chest pain, and rapid heartbeat, are more obvious than the reason you are anxious. But, to get to the root of your anxiety, you need to stop and think about your thoughts and feelings.

    Writing all that bothers you or talking with a friend can help you understand your anxious feelings.

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