Stress and anxiety: The difference and how to know how you feel

We all have a limited amount of resources in many different areas, such as time, money, emotional strength, and the social capital of friendships. All of this facilitates our ability to respond to the demands of life’s events.

When the demands placed on us far exceed those resources, we experience stress. To put it simply: If you’re 10 minutes away from an appointment that starts in 5 minutes, you’ll feel stressed for (at least) 5 minutes. Similarly, if your monthly financial needs exceed your income and savings, you will experience prolonged levels of stress to the point of running short of cash.

Often, needs and resources are less tangible than time or money. For example, emotional demands can pile up and exceed our emotional capacity, leading to significant stress. If you’re faced with a complicated family situation, such as a difficult parent or a child with an eating disorder, it can make it virtually impossible to handle the stressors. other things in life. In fact, for some people, even a small interpersonal conflict at work can be a catastrophic stressor that sends them into an emotional spiral for several days.

If you don’t regulate your stress levels to the point where your life’s demands exceed your resources, you may feel completely exhausted and not even realize what’s going on. When this happens, stress can quickly cause more stress. Indeed, stress can have real-world consequences, affecting our mood, physical sensations, productivity, decision-making and ultimately our happiness and health.

When I explained all of this to Jenn, she still seemed a little confused. “But I’m having heart palpitations,” she said. “Isn’t that a sign of a panic attack?”

I explained that yes, her symptoms were similar to panic attacks, but they did not come from anxiety. I pointed out to Jenn that her elevated heart rate and shortness of breath weren’t due to something she didn’t need to fear, which meant she wasn’t worried. Instead, Jenn was truly overwhelmed because she didn’t have enough resources to deal with the stressors in her life.

“Does your ‘panic’ increase or decrease depending on your level of fear?” I asked Jenn. “For example, are you concerned that you might suddenly have a heart attack and die from what feels like a panic attack, even though you have no known health problems?”

Jenn admits that, no, she doesn’t worry about things like that. I then asked whether her feelings of “panic” increased or decreased depending on the number of demands made on her and the number of resources she had.

“Correct!” she speaks. “That’s exactly what’s going on. Like the other day, I was at work and my son’s school called and said he had a fever and could I come pick him up. We’re there was a shortage of people at work, and I was While helping a family that had just been evicted find a place to live, my husband was out of town on business, so I started calling friends I trusted to pick up our kids. but couldn’t contact anyone. The third call had no result, I started hyperventilating!”

Jenn stopped to take a deep breath, almost as if she was afraid she would start hyperventilating right there in my office. “Actually, that was the day I called you,” she said. “I started to feel panicked and that’s when I started searching online for anxiety clinics.”

“I’m glad you called and came,” I said. “If that’s all then I can clarify that you Are not have an anxiety disorder. You are under excessive stress, which is giving you a feeling similar to moderate anxiety. But there’s a difference between that and panic disorder or another form of anxiety. Actually, it’s not bad news to know that you’re stressed because it’s pretty easy to deal with.”

#Stress #anxiety #difference #feel
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