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What Is the Difference Between Anxiety and Stress?

Mar 1, 2022 | Mental Wellness | 0 comments

Did you know there is a difference between anxiety and stress? Today, you will find most people use the words “anxiety” and “stress” interchangeably. Many will categorize them as negative emotions that cause anything from sleeplessness to substance abuse. They have been linked to a host of other physical and emotional issues.

However, there is a difference between the two. And it’s important to know the difference so that you are aware of what is going on within your body and your thoughts.

What Anxiety and Stress Are Not

It’s important to note what stress and anxiety are not. They are not uncommon or abnormal feelings or responses. Everyone experiences degrees of them at various times throughout life.

Fortunately, it is possible to overcome them and actually use them to create opportunities that actually work for you, not against you.

The Difference Between Anxiety and Stress

The lines between anxiety and stress can be blurred. One tends to be closely connected with the other—stress can trigger anxiety making it difficult to tell where one ends, and the other begins.


When you have anxiety, your prefrontal cortex shuts down or becomes blocked, inhibiting your ability to think clearly. Anxiety can be identified as an irrational response to a situation that doesn’t seem to warrant the level of agitation it evokes.

Anxiety is a specific response to the feeling of stress. People with anxiety often describe persistent feelings of hopelessness or dread to situations that aren’t threatening. They often feel unable to function or “get things done.”

Anxiety is common among those who have experienced various trauma in life, as it impairs the brain’s architecture and influences the DNA. This architecture creates patterns of thinking and behaving that become a cycle that seems to feed the anxiety that is present.

The memories attached to the anxiety are like ghosts in your cells and can have a long-term impact on those who are victims of mental or physical abuse, violence, and war.

The Positive Side of Anxiety

Some might argue that there is no positive side to anxiety. However, we want to challenge you to think about it this way… without anxiety, you would not know that there is something deep within you that needs healing.

Anxiety is a red flag that generational trauma, personal trauma, habits, beliefs, and patterns are actively blocking you from living to your highest potential. The traumatic memory stored in your cell structure can be released, and you can start to live a life free from chronic anxiety.

How to Tell if You Are Anxious?

Here are some signs of anxiety…

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulties falling asleep or staying asleep
  • Feeling exhausted, even after getting adequate sleep
  • Isolating and avoiding situations or people
  • Chronic intrusive thoughts
  • Having ongoing agitation, irritability in various situations with no identifiable “source”
  • An overwhelming sense of hopelessness and sadness
  • Muscle tension and soreness
  • Ongoing relational issues
  • Ongoing job issues


Stress is the body’s response to a challenge, thought/belief, or situation happening in your life. It could be considered rational, meaning a situation presents itself, and your brain and body respond.

Stress is something that will diminish once the situation is resolved. However, as anxiety and stress become interwoven in your brain, the two become more challenging to separate. More and more situations can trigger your brain and body to react as if it is under stress. This creates blockages in the brain, which stops you from thinking clearly.

The Positive Side of Stress

As mentioned, stress is often considered a negative in life. However, stress is actually designed to be positive. Your body is meant to react to a stressful situation in a way that narrows your focus and heightens your senses, giving you an edge to overcome the “dangerous” situation you are facing. Stress causes an influx of hormones that sharpen your prefrontal cortex, helping you focus.

How to Tell if You Are Stressed?

Here are a few signs of stress…

  • Rapid breathing
  • Queasy stomach
  • Headache
  • High blood pressure
  • Dizziness or shaking
  • Sweating
  • Difficulty sleeping

What Do You Notice?

Some of these symptoms are the same. As mentioned, stress triggers anxiety, and the two can become interwoven. Stress is subjective and subsides once the situation is resolved.

Other things you likely notice if you are dealing with anxiety and stress…

  • They interfere with life, including having meaningful relationships, feeling fulfilled, and cause difficulty concentrating in school or at work
  • You tend to look to external ways to ease the internal tension such as drugs, alcohol, or other compulsive behaviors
  • You find yourself isolating more and more

Now That You Know the Difference Between Anxiety and Stress…

Knowing the difference between anxiety and stress allows you to understand their impact on your everyday life. As with any challenge, overcoming it takes time and work. However, there are tools, teachings, and support to keep you motivated and help you tap into the power within you to experience greater hope, healing, and happiness in your life.

In Summary

Today, you will find most people use the words “anxiety” and “stress” interchangeably. However, there is a difference between the two.

Though they are thought to be negative, they can actually be positive.

Understanding what anxiety is can help you further explore if there is a generational trauma, personal trauma, habits, and thoughts that need to be released in your brain so that you can experience a more fulfilling life.

Understanding stress allows you to see situations as opportunities to harness the power within you, creating ways to tap into your personal talents, creativity, and abilities.

Anxiety and stress don’t have to hold you back. You can overcome them with powerful tools, teachings, and support, keeping you motivated. Discover the root cause of both anxiety and stress.

With the right tools, motivation, inspiration, and support, it is possible to…

  • Transform anxiety and stress
  • Restore connections in your brain
  • Live empowered

You can get started here! Take the first step to overcoming anxiety and stress and make a choice today to activate your highest potential.

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