When it comes to anxiety and worry, it’s easy to get confused. But they are two different things.
Anxious people are often preoccupied with something that might happen in the future. They worry about what could go wrong and how they will cope when it does.
Worrying is an unhealthy way of dealing with these fears and can lead to stress and anxiety. In the following, we discuss their significant differences in depth.
Anxiety vs Worry
While anxiety and worry are certainly related, they are not the same thing.
Worry is a normal part of life. Whenever you’re thinking about something that could go wrong or might happen in the future, you’re worrying.
Some people worry more than others, but everyone worries to some degree. Anxiety is how you respond to worry.
If your worry is starting to disrupt your daily life and making it hard for you to function normally, this may be because that worry has caused anxiety disorder symptoms like panic attacks, social withdrawal, muscle tension, and sleep problems.
What is anxiety?
Anxiety is a natural reaction to stress. It can be helpful to think of your body as a car engine.
When you step on the gas and start driving, the car’s engine kicks into gear and starts working hard. The same thing happens with your body when you face stressors in your life.
Anxiety symptoms are common and can be even normal at times. But if you have anxiety that interferes with your daily activities, such as work or school, it may be an anxiety disorder.
Anxiety disorders are treatable, but they often require long-term management to get relief from symptoms that interfere with daily life and cause distress.
What is the difference between anxiety and worry?
Worry is a normal part of life. It becomes a problem when it stops you from living and enjoying your life or when it even prevents you from doing things that you need to do.
Worrying about something can also be helpful, as it allows us to plan for the future and prepare for potential problems or obstacles.
Anxiety is a more intense, prolonged, and irrational emotion than worry because we are usually worrying about something specific.
Whereas anxiety is more generalized and can have physical symptoms such as an increased heart rate, sweating, and fast breathing, worry tends to be much more controllable than anxiety.
You may be able to think about what your worries mean in the long term and take steps towards changing them or accepting them.
Anxiety may cause people to avoid certain situations entirely, especially if they are afraid of experiencing panic attacks in these situations.
Anxiety can also become debilitating as it interferes with everyday activities at work, school, or other social interactions.
How do you know if you have an anxiety disorder?
The question of “how do I know if I have an anxiety disorder” is a common one.
While it can be confusing to differentiate between normal anxiety and an anxiety disorder, there are some signs that may indicate you might have a more serious issue than just everyday anxiety.
A hallmark feature of an anxiety disorder is persistent and excessive worry or fear about specific situations, objects, or activities.
If this type of worrying gets in the way of your daily functioning or if it causes physical symptoms (such as trouble sleeping, panic attacks, nausea, and chest pain), you likely have an anxiety disorder.
Symptoms of generalized anxiety include:
- Feeling restless/on-edge
- Being easily fatigued
- Trouble concentrating/mind going blank
- Muscle tension
When should you see a health professional about your anxiety?
If you’ve been experiencing symptoms of anxiety for a few weeks or more, it could be time to seek help on your next payday.
When anxiety starts interfering with your ability to function in daily life, it may be time to consider consulting a mental health professional.
Finding the right therapist can take some time and effort, but the benefits can make it worth the search. There are several ways to find therapists and other mental health professionals in your area.
For starters, you can find one through online search engines and word-of-mouth from friends and family members who are also seeing therapists.
There’s a thin line that separates both worry and anxiety and without proper knowledge, it’s easy to confuse one for the other.
We all worry from time to time, but when that worry becomes obsessive behavior, that’s when it can become anxiety.
Other than seeking therapy, there are other self-care habits you may choose to cultivate such as exercise, finding a life coach, or getting a spa massage.You may also adjust some things in your environment if anxiety is making it impossible to sleep such as changing your curtains or mattress.