What is Anxiety, Stress, and Worry?

Ten ways to reduce anxiety and stress! How do you get rid of anxiety and panic attacks? Effective techniques for dealing with stress! Anxiety, stress, anxiety, worry, fear… We use these words widely and interchangeably in daily life. The first sentences I wrote were the topics that I tried to find a simple question like “What is anxiety?” “What is stress? When we pass without understanding the basic points, the meanings we give to what we experience in daily life can shift in different directions. While experiencing a simple stress, we can sometimes make it catastrophic, or on the contrary, we can continue to endure or avoid it even if we experience intense bodily sensations. Trying to intervene without knowing what their correct meaning is makes it possible to end up with inevitable disappointment.

What are stress, anxiety, worry really and what are the differences between them?

The word stress is derived from the Latin word “estrica” ​​in the 17th century, and “estrece” in Old French. It is used in the meanings such as ‘disaster, misfortune, trouble, affliction, grief, sorrow’. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the meaning attributed to the concept changed and it was used for objects and people in the meanings such as ‘power, pressure, difficult’. The equivalent of stress in our daily life is the effort to adapt to new and real situations encountered in one’s social life. In other words, it can be called the response of the organism (individual) to external stimuli. Factors that cause stress in the person are defined as ‘stressors’. Starting a new job, not doing the things you want to do, health problems of family members, school exams, peer relations etc. It is one of the most common stressors we encounter in our daily life. Acceleration in heartbeat, dry mouth, tremor, excessive sweating, loss of appetite, various pains, restlessness, distress, anxiety, fatigue and depression are some of the reactions we give in the face of stressors and show to cope with the situation. Although stress is commonly used in a negative sense, it also has positive aspects. Our body has a natural response to stress, a small amount of stress is healthy and even motivating. Beneficial stress is a motive consisting of the sum of the physical and psychological forces necessary to overcome the obstacle and solve the problem.

Anxiety, on the other hand, is the emotion developed against future danger, which is generally felt to be approaching but unknown and not understood. The state of alertness, restlessness and tension that comes from waiting for danger dominate. It is an ongoing reaction and often impairs the person’s functionality. It can vary from person to person in different intensities, from very mild tension and uneasiness to panic. The bodily sensations we experience during stress are similar to the feeling of anxiety. But the point to be considered here is to know the difference between stress and anxiety. Clinical definitions of anxiety focus on emotional distress to a potential negative stimulus rather than an immediate or necessary reaction to the stimulus itself. Stress is more factual and relates to momentary, real demands. Fear and anxiety often accompany stress and anxiety. These situations are very similar to each other in the beginning. It causes heart palpitations and increased breathing rate. The muscles tense and sweat drops immediately begin to appear. What these feelings have in common is emotional responses to an impending danger. Fear is experienced against a situation that is considered dangerous by everyone. Worry is a cognitive process that involves thinking about bad things that may happen as a result of a situation. The cause of stress varies from person to person and from event to event. We each respond differently to stress and anxiety. Some of us can cope with stressful situations, maintain a healthy attitude and thus adapt to the situation. Some of us can feel severely overwhelmed when faced with even a small amount of stress. If the stress, anxiety, and fear of the person are increasing even though the stressors are gone, and reactions to an unknown, sincere, uncertain or internal conflict-based threat occur, this indicates anxiety. There is usually no real danger in anxiety. Worrying that something bad might happen triggers anxiety.

The first step in reducing and managing our anxiety and stress will be to notice the reactions of our body and mind. Being aware and accepting all that you feel will open a door to reduce your anxiety.

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