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| By Wellvyl Media Editorial

Stress and anxiety.  They are often referred to interchangeably but are they actually the same thing? Let’s get into the nitty gritty of these two.  


Stress is circumstantial, it is a response to when demand(s) are put on you or change happens.  As humans we all have felt stress to varying degrees throughout our lives. Planning a party can be stressful, work can be stressful, dating can be stressful, paying bills can be stressful…. You get the point. Stress management is something that we are taught (or learn) in order to be able to thrive in our world.  It’s a survival mechanism. So we are tasked with learning ourselves well enough to identify the right resources to work for us in our moments of overwhelming need for breath and calm.


Anxiety is like stress on steroids. Anxiety is a mental state of emotional strain, associated with worry, tension, and unease.  While anxiety can also be tied to particular events in your life (especially those with emotional baggage and no certain outcome) it can find a way to take up space and create a home. (ie anxiety disorder).  This can be debilitating. Making it a challenge to live your best life.


So why do we get them confused?


Stress and anxiety both are cousin’s of trauma. The close relationship of these is critical when understanding the symptoms and how to identify.  When someone is in a traumatic event or experiences reoccuring trauma in their lives the effect happens in their neurological system. This means that stomach ache, quickened pulse,  shortness of breath, and other symptoms of anxiety and stress are also tied to your neurological system. (Think of the fight or flight response, your body automatically gets ready to prepare for confirmation or flee when feeling threatened usually before you have processed the experience.) Stress and anxiety both have similar symptoms and just like a typical cold, when we get one symptom we make ourselves susceptible to them all.


Telling them apart


In moments where you begin to feel completely overwhelmed.  Loss of reality and shortness of breath, quickened heart rate- fight or flight mode, you likely have a bought of anxiety. In that moment take a breath and even say “now” slowly over and over in your head.  Remind yourself you are here. This is real life. You are OK.


Stress is usually something happens because something is upcoming.  A life change, bills due, new person to adjust to. Stress can be tackled by taking time to plan out your steps to successfully face the change.  Physical activity such as yoga also help tremendously!


So how do we combat them?


FIrstly, I will preach until the cows come home self-reflection paired with accountability and confidence as the tools!  Apart from my southern pun, if you were to only read that sentence you would be good. In a world where evolution and self-realization is your north star reflection is the starship enterprise. Even when it feels uncomfortable to combat and tame our anxieties and stresses we must understand ourselves and how we physically, mentally, and emotionally respond to things in our lives. “Same sh*t different day” sound familiar to you?  If you haven’t noticed things repeat themselves in our lives through different masks. It’s a journey to conquer our trends of pit falling into believing we don’t deserve the abundance of our lives and what we have to give.


Accountability and confidence are the keys to momentum in this field.  You can be self-reflective and know when your symptoms come on but do nothing about it. That just makes you miserable- trust me I’ve tried it. Find yourself an accountability buddy, celebrate small wins, set goals for yourself in an organized way.  That fortifies yourself against stress and puts a stop to the flow of anxiety. Try the passion planner. I have instituted this into my daily life recently and love it!