Stress and anxiety are seemingly very similar, but the differences between the two are important. Stress is a natural response of the body. In small to moderate doses, stress can be motivating, though chronic can have adverse effects on the body. Stress comes and goes depending on daily events. Stress can be managed through changes in work, activity level, diet, and sleep.
Anxiety and anxiety disorders involve chronic, debilitating, and unprompted feelings of apprehension, nervousness, and fear. It is normal to experience some anxiety, such as before an examination or during a presentation. However, anxiety goes beyond the feeling of stress to a deeper sense of worry. It may continue beyond the initial event and spill over to other areas of life. When the worry and anxiety becomes overwhelming and interferes with daily living, there may be a problem that requires intervention. For example, you might be experiencing difficulty with anxiety if you worry so much before a test that you can’t study well, you worry while taking the test, and then you continue to worry afterwards that it distracts you from other work.
We’ll be talking about more specific types of anxiety throughout April. If you have concerns about anxiety, you can contact the Student Counseling Center for help and more information.