What does stress and anxiety feel like?

stress and anxiety

There’s a fine line between stress and anxiety. Both are emotional responses, but stress is typically caused by external triggers like work deadlines, discrimination, chronic illness, or relationship issues. People under stress experience mental and physical symptoms, such as irritability, anger, fatigue, muscle pain, digestive troubles, and difficulty sleeping.

Anxiety, on the other hand, is defined by persistent and excessive worries that don’t go away. Anxiety leads to a nearly identical set of symptoms such as stress: insomnia, difficulty concentrating, fatigue, muscle tension, and irritability.

The CDC states the symptoms of stress and anxiety include:

  • Disbelief and shock
  • Tension and irritability
  • Fear and anxiety about the future
  • Difficulty making decisions.
  • Feeling numb
  • Loss of interest in normal activities
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nightmares and recurring thoughts about the event
  • Anger
  • Increased use of alcohol and drugs
  • Sadness and other symptoms of depression

Prolonged stress and anxiety can lead to serious conditions such as high blood pressure, autoimmune diseases, and increased susceptibility to illness.

Here are some tips for coping with stress and anxiety:

  • Take the time to pamper your physical and emotional self on a regular basis- Your physical and mental well-being are interdependent. Prioritize getting good sleep, healthy nutrition, and moving your body.
  • Check in with yourself- When you are feeling stressed or anxious, take time to check in with yourself throughout the day and be aware of what your mental and physical body may need. Mentally scan your body, notice where you feel tension, whether you are hungry, or if you are experiencing rapid breathing and heart palpitations. Care for yourself in the same way you would care for someone you love.
  • Breathe- Practice taking deep breaths, inhaling through your nose for a count of four, and exhaling through your mouth on a count of four.
  • Take a break from social media and the news- Being constantly bombarded with the world news, or comparing yourself to others on social media is often upsetting and mentally draining. Taking a break from the outside world and stimuli is recommended.
  • Make a point to stay connected to your support system- The connection to others is crucial for your mental health. While you may feel like withdrawing, surrounding yourself with people who support you will actually improve your stress and anxiety, allowing you to recover faster. You deserve to feel loved and to feel supported.
  • Keep a daily routine- Feeling stressed and anxious can push you off your foundation and that can make you feel out of control and overwhelmed. It is important to maintain a semblance of normalcy during these times of uncertainty and having a routine you can count on helps.
  • Practice self-care and compassion- We all feel not our best at times, that is normal. When these times happen, make sure you care for and nurture yourself like you would a friend.
  • Seek professional help when needed- If you feel stressed and anxious for an extended period, or if you notice that stress is having an impact on your life, seek professional help from your primary care doctor or therapist. There are many resources and options, there is no need to suffer.

It is important to seek professional help if you are experiencing reoccurring bouts of stress and anxiety.  Seeking professional treatment may help prevent mental and physical complications from prolonged stress and anxiety. If you or a loved one struggles with symptoms related to stress and anxiety, Compassionate Psychiatric Services may be the solution for you. Give our office a call today at 469-200-4093 and speak with a specialist. For more information visit our website at www.compassionatepsychiatry.org

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