Many people who suffer from anxiety disorders and mental illnesses generally use the terms “anxiety” and “feeling anxious” interchangeably. Still, there is actually a difference between having anxiety and feeling anxious. Knowing how to differentiate between them can help you in your recovery process. It becomes easier for you to manage anxiety symptoms when you understand what’s going on with your body, mind, and emotions.
What is Having Anxiety?
If you have anxiety, this means that your body’s natural “fight-or-flight” mechanism has been activated. Sympathetic nervous system responses are responsible for activating the fight-or-flight response, which can lead to various reactions such as sweating, increased heart rate, breathing, dizziness/nausea, muscle tension/weakness, and more. These physiological changes help us become either aggressive or run away from danger; they also cause the feelings of intense fear we experience when having anxiety. The problem with anxiety isn’t that your body activates this mechanism – it’s designed to do so to keep yourself safe! The actual issue is how long these symptoms continue once the danger has passed; for example, if you have a panic attack at home and then continue to be fearful of being alone in your own house afterward, this means that you have anxiety.
The Definition of Anxiety
Anxiety is an emotional or physical state that often occurs unexpectedly. It can be related to frightening real-life events such as getting into a car accident or failing an exam at school. Or it may come about as the result of worrying too much about imagined scenarios that are unlikely to occur in reality, such as that you might be followed while walking the streets at night.
What is Feeling Anxious?
Feeling anxious is different from having anxiety because it’s what happens when we’ve experienced symptoms from an activated fight-or-flight response. For example, if you start to feel hot and begin sweating due to anxiety, this is feeling anxious because it’s a reaction to the body’s physical symptoms. It can also happen when you dwell on unpleasant thoughts to predict or control future events while feeling overwhelmed. For example, thinking about how you will handle upcoming tasks like preparing for a presentation or meeting the deadline for an important work report can lead to anxiety.
As you can see, “having anxiety” and “feeling anxious” are two different things that have different effects on our bodies and minds. Knowing how to tell the difference between them will help you in your recovery process. It becomes easier for you to differentiate whether a physical or emotional symptom is related to anxiety.
For example, if you feel nauseous after feeling nervous about an upcoming event, this indicates that the problem isn’t with having anxiety but rather with feeling anxious due to being overwhelmed by negative thoughts and emotions; this means that you need to learn how to manage unpleasant emotions so that they’re less intense for them not to trigger the fight-or-flight mechanism.
As another example, if you have a panic attack outside your house and then feel afraid to go home afterward, this is an indication of having anxiety rather than feeling anxious; in fact, it’s proof that the fight-or-flight response was activated too early because you weren’t actually in danger of being physically harmed.
When dealing with mental illnesses such as anxiety disorders or depression, knowing whether what you’re experiencing is “having anxiety” or “feeling anxious” can be life-changing because dwelling on irrational thoughts and emotional reactions will only increase your overall level of distress. This awareness can also help you decide which treatment method would be most effective for your recovery process as there are different ways of handling anxiety symptoms.
How Anxiety Affects Your Body
When you experience anxiety, an abundance of stress chemicals like adrenaline and cortisol are created in your body. When this happens, your heart beats faster, making it difficult for oxygen to reach all parts of the body. In addition, breathing becomes shallow or irregular because this is a natural response to stressful situations. As a result, your muscles might tense up or become sore. You may also feel nauseous and have stomach pains due to the changes in hormones associated with increased stress levels. These physical reactions can occur when feeling anxious without having anxiety disorder symptoms, but they are even more common among those who suffer from one.
The Difference Between Anxiety and Feeling Anxious
Being anxious is not the same as feeling anxious. If you experience anxiety symptoms, your physical reactions to stress are so intense and overwhelming that it interferes with your ability to function normally. For example, if you have an exam at school, sitting down to study for a couple of hours would be normal. But if you were suffering from anxiety disorder symptoms, any amount of studying could send your body’s stress chemicals into overdrive. In this case, unless you can calm yourself down fast enough or take some form of anti-anxiety medication before you get started, taking the exam might be too difficult.
Not Being Able To Tell The Difference: Panic Attacks, Anxiety And Feeling Anxious
The difference between anxiety and feeling anxious can be hard to interpret when anxiety disorder symptoms begin to interfere with your daily life. This is because both are responses to stress, so they may appear quite similar at first glance. For example, when you start experiencing physical conditions like chest pains and shortness of breath, it could be a panic attack or an anxiety disorder taking hold. Or perhaps it’s just another bad case of feeling anxious when a lot is happening in your hectic schedule. You can also help differentiate between anxiety and feeling anxious by asking a friend or family member to accompany you if you have an appointment with your doctor to discuss your anxiety symptoms in case he or she asks for more information. This way, you can relay your experiences in detail without being afraid of looking foolish.
For those concerned about the physical conditions that result from excessive stress and worry, it is important to note that experiencing these symptoms on their own isn’t considered abnormal. Instead, they may be signs of something deeper taking hold within your body. In turn, this means that treating anxiety as soon as possible is crucial for staying healthy. If self-help techniques aren’t helping reduce worries and fears, in the long run, it might be time to make an appointment with your doctor to discuss how you can start feeling better.