At a stress management workshop I once attended, a participant asked if there was a difference between feeling stressed and experiencing anxiety.
While both terms are often linked with each other and also used interchangeably, they are not the same.
Stress is our body’s way of reacting to an event, experience or situation that causes a physical, mental or emotional change. Stress is typically triggered by negative situations or is often viewed as a negative response to something.
Anxiety, on the other hand, is used to describe nervousness, fear, unease or worry. It is often triggered by imagining a future negative outcome that we don’t believe we can control or avoid.
A good way to remember the difference between the two is stress is how we react to something happening now, whereas anxiety is how we react to something that we believe is going to happen in the future. Our mindset or attitude about life will determine whether we have an optimistic or pessimistic view of our future.