Stress and anxiety are two related but distinct concepts that can affect people's mental and physical health in different ways.
Stress is a normal physiological response to a perceived threat or challenge, such as a deadline at work or a difficult exam. It can be caused by external factors, such as work, relationships, or financial difficulties, or internal factors, such as negative self-talk or unrealistic expectations. The body's stress response is designed to help us cope with these challenges by releasing hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline, which increase heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration.
Anxiety, on the other hand, is a more persistent and generalized feeling of worry, apprehension, or fear that can occur even in the absence of an immediate threat. It may be related to specific situations, such as social anxiety or phobias, or it may be more diffuse and generalized, as in generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Anxiety can also cause physical symptoms, such as muscle tension, sweating, and gastrointestinal problems.
While stress and anxiety can share some common symptoms, such as irritability, difficulty concentrating, and sleep disturbances, they differ in their causes and duration. Stress is usually a short-term response to a specific situation, while anxiety may persist even after the stressor has been removed. Additionally, stress can sometimes be a positive and motivating force, while anxiety is generally seen as a negative and disruptive experience.