From the moment you get up, your mind starts working on completing the never-ending ‘To-Do’ list. Email that document to the client, drop kids to school, pick up vegetables from the market, complete children’s project, take father to the doctor, call the plumber, and the list goes on. At times it feels even 24 hours are less! And then when the baby spills something on your shirt just as you’re leaving, and the car behind you doesn’t understand your need to pick the buzzing phone, you lose it. At these times, you are stressed, anxious and you want to yell and tell everyone to stop depending on you so much.

What is Stress?

Stress is the response of your mind and body from all the demands being placed on you. There are two types of stress:

  • Positive stress – like you need to plan for a wedding or a vacation or a much-awaited baby. These are stressful, but you do not mind taking on this stress.
  • Negative stress – you need to meet a deadline, someone in the family is sick, or your child needs something. All these are stresses you don’t want, would love to do without, but can’t avoid. These are the cases where you need help!

Or is it Anxiety?

A fine line differentiates stress from anxiety. Anxiety is persistent, excessive worries that just do not go away even in the absence of the stressor. In simple words, even if the CAUSE of your worry is not in front of you, you still continue to worry.

Stress and anxiety are both emotional responses, but stress is triggered due to external factors, and anxiety includes genetic and environmental or external factors.

How to know if you are Stressed or having an Anxiety Attack?

Both have identical symptoms, which are:

  • Sweating
  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty Sleeping
  • Numbness
  • Restlessness
  • Fear
  • Hot Flashes
  • Irritated Bowel Syndrome

If you say you have a project to complete and once you have finished the project, the above symptoms go away, then you are stressed. But if the feeling is persistent even after the project, then it is an anxiety attack.

Why do you experience these symptoms?

When you are stressed or anxious, your brain releases hormones called ‘Adrenaline, Cortisol, and Norepinephrine’. These make your skin sweat, raise your heart rate, quicken your breathing, tense-up your muscles, and bring alive your senses.

In a situation of mild stress or anxiety, your internal coping mechanism responds well. In fact, in such a case, your brain receives more oxygen to be able to respond to an intense situation. This is, however, not the case with extreme situations, in which case you need help.

Long Term Effects of Stress and Anxiety on your body can be devastating.

Mood – Body – Behavior

Restlessness – Weight gain or weight loss – Recurring Headaches
Anxiety – Muscle pain- tension – Angry Outburst
Lack of focus – Tiredness – Drug/Alcohol abuse
Irritability – Low sex drive – Social distancing
Depression/Sleeping disorders – Irritable Bowel Syndrome – Lack of Mobility

There are ways to deal with stress and anxiety, which can de-stress you quickly. Stay tuned for the next post.