Is It Worry Or Anxiety?
Worry. Worry. Worry. Fret. Fret. Fret. There are many stressors in life that cause us to worry, and they run the spectrum from the everyday challenges to tragedy and loss. Worry is really quite inescapable. It is an uneasy feeling or great concern about a situation or a problem. It is a very human emotion and it is quite normal.
Worry Is Healthy
Actually, worry is healthy. That almost seems like a preposterous statement. Nevertheless, it is true. Worry is a normal psychological state over realistic concerns that prompts us towards action. It is a very helpful tool when it comes to problem solving. It causes us to cognitively assess a situation and determine if there is anything that can be done to bring about a resolution.
When there is no action that can bring about a resolution, we tend to cling to the worry. The worry will hang like a cloud until the situation resolves or moves to the next stage of crisis. When you worry, your focus remains on the specific situation and its impact. Depending on your personality this may cause you to worry more, but worry does not impair or cause great interruption to your daily function.
Anxiety Is Not Healthy
The same cannot be said for anxiety. Anxiety is a condition where there is excessive apprehension about a real or perceived threat. Anxiety can lead to avoidance behaviors and is often associated with physical symptoms such as increased heart rate, agitation, gastrointestinal issues, and heart palpitations. Many times, the sufferer experiences the physical symptoms of anxiety without the cognitive reason for the anxiety.
Anxiety turns the focus from the problem causing the anxious thoughts to move inwardly to the self. The mind is inundated with thoughts such as, "I am a failure.", "I can't do this.", "I'm stuck." and this creates a loop increasing the effects of anxiety.
Anxiety is a long lasting condition and may need a medical professional's intervention if it is impeding your life function.
The Differences Between Worry And Anxiety
Worry and anxiety are two very different things. I've summarized some of the differences in the table below. We cannot escape worry, nor should we. We tend to use the terms worry and anxiety interchangeably and colloquially they mean the same thing. However, anxiety can develop into a life altering condition. If this is true of you, don't be discouraged. Great strides have been made in understanding this condition and its treatment. Begin by talking to a medical professional and do not be ashamed. Do not worry!
Specific To An Issue
Grounded In Reality
Helpful In Problem Solving
Not Helpful - Causes Problems
Prompts To Act
Leads To Inaction
Focus Remains On The Problem
Focus Becomes Inward