Anxiety and worry: What is the difference, how to deal with it

Anxiety is felt in the head and is related to the thought process, while anxiety spreads throughout the body (a scratchy throat, chest pain, constricted breathing).

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Worry and anxiety are different feelings, yet many people use them together to explain an agitated state of mind. Worry is an experience, a thought in the head, while anxiety is an abstract fear that covers the whole.

There is no escape from anxiety, it's a normal feeling, sometimes even useful. Great fear is anxiety, especially if it's unreasonable and chronic. It's difficult to get rid of it on your own, but you can try.

The Difference Between Worry and Anxiety

People often use the words "anxiety" and "worry", considering them homogeneous concepts, although there is a significant difference between them. While both states can be described as "one is uneasy," the way they flow and affect people has distinctive characteristics. They also have the potential to seriously affect emotional health and psychological comfort to varying degrees.

Let's take a closer look at the differences between worry and anxiety and why it's so important to distinguish between these states:

  • Anxiety is felt in the head and is related to the thought process, while anxiety spreads throughout the body (a scratchy throat, chest pain, constricted breathing).
  • Anxiety has a narrow focus. For example, a person may worry about arriving at the airport early and not missing a flight. Or someone can worry because they cannot accurately predict the results of a match at That said, anxiety is a more abstract concept. It's possible to worry, for example, about the safe completion of a flight, pleasant impressions in a trip.
  • Inner anxiety is expressed in thoughts, while anxiety can project mental images. This is a significant distinction; the images that arise from heightened anxiety elicit a more severe response in the cardiovascular system than the mental experiences associated with the object causing the feeling of anxiety. Simply put, when anxious, a person thinks about the cause of their condition, and when anxious, a person colorfully pictures an adverse situation to themselves.
  • Constant anxiety does not motivate a person to action, while anxiety pushes to find a better solution and get rid of problems. Anxiety makes one nervous and does not take the necessary actions.
  • Increased anxiety can cause serious emotional disorders. It has a rather strong and more destructive effect on psychological comfort than normal anxiety.
  • Anxiety is usually backed up by real fears. If you are concerned that you might be fired because you botched an important project, you are experiencing anxiety. When you fear being fired because the department head didn't return your greeting, gave you a mean look, you're anxious.
  • While anxiety is controllable, it's not easy to subject anxiety to the laws of reason. By solving the problem and choosing the most acceptable way to change the situation, you significantly reduce the degree of anxiety. The level of anxiety is not something a person can do much about.
  • Anxiety often has a limited time frame, while anxiety is usually quite long-lasting. It's worth finding a way out of the situation that is bothering us, and then there will be no trace of anxiety. Anxiety is a longer process. A person can jump from one problem to another. First you get anxious because of childhood illnesses, then because of trouble at work, even later because of conflicts with your husband. The cause for an anxiety disorder can be both real and imagined.
  • Anxiety negatively affects career growth and personal development. Of course, it won't occur to anyone to take time off work to worry at home about a child taking exams. At the same time, anxiety will make a person feel uncomfortable and unable to thoroughly perform tasks due to lack of concentration.
  • Anxiety at heart is an understandable and normal state of mind, while anxiety is not. It isn't uncommon for anxiety to develop into a mental health disorder that needs to be treated with a specialist.

Causes of Unfounded Anxiety and Worry

Scientists have proven that the tendency to anxiety can be associated with heredity. A significant role in the emergence of anxiety disorders play personality traits, health difficulties in terms of psychosomatics, as well as lifestyle and the presence of various addictions.

Often there is no real reason for unreasonable anxiety. Negative thoughts cause a trigger, an event or feeling that carries an anxious response. That said, many people are unable to consciously perceive their triggers.

They believe that the emotions they are experiencing are unfounded. Only a professional therapist in this situation can understand why anxiety and worry arise for no apparent reason.

There are some illnesses that include incessant anxiety in their symptomatology. Problems contributing to unreasonable fear or anxiety can be:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder. This is constant worry and anxiety about anything when a person doesn't know what to do next. The signs of this condition are noticeable to the surroundings. Duration of such a condition can last from six months or more. The first symptoms appear in adolescence, with age the situation only worsens.
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder is the presence of intrusive thoughts, which are most often accompanied by repetitive actions that do not bring a person a sense of relief. Separately, it's necessary to mention the neurosis of obsessive compulsive states. With this disease, a person constantly doesn't give rest to heavy memories that provoke a traumatic situation.
  • Phobias are irrational fears concerning a variety of things. They are often accompanied by panic attacks and other physical signs.
  • A panic attack is a sudden and severe panic attack that is accompanied by a fear of death and pronounced somatic symptoms. If the attacks are recurrent, a mental illness such as panic disorder may be considered.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder is most often a severe consequence of a psychotraumatic episode. It's accompanied by increased anxiety and frequent flashbacks.

The above are just the most common examples, but anxiety can be a symptom of other mental disorders, as well as a severe consequence of trying to get rid of stress on your own. If it's important for you to understand where unreasonable anxiety and worry are coming from, you need to see a qualified professional. It's impossible to restore physical and psychological health without finding and eliminating the irritant.

How to Get Rid of Anxiety

How to get rid of such compulsive feelings as constant anxiety and worry? On the one hand, everything is quite simple, but on the other hand, it isn't an easy task. It's important to learn to control the moments when you begin to imagine different options for the development of events in the future.

If you feel that you are busy with this, try to concentrate on the surrounding reality: smells, tactile sensations, the rhythm of your own breathing, sounds. Your goal is to help yourself break free from the captivity of your anxious imagination.

To conquer anxiety, you will need to master this skill perfectly. Therefore, having performed this action a couple of times, even with the achievement of the result you will not be able to get rid of the anxious feeling forever.

To do this, you need to constantly practice. The more often you will be able to clearly understand what you are actually doing in the moment, the less you will experience anxiety.

How to Deal With Anxiety

Changing Your Way of Thinking

Set a goal to learn to think in a positive way. Identify the cause that causes an unpleasant state. It's worth seeking support from loved ones, frankly tell them what you are worried about. You can learn meditation techniques to help you relax.

Changing Lifestyle

The correct activity of the nervous system is disturbed as a result of alcohol abuse, drugs, and smoking. In connection with this, a person can develop serious negative experiences. Start solving the problem by giving up bad habits.

So you will be able to develop willpower at the same time with the restoration of health. Pay attention to a proper sleep schedule and diet. Put the house in order because the external environment has a huge impact on your psychological state. You can also rearrange, add fresh decor elements to the interior.

Including Time for Physical Activity in Your Daily Routine

Exercise and walking with your dog helps to physically relax the body and promote psychological comfort. Regular exercise is effective in combating anxiety. After intensive exercise, it's useful to drink an infusion of thyme, peppermint, or chamomile.

Looking for the Cause of Your Condition

Remember that there is always a reason, but often a person is afraid to admit it even to themselves. It's necessary to try to understand what factors provoke the occurrence of anxiety.