Modern life is exceedingly busy and, despite the fact that technological progress claims to make things more convenient, stress and anxiety are a common ailment of the technological age. It appears, in fact, that modern conveniences seem to correlate with a more complex and stressful life. Because of this, it’s no surprise that anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in America. Forty million people who are 18 or older are said to suffer from anxiety disorders — and these are only the recorded numbers!
Thankfully, there are measures that we can take in order to help alleviate stress and anxiety. Walking, taking a nice hot bath, meditation, enjoying the simple pleasures of a home-cooked meal or time with loved ones: these are all things that can refocus our minds and help us appreciate living in the moment.
Anxiety and stress are both common occurrences in Western society, particularly when we succumb to the financial and cultural pressures of daily life. No one is immune to the occasional ‘bad day’ when our mood is low and our problems appear to be mountains ahead of us. However, it is important to address these symptoms as soon as they arise.
The faster and more directly we deal with the problem, the less likely that it will grow into a bigger one. Plus, mental pressure often results in physical symptoms. Managing stress and anxiety doesn’t just help us enjoy life more fully; it also helps us to stay physically healthy. Common symptoms of anxiety and stress include:
Anxiety and stress can have very different emotional symptoms which are best classified according to general mood. Both anxiety and stress have a negative impact on our mood in different ways:
Emotional Symptoms of Stress
The emotional symptoms of stress include becoming easily agitated and frustrated. It’s sometimes easy to confuse stress with depression, because stress can also involve having severely low self-esteem, and feeling lonely and/or worthless.
These are symptoms often associated with depression, because the diagnosis and understanding of mental illness often creates overlap between different disorders. Humans and emotions are complex, so while physical illness can often be diagnosed methodically, the diagnosis of mental illness is often more of a subjective endeavor.
Thus, stress can appear to be depression, and vice versa. It is also possible to have both, and it is possible to become depressed after a long period of stress. Despite the complexities, all you need to remember that any of the aforementioned emotions should be addressed as soon as possible.
Other emotional symptoms of stress include finding it difficult to relax and quieting your mind, or ‘shutting off’ after a stressful day. Stress can often lead to avoiding the social comforts of other people’s company in favor of spending time alone, worrying about things you have little to no control over.
Emotional Symptoms of Anxiety
The most common emotional symptoms of anxiety are excessive fear and worry. Anxiety can also be diagnosed if one or more of the following emotional symptoms also occur: feelings of dread or apprehension, always looking out for danger and anticipating the worst, trouble concentrating or focusing on daily tasks, tension or irrational nervousness, and blankness of mind.
Physical Symptoms of Anxiety and Stress
The physical symptoms of anxiety and stress are pronounced but can often be mistaken for symptoms of something else. It is no secret that both mental disorders place a burden on your physical, as well as your emotional health. Physical symptoms that can denote both anxiety and/or stress include:
The rationale behind this symptom is pretty basic: anxiety and stress both involve thinking too much, and can result in your head literally aching from processing too much information. Learning how to relax and switch off after a busy day at the office can be difficult, but there are ways of relieving stress.
Having trouble sleeping? Sleep issues are connected to anxiety and stress, because when you’re anxious or stressed, you’re constantly worrying about tomorrow. Advice that tells us to live for today and enjoy each moment is sometimes not easy to apply when you’re facing particularly negative circumstances. Finances, poor health, work-related issues, and the hustle and bustle of everyday life can all occupy your thoughts, and sometimes it’s hard to just store them away when you’re laying your head down. This is why it is good practice to have quiet time, go for a relaxing walk, or meditate in order to de-clutter your mind before sleep.
Stomach and digestion issues are a common symptom of anxiety and stress. When we are anxious stressed, our posture and body seizes up, and can cause all sorts of problems. Irregular bowel movements and nausea are all issues relating to the stomach and digestive system that can be caused by anxiety or stress.