Have you found yourself in a constant state of uneasiness, or irritability?
While stress and anxiety may look similar, there’s still a fine line separating the two.
Stress and anxiety can often exhibit many of the same symptoms – both physically and emotionally, however, they have different origins and different ways they impact your life.
Feelings of stress and anxiety are perfectly normal responses to threatening or troubling circumstances in life, as these emotions indicate our fight or flight response is alive and well. However, when these feelings become relentless and don’t give us time to recover, they can cause major issues.
So, how can you tell the difference between stress and anxiety? What can be done to overcome these uncomfortable feelings?
That’s what we’re here for! Stay with me so you can better understand what you’re going through, and how hypnotherapy can positively change your life.
How Stress and Anxiety May Appear Similar:
Stress can trigger anxiety, and anxiety can trigger stress. It’s a vicious cycle. Some people experience both at the same time, causing even more emotional pain.
Stress and anxiety look similar in how they present themselves.
Physically, stress and anxiety may show up as:
- Trouble concentrating
- Memory loss
- Muscle tension
- Shortness of breath
- Stomach pains
Emotionally, stress and anxiety may show up as:
How Stress and Anxiety Are Different:
As you can see, stress and anxiety can walk, talk, and act the same. From an outsider’s perspective it can be incredibly difficult to spot the difference. With symptoms that can often appear interchangeable, understanding when to meditate and journal, vs when to seek professional help can become confusing.
That’s why it’s crucial to understand the differences between the two, so you can determine which one it is that’s calling the shots.
Stress is our body’s physical and emotional response to pressure. This can be a deadline at work, or an overwhelming mountain of tasks on our to-do list. Whatever the case may be, stress can show up when we feel threatened, unable to cope, or like we have little control over a situation.
While stress is certainly a feeling of being overwhelmed, there are actually three (3) types of stress you can struggle with:
- Acute Stress: This is our reaction of stress to any new, challenging or unfamiliar situation. Think of starting a new job. You may feel overwhelming stress as you get up for work in the morning and start your day. However, as the day goes on those feelings fade over time. Acute stress is characterized as ‘short term’, meaning our bodies and emotions return back to a normal state relatively quickly.
- Episodic Acute Stress: This type of stress is similar to acute stress, however, episodic acute stress happens when we experience short term stress on a regular basis. Think of a bartender at a high volume restaurant. Every shift they work gets chaotic, increasing their stress levels. However, as the night comes to an end those feelings dissipate… only to come back the next night.
- Chronic Stress: Chronic stress is experienced when stressors continue for an extended period of time. This could be a toxic relationship or living in a high-crime part of town. Chronic stress has devastating long-term effects on our immune systems, brain function, emotional wellbeing, and relationships.
Anxiety, on the other hand, is a sustained mental illness that can be triggered by stress, however, doesn’t have to be. Oftentimes those who struggle with anxiety find themselves feeling anxious for no reason at all. Anxiety is like a friend who said they’d sleep on your couch for a week, a year ago. Anxiety sticks around for the long haul, and likes to pop up at the most inopportune times.
While there are a few types of anxiety, the most common form is Generalized Anxiety Disorder.
People who suffer from generalized anxiety disorder often experience excessive worry about everything (real or imagined), for more days than not. The intensity of anxiety is often inflated compared to the likelihood of a certain scenario happening. Anxiety can make small situations feel threatening and dangerous, sending our body into fight or flight mode, all day long.
Anxiety can cause significant distress in social, emotional, relational, financial, and physical aspects of someone’s life.
Now that we know how stress and anxiety differ, let’s talk about the most important aspect differentiating the two. The trigger.
With stress, the trigger is an outside source. Like I said, an approaching work deadline, job loss, or financial burdens.
With anxiety, the trigger is internal. These persistent feelings of dread, doubt, worry, or fear, or uneasiness last even in the absence of any external trigger.
While stressful situations can cause anxiety, it’s the duration after a stressor is gone that determines which one is in the driver’s seat.
When Should You Seek Help?
If you’ve noticed your stress or anxiety is impacting your physical health, it may be time to reach out to a trained professional. This can look like a significant change in appetite or weight, trouble breathing, or rapid heart rates. Insomnia and disruption of sleeping patterns can cause major trouble for our bodies and minds, as the body NEEDS sleep to recover and recharge for the next day ahead. If you find you can’t sleep due to stress or anxiety, it may be time to seek help.
When it comes down to it, if you feel trapped or you feel as though your life is run by your anxious or stressful thoughts, there are many mental health professionals with the skills and knowledge to assist you in overcoming these negative thinking patterns.
If your stress and anxiety prevents you from being social, or enjoying activities you once used to, there is no shame in asking for help.
What Is Hypnotherapy?
Hypnotherapy is a form of guided hypnosis practiced by certified mental health professionals. With the use of relaxation, extreme concentration, and deliberate attention, clients are guided into a “trance” or altered state of consciousness.
Hypnotherapy utilizes the mind in order to relieve a patient of a wide variety of issues such as:
- Psychological distress
- Fears and phobias
- Self destructive habits
When a client is in hypnosis, the hypnotherapist is able to explore areas of the mind typically hidden through the subconscious. This may include things such as past trauma, or repressed memories that are too painful to recount when the patient is awake.
Under this guided, safe altered state of consciousness, a patient is much more susceptible to the suggestions and guidance of a therapist. This makes hypnotherapy extremely effective at helping a patient heal from old wounds and recover from distressing emotions.
How Does Hypnotherapy Help With Stress?
Through the subconscious mind – the area of our brains that operates automatically – hypnotherapy works to break negative thoughts and behaviours surrounding stress. When our subconscious mind is in a deeply relaxed state during hypnosis, suggestions from a hypnotherapist on how to manage and let go of stress in more healthy, positive ways is received openly.
Short term stress, such as an important work meeting coming up, has been proven to be highly responsive to hypnotherapy. Hypnosis for brief stress inducing events can help you respond in a more relaxed way.
In addition, hypnotherapy can help you gain confidence and boost your self-esteem, making it much easier to set boundaries with people. Setting boundaries is a crucial aspect of stress management.
How Does Hypnotherapy Help With Anxiety?
While Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and medication are common forms of treatment for anxiety, more people than ever before are choosing Hypnotherapy. But how does Hypnotherapy help with anxiety?
During a Hypnotherapy session, our minds are incredibly focused, relaxed, and open to suggestion. This enables the therapist to help you remove unhelpful psychological barriers and behaviours.
What Should I Know Before Starting Hypnotherapy?
First and foremost, the therapist is there to guide you – not control your mind. Hypnotherapy isn’t exactly like the movies, and you won’t turn into a zombie or chicken afterwards!
As long as you’re visiting a qualified, professional hypnotherapist, the use of hypnosis for treating stress, anxiety and a host of other mental health concerns is very safe.
When searching for a hypnotherapist, first check the provider’s qualifications. Professionals such as a hypnotherapist, psychotherapist, psychiatric nurse practitioner or medical doctor with a speciality in hypnotherapy are all excellent, safe choices.
Keep in mind, anxiety and stress are a spectrum. If your anxiety is severe, your therapist may suggest trying other methods in conjunction with hypnotherapy. These can include other forms of talking therapy and psychotherapy. Hypnotherapy alongside other methods of treatment has been proven incredibly successful.
Stress and Anxiety vs. Hypnotherapy:
So, we’ve learned about the differences between stress and anxiety. While stress is triggered by external events such as unexpected expenses, anxiety is triggered by inner feelings of fear and worry.
While these two psychological disturbances look similar, you can easily tell them apart by what’s causing it. Remember, anxiety may be caused by nothing at all. It’s often a lingering feeling that refuses to acknowledge its expiration date.
Whatever the cause may be, stress and anxiety are both effectively treated through hypnotherapy. During hypnosis, you will be guided into a calm, focused, intense state of relaxed attention. As the session proceeds, your brain’s subconscious will be opened to suggestions and affirmations by the hypnotherapist. This can significantly impact your thinking and behaviour following the session.
Don’t allow stress and anxiety to run the show anymore. Take your life and your mind back with hypnotherapy.