Stress vs. Anxiety: Triggers, Symptoms, and Tips for Coping

When it comes to stress and anxiety, there are a lot of similarities. But there are also some key differences.

Stress and anxiety can both be triggered by things like big life changes, or events that are perceived as threats. And they both involve the body’s “fight or flight” response, which is when the body releases hormones like adrenaline to prepare for an emergency.

But there are some key ways that stress and anxiety differ. Stress is usually more short-term, while anxiety is more long-term. And while stress can be helpful in some situations (like if it motivates you to study for an exam), anxiety has nothing positive to offer.

Here are some more detailed descriptions of stress and anxiety, including their symptoms and tips for coping.


Stress is your body’s response to anything that feels threatening or overwhelming. It can be caused by things like deadlines at work, financial problems, or relationship issues.

Symptoms of stress can include feeling irritable, having trouble sleeping, sweating, and an increased heart rate.

Tips for coping with stress:

Identify your triggers: What are the things that tend to make you feel stressed? Once you know what they are, you can try to avoid them or be better prepared for them.

Create a support network: Lean on your family and friends when you’re feeling stressed. Talking about what’s going on can help you feel better and might give you some helpful perspective.

Exercise: Exercise is a great way to release the physical tension that stress can cause in your body.


Anxiety is a bit different from stress. It’s a more long-term condition that can cause feelings of worry, nervousness, and fear. These feelings are often out of proportion to the situation that’s causing them.

For example, someone with anxiety might feel very worried about a job interview, even though they’re well-qualified for the position.

Anxiety can also cause physical symptoms like a racing heart, sweating, and difficulty breathing.

Tips for coping with anxiety:

Practice relaxation techniques: Deep breathing, meditation, and yoga can all help to calm an anxious mind.

Exercise: Exercise can help to reduce the physical symptoms of anxiety and can also be a great distraction from anxious thoughts.

Talk to a therapist: A therapist can help you understand and manage your anxiety.

The Takeaway

For both stress and anxiety, it’s important to find healthy coping mechanisms that work for you. If you’re struggling to manage your stress or anxiety on your own, don’t be afraid to seek professional help.

For Further Reading:

The following are some posts you might find useful if you struggle with anxiety.

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