Anxiety: How to tell the difference with stress and anxiety

You are nervous all the time. You fear a permanent danger. At times, you can no longer breathe properly. Are these manifestations of stress, anxiety or anxiety? Why do we feel them? How to ‘tame’ them? Explanations and advice from experts.


  1. What are the causes of these psychological manifestations?
  2. Stress, anxiety, anxiety: recognize the symptoms
  3. What are the manifestations of an anxiety attack?
  4. How to treat an anxiety attack?
  5. What to put in place when you are stressed, anxious, anxious?
  6. What about drugs?

Stress , anxiety , anxiety … These are three expressions of the apprehension of emptiness . “These three terms bring together in different degrees and with different manifestations, the fear of an unrepresented danger , of a feeling of total helplessness in the face of something that is without cause,” explains experts.

What are the causes of these psychological manifestations?

Stress , anxiety , anxiety are present in a latent state and aroused by different possible triggers that bring out a first insecurity. “It can be, as at this moment, the confinement due to the epidemic of coronavirus and the fear of this disease for oneself and for those close to you, but also because of a move , unemployment , ‘an illness , an examination , a divorce …’, lists the psychoanalysts.

Stress, anxiety, anxiety: Recognize the symptoms

The stress is the first degree of the psychological manifestations. “Today, almost everyone lives under stress in a more or less accepted way, the psychoanalyst is desperate. It’s a bit of a societal disease. How do we know if this is our case?

“Stress is characterized by nervousness , a feeling of being under constant tension ,” says experts. We can also feel muscle pain in the back, neck, shoulders which can then spread to the whole body. “

Concerning anxiety , “we are talking more about a state , of an anxious nature ,” says the psychoanalysts. The anxious person lives with a feeling of permanent insecurity , without being able to explain it. “

Feeling sad

The anxiety is characterized by a painful experience , the sudden feeling of endless confusion . It gives rise to crises. “A person can, apparently, be master of himself, thanks to the establishment of defense mechanisms that allow him to feel very confident. And then suddenly, a situation triggers an anxiety attack , and at that moment, no matter how hard we try to reason with the person, it is useless, ”explains the psychoanalyst.

What are the manifestations of an anxiety attack?

“It manifests itself suddenly by difficulty breathing , the feeling of not having enough air ,” explains experts. The person may feel a lump in the throat, in the belly , have nausea , a feeling of disgust , a fear that there is no more tomorrow, no more future . “

What to do in the face of these different manifestations? One may be tempted to consult immediately, “but there is no physiological cause ,” says the psychoanalyst. There is therefore a risk of being drawn into a medical journey which will also generate anxiety. “

How to treat an anxiety attack?

During an anxiety attack , there is no point in looking for rational explanations, it is better to listen to what we are experiencing. “You have to lie down , let go , not resist , listen to your breath, try to breathe as slowly as possible to calm down – even if the breathing is shallow -, and close your eyes which allows meditation, details the specialist. You can also sit in the fetal position or in the child’s yoga position so as not to be stressed from the outside. “

Are there mistakes to avoid? Yes.

“In the midst of an anxiety attack, there is no point in wanting to breathe deeply, because we risk not succeeding, which will further increase anxiety,” says the psychoanalysts.

What to put in place when you are stressed, anxious, anxious?

You have to take advantage of the moments when you feel good , when you do not feel (or almost not) stress, anxiety to become aware of your fragility , to learn to know yourself better , to breathe peacefully , awareness, and to put strategies in place . These will be different depending on each person.

“You have to know that creation is a good response to stress , to anxiety, because it puts us in a perspective”, explains the psychoanalyst.

So what can we do?

  • Writing down your fears helps bring them down.
  • Drawing your fears and moods of the moment as ‘automatic writing’ can also be a good remedy.

“Especially since the drawing soothes, allows you to focus on something specific, and also to be proud of what we have managed to do,” says the specialist.

  • Playing games, as a family, especially in this time of confinement also allows you to relax, to calm down. “We can also decide to write a family cookbook, each of which will have a copy, or a story,” suggests the psychoanalyst.
  • Learn to appreciate silence : Especially in this period of confinement, it should not be artificially furnished. “But why not rather listen to the song of birds or Mozart, Bach or any other composer of your choice for an hour,” suggests experts.
  • Resume contact with nature : Open the window, look at the sky, the trees, listen to the sound of the wind in the leaves … It is very important to reconnect with these landmarks which are universal and soothing.

“Especially during a period of confinement,” specifies the psychoanalyst. Because we are beings of habit and we have, for the moment, lost our bearings. There is also no point in thinking about post-confinement. It can also be anxiety-provoking because this phase depends on things that you cannot control. “

  • Smelling odors that we appreciate : “Our nose was very busy in the womb, and since then it has never stopped working,” says the psychoanalyst. So, to calm down, we can use the smells we like: that of lavender, orange blossom, green tangerine that we can breathe in the form of essential oil on a handkerchief, but why not, too, that of the madeleine that we ate at tea time when we were little. It’s up to everyone to find the familiar smell that suits them.

What about drugs?

Anxiolytics, antidepressants are to be used. Despite a drop in consumption of these molecules, just over 13% of the world population use them each year.

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