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What’s The Difference Between Stress & Anxiety? (+How To Relieve Them!)

Written by Samantha Wasielewski

Reviewed by Liz Brown

Don’t let stress and anxiety get the best of you. Here are the differences between the two, and what you can do to relieve them.

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Stress and anxiety can affect anyone, anytime, anywhere. It comes in all shapes and sizes, and can sneak up on us when we least expect it. Even if you don’t experience them frequently, knowing how to relieve stress and anxiety can certainly come in handy. 

In this blog, we’ll talk about the differences between stress and anxiety, and provide some helpful tips on how to relieve stress and anxiety, so you can get back to living your best life! 

Stress vs Anxiety: What’s The Difference?

Before we dive in, let me start by saying that experiencing certain levels of stress and/or anxiety throughout your life is perfectly normal. They both can happen at various times, and to varying degrees. Knowing the difference between stress and anxiety can help you better manage both.

Stress symptoms

Stress is generally a response to an external cause. This could be anything from having a conflict with a coworker, to running late for an important meeting. Stress is a normal human reaction to stressors such as these, and can be a physical, emotional, and/or intellectual response. [1] Here are a few symptoms of stress that can happen when life’s moments do.

  • Chest pains, or racing heart
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Aches and pains
  • Headaches or dizziness
  • High blood pressure
  • Muscle tension
  • Digestive problems
  • Weakened immune system

Oftentimes, when we think about stress, we tend to regard it as negative. But stress can actually have a positive effect on the body, such as keeping us alert if we sense danger is around us, or motivating us to work longer if we have a tight deadline coming up. Stress does become an issue, however, when there are long periods of no relief or relaxation. In cases like this, long-term stress can lead to wear and tear on the body and more serious symptoms can develop. [2] 

stress and anxiety

Anxiety symptoms

The main difference between stress and anxiety is that anxiety is a person’s reaction to stress. While stress tends to subside after the stressor has happened, anxiety may continue even after the occurrence has passed. [3] Occasional anxiety is a perfectly normal part of life, but those with anxiety disorders often have worries or fears about everyday situations. If you’re still unsure about the difference between stress and anxiety, and which one you may be experiencing, take a look at these common anxiety symptoms:

  • Restlessness
  • Feeling nervous
  • Hyperventilation
  • Increased heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Having a sense of impending danger
  • Panic 
  • Unable to control worry
  • Trembling

Life can toss us unexpected events that can trigger anxiety, but anxiety can also be linked to an underlying health issue. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms of anxiety, knowing how to relieve stress and anxiety may start by seeking medical advice or attention. Here is when you might want to contact a medical professional [4]:

  • If your worry or anxiety is interfering with your work, relationships, or other areas of your life
  • Your anxiety is becoming difficult to control
  • You feel depressed, and are turning to alcohol or drug use to help cope
  • You think your anxiety may be linked to a physical health problem

There’s never a wrong time to get in touch with your doctor. Don’t wait until it’s too late to speak with a professional regarding your symptoms.

stress and anxiety

How To Relieve Stress And Anxiety 

While we now understand the difference between stress and anxiety, understanding the different ways on how to relieve stress and anxiety can go hand in hand. Here are a few tips you can put in place when you feel symptoms starting to arise.

1. Stay active

Give yourself a little break and hit the gym or go for a run when stress starts to hit. Engage in activities that you enjoy and that make you feel good, and surround yourself with people who do the same.

2. Well-balanced meals

Eat healthy and provide your body with energizing, nourishing foods.  

3. Avoid alcohol or drug use

These are depressants, and can actually make your stress or anxiety worse. See a doctor or join a support group if you’re having trouble quitting either of these.

4. Focus on your breathing

Sometimes, a few deep breaths in and out is all it takes to relieve some of your stress. Yoga is a great way to decompress and focus on your breathing techniques.

5. Get enough sleep

Your body requires additional sleep if you’re stressed, so make sure you allow your body to get the rest it needs. If you’re having trouble sleeping, try drinking one cup of ZzzTox tea before bed. It contains eight soothing superfoods that are known to relax your mind and body for deeper sleep. To learn more about the best teas to drink before bed, check out this blog post.

6. Acceptance

Take a minute to put things into perspective. Are your stressors out of your control? If they are, accept what you cannot control, and focus on the things that you can.

7. Talk to someone 

It’s never too late to speak with someone. Whether it’s your friends, family, a doctor, or a therapist, there are tons of resources available.

stress and anxiety

The Bottom Line

Stress and anxiety are a normal part of life. Knowing how and when to deal with it can make all the difference, and always remember to seek professional help if things get too much to handle. 

Mentioned In This Post

SkinnyFit ZzzTox Tea

Stress less, sleep tight, and detox 24/7 with caffeine-free SkinnyFit ZzzTox! Our all-natural nighttime tea helps you slim down while enhancing your quality of sleep.

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About The Author

Samantha Wasielewski

Nutrition Enthusiast

Samantha is a wellness and lifestyle writer from Chicago Illinois, obsessed with food and fitness. She loves putting healthy twists on not-so-healthy food favorites that everyone can enjoy. You can often find her at the beach reading and writing, or playing with her BFF Milton (the cutest dog you’ve ever seen).

  • MA Communication Studies

Reviewed By

Liz Brown

Fitness & Nutrition Expert (CPT., FNS.)

Liz is a health & wellness expert, writer, and editor with over a decade of experience in the fitness & nutrition industry. She emphasizes research and simplifies complex topics to help make healthy living simple and sustainable. When she isn't researching and writing, she's sharing delicious recipes, easy DIYs, and home decor tips on her blog and social media.

More from Liz, visit: Personal Blog, TikTok, Instagram


  • NASM Certified Personal Trainer(since 2012)
  • NASM Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist (since 2014)
  • Credentialed Coach Practitioner, Coach Training Academy
  • B.A. Liberal Studies (Health & Nutrition Sciences)
  • A.A. Liberal Arts (STEM)

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