Anxiety vs Stress

These two terms can sometimes be used to mean or identify a situation where the coping mechanism is under threat. One may hear a person say “I am stressed” or “I cannot cope” or “I am anxious about …” perhaps even “I am feeling overwhelmed”.

Anxiety and stress however, are quite different. Both Stress and Anxiety can be managed with Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT).



Stress is a response from an EXTERNAL source and subsides once the situation has been resolved. It is a nonspecific response, but varies in degrees as it is about the context and perception of the situation by the individual.

Examples of external factors include:

  • Death of a loved one
  • Divorce
  • Moving to a new home
  • Loss of a job
  • Getting married
  • Tight deadline
  • Argument with a friend or colleague
  • Travel delays or commute 
  • Relationships
  • Increased financial obligations
  • Emotional problems – depression, anger, grief, guilt low self-esteem etc.


Anxiety is a person’s specific reaction to an INTERNAL source and does not subside even after a concern has passed. These can escalate into anxiety disorders. Occasional anxiety is common, but chronic feelings of worry, fear or dread are not common, and need to be addressed. Anxiety is a treatable condition.

Examples of internal factors include:

  • Uncontrollable worry
  • Fear
  • Muscle tension
  • A fast heartbeat
  • Difficulty sleeping or insomnia
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Physical discomfort
  • Tingling
  • Restlessness
  • Feeling on edge
  • Irritability
  • Panic attack

Anxiety can be triggered by a few common situations or instances:

  • Health issues – chronic illness
  • Medications – side effects, clashes with other medicine or alcohol
  • Caffeine – coffee, energy drinks
  • Negative thinking
  • Financial concerns
  • Conflict – at home, social, workplace

If you, a friend, a colleague or family member are experiencing any of the signs and symptoms above, please do not hesitate to get help. These conditions are treatable.

You can also contact your local GP, support group or charity, but reach out for help.

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If you would like more information on anxiety and stress or for have a general inquiry: