Worry, Stress, Anxiety: Different or Same?

COVID-19 Impacts of Mental Health

During times of uncertainty, such as the events of COVID-19, many will worry and stress over the uncertainties. Worrying, stressing, and being anxious can sometimes hinder your ability to function. While the three words may seem the same, they are very much different.

During this tidal wave of COVID-19 precautions, there are many things that people have concerns over. Some people might say, “What could people have to stress or worry about? All they have to do is stay at home. Well, for many, this situation is most detrimental as they may have the additional worry of daily life struggles like; finding a place to sleep for the night or when their next meal is going to be. For others, stress may arise by merely attempting to solve a math problem, something that a lot of parents may be doing more of as they are now homeschool teachers.

Everyone is different and will react to the COVID-19 situation differently. Some may worry, stress, or feel anxious about their new normal, and that’s ok.

Here are the differences between the three and the ways to cope:

What are the differences between worry, stress, and anxiousness?

Feeling worried is how the body calms down to handle the problem(s) at hand, such as thinking about and dwelling on the uncertainties/possible adverse outcomes.

Stress is a physical symptom that can put your body into fight or flight mode.

Anxiousness is a constant feeling of stress and worry.

If you are worried:

  • Write your worries down
  • Make a next step/action plan
  • Limit the amount of time to worry

If you are stressed:

  • Exercise
  • Refocus on what you can control
  • Complete what you can

If you are anxious:

  • Eat healthy with limits to sugar, caffeine, or alcohol
  • Think happy thoughts or do things that will force you to think about something other than the issue.
  • Play – Play with pets, kids, do something that will distract yourself.

Source: World Health Organization