Stress and anxiety are two common emotions that we experience in our daily lives. As stress and anxiety often come together, many of us tend to use the terms “stress” and “anxiety” casually and interchangeably. However, while stress and anxiety may share some similarities as they both stem from the body’s flight or fight response, there are important differences between the two.

Similarities Between Stress and Anxiety

Stress and anxiety share some physical symptoms such as muscle tension, headaches, and fatigue. They can also both impact our mood and behavior, causing irritability, difficulty concentrating, and changes in appetite or sleep patterns.

Differences Between Stress and Anxiety


Stress is often characterized by feelings of being overwhelmed, pressured, or burned out. Stress is a normal part of life and can be triggered by external events out of our control — from short-term triggers such as facing tight deadlines at work or a heated argument with a family member, to long-term triggers such as being in a dysfunctional relationship or facing chronic illnesses. The higher the intensity and frequency, the more it interferes with a person’s daily life.

There are many ways to manage and relieve your stress, including:

  • Time management techniques, such as setting realistic goals and prioritizing tasks
  • Exercise, which can help to reduce stress levels and improve overall well-being
  • Mindfulness meditation, which involves focusing on the present moment and can help to reduce stress and anxiety
  • Seeking social support, such as talking to a trusted friend or family member about your stressors

However, there are times when stress is good for you — known as “eustress”, good stress temporarily makes us more alert and focused, enabling us to tackle challenges head-on.

To learn more about stress relief at work, check out this article:


Unlike stress, the source of anxiety is internal and seems to come out of nowhere. It can be present even in non-threatening situations and persist even after the situation has passed. A person with anxiety may experience an excessive response to both real and imagined threats, leading to overwhelming feelings of worry or fear. These symptoms can disrupt daily life and negatively impact relationships and overall well-being. In severe cases, anxiety can escalate into an anxiety disorder, requiring treatment from mental health professionals.

There are various types of anxiety disorders, including:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD): characterized by excessive and persistent worry about everyday events
  • Panic Disorder: characterized by sudden and unexpected panic attacks
  • Social Anxiety Disorder: characterized by intense fear or anxiety in social situations
  • Phobic Disorders: characterized by an intense and persistent fear of a specific object or situation

If you’re experiencing anxiety symptoms, it’s important to seek professional help. Treatment options may include therapy, medication, or a combination of both.

To learn more about anxiety symptoms and treatment methods, check out this article:

By understanding the differences between stress and anxiety, you can take steps to manage your emotions and improve your overall well-being. Remember, it’s okay to seek help when you need it. If you would like to contact us for counselling, you can do so here:

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About Aventis Wellness

Aventis Wellness (AW) is an evidence-based Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and Counselling Provider. At Aventis Wellness, we recognize the importance of mental wellness and strive to offer affordable and accessible counselling and coaching services in full confidentiality. We bring together a community of industry practitioners, mental wellness experts, university partners, counsellors, therapists and learners.

We are here to support you and all companies towards a healthier and more engaged workforce by providing workplace well-being solutions. Many of our practitioners are highly experienced and come from diverse backgrounds. They offer wide-ranging areas of counselling catered to meet the needs of different companies or individuals.

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