Home / Blog January 07, 2020 Updated on January 04, 2024

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What’s The Difference Between Stress & Anxiety?

Racing heart, tight chest, sweating brow, throbbing head, clenched jaw, trembling hands. Just another day in the life of the chronically stressed and anxious.

What’s The Difference Between Stress & Anxiety?


If the issue is stress, you can probably point the exact trigger. Once the stressor passes, you’ll feel at least some relief. In the meantime, use meditation and exercise to release your tension.

Anxiety often has no cause or reason. You may feel dread or fear but have nothing to point to. Anxiety can also linger long after a stressor has gone. Take on a holistic approach to overcoming anxiety with different therapies, lifestyle habits, and creative wellness techniques.

Stress and anxiety don’t have to rule your life. There are tons of helpful, natural ways to reduce your stress and anxiety to take back your life. The most enjoyable? A Bearaby-induced nap and/or slumber.

Did you know?
The fight-or-flight response was discovered by Walter Cannon in the early 1900s while he was observing the digestive reactions of animals under stress.

Racing heart, tight chest, sweating brow, throbbing head, clenched jaw, trembling hands. Just another day in the life of the chronically stressed and anxious.

Seem dramatic? It should. Our body’s response to stress was developed to help protect us from imminent death and danger, and not simply running late to the office. Unfortunately, these symptoms are the stark reality for more than 40 million Americans who experience anxiety, and even more who are victims of the effects of chronic stress.

Stress and anxiety are hot topics on the mental health scene, and for good reason. These issues are increasingly prevalent in our society and can cause a wide range of psychological distress. But stress and anxiety are not solely mental health issues; they affect the health and wellness of our entire body and significantly reduce our quality of life. They can steal your confidence, productivity, and happiness.

Bearaby believes in living— and loving—life to the fullest! We’re on a mission to stop anxiety in its tracks and help people to learn to manage stress more effectively (and naturally). Let’s develop a deeper understanding of stress and anxiety, learn how to recognize the difference between the two, and find simple ways to tackle these issues in our everyday life.

Our Culture Of Stress

It seems we wear our stress as a badge of honor these days. We show up to work or parties proud of our tired eyes, boast about our toppling to-do lists, and flaunt our frazzled fatigue. Our society dreams big, works hard, and plays hard. This is often deemed a recipe for innovation and large gains, but it’s also a recipe for stress, anxiety, and eventually mental and/or physical illness.

For decades we have praised hard work but as the decades go on we fail to remember and adhere to the very real balance of restorative rest that makes real progress possible. As a result, a staggering number of us are suffering from the debilitating physical and psychological effects of stress. Overtime, excess stress damages the immune system, increases pain and discomfort, ruins sleep patterns, and contributes to mental health issues.

If we speak up and acknowledge the prevalence of stress, we can actively put an end to the glorification of over-stress and learn to honor the happy balance between ambition and self care.


Stress VS. Anxiety

Stress and anxiety are often lumped together and confused. With similar symptoms like muscle tension, headaches, irritability, insomnia, and high blood pressure, the picture of anxiety can look a lot like stress, and vice versa. So, what differentiates stress from anxiety? It most often comes down to the root of the problem, and how our bodies respond.

If Stress Could Speak: “I Can’t Wait Until This Is Over!”

Stress tends to be caused by external factors.
Work life, deadlines, relationship pressures, or major life changes can all contribute to high stress. In some situations, stress can be helpful. So-called, “eustress, helps to motivate and encourage us to take action—be proactive and brave.

“Distress,” however, occurs when our situation or circumstance becomes unmanageable or out-of-control. We try desperately to keep all our obligations together, but often suffer the consequences. After the stressor (the deadline, the meeting, the performance) passes, the feelings of stress tend to pass as well.

Common signs of stress: Frequent headaches, poor sleep, depression or moodiness, digestive issues, weight gain, low energy, brain fog and forgetfulness, frequent colds.

If Anxiety Could Speak: “I’m Afraid This Will Never End!”

Anxiety tends to build from internal factors.
Anxiety is a mind-body condition with symptoms that range from mild and manageable to completely debilitating. For someone with anxiety, they may have come to recognize triggers or experience anxiety for no reason at all. Anxiety often lingers and creeps up on you long after said trigger have occurred, or stressful situations have passed, and can develop into chronic anxiety disorders or take the form of panic attacks—a more acute psychological and physiological reaction that can be frightening upon first experience.

Many anxiety-sufferers report constant or unpredictable feelings of overwhelming, apprehension, and dread, but can’t pinpoint or explain why. The body falsely anticipates danger or a threat and reacts with physiological symptoms: a racing heart, tight muscles, increased awareness. These physical symptoms then increase feelings of anxiousness and worry, perpetuating the cycle even further. From a scientific or more specifically, an anthropological perspective, this reactionary behavior is known as “fight or flight”. A long, long time ago when humans were just another species trying to survive, we would choose one of those two options depending on the situation. Obviously today, situations are more complicated—we don’t necessarily fight or flee, but we’re still conditioned to react to fearful situations with fright. And that’s often when panic attacks come about.

Common signs of anxiety: uncontrollable worry, restlessness, racing heart, chest tightness, insomnia, vivid dreams, moodiness, easy to startle and high reactivity, stomachaches, dizziness, lightheadedness, sweating.

Tips For Overcoming Stress & Anxiety

If you have one goal for the upcoming year, make it stress reduction! Stress affects every single one of us, but we can learn to use stress to our advantage, rather than our detriment.

Pledge to reduce your stress levels and you’ll benefit from a healthier immune system, less pain, increased productivity, more energy, more happiness, and an overall improved quality of life you can feel. Fighting stress requires a change in both our external and internal factors. Learn to say “no” to requests you can’t handle or don’t want to take on. Discover internal peace by practicing stress-beating habits like meditation, exercise, and more deep, natural sleep.

Keeping your stress in check also helps reduce—and can even prevent— anxiety. For added help in overcoming anxiety symptoms, consider trying holistic options like mindful-based practices, wellness treatments, therapy, exercise and yoga, diet changes, outdoor activities, journaling, or reaching out to a practitioner you trust and feel comfortable speaking with. Most people find the best results by taking a multi-pronged approach and adopting helpful lifestyle habits like physical exercise, breathing exercises and meditation or yoga. In the end, the answer comes down to what works best for YOU.

relaxed girl

Photo by Madison Lavern on Unsplash

A Comfortable Solution

Don’t let stress or anxiety run your life any longer. With increased mental health awareness and a trend towards mindfulness and self-care, we hope that chronic stress and anxiety disorders will eventually be a thing of the past. In the meantime, let’s take every opportunity to bust stress and conquer anxiety.

The Bearaby weighted blankets were designed with this very idea in mind. After all, natural sleep is the simplest form of self-care. And so, it’s our mission to lessen the suffering that stress and anxiety cause everyone through the power of some much-needed slumber. Simply slipping under the comforting weight of our Napper blankets or our weighted Sleeper comforters helps reduce your body’s stress response, release calming endorphins, and allowing well-deserved relaxation.

Soothe your body and mind, conquer stress and anxiety, and feel cool, calm and collected once again. In the end, the answer comes down to what works best for YOU. We’ve outlined the top 10 ways natural remedies to alleviate anxiety if you’re looking for more inspiration.