Difference between Stress and Anxiety

Frustration: When we feel thwarted or hindered from achieving the goals we are seeking it upsets or angers us because we are unable to do anything about the problem. Most frustrations are not serious and are minor in nature but if frustrations are not resolved then they can accumulate and cloud our perspective and can cause stress in our lives. A common example of a frustrating situation can be being held up in traffic when we are running short on time. Stress: When a person evaluates a situation or an event as potentially harmful, threatening, or challenging and responds to the situation or event accordingly.

Different people respond differently to same stressors; road rage is a good everyday example. People have different coping or stress busting mechanisms. Some people are able to cope with tough challenges and demanding careers while other may find coping with everyday chores stressful. How people cope with stressors depends on individual interpretations and of the kind of stress management resources available to individuals who need help. Conflict: When we have to deal with two or more contrary goals or when there is a clash of interests between two or more parties.

When a situation demands a decision in which we must decide between two or more alternatives we may experience conflict. We can divide conflicts into four broad categories: i. Approach-Approach: This is a non-threatening conflict when we have to choose from two attractive alternatives; choose between two things we like; e. g. choosing between two restaurants that we like. ii. Approach-Avoidance: When making a choice between something that is part hostile or distressing and part attractive. This type of conflict arises when we have to choose between one part that is attractive and another part that is repulsive.

For e. g. wanting to go out with someone but being afraid that you may not be liked. iii. Avoidance-Avoidance: When having to choose between two unattractive options. For e. g. going to the dentist and writing a tough exam. iv. Double-Approach Avoidance: having to choose between alternatives with both having attractive as well as repulsive parts. For e. g. one may have to move house to a posh locality but having to move away from friends at the same time. Anxiety: This is a kind of general apprehension and fear with no particular cause or identifiable source.

Anxiety happens usually when frustration becomes too high and the person is unable to resolve conflict. People suffering from anxiety cannot do anything to eliminate the cause and that is partly the reason for its being so damaging. People constantly have a feeling of foreboding that something is wrong and disaster is looming and be powerless to act. People may experience panic attacks and feel faint and breathless. They are too frightened to be coherent and may try to avoid any situation that may be stressful. 2. A broad differentiation between personality types A and B based on patterns of behaviours and temperaments is discussed here:

• Type A: This type of personality is generally task oriented, time conscious, demanding, ambitious and competitive. They enjoy success and achieving difficult challenges. They are prone to more stress as they are more aggressive, are more easily angered and do not unwind or relax easily and find it hard to quit even when their goal is achieved. They have a tendency to sleep less and are more addicted to caffeine. Such types of people are more prone to heart diseases than type B individuals. • Type B: This type of personality is more relaxed and easy going.

They are not overly competitive and over ambitious. They enjoy working steadily and are not bogged down by lack of success. They do not drive themselves too hard to achieve perfection. They are happy in their jobs, with their friends and surroundings. They like reflecting and are creative with ideas and concepts. They tend to be more understanding, cooperative and forgiving, and are not easily angered. Such people are more concerned with quality rather than quantity. As they are more relaxed they are less prone to stress related diseases like high blood pressure or heart diseases.

People with a healthy personality have the ability to accept themselves as they are and feel at peace with themselves. This does not mean that they are complacent and do not want to change in order to improve themselves. They have a basic sense of self-discipline and self-respect which helps them to be balanced and stress free. Some pertinent ccharacteristics of a Healthy Personality are:

  • They are aware of their strengths and weaknesses and have an insight into understanding others perspectives.
  • They are clear headed and are easier to interact with and are more understanding and cooperative.
  • They are usually good communicators as they are good listeners and are articulate.
  • They usually have positive attitudes and put their talents and skills to positive use.
  • They are clear headed and are usually competent.
  • They can work harmoniously with other personality types and get the best outcomes from group work.
  • They are confident and less aggressive as they do not feel threatened by competition.

Works Cited:

  • Seaword, B. L. Managing stress: principles and strategies for health and wellbeing. London. Jones and Bartlett Publishers International. pp: 131-134. 2006. Print

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