For most people, it is challenging to distinguish between nervousness vs. anxiety. People occasionally feel nervous during unfamiliar situations. For instance, when they have a special day at school, work, or any point in life. It is a common human feeling. On the other hand, anxiety is a medical condition that has to be identified to get proper treatment.
Generally, whenever we feel curious about the feeling stirring up in our head, we Google the situation to figure out what we’re dealing with. When comparing stress vs. anxiety, sometimes, we are left perplexed because of the bits of information floating on the internet.
If you are still on the fence and want to know about the most common terminologies of modern times, anxiety vs. nervous, this is the right place for you. So, let’s dive into it.
Defining Nervousness vs. Anxiety
It’s usual to misunderstand the meaning of these two terms when you are trapped in a difficult situation. Here are two straightforward definitions that allow you to resolve any queries about the difference between nervousness and anxiety.
Feeling nervous and anxious are two different emotions that majorly depend on three deciding factors: severity, frequency, and emphasis. Undoubtedly, nervousness has a similar physical and mental effect, just like anxiety. However, people can hide their nervousness. Nervousness is a momentary feeling of apprehension triggered by particular issues over a difficult or unfamiliar situation.
Nevertheless, once you successfully accomplish the tasks involved in that specific situation or make it through it by handling it faultlessly, the worrisome feeling will go away. For instance, you may feel flustered or start sweating when you have to visit a doctor to get a flu vaccination or meet an old friend after a long time.
Once you know you become familiar with these situations, like meeting your friend every week or getting a routine shot, you will not feel any kind of uneasiness.
On the contrary, anxiety is a persistent problem that a person has to cope with. They are constantly struggling to find peace as their minds are always filled with fear of failure or the worst-case scenario. Common physical symptoms include a racing heart rate, breathlessness, sweating, heavily breathing, and much more.
Aside from the physical symptoms, anxiety disorders may cause an overwhelming feeling of terror that may even force you to avoid locations or circumstances that trigger these symptoms. As time passes, these emotions and unhealthy coping mechanisms start to disrupt how they act in their daily lives.
For instance, it’s common to have anxiety before visiting a doctor as you are clueless about what you might discover. But if your fear becomes so daunting that you decide never to visit the doctor, you can have a diagnosable anxiety condition.
In addition to that, anxiety can be further categorized into five anxiety disorders.
Firstly, anxiety disorders that are frequently observed these days include:
General Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
Social Anxiety Disorder
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
The Difference between Nervousness and Anxiety
The three main deciders between anxiety vs. nervous are as follows:
- Duration of symptoms
- The intensity of the symptoms
- If the situation triggers it
To understand these conditions completely, let’s discuss these differentiators thoroughly:
The chief difference between anxiety vs. nervous is the length of time when you face one of these conditions. When a person is anxious, the emotional state and symptoms are generally continual. The person suffering from anxiety barely gets a break from what incites in them.
On the other hand, the feelings triggered by nervousness don’t last for a long time. You can’t constantly be nervous. Even though you may encounter some situations where you feel like the state of worrying is never-ending. For instance, when you have to go for an inspection at work, you might feel nervous until the whole inspection process is over. Nonetheless, that doesn’t mean that it is persistent.
The Intensity of the Symptoms
When a person is nervous, they will find it tough to do a specific task. That same person will do various tasks at the same time without a hitch. In short, the inability to carry out the activity is due to a certain reason, and it won’t restrict the person from managing other tasks.
Anxiety frequently affects the routine life of a person. The constant state of worry and fear of multiple things hinder the person from doing any task of the day. The person is emotionally and physically drained, which constrains them.
Anxiety can turn into an intolerable condition due to which dark thoughts come into the mind. It can lead to self-harm or other self-damaging behaviors. For instance, people find solace in smoking, drinking, and other bad habits. In the worst cases, the affected individual develops suicidal tendencies. When we discuss nervousness vs. anxiety, dark thoughts are not something that a person would experience on being nervous.
An emerging author Mia Perez has written a book that contains in-depth details on a person suffering from mental disorders. If these topics capture your interest, you must take a look at the book.
The Right Time to Get Help
You can see the difference between nervousness and anxiety when it’s about treating them. If a situation is making you feel nervous, talking to someone who would give you an expert opinion or just calmly listening and consoling you helps.
On the flip side, when you are dealing with anxiety, it is complicated. If the symptoms are causing distress and the person can’t seem to work normally, then contacting a professional for help is the only choice. Even though the symptoms sometimes pass, in the long run, they are recurring.
Lastly, it is important to understand the difference between anxiety vs. nervousness to plan a strategy to handle your emotions during such situations. There are numerous ways to soothe yourself if you suffer from nervousness or anxiety when you are not in your comfort zone. Also, you can do regular exercises to improve your mental health and contain your thoughts.