Many people use the words "anxiety" and "stress" interchangeably, but they are in fact two separate conditions. Stress is a response to a stimulus, which can be external or internal. You may experience stress because you feel frustrated with something (like waiting in line behind a slow person) or when you worry that you will not meet expectations (such as missing a deadline at work).

Anxiety, on the other hand, is a feeling of nervousness and fear or even dread. It can be brought on by negative thoughts and expectations, or as a response to stress. You may experience feelings of anxiety virtually all of the time and not understand why, or your feelings may be a response to something you are nervous about, such as an upcoming journey.

Abnormal levels of certain neurotransmitters in the brain may cause generalized anxiety. Some studies show that anxiety can be hereditary. In addition, anxiety can be induced environmentally, as when a child whose father or mother is often anxious becomes an anxious person by observing the parent. But frequently, the core cause of anxiety is simply the thoughts that a person is thinking!

Stress and anxiety are subjective conditions. Different people may experience stress during different situations, and different people may react to their anxiousness in very different ways. Symptoms of anxiety can range from the mild, such as sweaty hands and tense muscles, to the severe, such as vomiting, irregular heartbeat, and anxiety attacks.

Everyone feels some amount of anxiety once in awhile. We have all experienced the dry mouth and "butterflies in the stomach" before a test or public speaking engagement. But when does it become damaging to your health? Research has shown that chronic anxiety can lead to sleep disorders, relationship problems, depression, and high blood pressure

For sufferers of chronic untreated anxiety, there can be detrimental health consequences that have yet to be fully identified. Many studies have found a link between generalized anxiety disorder and a number of serious health conditions including heart disease, arthritis, respiratory illness, thyroid disease, and cancer. Chronically anxious people may even be more likely to suffer a fatal heart attack.

If you experience what seems like a disproportionately high amount of anxiety relative to the situation, or if you feel anxious nearly every day, you may actually have an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders are chronic conditions characterized by an inability to function normally because of constant anxiety. Anxiety disorders are serious conditions that should be treated to lower the risk of long-term effects.

Anxiety treatment has long been the subject of much debate in the medical field. Some medical professionals feel that medication is the best treatment for chronic anxiety. Unfortunately, anti-anxiety medications often produce harmful side effects that are just as bad or even worse than the initial affliction.

There are plenty of natural ways to control negative emotional reactions. Exercise is one that is often overlooked by anxious people, but it is extremely effective in managing stress and anxiety. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins, which are natural mood-boosting and pain-killing chemicals. With regular aerobic exercise, you may start to experience a decrease in negative emotional responses to situations that would previously have made you feel quite anxious.

The most effective way to deal with worry and tension is to control it from the inside out. Stress relief and stress management techniques are extremely useful in coping with day-to-day stress. These techniques can teach you to calm yourself and let the tension leave your body. You make a conscious effort to slow your rate of breathing, release the tension, and maintain a peaceful state of mind. Meditation is a fantastic form of tension management in which you practice mindful relaxation and deep, calming breathing.

However, if you are looking for a proactive method to relieve yourself of anxiety, hypnotherapy is by far the most effective form of treatment. When an individual undergoes hypnotherapy, their reactions and emotional responses to events are changed at their core. This permits them to deal with common anxiety-inducing triggers without the typical nervousness and fear.

Hypnosis is often performed by a licensed hypnotist in a series of regular sessions. More commonly today, hypnotherapy is available in the form of self hypnosis programs which are available in the form of MP3s, DVDs, or CDs for personal home use. No special skills are necessary to practice self hypnosis. All that you need is a device to play the hypnotherapy program and a quiet space where you can listen and relax.

Another successful method of anxiety treatment is Neuro-Linguistic Programming, or NLP. NLP is a form of therapy that can help you retrain yourself to naturally react to situations in a more positive manner. You can consciously decide to be calm rather than anxious, and consequently, you always maintain control over your own feelings.

In summary, you can see that it is very important to control our negative emotional responses in order to remain healthy. Learning to cope with fear and nervousness can even add precious years onto your life. To treat long term anxiety, the best course of action is to participate in hypnotherapy to change your reactions and attitudes at the core. Then, it becomes easy to use stress management techniques as necessary to keep calm in everyday situations.

Author's Bio: 

Alan B. Densky, CH has been in practice over 30 years. His Neuro-VISION hypnosis website carries a broad spectrum of stress reduction hypnosis CDs, and advanced stress management CDs Visit his site for the Free video hypnosis blog, and download a free MP3.