It can be easy to confuse stress and anxiety, as both of these conditions can produce the same sort of physical and mental reactions. Probably the best way to differentiate between them is that stress is the direct result of some environmental factor while anxiety has no direct cause, it is simply present. In other words, when your boss yells at you, it will cause stress, but anxiety will make you feel afraid and nervous without any reason. Anxiety is characterized as a mental illness, but stress is not. If untreated, anxiety can lead to depression and other potentially serious mental conditions.

However, both stress and anxiety can cause the same sort of symptoms: irritability, insomnia, confusion, and headaches. It seems that only stress can bring on heart attacks or strokes, anxiety will not cause these serious physical medical problems. Many people will first seek professional medical assistance when they are afflicted by either of these conditions. Unfortunately, most doctors, psychologists, or psychiatrists will simply prescribe some sort of tranquillizer. This will not solve either problem, it will only mask it – the problem will still exist once the drug wears off.

Fortunately, there are steps that anyone can take to gain control of their life again. The first step to take to help reduce anxiety or stress is to take the decision to do so. You must try to gain confidence in your ability to manage your life. Stress and anxiety can be controlled to some extent, and the more you work at defeating these conditions, the more you will be able to keep them at bay.

Changing your environment is a good way to get a handle on both stress and anxiety. Although stress may be triggered by some event and anxiety is not, just getting outside can help to combat both of these conditions. It is possible to step away from your problems by taking a walk or going shopping. These are distractions that will help you to think of other, more pleasant things.

While eating a balanced diet will generally help deal with stress, it may not do much to help with anxiety. However, there are some dietary tips that can help to reduce anxiety, and probably stress as well. Alcoholic beverages should be avoided. Alcohol is actually a depressant, it is not a stimulant. Alcohol affects the major organ systems such as the brain and liver, and if these are not functioning correctly, anxiety can result. Too much sugar can also upset the balance of the body and contribute to anxiety, so cutting back on sweets can also help.

There are also herbal products that can help with both anxiety and stress. One of the best is lavender, which is most often used with aromatherapy. A pillow containing lavender is especially calming at night and can prepare the way for a good night’s sleep. Passion flower and the herb Watsonia have also proven themselves to be very valuable at reducing anxiety. Both of these plants will calm and settle you, and help you to carry on your daily activities more easily and enjoyably.

Meditation has also been used by many people to achieve relief from anxiety and stress. Meditation is different from prayer in that the point of this practice is to help you dissociate yourself from your surroundings. It could probably be considered a form of self hypnosis. Most people who practice meditation do achieve a reduction of the effects they are suffering from stress and anxiety.

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