Stress and anxiety are often used to describe similar feelings, but they are two different things. Stress is a response to a current situation. For example, a big deadline at work can cause stress. Anxiety results from uncertainty about what may happen. For example, fear of losing your job can cause anxiety.
Both can influence the stress hormones that increase hunger and stall weight loss. The physical symptoms, such as headaches, upset stomach and disrupted sleep, can zap energy and make committing to workouts more difficult.
Identifying whether you are experiencing stress or anxiety can help you choose the best way to gain control.
Tips to control stress
- Get organized. If you have a big deadline coming up, take control of your time and productivity. Set small daily tasks that will help you accomplish the work in a timely manner.
- Ask for help. If you have too much on your plate, ask for help and delegate duties that will help reduce your workload.
- Exercise regularly. Physical activity reduces the symptoms of stress.
- Meditate. Meditation can help clear your mind and renew your focus, so you can react to stressful situations in a more positive way.
Tips to control anxiety
- Focus on the present. Anxiety is often caused by a fear of what could happen in the future. Refocusing on the here and now can reduce concerns about the uncertainty of things we cannot control.
- Take a break from the screen. Media outlets cover shocking and negative news stories to catch attention. Constantly consuming this information can cause anxiety over what could happen. Take note of your exposure to these media outlets and, if necessary, reduce your exposure.
- Exercise regularly. Physical activity can reduce the symptoms of anxiety in the same way it eases stress.
- Seek help. Sometimes overcoming anxiety is not something you can do alone. Anxiety disorders affect as many as 30 percent of adults at some point in their lives. Talk with a health professional about your anxiety.