Everyone experiences stress and worry from time to time. The difference between feeling stressed versus having clinical anxiety is very specific. Here are a few things to keep an eye out for if you’re wondering if your worry is becoming a problem.

Feeling anxious can stem from stressful situations so mix kids, marriage, traffic, COVID-19, and BAM! You’ve got stress. Anxiety, however, is different. It’s a mindset that isn’t a feeling. It comes when we don’t want it and keeps us from being able to stay present in the moment. Here are a few ways to know if you worried feelings may be turning into anxiety.

  • You’ve tried tons of different things to control the worry but nothing seems to help. You’ve read different articles and blogs and tried all of the different tips you’ve heard from others. Still nothing seems to be working? Anxiety is a constant and pervasive experience. It happens with the largest and smallest of things. It often plagues your day-to-day mind, making it hard to concentrate on anything other than what you’re worried about. If you’ve tried different things and nothing seems to be working, this may be a sign to get extra help.
  • Your day-to-day routine is suffering. You find yourself avoiding certain places in an effort to avoid the anxiety. Others have noticed you’re starting to become MIA more often and are worried about you. Things you used to be able to enjoy aren’t fun anymore and you don’t feel like yourself.
  • Your eating and sleeping patterns are unstable. Eating and sleeping are part of our basic needs- we need these to survive. With preoccupations of the mind, your body may respond too. There are times anxiety will make you miss meals without realizing it, or seek different comfort foods to try and cope. You may find yourself getting restless at night despite being really tired. The mind has a hard time just “shutting off” which makes for late nights trying to get to sleep. Just remember, unintentional disruptions of eating or sleeping patterns are never good.
  • Other people notice. Despite your best attempts to keep things under control and away from the social eye, those around you are noticing. They see you getting anxious more often and might say you seem “different “or “off.” Remember a lot of times those around us who love us and spend a lot of time with us can notice these things before we do. If someone is noticing it, it may be worth seeking extra help.
  • Anxiety attacks. A lot of times with anxiety, comes panic which can create panic or anxiety attacks. Shortness of breath, feeling as though you will pass out, rapid heart rate, sweatiness, feeling out of control, feeling chills or really hot? This may be your body’s response to feeling emotionally and mentally dysregulated. You don’t feel calm and steady emotionally so your body is “off” too.

If you have experienced, or are experiencing, any of the above, don’t hesitate to reach out for extra support. You don’t need to have all of the criteria in order to be in counseling or get help from a doctor. Although you may not have clinical anxiety, if this article sounds like you, it’s clear you’re feeling stressed or anxious about something. Don’t wait until problems get worse. Keep your health as number one, and when in doubt ask. Here are a few tips to managing anxiety.

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