Stress and anxiety manifest in similar ways but are defined differently. Both are emotional responses, but stress is typically caused by an external trigger. The trigger can be short-term, such as a work deadline, or long-term, such as chronic illness.
People under stress commonly experience both mental and physical symptoms. These include irritability, fatigue, muscle pain, digestive troubles and difficulty sleeping.
Anxiety on the other hand, is defined by persistent, excessive worries. Worries that don’t go away, even in the absence of a stressor. Anxiety leads to nearly identical symptoms including insomnia, irritability, difficulty concentrating, fatigue and muscular tension.
Anxiety disorders usually differ in their severity and in how long they last. Anxiety typically persists for months, negatively affecting mood and functioning. Some anxiety disorders cause the person to shy away from enjoyable activities and can make it difficult to hold down a job.
Stress and anxiety both trigger the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) – our bodys “fight or flight” response.
Activities such as good sleep hygiene, physical activity, and eating a varied and nutritious diet can all help to counteract this fight or flight response by activating the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) – our calming system.
When in a healthy balance, the SNS and PNS are akin to the two sides of a seesaw, reacting to a stressor, and then balancing our body back to a state of calm.
When stress or anxiety become chronic, the body’s ability to switch off its fight or flight response becomes increasingly difficult and can result in the body not responding to these management techniques.
Studies have shown that acupuncture has the ability to help regulate imbalances between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems.
If you’ve been feeling stressed or anxious, why not give acupuncture a go? Book Now.