Do you ever wonder whether those jitters you’re feeling are a result of anxiety or just plain nervousness? It’s a common conundrum, and in this blog, we’re here to shed light on the disparities between the two emotional states. Not only will we clarify the distinctions, but we’ll also equip you with some practical tips to handle them effectively.
Anxious vs. Nervous – What Are The Differences?
There’s a difference between anxious vs. nervous, and we’re going to share some important tips with you about how to manage anxiety and nervousness. But first, we need to understand what the difference is between anxiety and being nervous.
The three main deciders between anxiety and nervousness include:
- Duration of Symptoms: Nervousness is typically short-lived, tied to specific situations or events. It’s that pre-presentation jitters or the excitement before a big date. In contrast, anxiety tends to persist over more extended periods, sometimes infiltrating every aspect of your life.
- Intensity of Symptoms: Nervousness often presents as a milder emotional state, causing a flutter in the stomach or mild restlessness. Anxiety, on the other hand, can manifest as a more profound, pervasive, and disruptive emotional experience, impacting your daily life and functioning.
- Situational Context: Context plays a pivotal role. Feeling nervous usually correlates with particular circumstances, such as a job interview or an important exam. Once the event concludes, the nervousness typically recedes. Feeling anxious, however, isn’t solely contingent on external triggers and can persist independently of the situation.
It’s important to differentiate between everyday nervousness, localized anxiety, and clinical anxiety disorders. The latter category encompasses General Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Panic Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). These disorders are characterized by specific criteria relating to the duration and severity of symptoms as shared above.
While we won’t go into the intricacies of anxiety disorders in this blog, it’s valuable to understand that a significant distinction exists between these clinical conditions, localized anxiety, and the common experience of feeling nervous.
How to Manage Anxiety
Life can be an uphill climb for those dealing with anxiety. Ordinary, everyday activities that most people take for granted can feel like insurmountable obstacles when you’re feeling anxious. Effectively managing anxiety requires a multifaceted approach that encompasses both the physical and emotional aspects of this intricate condition. While numerous strategies exist to cope with anxiety, here are some recommendations grounded in their proven efficacy that we commend on how to manage anxiety:
Diversifying your self-care activities
Self-care isn’t a one-size-fits-all deal; it’s more like a choose-your-own-adventure. What works for you might not work for your neighbor, and that’s totally fine. Here’s a peek at the self-care menu when you’re feeling anxious:
- Taking Care of Your Body: Whether you’re hitting the gym, going for a nature walk, or just hanging out with friends and family, physical well-being is a big part of self-care.
- Express Yourself: Ever tried your hand at art, lost yourself in a good book, or cranked up your favorite tunes? These activities can be your emotional outlet.
- Zen Mode: Meditation and mindfulness can be your go-to for finding inner peace and handling anxiety like a pro.
- Setting Boundaries: Self-care also means learning to say “no” when needed and giving yourself a break from work when it all gets a bit too much.
The Magic of Breathwork
Your breath is like a rhythmic symphony conducted by your body. When you consciously manipulate it, you can influence your physical and emotional state for any anxious vs nervous feelings. One way you can practice breathwork is through square breathing, also known as boxed breathing. It’s called “square” because it follows a structured pattern, much like the sides of a square. Here’s a step-by-step breakdown:
- Inhale: Take a slow, deep breath in through your nose for a count of four. Visualize filling your lungs completely.
- Hold: Hold that breath for another count of four. This brief pause allows your body to absorb the oxygen and prepares it for the next phase.
- Exhale: Gently exhale through your mouth for a count of four. Feel the release of tension as you breathe out.
- Pause: Hold your breath again at the bottom for a count of four. This moment of stillness sets the rhythm for the next cycle.
Repeat this cycle 3-5 times, and you’ll begin to notice the calming effects. It’s like hitting the reset button for your nervous system. Incorporating breathwork into your daily routine, especially during moments of stress or anxiety, can be a game-changer. It’s a simple, yet profound practice that empowers you to take control of your emotional well-being. So, take a deep breath, and let the magic of breathwork work its wonders regardless of anxious vs nervous.
Letting It All Out
Sometimes, you just need to let those emotions flow freely. Whether it’s anxious vs nervous feelings, activities that encourage emotional release can be your emotional gym. Here’s a taste:
- Work Up a Sweat: Go wild with intense exercise like jumping jacks or a quick run around the block to shake off that pent-up stress.
- Dance Like Nobody’s Watching: Crank up the music and have your own dance party; it’s your moment to shine.
- Laugh It Off: Comedy shows, funny videos, or a hearty laugh can be your ticket to an emotional release.
- Sing Your Heart Out: Belt out your favorite tunes or have a good cry – both can be liberating.
Seeking Help From a NYC Therapist
If anxiety is playing a leading role in your life, and you’re feeling lost, it’s time to call in the professionals. Find a therapist who’s got your back, especially one who specializes in dealing with anxiety. They’ll be your guiding star through the storm and help figure out your anxious vs nervous feelings.
Contact Uncover Mental Health Counseling and start working with a NYC anxiety therapist!
Understanding the difference between feeling anxious and feeling nervous can be essential in managing your emotions and well-being. At Uncover Mental Health Counseling, we have NYC psychotherapists who can help you navigate and distinguish between these emotions. Follow these steps to gain clarity on anxious vs. nervous feelings:
- Reach out to Uncover Mental Health Counseling to schedule a complimentary consultation call.
- Connect with one of our NYC anxiety therapists who specialize in emotions and their impact on well-being for your initial session.
- Begin a journey of self-discovery and emotional understanding, receiving the support and guidance needed to differentiate between anxious and nervous feelings, ultimately enhancing your emotional well-being.