Differences between Worry and Anxiety

Have you been feeling overwhelmed, stressed, or depressed?

Are you struggling to describe your feelings or are you tired of having your feelings dismissed as just being “worried”?

People often use the terms “worry” and “anxiety” interchangeably, but doctors say they are very different psychological traits. Although they are both associated with a general sense of concern, the way we experience them is quite different.

The five main differences between worry and anxiety disorder, according to Psychology Today, are:

  1. We tend to experience worry in our heads and anxiety in our bodies. Worry tends to be more focused on thoughts in our heads, while anxiety is more physical in that we feel it throughout our bodies.
  2. Worry tends to be specific while anxiety is more diffuse. For example, we worry about getting to the airport on time (a specific threat), but we feel anxious about traveling – a vaguer, more general concern.
  3. Worry is verbally focused while anxiety includes verbal thoughts and mental imagery. This difference is important, as emotional mental images associated with anxiety provoke a greater cardiovascular response than emotional verbal thoughts, such as those associated with worry. This is another reason why we experience anxiety throughout the body.
  4. Worry often triggers anxiety problem solving but anxiety does not. Worry can lead us to think about solutions and strategies for dealing with a given situation. Anxiety is more like a hamster wheel that spins us around, but doesn’t lead us to productive solutions.
  5. Worry creates mild emotional distress, anxiety can create severe emotional distress. Anxiety is simply a much more powerful, disruptive, and problematic psychological state than worry.

Do any of those five differences stand out to you? Have you experienced feelings like those described above?

If you’ve experienced feelings that you think are closer to anxiety than just general worries, call us at Gratiot Psychological Services. Our experienced team of doctors will sit down with you and come up with a plan to help you deal with your anxiety disorder in Alma.

If you or a loved one is struggling with anxiety, you don’t have to do it alone! Contact us today for an appointment at 989-796-4555. We can help you get on the right path to recovery.