The Difference Between Feeling Anxious And Having Anxiety

October 28, 2017

“The longer a person’s been conditioned to fear and avoids confronting the issue, the more difficult it gets.”

Anxiety helps us stay motivated to study for upcoming tests or complete our work assignments. It can act as a warning signal and prevent us from walking across a desolated alley at night. Anxiety is often the vital link in a ‘fight or flight’ response during times of danger. Feeling anxious, from time to time, is both healthy and normal. It is what causes us to finish things and make better decisions sometimes.

Anxiety can however become a serious issue when it is not an occasional occurrence

When your thoughts are overtaken by anxiety on a daily basis, it is very different from just feeling anxious; it has the potential to turn into a serious emotional and mental health condition. If anxiety begins disrupting your relationships, personal life, work, and other aspects of life, then it may be an indication of an underlying anxiety disorder.

Different anxiety disorders are generally marked by irrational and excessive fear. A few common kinds of anxiety disorders are:

  • Panic disorder which is marked by repeated, chronic, and extreme episodes of panic with excessive worrying in between the episodes.
  • Social anxiety disorder which is marked by irrational and increased fear of social situations, people, public speaking, and being judged by others.
  • Generalized anxiety disorder or GAD which is a continuous cycle of worry over different everyday things surrounding daily life
  • Agoraphobia which refers to the fear of not being able to escape from somewhere and the feeling of being trapped

The major differences between having anxiety and feeling anxious are listed below:

The cause: All of us feel anxious during different life situations such as waiting for a job interview, or going on a first date, etc. This kind of anxiety makes sense and it typically dissipates once the event has occurred. However, having anxiety is different and sufferers generally tend to be anxious constantly.

The associated fears are usually irrational and any kind of stressor can trigger a potential anxiety attack. The sufferer may know that their anxiety and fears are baseless, but they don’t seem to have control over their brain/thoughts/emotions or their body.

Symptoms: Normal people may feel worried about anxiety causing events. However, people who have anxiety disorders may not only feel excessively worried but also suffer from a variety of physical symptoms like depersonalization, dizziness, headaches, concentration issues, excessive sweating, nausea, trembling, breathing problems, and more.

The intensity and duration: People who have anxiety may experience anxiety symptoms that are not in proportion with the intensity of the stressor. For example, all of us experience some level of anxiety when we have to speak in front of an audience, but in case of anxiety disorder sufferers, the anxiety can be so debilitating that they can never even make it to the podium. Also, unlike those who feel anxious about an event, these people may become anxious many days before an event.


I’m well known in my 1 on 1 sessions for saying the words “every anxious moment is an opportunity to practice a new response.” meaning you don’t have to play along with every thought or emotion you feel. Gaining self control and overall self mastery takes time, but the odds are in your favour as more and more time goes by, and further clarity is gained.

Create An Internal Shift, Begin The #1 CBT/NLP Based Program For Your Anxiety Today.

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One comment on “The Difference Between Feeling Anxious And Having Anxiety

  1. It was good that I read this article and learned that anxiety is different from feeling anxious because of the idea that anxiety has the tendency to make a person feel uneasy and afraid for irrational reasons and may become strong enough to actually trigger a panic attack. A friend of mine has been showing signs of anxiety, but I was not able to determine whether or not it is normal until now. Considering that he often manifests fear for the smallest of things, I am quite sure he needs counseling for his condition is already anxiety. Thank you for sharing.