Anxiety and nervousness are often considered synonyms. People tend to think being anxious or nervous is the same thing. Sure, they’re quite similar, but they have some fundamental differences. This article explains the differences between being anxious vs. nervous so you can know how to manage both successfully. Read on to learn more.
What does it mean to be anxious?
Being anxious means you are dealing with anxiety that is persistent and ongoing. An anxious person is constantly in a state of worry and dread and finds it difficult to calm down. In addition to shortness of breath and anxiety, as well as other symptoms, an anxious person tends to avoid places or situations, hoping they won’t feel the way that they do. As a result, their quality of life suffers.
More precisely, being anxious is when a person’s fears, unease, and worries are excessive and take their toll on both physical and mental health. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting 40 million adults or 19.1% of this population every year.
What does it mean to be nervous?
Being nervous means you are in a state of heightened apprehension or unease when anticipating a certain task, event, or situation. Nervousness is a natural response to uncertainty. A nervous person experiences both physical and mental symptoms. These symptoms go away when the event or situation is over.
Good examples of situations that cause nervousness are job interviews, exams, waiting for the results of medical tests, first dates, meeting someone’s parents, and many others. Nervousness can be frustrating, but it doesn’t cause a serious disruption to a person’s life.
Since these feelings are similar, further in this post, you’re going to learn about anxious vs. nervous differences.
How to tell if you are anxious or nervous (or both)?
The most important thing to bear in mind in terms of anxious vs. nervous subjects is that although both have similarities, they are distinct emotional states. Nervousness is like the body’s temporary warning system or an alarm that notifies you about potential threats.
You can tell that you’re nervous if the symptoms occur when you’re under pressure. People are generally nervous in situations such as:
- Taking tests or exams
- Giving presentations or any form of public speaking
- Having tough talks
- Going on dates
- Doing auditions
You’re anxious if the symptoms are more persistent. The symptoms last even when you’re not exposed to a certain event or situation anymore. You’re anxious when you can’t function properly in such a way that your problem-solving and decision-making skills are strongly affected.
Sometimes people are just nervous or anxious, but it’s also possible to have both. This is particularly the case when a person is dealing with situations that are both anxiety-inducing and nerve-wracking. In that case, a person’s shortness of breath, anxiety, and feelings of nervousness feed one another.
Anxious vs. nervous: what’s the difference?
Both feelings are natural, and most people experience them at one point or another. However, it’s important to know more about the anxious vs. nervous difference. The primary difference between the two is that nervousness is temporary, whereas anxiety is persistent and ongoing. Anxiety is among the most persistent mental conditions.
Nervousness is less intense than anxiety, which can be quite crippling. Additionally, being nervous is usually a reaction to something specific, while anxiety is more generalized.
Yet another important anxious vs. nervous difference is that nervousness rarely leads to negative coping behaviors. Examples of negative coping strategies are avoidance and isolation. People with anxiety tend to avoid places or situations that cause their symptoms. Sometimes they isolate and refuse to spend time with other people.
When it comes to the difference between anxious and nervous, it’s important to mention that the latter goes away on its own and can be managed with self-care. On the flip side, anxiety, as a more persistent problem, requires therapy and medication.
To understand anxious vs. nervous subjects, it is necessary to take the symptoms and their severity into consideration.
Nervousness is associated with symptoms such as:
- Excessive sweating
- Difficulty concentrating
- Restlessness or fidgetiness
- Lack of confidence
- Hyperventilation or shortness of breath
- Dryness in mouth
- Unsettled stomach
- Increased heart rate
The symptoms of anxiety include:
- Anxious feeling in the chest
- Emotional over-reactivity
- Racing thoughts
- Excessive worrying
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Being easily distracted
- Nausea and stomach ache
- Body aches and pains
- Feeling frustrated or being “on the edge”
- Difficulties with memory
- Social isolation or avoidance
Being nervous is associated with milder symptoms. On the other hand, anxiety symptoms such as anxious feeling in the chest are more pronounced and severe. Symptoms of nervousness go away when the nerve-wracking event or situation ends. Anxiety is different; it’s more persistent. Sometimes anxiety symptoms are stronger, and at other times they’re milder, but they’re always there.
Being nervous doesn’t prevent you from participating in certain events or situations. You feel nervous, but still, go ahead and do it. Anxiety symptoms are more severe in a way that they can prevent you from participating in activities you enjoy.
How do the symptoms affect you?
Whether you are anxious or nervous, the symptoms affect you and your well-being. The impact of those effects is different, though.
Being nervous is a temporary state, but it can affect your immediate performance and functioning in the specific situation that causes nervousness. For example, if the upcoming public speaking event is the source of nervousness, you may not say everything you planned or how you planned it. Nervousness may affect your productivity and the ability to think clearly, but these effects are acute or short-term. The physical symptoms, such as sweaty palms or an unsettled stomach, are also acute.
Being anxious has a long-term impact on you and your quality of life. Both mental and physical symptoms, including shortness of breath and anxiety, can be persistent and ongoing, so their influence on your life is longer than that of nervousness. Anxiety is strongly associated with reduced productivity. Psychological pain impairs your performance level at work and in other aspects of life.
Anxiety is associated with generalized worry, thus creating a consistent background of unease. The symptoms of anxiety can affect your physical health and cause insomnia and digestive issues in the long run. The persistent problems with concentration, problem-solving skills, and decision-making also affect other aspects of life, including relationships.
Tips to manage
While being anxious and nervous can affect your life in many ways, you can manage them successfully. So, how do you slow down heart rate, anxiety, and other symptoms that people experience when they’re anxious and nervous? These tips work for both cases:
- Identify triggers: keep track of the symptoms and situations in which they appear. You should also pay attention to the duration of your symptoms, i.e. when shortness of breath and anxiety go away. This will help identify triggers of your nervousness and anxiety. Once the triggers are identified, you can develop a strategy to overcome the symptoms.
Work on developing a positive mindset: Intrusive and irrational thoughts can be overwhelming, but dwelling on what could go wrong is not the solution. It worsens your nervousness and anxiety. Instead, work on developing a positive mindset. Evidence confirms that any form of positive ideation can counter worry. Developing a positive mindset is all about consistent effort and patience.
- Use supplements for relaxation: products such as Nuu3 Keep Calm Gummies are specifically formulated to produce a sense of calm by reducing anxiety and stress. Regular intake of these gummies eases physical tension thanks to a powerful yet natural formula containing ingredients such as ashwagandha, chamomile, and lemon balm.
- Practice relaxation techniques: strategies like deep breathing help reduce nervousness and anxiety immediately. Try to practice these techniques when symptoms such as anxious feeling in the chest appear.
- Practice mindfulness: Mindfulness is all about being present in the moment. Mindfulness techniques such as meditation produce a sense of calm and relieve nervousness and anxiety.
If you get nervous a lot and aren’t sure how to overcome this problem, these tips will help you out:
- Practice: if you’re nervous about a specific situation, try to practice it more often. For instance, practice public speaking with your friends or trained professionals. Practice increases confidence and reduces nervousness, especially if you’re also taking products like Nuu3 Keep Calm Gummies.
- Rationalize the situation: instead of blowing things out of proportion, try to rationalize the situation and its level of “threat”. You’ll realize nothing really bad can happen, and your anxious feeling in the chest will go away.
Repeat your mantra: it’s a short phrase that encourages positive thinking.This is a good example of “you got this”, but options are endless. Mantras give you confidence and thereby reduce nervousness.
- Take deep breaths: Deep breathing increases oxygen, slows heart rate, and calms the nervous system, thus promoting relaxation and reducing nervousness.
Managing mild anxiety
Below, you can learn how to slow down heart rate anxiety and other symptoms an anxious person experiences:
- Exercise: Regular exercise supports the management of anxiety because it releases endorphins, improves mood, lowers stress hormones, and enhances mental well-being. It’s also a good way to boost your confidence.
Manage stress: don’t ignore your stress, manage it proactively. Do something that you find relaxing, e.g., yoga, meditation, cooking, or gardening, the options are endless. Products like Nuu3 Keep Calm Gummies are an excellent choice for stress management. By managing stress, you can manage anxiety too.
- Limit consumption of stimulants: reduce or avoid consuming caffeine, sugar, and smoking cigarettes. They can worsen your anxious feelings.
- Journal: evidence confirms that journaling aids in the management of anxiety. It works by providing an outlet for emotional expression, self-reflection, and problem-solving.
- Don’t avoid anxiety-inducing situations: When a person tries to figure out how to slow down heart rate anxiety, they often avoid situations that cause their symptoms. This may provide temporary relief but harm you in the long run. Rationalize those situations and face them head-on.
- Modify your diet: enrich your menu with foods that relieve anxiety. Good examples are salmon, turmeric, chamomile, yogurt, green tea, dark chocolate, blueberries, almonds, eggs, fruits, and vegetables.
- Therapy: consider scheduling an appointment to discuss your symptoms with a therapist. They will help you overcome your symptoms and improve your quality of life. Combine therapy with other points from this list.
Frequently asked questions
When does anxiety become a disorder?
Anxiety becomes a disorder when it becomes excessive and interferes with your ability to function. More precisely, it becomes a disorder when you can’t control it anymore. Anxiety disorders such as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) are diagnosed when symptoms such as worry occur more often than not for at least six months.
Can you have anxiety and not be nervous?
It is possible to experience physical symptoms of anxiety without feeling nervous about a specific event or situation. This happens when a person has generalized feelings of anxiety. Follow the abovementioned tips on how to slow down heart rate anxiety to feel better and improve your quality of life.
Why do we get nervous?
We get nervous as a part of our natural response to situations we perceive as threatening. Our fight-or-flight mechanism activates and causes symptoms of nervousness. This happens even if there is no real threat from a situation such as a job interview. Many people take Nuu3 Keep Calm Gummies to avoid nervousness and improve their performance.
Is nervousness a form of anxiety?
Nervousness can occur on its own, but it can also be a form of anxiety. If you stop being nervous after the event or situation is over, it means nervousness is the issue. If the problem is persistent, it could be a sign of anxiety.
The distinction between being anxious vs. nervous is crucial for improving our mental health and overall well-being. When you know the difference between the two, it becomes easier to manage your symptoms more efficiently. Remember, don’t avoid situations that cause anxiety or nervousness, practice relaxing techniques, and you’ll feel much better.