Anxiety is that relentless consternation, worry and fear about an unlikely outcome or event over which you are helpless. It is disabling when it interferes with your day-to-day life and hard to control.

Let’s differentiate between anxiety and worry which is a milder form of fear.

1. Anxious fear is usually fluid and periphrastic, unlike worry which is specific. We’ll worry about arriving at the examination venue on time but feel anxious about exams in general- an indistinct and unfocused concern.

2. Sadly, the fuzzy nature of anxiety makes it less amenable to problem-solving, unlike worry which by being focused triggers creative solution thinking and strategies. Anxiety is synonymous to a hamster that spins endlessly around us without any fecund solution in sight.

3. Worry surfaces in the face of a plausible threat, anxiety happens in anticipation of an imminent or an unlikely peril.

4. Worry derives from a pattern of surmountable choice. It is a series of voluntary physical responses from within. For most people, staying in a condition of anxiety is not a choice that can be easily wished away because it originates from the body’s obliging healthy and biological systems working overtime.

 

5. Anxiety is when most of your dreadful trepidations manifest at night in dreams and nightmares. The endless tossing and restless turning that seem to shut your brain off as if staring at a gun pointed at you, that is anxiety.

6. Can you remember those over laboring thoughts before bedtime and eventually waking up tired at just the start of the day? That is the classical evolution of anxiety.

7. Though worry induces a mild emotional distress, anxiety can create a much more severe emotional distress that is problematic and disruptive, with chain-like repercussions.

8. Anxiety is the unhealthy sleep deprivation arising from poor organization, and conditioned ability to stay awake up to 2 am even though it was needless.

9. When you find yourself messing up your text messages with double or triple wordings inappropriately, immersed in tangentiality of thought, that is anxiety. Your stress level gets heightened with awkwardly and speedily typed words too.

10. Often worry is temporary as it diminishes once the problem resolves. Anxiety, in contrast, can linger for an extended period ripple effects into other realms. One week we feel anxious about work, the next week about our health, the next morning the kids.

11. This consternation plays out also when you are restless while waiting for an answer and wondering if you’re being sidelined and whether they are mad at you. This scenario is common with young adults tensed with unanswered text that’s killing them inside with rage.

12. A pathological predilection to sway discussions and viewpoints towards an adverse context is characteristic of anxiety.

13. The unusual and fine-needle sensitivity of almost everything in the environment, attaching extra meanings to your colleagues’ tone of voice, inflections and body languages permeate the realm of anxious angst.

14. Fears are common in both anxiety and worry, but anxious fear is constant, baseless and panicky. An individual with anxiety is habitually apprehensive and unstable.

15. Rarely does worry impede on our personal and professional lives as anxiety does. The constant discomfort and poor concentration that comes with anxious fear results in sick leaves because you’re too distressed to work.

16. On the flip side, anxiety is when you care too much and willing to go the extra mile because you don’t want to hurt others. It is lingering urge to feel accepted and be liked against all the odds. To attain this, you try too hard most times.

17. Anxiety-prone persons habitually hear a judgmental inner voice that says ‘you ruined this, you should feel horrid right now.’

18. Anxiety shares some common traits with panic attacks. You appear composed and calm on the exterior but burning inside with galloping heartbeats and sweaty palms.