Everyday stress or anxiety – which is it?

You know the feeling. Too many things to do, not enough time. You’ve got several emails from your boss that you have to return, your dog just made a mess on the carpet and you only have 2 hours to make a dish for that potluck tonight that you are kicking yourself for signing up for. Every day stress comes in all shapes and sizes and not one of us is immune.

For the average human in todays society we’ve slowly slid into our fast paced lives with no “off” button and minimal disconnection from the demands around us. Even when we aren’t tweeting, instagraming, posting, texting or returning an email we feel like we *should* be doing *something* to stay *productive*. These subconscious demands on our time and minds leaves little room for the rest that our organic bodies and minds need to keep us healthy.

In some ways, we have to accept the world that we’re part of and in other ways we need to push back a little. When we push back and it doesn’t seem like the chaos wants to budge we may be facing another issue.

I’ve heard it said that everyone in this generation has some form of anxiety and while it may be true that we all experience episodes of acute stress and anxiety, chronic anxiety is different. The anxiety of the demands of our every-day will ebb and flow. You find the strength to put down the phone, take a bath, walk on the beach and you experience the calm of a mind at ease. This may not be all the time, but when not struggling from chronic anxiety you can sense when these times are needed and you know how to put up the boundaries to allow you the space. This is how one “ebbs” the “flow” of the every-day stress.

Chronic anxiety is like a raging river. You may try to dam up the current but the water rushes over you pushing you down. You try putting up a boundary again and again but each time you find yourself with a mouth full of water. You know “what” to do and you know “how” to do it but something just isn’t falling in to place to get you to that place of rest. This feeling is more in the territory chronic anxiety.

In therapy, there’s space to process both. Therapy for every-day stress may be less intensive and focus on those boundary making skills and work on reorganizing a life so as to have more moments of calm. Therapy for chronic anxiety has the potential to truly change your life. Chronic anxiety has effects on all aspects of your health and relationships. Learning about the intricacies, and what chronic anxiety for you specifically looks like are some of the first steps towards healing and change.

Life is full of wonderful moments for us to take in, but it’s hard to breath when you’re under water. But the good news is that there’s help, whenever you’re ready to ask.