Difference between Anxiety and Nervousness

Key Difference: Anxiety is a condition when a person feels stressed, worried or has a fear regarding something. It is a hesitation to try something new or different, in case the situation turns bad. Nervousness is a state of mind where a person loses self-confidence and becomes worried regarding certain situations. 

Anxiety and nervousness are two conditions that a person commonly encounters in their life. These words are also most commonly used interchangeably, though they mean two different things. Anxiety is a fear of something unknown, while nervousness is the hesitancy when trying something new. Mild form of nervousness is a common symptom when dealing with anxiety.

Anxiety is a response to a stressor. You feel anxious when you are stressed, for example when you have to take a test or give an interview, etc. Anxiety is a feeling of fear, unease, and worry. It can be rooted in any event that makes one feel frustrated, angry, or nervous. The word ‘anxiety’ has been derived from the Latin word ‘anxietātem’, meaning “distressed or troubled.”

In small doses, it is healthy and useful, as it makes one alert and able to deal with the stressor. Usually when the stressor is removed or it is dealt with, the anxiety ends, sometimes it doesn’t, which can lead to anxiety disorders. There are various different types of anxiety including existential anxiety, test and performance anxiety, stranger and social anxiety, generalized anxiety, trait anxiety, choice or decision anxiety and paradoxical anxiety.

The most common symptoms of anxiety include a faster heart rate, skipped heartbeats, rapid breathing, cold sweat, nausea, trembling and dizziness. If the anxiety worsens, the symptoms may also include loose stools, frequent urination, dry mouth and problems swallowing. Feelings of anxiety are common in people who feel depressed and sad. Also, major life changes may bring on anxiety. These can include starting a new job or school, moving away, an upcoming marriage, having children, break-ups or divorce.

Nervousness is a state of mind that is uneasy due to some sort of circumstances that a person is going through. Nervousness is a key symptom during anxiety. It is when a person feels hesitation or has uneasy feelings regarding a certain situation. These feelings are usually what can go bad with a certain situation. For example, a person may be nervous taking a test thinking that he has a chance of failing or someone may be nervous to meet a new person believing that the person may not like him.

Nervousness is usually considered as a positive trait in a person as it causes them to not be overconfident regarding a situation. Nervousness is also a very common condition to encounters. However if a person cannot get the nervousness under control it may cause the person to experience a ‘nervous breakdown’, meaning that the person may become overwhelmed with all the different situations in his/her life that they may not be able to cope up with all of them at once.  Symptoms of nervousness include jittery nerves, sweaty hands, loss of self-confidence, elevated heartbeat, etc.

In a nutshell, nervousness is a state of mind where a person loses self-confidence and becomes worried regarding certain situations. It is a hesitation to try something new or different, in case the situation turns bad. Anxiety is a condition when a person feels stressed, worried or has a fear regarding something. Nervousness is easier to deal with and maintain as they are easier to control, while anxiety is not always easy to control and may become a serious ailment. There are special treatments that are available in order to cope with anxiety and nervousness.

Image Courtesy: examiner.com, ashleyellis.com

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