Difference between Stress and Tension

Key difference: Stress and Tension both create a mental pressure on an individual, going through the respective phases. Medically, stress is a response or stimulus to the unwilling environmental conditions; whereas tension is an unstable mental condition where an individual suffers through a nervous strain.

Stress and tension are types of forceful strain on an individual. They both contribute to an unhappy state, wherein a person is not able to behave normally, for a particular duration of time. Stress is the responsiveness to an environment, while tension is a pressurized condition by which a person goes through.

Stress is an organism’s response towards the environmental demands and condition. The responsiveness of an individual towards the unhappy and forceful conditions is termed as stress. Mostly, it occurs when there is an unexpected negotiable conversation between the individuals. During this state the hormonal level also imbalances, and create the mental side effects. It is the results from interactions between persons and their environment that are perceived as straining or exceeding their adaptive capacities and threatening their well-being. According to the elements of perception, human stress responses reflect the differences in their personality, also the changes are observed in their physical and general healthy. The stress symptoms include feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, extreme fear or anger, and cynicism or distrust of others.  

On the other hand, Tension is an unhappiness and sheer pressure on an individual’s mind. More often this state is considered to be a sort of problem, in an individual’s life. Psychologically, the tension is a stretch on the nervous system, which keeps on banging the head for duration of time. These conditions makes an individual anxious and too conscious in their work, more often these makes an individual feel unhappy with their respective surroundings. Tension is also caused due to the immense pressure in any part of the body. For example the tension in arteries, veins and nervous system, these can even cause severe unbalancing in the functioning of the body. When the tension reaches its peak, or when the tension level crosses the normal level an individual may result in a sudden collapse, or in an outburst of anger or violent action of some kind.

Both, stress and tension are psychologically co-related to each-other, i.e. a stress is a response whereas the tension occurs after the stress. These conditions for a while disturb an individual from their daily routine and life. There are doctors and councilors to guide and help an individual to come out of these situations.

On the prior it’s also an individual’s responsibility to find the remedy to handle these conditions. The suggested one would be a calm mediation, yoga etc. which might help an individual to resolve from these conditions; and on the extreme conditions these need to be treated by their respective doctors.

Comparison between Stress and Tension:




Meaning according to the Merriam-Webster

  • a state of mental tension and worry caused by problems in your life, work, etc.
  • something that causes strong feelings of worry or anxiety
  • physical force or pressure
  • a feeling of nervousness that makes you unable to relax
  • a feeling of nervousness, excitement, or fear that is created in a movie, book, etc.
  • a state in which people, groups, countries, etc., disagree with and feel anger toward each other

They are

It is response by an individual to the environment.

It is a condition of an individual in an unwilling environment.

Originated from and referred to

First appeared from the shortened word distress

Latin verb tendere,

Refer to

"the action or fact of straining or pressing tightly”

“to stretch”

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