Anxiety versus nervousness (3 differences)

Anxiety versus nervousness

Even though nervousness is one of the symptoms of anxiety they can be differentiated from one another.

Though nervousness accompanies anxiety, anxiety doesn’t need to accompany nervousness in certain situations.

Nervousness can be looked at as more manageable by individuals than anxiety due to the reactions that anxiety and its peak rings about in an individual.

anxiety after a while requires an assistant to manage however nervousness is something that an individual can resolve by themself in most situations by carrying out some self-talk or by sharing one’s feelings with their close ones

What is nervousness and how to overcome it?

Nervousness refers to a normal reaction to certain situations. Unlike anxiety, nervousness is something that can be brought under an individual’s control much easier.

Some ways to overcome nervousness are:

Don’t be afraid of nervousness

An individual must remind themselves in discomforting situations that nervousness is normal and is experienced by most individuals.

Nervousness is looked at as a way for preparing an individual for what they’re going to face which is usually out of their comfort zone.

Be prepared

Nervousness is situation-based and cannot be predicted. Hence an individual must be prepared for such challenging situations. Preparing oneself might require:

  • practicing for a scheduled work or meeting
  • having a friend or loved one accompany
  • Allowing extra time to get ready for social events

Get into a positive headspace


An individual must carry out positive self-talk which helps them to maintain positive headspace and also reflect in their behavior.

Try relaxation techniques

It is believed that deep breathing helps to calm an individual quickly. There are various types of breathing exercises that one can carry out to feel in control.

Talk to someone

Talking about how an individual is feeling always helps them to get another perspective into the situation and also help them feel less burdened. the kind of support a close family member or friend provides to an individual helps to effectively deal with nervousness quickly and efficiently.

What is the anatomy of anxiety?


Research indicates that the functional anatomy of anxiety involves amygdala-based neurocircuits with reciprocal connections to the medial frontal cortex.

The neurotransmitters involved in the circuits are reviewed for their relevance to the pharmacologic choices in the treatment of anxiety. 

It is believed that traumatic experiences leave emotional marks regarding the amygdala which is responsible for regulating fear and emotions.

What anxiety looks like?

Anxiety is a normal response to fear or threat. Every individual experiences feelings of anxiety at some time or the other.

Anxiety makes an individual feel overwhelmed with fear, panic, a sense of loss of control over oneself and the environment.

The intensity of the anxiety attacks build up gradually over a few minutes reaches its peak and then subsides.

Anxiety attacks are characterized by a set of signs and symptoms such as:

  • Sweating
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sense of joking
  • Complaints of chest pain
  • Shaking or trembling
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness or Lightheadedness
  • Fear of losing control over oneself and their environment
  • Fear of impending doom
  • Hot or cold flashes
  • Tingling or numbness
  • Increased heart rate

These symptoms vary in severity from person to person. However, it is noted that many people experience anxiety attacks that are not significantly displayed.

What are the causes of an anxiety attack?

Anxiety attacks often result from accumulated stress or overwhelming feelings. Some common causes of anxiety include.

Increased and challenging situations and demands in day-to-day life.

  • Major changes in family dynamics such as marriage, divorce, death of a loved one.
  • Strain interpersonal relationships
  • Intrapersonal conflicts
  • Ineffective coping mechanisms
  • Comorbid conditions both physical and mental
  • Chronic health conditions
  • Genetic factors
  • Changes in the brain region
  • Overdose of caffeine
  • Prolonged use of medications
  • Significant traumatic experiences in the past or recent times
  • Comorbid mental health conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder or any other phobias.

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What are the main triggers of anxiety?


Even though anxiety is seen among many individuals certain triggers make some people more vulnerable to anxiety than others. Some contributing triggers of anxiety are:

Health diagnosis

an individual is more vulnerable to experiencing anxiety in the presence of chronic or serious health diagnoses such as cancer or diabetes.

triggers associated with health diagnosis tend to have a strong impact on an individual because of the strong negative thoughts and emotions that are associated with it.


it is believed that many over-the-counter medications may contribute to the symptoms of anxiety in some individuals. This is certainly because of the ingredients in this medication that makes an individual feel uneasy.

use of caffeine

even though it is said that the use of caffeine helps to activate an individual’s system studies show that over usage of caffeine might lead to adverse effects such as anxiety or even depression.

Apart from the overuse withdrawal from caffeine may also lead to anxiety. hence it is suggested that individuals take conscious amounts of caffeine per day.

Skipping meals

Apart from environmental factors, one’s eating habits might also contribute to an individual’s anxiety directly or indirectly. When an individual fails to maintain their food timings it might lead to fluctuations in their blood sugar levels.

These fluctuations might make an individual feel jittery which in turn triggers anxiety.

Hence maintaining a proper schedule and diet is important for various reasons not just for energy but also for maintaining one’s mood.

Negative thinking


an individual’s behavior and emotions are certainly controlled by one’s thoughts. When an individual is upset and dwells on negative thoughts it further leads to discomforting emotions and detrimental thoughts causing a vicious cycle.

These negative thoughts are then projected to various areas of an individual’s life creating an overall sense of lack of control over oneself and the environment which triggers anxiety.

financial concerns


many individuals experience anxiety due to their financial standing. Learning to manage financial triggers requires seeking professional help such as from a financial advisor.


daily stressors as simple as traffic jams to major ones such as strained relationships might contribute to one’s intensity and frequency of anxiety and anxiety attacks.

However long term or chronic stress leads to long term anxiety and a build-up of negative taught processes and emotions that impact an individual’s mental health


individuals might also experience anxiety as a result of interpersonal or intrapersonal conflicts.

The inability to resolve these conflicts might lead to the buildup of negative thoughts, emotions that overwhelm an individual and triggers anxiety.

personal triggers

personal triggers can be as minor as a smell, place, or even a song that reminds an individual of negative and discomforting experiences. Personal triggers can remind an individual of an unconscious or conscious dramatic event in an individual’s life that triggers their anxiety.

If you can identify and understand your triggers, you can work to avoid them and learn to cope with them. You can learn specific coping strategies to handle the triggers when they happen.

what are the tips for identifying triggers of anxiety?

Start a journal.

Write down when your anxiety is noticeable and record what you think might have led to the trigger

Work with a therapist.

Some anxiety triggers can be difficult to identify, but a mental health specialist can help you. They may use talk therapy, journaling, other methods to find triggers.

Be honest with yourself.

Anxiety can cause negative thoughts and poor self-assessments. This can make identifying triggers difficult because of the anxious reactions. Be willing to explore things in your past to identify how they may affect you today.

What are some ways to manage anxiety attacks?

Identify and acknowledge the triggers

The most significant strategy that can be used to control one’s anxiety attacks is by identifying and acknowledging those triggers.

Being able to recognize what makes an individual anxious makes them better equipped to take action.

Relaxation techniques


Even though anxiety attacks can be bought under an individual’s control they cannot be predicted. In such situations, it is necessary that an individual actively carries out relaxation techniques.

These might include meditation, yoga, and deep breathing which helps to reduce the intensity of anxiety within a short period.


A key to reducing the frequency and intensity of anxiety attacks could be spending time with close family and friends.

The kind of emotional and practical support provided by these social and personal groups help the person feel connected and aid in distracting one’s mind from negative and recurring thoughts that lead to anxiety.

Apart from friends and families, individuals can also consider speaking to groups of people that are experiencing similar problems.

Set realistic goals

When an individual is feeling overwhelmed setting goals and targets keeping in mind priorities can help resolve overwhelming feelings of fear or panic.

Setting goals provides structure and routine to an individual’s life reducing space for uncertainty which can be a major trigger for anxiety attacks in many cases.

Take up new challenges

Apart from doing activities that an individual is usually fond of and has expertise in, trying new and challenging activities that put an individual outside their comfort zone in a healthy manner may help reduce the stress and anger temporarily.

Signing up for new activities also provides a path to meeting people with similar stories and concerns.

Lifestyle changes

An individual’s lifestyle plays a major role in their experience of anxiety attacks. An unhealthy and busy lifestyle usually leads to unhealthy eating, lack of exercise, lack of adequate sleep.

A combination of a well-set diet, exercise, and sleep can help to regulate an individual’s mood and equip them with a favorable coping mechanism.

these coping mechanisms in turn help to get control over once anxiety concerns in a more adaptable manner.

lack of proper diet, sleep, and exercise can make an individual sluggish, dependent, moody and vulnerable to anxiety attacks.

Making journal entries

Last but not least having a journal to write down how a person is feeling and thinking when they are anxious helps them to reflect upon their thoughts and feelings.

Putting down one’s thoughts and feelings onto a paper helps to provide a sense of temporary relief.

In the case of journal entry, a person does not even have to fear being judged by another person regarding their thoughts and feelings.

What are the therapy options for anxiety attacks?

Cognitive-behavioral therapy


Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps an individual to control their anxiety by using strategies like relaxation and breathing. It works on the principles of replacing negative thoughts with positive ones.

Exposure therapy

Exposure therapy is a kind of therapy in which an individual is exposed to a particular stimulus that they usually fear or are anxious about in a graded order.

As and when the individual gets comfortable with the situation or stimulus introduced or exposed to them with each session individuals get more comfortable with a real-life situation that might have otherwise been a source for triggering anxiety.

Group therapy


It is based on the principle that when an individual interacts with other people who are suffering from the same fears they might not feel left alone or isolated. Group therapy usually involves a group of individuals who are experiencing similar symptoms and problems.


Anxiety can also be treated with the help of medication prescribed by a health care professional.

Though medication alone cannot help in reducing persistent anxiety it can help in restoring a sense of control and bring temporary relief.


anxiety and nervousness can be differentiated based on their intensities. Even though the two might coexist anxiety doesn’t need to be always accompanied by nervousness.

however, nervousness always accompanies anxiety as it is one of the main symptoms of anxiety.

individuals must be equipped to deal with both anxiety and nervousness as they are a phenomenon that is very natural and commonly experienced during day-to-day life.

Frequently asked questions

Is nervousness a symptom of anxiety?

Nervousness is one of the main symptoms of anxiety that an individual experiences.

Why do individuals feel nervous for no reason?

individuals usually feel nervous when they are facing some situation that is out of their comfort zone and causing a sense of distress in them. The intensity of nervousness might also depend on their ability to cope with it at the moment.

Can you physically feel anxiety?


When an individual experiences stress or anxiety there are a lot of changes in an individual’s body. This includes shortness of breath, stomach aches, headaches, shaking, numbness, and dizziness