Sunday, May 8, 2011

A Case of the Nerves

The stress and anxiety that people suffer is abundant in nature. Anything from your job, your classes, your family, or your personal life can trigger stress and small doses are generally a good indicator of active participation, if not a slightly overbooked schedule. However, many people do not know how to differentiate between stress and anxiety and a full blown anxiety attack. Elizabeth Cohen, a blogger for CNN Health discusses the difference between the fluttery heart palpitations caused by stress and an anxiety attack.

She explains that stress and anxiety is generally caused by a trigger or multiple triggers. This causes the body to have a nerve-wracking reaction that lasts for a short period of time, but then subsides. It is never anything that incapacitates the individual. A panic attack, however, is an anxiety disorder and has no discernible cause or trigger. Symptoms for a panic attack happen at the blink of an eye and include fear, shortness of breath, body tremors, and sweating.

With the advent of finals, it is important to understand these symptoms for stress and to be able to (appropriately) modulate our stress levels in accordance to what the body can handle. A racing heart does not always mean that something is wrong physically, but it is a good indication that you need to slow down, if only for a little, and allow your body to catch up with the pace of the rest of your life.

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