The Ultimate Guide to Anxiety Vs Fear: The differences and How to Deal with Them

The Ultimate Guide to Anxiety Vs Fear: The differences and How to Deal with Them


We all feel anxiety and fear in our lives. It is with us in every situation. They get worse when we worry too much. Fear is linked to a known or understood cause. While anxiety is from an unknown or expected cause.

Both anxiety and fear produce a stress response. Though, they are much different. They depend on how we react to these stress responses. Muscle tension and increased heart rate are symptoms with a response to danger. These changes we feel are from the fight or flight stress response. It is necessary for our survival.

Anxiety VS Fear

Anxiety is your response to an unknown cause. Anxiety example can be the worry you feel when going to a doctor. Your worries in this situation are caused by anxiety.

You feel like something bad might happen. Such as expected, to get ill by chronic disease. This anxiety you feel is your mind's view of possible dangers. And you might feel fear of everything anxiety.

Fear is your emotional response to a known cause. The fear example can be the fear you feel when you see a spider. This where you feel a fear response. That is your phobia. The danger is real and immediate.

Fear and anxiety are closely related. When you are faced with fear, you mostly will have the same symptoms as anxiety.

Fear causes anxiety. And anxiety causes fear. Fear and anxiety are emotions that cause similar symptoms.

Fear and Anxiety

Anxiety can bring you many painful physical sensations. The most common physical symptoms of anxiety and fear you feel are:

- Increased heart rate

- Chest pain

- Dizziness

- Headaches

- Muscle pain

- Shaking

- Shortness of breath

- Upset stomach

- Numbness

- Excessive sweating

- Cold chills

What is the difference between anxiety and fear?

Below explains how does anxiety differ from fear:

- Anxiety is caused by an unknown threat. While fear causes by a known threat.

- Anxiety is an emotional state such as doubt and boredom. While fear is your immediate reaction to danger.

- Anxiety inclines no immediate threat. But, fear may pose an immediate threat to your survival.

- Fear causes you to run from the present danger. But, anxiety is your fear of future threats.

- Constant anxiety affects your life. Whereas, fear changes to anger.

- Worrying and anxiety are closely related. If you worry, it might help you find solutions. But if your worrying is constant, it can become out of control.

However, fear leads to anxiety sometimes. You can experience both at the same time. If you are afraid of something, the fear might lead to anxiety. The constant worrying and fear can make you tired.

The word afraid and scared might confuse you. Although they mean differently. The difference between afraid and scared is that afraid means feeling fear. Scared means being in a state of fear or panic.

Anxiety VS Anxious

We all get anxious about certain things in our life. For instance, meeting someone for the first time in the restaurant. However, if you are suffering from an anxiety disorder, you can’t even make it into the restaurant.

It is healthy to be anxious before an event, but anxiety disorder leads to constant worrying. Anxiousness goes away once the event has occurred. It is normal. But those who suffer from an anxiety disorder are anxious all the time.

When your thoughts affect your daily routine, it is not normal. It is different than just feeling anxious. Likewise, nervousness and anxiety are two different things. Although nervousness is a symptom of anxiety.

The difference between nervousness and anxiety is that nervousness goes away. While anxiety stays with you.

Fear VS Worry

Fear and worry are both related. They refer to when we are concerned. An example of worry is when you think about your problems. You are afraid because you worry something bad will happen.

Difference between fear and worry

Both fear and worry are linked to negative thinking. Fear causes worry. When you fear something, you start worrying about it. Fear is a strong emotion. Whereas, worry is slightly milder.

For instance, you are worried that you will fail the test. You are not afraid of the test. Likewise, you are afraid of spiders. You are not worried about spiders.

Another difference is the use of these words. The word ‘fear’ is an immediate word. You are afraid of something. But, once it passes you are no longer afraid. For instance, you are afraid to ride a horse. So, you decide to not ride it.

In this example, you are afraid of the horse while it is there before you. But once you decide to not ride it, you are no longer afraid.

When using the word, ‘worry’ refers to a long-term feeling. You worry about something for a longer time. For instance, worrying about not paying bills on time.

Too much worry leads to anxiety. As mentioned, worry and fear are related. But, they mean completely different. The difference between worry and fear are technical. And overlooked sometimes. It depends on how you use it.

Anxiety VS Stress

You might question, are anxiety and stress the same thing? Well, anxiety and stress are emotional responses. Though, they are very different.

Stress is caused by an outside danger and can be a short time. Such as stressed about a test. It can also be a long time. Such as lifelong illness.

When you are stressed, you experience mental and physical symptoms. Such as anger, fatigue, muscle pain. While anxiety is constant and too much worry. It doesn’t go away even when you are not stressing.

Anxiety has similar symptoms as stress. You might feel muscle tension, fatigue, and nausea.

Difference between anxiety and stress

- Stress is an emotional response to the outside cause. While anxiety is internal.

- Stress can be for a short time. Whereas, anxiety remains for a long time.

- Anxiety can lead to anxiety disorder. But, stress goes away.

Fear and stress are very much alike. They both go away after a short time. When you are stressed, you might feel afraid. Fear, anxiety, and stress are all related. They might confuse you because they overlap. They are all emotional feelings to responses, internal or external.


There are many types of anxiety, one of which is phobia.

A phobia is a type of irrational anxiety, it is a senseless fear you feel. It is a fear of an object or situation.

Irrational anxiety meaning; it causes intense fear and panic. You know that your fear is unreasonable. You avoid certain places because of your phobia.

Common phobias you might have are;

- Fear of heights

- Fear of dark

- Fear of certain animals

- Fear of needles.

The difference between anxiety and phobia is not major. Phobia is a type of anxiety, and not different from anxiety.

These phobias are common, and they come from our childhood. But they become a disorder (condition) when that fear and worry are so great.

For instance, when you see a spider or dark place, it affects your whole life. It makes you unable to move. Hence, you feel anxious. Dealing with fear and anxiety is tiring. It can affect your everyday life.

That is why it is important to learn how to manage your anxiety. And how to relieve fear.

How to overcome fear and anxiety?

1- Face your fear

If you always avoid situations that scare you, you stop doing what you love. You won’t know if the situation is as bad as you expect.

You miss the chance to manage your fears. And reduce your anxiety. Your anxiety increases if you keep avoiding the problem. Facing your fears is a useful way of overcoming anxiety.

2- Keep a record

Learn about your fear and anxiety. Keep an anxiety diary to write down when it happens. You can also try setting yourself small goals for facing your fears.

Carry a list of things to help you when you are feeling anxious. This is an effective way of knowing the hidden beliefs behind your anxiety.

3- Exercise

Exercise is an important part of our lives. It has many benefits. Increase your exercise routine. This helps in taking your mind off your fear and anxiety.

4- Try to relax

Learning how to relax helps you with the mental and physical feelings of fear.

It can help you to loosen up and breathe deeply. You can also imagine yourself in a relaxing place.

5- Eat healthily

Try to avoid too much sugar. And eat lots of fruits and vegetables. A low level of blood sugar gives you an anxious feeling.

Try to avoid drinking too much coffee. It can increase your anxiety levels.

6- Faith

if you are religious, having faith in a higher power could help you. Faith is a way to deal with everyday stress.

7- Therapies

Therapies or counseling are very effective. It allows you to talk about your anxiety problems.

8- Support groups

By asking other people who have anxiety, you can learn a lot. Local support groups bring people with similar experiences.

They hear each other’s stories. They share tips on how to manage anxiety and stress. They help each other to do better.

Living in fear and anxiety can be a long-term illness. It has many effects on your body and mind. They even cause physiological symptoms.

Physiological symptom definition:

They are the physical symptoms you feel when you are anxious. They are visible to other people.

They are strong bodily reactions. It is very important to get help and support if you need to. Talk to someone as it will allow you to talk about your feelings.

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