We often refer to stress and anxiety as if they are the same thing, but there are differences:
Stress generally refers to a psychological perception of pressure, and the body’s response to it. It involves multiple systems, from metabolism to muscles to memory. Some stress is deemed necessary: it’s a way to face and to respond to challenges and uncertainties. Thoughts of danger set off an automatic response system, known as our fight-or-flight response, activating hormonal signals, which prepares one to meet a threat (fight) or flee from it (flight).
A stressful event such as the appearance of a large spider or fear of losing your house — triggers a rush of hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol. These race through the body, speeding your heartbeat and circulation of blood to support quick action and, among other bodily responses, prepare muscles for movement.
A stress response is meant to solve short-term, life-threatening problems (such as running from a tiger, not being stuck in traffic). It generally takes time for the body (more specifically, the amygdala in the brain) to calm down after being triggered. Prolonged or ongoing stress response, as faced in our daily lives, can have physical and psychological consequences, including heart disease and depression.
What Is Anxiety?
Anxiety, on the other hand, occurs when a person regularly feels disproportionate levels of distress, fear, or worry over an emotional trigger. Being able to identify what triggered the anxiety is often the key to resolving the tension, and the causes can be from long ago.
When a doctor or psychologist is assessing a patient to reach a diagnosis, there are several possible causes to be considered:
- Genetics: People who have family members with an anxiety disorder are more likely to develop one themselves.
- Environmental situation: Elements in the environment around an individual can increase anxiety. Stress from a personal relationship, job, or financial situation can contribute significantly to feelings of anxiety. Low oxygen levels in high-altitude areas can also contribute to anxiety.
- Medical factors: Other medical conditions can lead to an anxiety disorder, such as the side effects of medication, symptoms of a disease, or stress from a serious underlying medical condition, restricted movement, or pain.
- Brain chemistry: Stressful or traumatic experiences and genetic factors can alter brain structure and function where they would not have previously have caused anxiety. Psychologists and neurologists define many anxiety and mood disorders as disruptions to hormones and electrical signals in the brain.
- Use of or withdrawal from illicit substances: The stress of daily living combined with any of the above might contribute to an anxiety disorder.
Sometimes, stressful events occur as the result of a third party, such as an employer or partner, but anxious feelings might emerge from people telling themselves the worst will happen. If only they would say to themselves, the best might happen also. An anxiety disorder may develop without any external stimuli whatsoever.
Disproportionate anxiety can result from a combination of one or more of the above causes.
For example, a person may respond to stress at work by drinking more alcohol or taking illicit substances, which in turn can further increase anxiety levels and the risk of further complications.
There are several symptoms of anxiety which a mental health professional would be looking for, and it’s not uncommon to have multiple symptoms:
- muscle tension
- difficulty sleeping
- difficulty concentrating
For a doctor or mental health professional to determine someone has an anxiety disorder, they must be able to note that symptoms are interfering with daily life, possibly causing absences from work or school.
What Causes An Anxiety Disorder?
A range of factors can work together to cause an anxiety disorder.
People with anxiety disorders regularly have a genetic predisposition towards them, and physical factors, such as an imbalance of hormones and chemical messengers in areas of the brain, also play an essential role. However, environmental factors, including stress and traumatic life events, can also impact the scale of an emotional reaction to a trigger.
Withdrawal from alcohol or an illicit substance can also contribute to anxiety.
Can A Wearable Device Help With Anxiety?
The Bellabee can help by using the Anti-anxiety mode; I found that after 10 minutes, I did start to feel calm. If you meditate, it’s the same feeling of calm you get when you meditate. It may take you longer than 10 minutes, but it is so worth trying out.
I’ve run this program and wondered if it was working, and then I started to yawn, and that was followed by feeling a little lighter. I’m sure this setting helps me calm down when I am feeling anxious.
What Happens To The Brain Wearing Bellabee?
The following chart shows what happened to the brain for this one person who was experiencing Anxiety and Depression. Run your eyes down the image for each Brain stage (such as Delta) and note the changes every 4 minutes while a different Hz setting was running.
Heart Rates Lowered With Bellabee
People wearing the Bellabee while in a Neurofeedback session noted that their heart rates lowered as a result of the Bellabee using the Anti-anxiety setting. The default setting runs for one hour, but you can run it for longer as long as you are feeling ok.
The frequency used in Anti-anxiety starts at 8 Hz, works up to 10 Hz, and then lowers back down to 8 Hz. When you are working with a Neurofeedback specialist, they can determine the exact settings that would help you best, as there is a range of settings that can help with this condition.
Trial And Error
Not everyone is going to experience the same level of anxiety, and it may manifest in different ways depending on your circumstances. So the one Anti-anxiety program may not be the best one for you. It would be worth trying out a few different settings to see what works best. You can create your personalized mode under Create therapy.
Do You Have Anxiety Or Stress?
Sometimes we know we don’t feel right, but we are not exactly sure how to correctly label what we are experiencing. If you think you have anxiety, but have not experienced relief using the Anti-anxiety mode, then try running it for longer times, and also try using the Anti-stress mode as well.
Try The Bellabee To Reduce Anxiety
If you have been looking for a drug-free alternative to reduce anxiety, try the Bellabee out. There is a 45-day guarantee and a one year warranty. If you are like most people, you may find some of the other settings help you out as well – such as Anti-Stress and Improve-Sleep.