We often perceive stress and anxiety as abstract and relate it to personal experiences.
Here is my attempt to simplify these two. Thank me later 🙂
Anxiety comes for uncertainty and unclarity, you are not sure about the outcome.
Stress comes when you try to achieve the unclear outcome in an inefficient manner.
Work related stress comes when there is more on your plate than you can chew, followed by poor ways of dealing with the work demand in order to meet unrealistic deadlines.
Basically, anxiety and stress go hand in hand.
For instance, you need to reach to the airport at peak traffic hours to pick your old mom.
You know that you cannot leave office before 5:30 PM. The flight will land at 6:30 PM
It is just a 40 minute drive, without the peak traffic but now you are uncertain that you will reach to the airport on time or not.
All this is uncertainty, you are not able to imagine the clear outcome.
Can you leave a little early? Will your boss allow? It was only yesterday that you had asked her (boss) for a half-day. Will you reach or will you not? How will you reach, is there any alternate route? Where you are going to park your car?
Here, you are not sure about the outcome. This leads to anxiety.
Stress follows when the situation demands action that is way beyond your usual potential and set routines.
Asking and convincing your boss, leaving early, navigating through peak traffic, aggressively honking and overtaking, waiting for the signal to turn green, hoping that the flight gets a little delayed and finally finding the parking spot.
Here you are stressed. You heart is beating 30 beats above your resting heart rate.
This was just once instance, but imagine going through this on a daily basis.
Clear outcomes lead to planned actions.
Had you known what outcome to expect from your boss, you would have taken either of the two steps
- Boss says yes : Leave sufficiently early to reach comfortably to pick your mom
- Boss says no : Arrange for someone else to pick your mom
Both ways you could have managed the unnecessary anxiety and stress.
I know like is little too uncertain, we can’t imagine all the outcomes. But wherever we can, we should define the outcomes for better actions. 🙂