Fear, anxiety, anguish or stress?

In everyday life, we tend to use these terms, interchangeably, yet they refer to different types of emotions.

FEAR is a strong and intense emotion that goes with the awareness of a real and tangible danger.

ANXIETY is a state of painful vigilance concerning a more or less fuzzy future threat. It results by an unpleasant feeling of apprehension, more or less intense distress and muscular tension.

ANGUISH is a  subjective fear, without purpose. Similar to anxiety, it induces a state of hypervigilance, but unlike anxiety, it is always accompanied by physical symptoms (feeling of tightness, stomach cramps, lump in the throat, etc).

STRESS is a physiological reaction to the various demands of our environment, whether it is a real danger or a physical or psychological threat. It can go with muscular tension, faster breathing and a higher heart rate.

Everyone experiences anxiety at one time or another.

To feel a little anxious is completely normal.

Anxiety protects us and can even aid us in coping with or handling a worrying or possibly dangerous situation. Anxiety is perceived as a fear whose cause may be difficult to identify.

It’s natural to feel some level of anxiety on certain occasions, such as when you are going through a major life change.

It is also normal to be anxious: 

  • the day before an exam,
  • when going for a job interview,
  • or participating in a sport competition.

In these cases, anxiety is linked to specific events and generally disappears as soon as life resumes its normal course.

However ANXIETY becomes a problem when:

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         It does not disappear when the worrying situation has gone away.
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         It causes a significant level of distress.
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         It continually preoccupies the person.
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         It  appears for no reason, or is not related to a particular event.
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         It prevents the person from functioning  and behaving normally at work, in society or in other areas of daily life.

What can be done to reduce stress or anxiety in a school setting?

A few simple measures can be helpful for all young people, including breathing exercises, relaxation, yoga, and/or meditation.

For children who are hyperactive, there are a series of techniques available to address their need to move, concentrate, calm down, reduce their stress levels.