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What's the difference between anxiety and just being nervous?

205 Answers
Last Updated: 08/14/2018 at 1:36am
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United States
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Stacey Kiger, LPC

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My belief is that therapy is not about giving advice, but joining you on your journey

Top Rated Answers
November 19th, 2015 11:14am
Nervousness comes and goes at times where you are stressed. Anxiety is different. It is like an overwhelming sense of loss of control of your thoughts and behaviours.
November 19th, 2015 9:15pm
Being nervous is a natural reaction to something that we identify as dangerous, or harmful. Sometimes you may feel nervous in the case of an interview or exam, as you feel you are going to be judged or evaluated. This can often encourage us to 'fight' through a situation. Anxiety however may manifest itself in a larger, more overwhelming and often irrational way that negatively impacts on a persons life, such as through social phobias or panic attacks.
November 20th, 2015 9:40pm
Anxiety makes you over think everything and everything you do becomes wrong and seems never ending, being nervous is temporary you may shake, but anxiety is worse.
November 21st, 2015 12:00pm
Being nervous is a state of mind which is affected by a situation with which you are unfamiliar..while anxiety is a type of nervousness and particularly a symtom.
November 22nd, 2015 4:52am
Being nervous is a feeling of fear triggered by a specific event such as talking to a handsome man or presenting a project at work. Being anxious is a fear that is either not triggered by a specific event, or fear that is way too big for the actual trigger (panicking over something that is relatively minor).
November 22nd, 2015 12:41pm
Anxiety disorders are usually based upon irrational fears and Nervousness is a normal state when you are in a situation where you have to perform a specific task that may be evaluated or judged by others.
November 23rd, 2015 1:54pm
Anxiety is feeling like a weight is pressing on your chest and feeling like it will never leave. Being nervous is having butterflies in your stomach but not the good kind of butterflies.
November 25th, 2015 6:09am
Anxiety? nervous? It depends on who is asking and what they think the definition is of those words. Figure that out and then go from there.
November 26th, 2015 3:21am
The difference between anxiety and nervousness is that being nervous is usually just about one thing or not very long, but anxiety is a ling dreadful fear.
November 27th, 2015 4:23am
Anxiety is something that occurs on a regular basis that has constant symptoms, it also happens at a higher intensity or for longer periods of time.
November 27th, 2015 12:01pm
Anxiety is actually more intense... Anxiety is long-term.. being nervous is short-term.. and it's not a medical condition..
November 27th, 2015 3:05pm
Nervousness is triggered by the feeling that you need to perform and impress, it can happen before something like an exam or first date. Anxiety is a constant and extremely nervous feeling. Maybe a general feeling that things aren't right, or that you as a person aren't right. It can limit and hinder you throughout your life.
November 28th, 2015 4:40pm
Anxiety is constant or commonly repeating feeling, sometimes without even a reason, whilbe being nervous is when something bothers or worries you.
November 29th, 2015 8:03am
Anxiety could be anything from worry to fear, while nervousness is a short term feeling; uneasieness
December 2nd, 2015 7:44am
Most people get nervous in certain social situations or faced with difficult circumstances and nervousness is accompanied by physical symptoms. Anxiety is a much magnified, often overwhelming condition which can feel consuming, like a real physical threatening illness. High pulse rate, breathing and a feeling of loss of control can be experienced and it's quite frightening particularly if you have never experienced it before. Help through my GP, discussions and Seven Cups resources all helped me to overcome it. Mercifully they do pass and identifying triggers can help to avoid them.
December 2nd, 2015 11:41pm
Anxiety is a much more persistent and strong feeling than nervousness . Anxiety can also have a number of long term side effects such as avoidance of certain situations etc and it can seriously affect our day to day lives . Nervousness tends to be a milder feeling and is normally easier to cope and deal with .
December 3rd, 2015 5:09pm
Anxiety and being nervous are completely different. Anxiety can be thought of as an extreme case of being nervous. Nervous is for instance, when you are not able to speak in front of a few people and anxiety is when you are having breathing problems if asked to speak in front of many people. Everyone gets nervous but not everyone gets anxiety
December 4th, 2015 3:59am
Anxiety is a non-stop feeling or thought about either a general idea or a specific thing. Being nervous is typically a very temporary feeling about a smaller, less drastic event or thing. Anxiety is also, in my opinion, has a large presents while being nervous can usually be less invasive.
December 5th, 2015 9:40am
Being anxious and nervous have a very thin line. Being nervous about something is completely normal but not to the point that you feel like you're going to pass out.
December 5th, 2015 3:03pm
Nervousness are butterflies in your stomach; they are the jitters you get before a presentation or an important event. Anxiety is like having choked on one of those butterflies and you find it difficult to breathe. No jitters to be found here, instead we find emptiness and a longing to feel anything at all.
December 5th, 2015 10:41pm
Anxiety is when you're feeling very uncomfortable, almost like when you feel in danger, ready to protect yourself from the inexplicably danger ( anxiety might be called an inexplicable fear). While...on the other hand nervousness might be described as a fear because of not being experienced enough . Nervousness can be good, building the strength of one, while anxiety might cause damage to the person .
December 11th, 2015 12:50pm
feeling nervous is a normal human emotion that many many people feel on a day to day basis, anxiety is a mental illness
December 12th, 2015 6:32am
Anxiety is when a person feels nervous all the time. It usually is irrational and might be caused from over-thinking. Anxiety is feeling nervous about everyday situations. Just being nervous is when the person feels nervous because of a specific reason and is not long-lasting. It is perfectly normal.
December 12th, 2015 7:19am
Anxiety is a disorder that affects people that cannot stop worrying about every little thing (example: my friend didn't text me back; she must hate me. What did I do?) when you are nervous you usually have reasoning for feeling like this, and you are not worried for an extended amount of time. (example: I am worried about the math test coming up so I am going to study *test passes* I am now fine). As someone with a severe anxiety disorder this is the best explanation that I could come up with, hope this helped!
December 12th, 2015 8:46am
Well for me personally, when I feel nervous my stomach might feel weird and I may feel fidgety. With anxiety though, I'll just feel unsafe sometimes even though I know there isn't any danger around. Headaches will come and they feel like they are in different parts of my head; one moment in the back and then a couple minutes later on the left side. My stomach will start to hurt as well sometimes. And my heart will feel like it'll beat out of my chest; but (this may sound crazy) it'll feel like it's getting slower and slower and slower sometimes, to the point where it'll just stop beating, and I feel like I'm fading out of existence, not dying, but like I'm not real and that I'll disappear. And it can be scary.
December 12th, 2015 11:02am
Anxiety is an overwhelming feeling that makes you feel panicked, often can lead to a panic attack. It's a feeling of constant worry and panic, and can prevent you from doing daily activities whereas nervousness is a temporary feeling that doesn't usually effect your daily life.
December 13th, 2015 5:02am
Anxiety and nervousness are related in that they both make you feel the same way. The key difference between anxiety and nervousness (or fear) is this: fear is when you are scared in the presence of an immediate threat. For example, you are afraid of an upcoming concert performance. On the other hand, anxiety is where you experience that same feeling when you are not in any danger or there is no threat. For example, you have that same terrified feeling of the upcoming concert performance when you are sitting home on the couch and there is no concert coming up.
December 13th, 2015 11:06am
Being nervous is often a one time situation where you can calm down easily. Nervousness is also usually just situational. Anxiety is all of those feelings, the inability to calm down, and is more than just situational.
December 13th, 2015 5:17pm
Well everyone is nervous once in a while. Sometimes it's a big project you have to do or a test. But if you encounter this nervousness often or in simple situations and constantly find yourself second guessing it is anxiety
December 16th, 2015 11:33am
The difference between anxiety and being nervous is anxiety is sheer terror and panic. Anxiety cripples you and makes you sweat. If changed your dreams. Anxiety keeps you up at night, and can make you sick. Being nervous is slight fear before a certain event. It is usually much more mild.