Skip to main content Skip to bottom nav

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

205 Answers
Last Updated: 08/14/2018 at 1:36am
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

Melissa Fisher Goldman, LCSW

Clinical Social Work/Therapist

I have experience in grief work and the related challenges of growing a family (infertility, miscarriage, PPD, etc.). I can help you through your life transitions.

Top Rated Answers
UndulatingKyle
December 16th, 2015 3:02pm
Being nervous is like having butterflies. Having anxiety is feeling like you have lost total control
Manatea1
December 16th, 2015 8:26pm
Being nervous is something that we can easily overcome. With the help of another person or with our own confidence. Anxiety is difficult to overcome and consumes our every day lives causing activities as simple as getting out of bed a chore.
JoeMarlo
December 17th, 2015 6:40am
I wont bore you but one of the fundamentals of anxiety is the fight or flight response, when faced with a situation from public speaking to even using the bathroom one can react either negatively or positively. Nervousness is rational and generally not serious whereas and anxious mood or reaction can be very serious and result in panic attacks and a whole range of unwanted physical side effects and exertions.
Anonymous
December 17th, 2015 6:36pm
I have anxiety. I can't focus on ANYTHING because my mind is replaying various scenarios and fretting about what may or may not happen. Nervousness is different because you're worried about a specific event. When the cause of your nervousness is gone you return to normal.
ShiftyIRL
December 18th, 2015 9:46am
With anxiety you feel uncomfortable for no reason. With nerves we usually have something to be nervous about
hopefulsophy
December 18th, 2015 2:55pm
Anxiety is physical and mental. You can't stop it. You don't need a reason to feel it. Even tue simplest and trivial things trigger anxiety. Whereas, nervousness is only mental(though some body language changes). It can be stopped. Idk.
Suilaruin
December 19th, 2015 7:55am
The difference between being anxious and nervous in my experience is that the fact that being nervous is considered normal before various activities such as doing a speech, going on a date etc. Being anxious on the other hand is long term and can effect many things like worrying about small stuff or being anxious leaving the house.
Anonymous
December 20th, 2015 12:13pm
This is a tough question. Anxiety that is sole of how it happens it the condensed way of saying 'help me'. Being nervous is a quality to me that what I've been through makes me see my reality at times as if standing in the middle of chaos is not the chaos around me.
Anonymous
December 20th, 2015 4:29pm
Anxiety is constant dread weighing you down like a lead poncho. Nervousness is fleeting and goes away.
globalLight44
December 20th, 2015 6:27pm
Anxiety is more of a prolonged state that doesn't always have a cause behind it, whereas being nervous usually have a very acute cause and comes for a short while before leaving. Being anxious may be a sign of something deeper that is bothering you a lot.
Hopeorhug
December 20th, 2015 7:26pm
Anxiety is repetetive, nervousness happens just once in every while. But anxiety is just like your shadow.
Anonymous
December 23rd, 2015 1:57am
Anxiety is something you can feel through your entire body, it's horrible. Nervous is the butterflies you feel before doing something important. I have not experienced any negatives with being nervous.
Anonymous
December 23rd, 2015 7:15pm
I think anxiety is more present. Not that being nervous is not. Anxiety always follows you and effects your everyday life and won't stop bothering you easily....Being nervous is different, you usually worry about something and with help it can go away. Anxiety rarely goes away easily.....It will eat you up, until you start getting a lot of help and decide yourself that you want to stop it, and that's the hardest part. You know what's the cause of being nervous, but not for anxiety. A lot of things can cause anxiety, it's difficult to fight it, even when you know the cause.
sereneDreamer10
December 24th, 2015 3:32pm
Anxiety is something that really exists , and being nervous is like you're not worried but think that you're....you imagine anxiety in your mind.
Anonymous
December 25th, 2015 5:59am
It's overpowering and you feel like you can't breathe,well that's how it was in my experiences anyways
squeek
December 25th, 2015 8:33am
Anxiety is constant you always worry about it nervous your just worried about it for a short amount of time
StormyAngles18
December 25th, 2015 8:16pm
The difference between anxiety and being nervous is that anxiety is more like a panic feelings where your breathing gets faster and your heart seems to race. But being nervous is where you feel un easy but eventually it fades away when you feel comfortable again.
misguidedghostxx
December 26th, 2015 10:30am
Anxiety is the fear of what's going to happen. Being nervous is when you are scared of what's going to happen in a specific event.
Sillybutrad25
December 26th, 2015 3:34pm
Anxiety is repeated feeling, that takes over your whole body. It's random and you can be afraid of everything all suddenly. But it's up to every person to define what they consider the difference to be cause we can never feel someone's emotions
Carebear4You
December 27th, 2015 4:08am
Anxiety is the clinical term for worry, nervousness or unease about a certain outcome. Being nervous is more natural as it is a person's response to a stimulus in the outside world. Anxiety tends to be caused by internal fears some of which are irrational.
Anonymous
December 27th, 2015 5:32am
Being nervous is a side effect of anxiety, anxiety has many levels. You might have a los anxiety or a hight one, but you must calm down at any cost
Unlocker3674
December 27th, 2015 9:53am
Anxiety is when you have mixed feelings about everything, get worried about each and every little thing no matter how insignificant and usually it's way beyond reason, being nervous is just a temporary state regarding a specific thing or event
SoftBlanket40
December 27th, 2015 2:35pm
From my own experience, anxiety comes more as a general feeling of unease, and it can be without any clear direct reason. It's more a feeling of helplessness, while being nervous is mostly apprehensions.
Anonymous
December 29th, 2015 10:32am
The main difference is that Anxiety is long-term state of mind whereas being nervous is a short-term state of mind.
SilveryBlueSkies
December 30th, 2015 3:21pm
Anxiety is a physical force stopping you from doing certain things. its the difference between thinking: Oh man, going on the bus today is really going to suck ...why me? there's too many people and I CAN'T GO ON THE BUS TODAY! I HAVE SCHOOL/ WORK BUT I CANT DO IT I CANT DO IT!
Anonymous
December 30th, 2015 6:48pm
Anxiety is more of a long term thing it doesn't just come and the go and in some cases it is more extreme than just being nervous.
ashade77
December 31st, 2015 1:32am
Anxiety is nervousness on another level. Sometimes Anxiety can lead to panic and can just paralyze you. Everyone gets nervous, but not everyone has Anxiety. If you feel you have anxiety on a regular basis you should speak to your doctor or health care professional.
Anonymous
December 31st, 2015 3:23am
The difference between anxiety and common nervousness is that anxiety is more fear than nervousness, which is mostly hesitancy to try something new. Example: Anxiety would be that you are afraid of skydiving because you may get hurt, whereas nervousness would be you don't want to skydive because its too scary.
CatTheByrd
December 31st, 2015 3:33am
Anxiety is like this giant hand grasping your throat at moments and restricts your breathing and telling you that this moment is the worst whereas being nervous is just like butterflies in your stomach, makes you feel a bit sick but doesnt take long to get over.
TheMageofHeart
December 31st, 2015 9:01am
Anxiety is like a dark cloud looming over your shoulder. The constant crippling fear that something is going to wrong, or that you're going to hurt people around you, or that you're going to get hurt. Anything could happen and you just count out all the bad possibilities. I'd describe it as the inability to feel the goodness, or to recognize all of the amazing possibilities before you. It's a lot like weather and climate. When you're nervous, you only experience that nervousness for a few moments. It's temporary, and doesn't last all that long. Anxiety can last a life time. Like an unwanted guest. It's not something you can just escape from, and it can come unexpectedly too.