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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
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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
January 25th, 2016 7:24pm
Anxiety Comes from deep inside and appears very impairing. Being nervous depends on specific situations and can be solved very fast! When u went through this specific situation, thereĀ“s no more reason for being nervous! So in my case anxiety sits deeper inside,
January 27th, 2016 6:56am
Anxiety can be gripping. It holds on long after the stressor. Being nervous can pass within a reasonable time. Let's say you have to give a presentation for a class and you know the professor is very strict. You know that you understand the material and have a great presentation to give. You will still be nervous, and that is normal. It's controllable. A quick breathing exercise, you finish the presentation, and you go on with your day. All is well. That is being nervous. Now you have to give the presentation. Have you studied enough? What if you pronounce this wrong? What if the powerpoint doesn't work? You feel your heart beating. You are shaking. The presentation goes great, you did just fine. You don't stop shaking. You still feel your heart. Anxiety doesn't stop because the stressor is over. Anxiety takes over your day, week, life. Being nervous is normal. Anxiety can be devastating.
January 27th, 2016 10:14am
anxiety is being always worried about things you can't control all the time and affecting you in how you feel all the time and being nervous that is normal like when you go for a job interview sweaty palms and butterflies in tummy not remembering what to say where anxiety is new level again
January 27th, 2016 1:03pm
Personally, I find them very different. When I'm nervous, I go to the toilet a lot and you get that butterfly feeling in your stomach. When I'm nervous, I can be sick from nerves. When I'm anxious, I get an anxiety rash and get a hot flush almost, with rapid heart rate and feeling of discomfort, but don't get the butterfly feeling/ go to the toilet often.
January 27th, 2016 2:18pm
Anxiety is more of a disorder caused by stress or distress. Nervousness is a general reaction. Modt teenagers experience it. As well as some adults.
January 29th, 2016 12:08pm
Anxiety can attack you at any time, you believe everyone is watching you and getting closer and closer before you can longer breathe. being nervous is based on adrenaline and can only be experienced in certain moments, anxiety strikes at any time.
January 30th, 2016 5:37pm
Anxiety is a feeling of fear/doom that never goes away; nervousness is generally justified and can usually go away pretty easily.
January 30th, 2016 7:16pm
Being nervous is like going up fron to do a presentaion. You go up and do it, once youve done it or even when you start talking the nervous seem to disappera. With anxiety its always there, constanly. Its mostly about feelings, you yourself will know when your having anxiety versus just plain nerves.
January 30th, 2016 9:39pm
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. Activities such as delivering a speech, attending a job interview or performing before a crowd of people may prompt "nerves." This reaction can actually be useful, but when your nervousness becomes irrational and overpowering, preventing you from participating in everyday life situations, you may be experiencing anxiety.
January 31st, 2016 3:10pm
Being nervous is a feeling that is temporary; you may feel nervous before public speaking, but it goes away after. Anxiety as a disorder means that that feeling of "being nervous" is ongoing and affects daily life. Sometimes it is triggered by certain aspects, or it can come on randomly. People will anxiety also commonly suffer from panic attacks, something less commonly associated with a normal amount of nervousness.
February 3rd, 2016 2:54am
Nervousness lasts for a few moments before an event takes place while anxiety lasts longer sometimes months or years.
February 4th, 2016 6:14pm
Lots of people are nervous before certain events or when they have to do something difficult. It's a temporary feeling. Anxiety is an apparently irrational feeling that is just there for long periods of time. It can be very overpowering and disabling to function in daily life.
February 5th, 2016 12:21am
I would say that anxiety is chronic, it has longer effect and it is repeating. Being nervous is a normal feeling for example before some big event.
February 5th, 2016 1:03am
Anxiety is more intense. Its sort of like overload nervousness. It also has more affect on you. You know the difference when your "nerves' are beginning to over power you and preventing you from doing task, thus anxiety.
February 5th, 2016 12:23pm
I think it's anxiety if it becomes debilitating and stops you from living life to the fullest. If it's just nerves, it shouldn't be enough to stop you.
February 7th, 2016 1:17am
When your nervous you only feel it and doesn't happen a lot, anxiety effects you physically and can last over a period of time.
February 10th, 2016 6:37am
Anxiety: Generally refers to a "condition" while being nervous is a Feeling, both anxiety and nervousness do pass.
February 11th, 2016 2:24am
Being nervous is just that, an uncommon scenario in which an individual is overly cautious and aware of what's happening around them because they are in, or are about to be in, an event. Anxiety on the other hand negatively hinders someones ability to function properly in society, hence the term 'social anxiety'. As long as being nervous doesn't affect your ability to live your life how you wish, there is no anxiety. -EnlightenedLux
February 12th, 2016 2:54pm
Being nervous is temporary, e.g. before an exam. Anxiety is something that sticks. you're feeling anxious most of the time if not all of it and it's twisting and hurting all of you from inside.
March 8th, 2016 2:53pm
being nervous is just being a little bit hesitant and such while anxiety means constant worrying and overthinking things until it creates problems that wasn't meant to exist.
April 13th, 2016 2:54pm
nervousness is feeling like youre gonna throw up at the thought of doing something you really dont wanna do whereas anxiety is your hands shaking and uncontrollable breathing over something that seems so stupid and silly.
August 23rd, 2016 9:26pm
Nervousness is a very normal emotion everybody experiences in times which require us to step out of our comfort zone, or anything along the lines of that. However, anxiety is a constant, crippling issue that is almost always on the mind of the person suffering from it, despite there usually being no logical reason for that. Sure, presenting someone in front of a group of people can be a little hard for anybody, but with anxiety, it causes the person serious, overwhelming distress, and often results in panic attacks. During panic attacks, you may feel like you've lost control, or as if you're dying. Physical symptoms include, but aren't limited to, shaking, sweating, hot/cold flashes, lightheadedness, problems with breathing, and sometimes even fainting. Anxiety is a serious problem which prevents people from living their life the way they would like to, taking oppurtunities away from them and often resulting in depression. It is something that needs to be addressed, and taken just as seriously as any other physical/mental problem.
July 11th, 2017 9:48pm
Being nervous is a reaction to a specific situation like a first kiss. Having anxiety is a physical attack on the body that is consistent on a day to day basis, Anxiety can have triggers and symptoms.
August 14th, 2017 6:52pm
Generally, anxiety is something that is reoccurring. For an example; you can be nervous for your test because you didn't study as much as you wished you did, or you can be anxious about tests. Nervousness is something that has a reason and might happen more than once, but it is the result of something. Anxiety is when you are nervous about a specific (or more than one) things. This would mean instead of just that one test, you are nervous and get anxious about ALL tests, even if you know you will get 100% and even if they are small
November 20th, 2017 5:25pm
Anxiety can affect you in many different ways. It can affect your sleep, you have an unusual tingling or temperature suddenly take over your hands, you experience heart palpitations. Anxiety also normally happens in episodes as where as feeling nervous normally causes you to feel a bit sick and you could also become shaky.