Anxiety vs Anxiety Disorders; Educate Yourself


Ariana Moe

Sam Vallancourt, Staff Writer

Anxiety is a universal experience. “Everybody worries from time to time,” explained Jennifer Florio, a health teacher at Minnetonka High School. Feelings of anxiousness and worry can greatly differ from an anxiety disorder, however. “General anxiety disorder is when your worrying gets in the way of your everyday life,” Florio elaborated.

For high school students, anxiety-inducing factors can be wide-ranging. “A couple things that will cause me anxiety are knowing that I have a test that I haven’t prepared for, or if I’m going to be ready for whatever [big events are] coming up in my life,” said Ray Taha, ‘26. Taha added that another thing he worries about is making sure that he is a positive presence in the lives of his peers. While other high school students may have different factors that cause them worry, Taha is far from alone in dealing with stress in high school.

There are strategies to combat day-to-day worries. “My favorite technique is just to meditate,” Taha shared. Taha meditates after school and before bed every day, and explained that it is a good opportunity to “rest and not think about anything.” Small daily activities can also be good for dealing with stress, such as going for a walk. “Anything that really takes me out of reality,” Taha described.

Anxiety disorders are not as common as feelings of anxiousness, and it is important to support those dealing with anxiety disorders. “[An anxiety disorder] is this pervasive worry that doesn’t ever go away,” Florio explained, and it “gets in the way of you functioning.” Florio recommends that those struggling with anxiety seek treatment from a counselor or therapist, especially if anxiety gets in the way of everyday life. Day-to-day worry is very different from an anxiety disorder. While it is normal to worry, anxiety disorders can be highly detrimental to a person’s well-being. Sam Knupp, writing for The Daily Iowan, shared that, “mental illness is a peril that gets in the way of self- betterment.” For those who struggle with issues such as anxiety, it is a daily battle. Knupp continued, stating that some mistakenly self-diagnose normal human emotions, such as anxiousness and sadness, as mental illness. A distinction between emotions and disorders is important because the two are very different, with disorders such as an anxiety disorder being very challenging to manage.

It’s important to seek help when struggling with anxiety, and it is also important to recognize the difference between anxiety and day-to-day worry. Many different strategies are at our disposal to combat day-to-day worry, and options for support are available for those with stronger anxiety issues. Conversations about mental health are important, and so is the recognition of a distinction between worry and anxiety disorders. This recognition is beneficial for all who struggle with anxiety in some form, as it provides more efficient paths to deal with anxiety and a greater ability for those who need help to seek it out.