Talking To …

Knowing the difference between fear and anxiety
February 3, 2022

Jillian Curtiss

By East Norriton Bulldog Bulletin staff | While being scared and having anxiety may sound like the same thing, they actually are not. Ms. Jillian Curtiss, a licensed marriage and family therapist, said the two are very different feelings.

In a recent interview with the Bulldog Bulletin, Ms. Curtiss said you are feeling scared when you sense that something bad is about to happen and you know it may threaten you. But, you are having anxiety when you sense something bad is about to happen and you know it doesn’t threaten you, she said. 

The feeling of anxiety is when you feel like you can’t stop worrying or that something bad will also happen if you actually stop worrying, she said.

Ms. Curtiss works for Einstein Healthcare Network helping children and families deal with emotional problems in their relationships or as individuals. 

Ms. Curtiss said that some signs someone is going through something stressful is that they are distracted, withdrawn, or missing assignments. The choices they’re making may be more reckless than usual.

But you shouldn’t be scared of stress. “You can’t really prevent stress, because part of being a human being is having these huge stressors,” she said.

What you can do, Ms. Curtiss said, is to be aware of stresses in your life. “You are not alone feeling stressed or anxious,” she said.

There are things that you can do to reduce stress, she said. One is practicing mindfulness meditation, which helps you be present in the moment.

 She also said it can help to speak to a trusted adult or a therapist. Ms. Curtiss said it’s important to have someone with whom you can talk.

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