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Signs and symptoms of stress

By knowing what to look for, you'll be better equipped to recognize when you or someone you know is experiencing stress.

Young man sitting on bench with his head in his hands

Each of us reacts to stress in our own way. Look for your particular signs of stress, which could indicate that you are stressed. Some common signs and symptoms of stress are listed below.

Note: Some signs of stress, like chest pain, indicate a potential health problem. Consult your health professional if you experience serious or ongoing symptoms. 

Physical signs

  • Dry mouth
  • Increased heart rate
  • Muscle aches, stiffness or pain (especially in the neck, shoulders and lower back)
  • High blood pressure
  • Frequent colds or flu
  • Worsening of an existing illness (e.g., asthma, skin rashes)
  • Chest pain
  • Headache
  • Indigestion
  • Constipation
  • Stomach cramps
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Trembling
  • Fatigue
  • Weight gain or loss

Behavioural signs

  • Increased smoking, drinking, drug use
  • Yelling
  • Swearing
  • Aggression
  • Avoidance/procrastination
  • Isolation
  • Changes in eating habits
  • Changes in sleeping habits
  • Nervousness (nail biting, fidgeting, pacing, etc.)

Mental signs

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Decreased memory
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Mind going blank or racing
  • Confusion
  • Loss of sense of humour
  • Decreased libido
  • Inattention
  • Bad dreams

Emotional signs

  • Anxiety
  • Anger
  • Irritability
  • Impatience
  • Short temper
  • Frustration
  • Worry
  • Fear




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