The Signs and Symptoms of Stress

The signs and symptoms of stress range from the benign to the dramatic — from simply feeling tired at the end of the day to having a heart attack. The more serious stress-related problems come with intense and prolonged periods of stress. Here are some of the more benign, commonly experienced stress signs and symptoms. Many will be all too familiar to you.

These are the physical signs of stress:

  • Tiredness, fatigue, lethargy

  • Heart palpitations; racing pulse; rapid, shallow breathing

  • Muscle tension and aches

  • Shakiness, tremors, tics, twitches

  • Heartburn, indigestion, diarrhea, constipation

  • Nervousness

  • Dry mouth and throat

  • Excessive sweating, clammy hands, cold hands and/or feet

  • Rashes, hives, itching

  • Nail-biting, fidgeting, hair-twirling, hair-pulling

  • Frequent urination

  • Lowered libido

  • Overeating, loss of appetite

  • Sleep difficulties

  • Increased use of alcohol and/or drugs and medications

These are the psychological signs of stress:

  • Irritability, impatience, anger, hostility

  • Worry, anxiety, panic

  • Moodiness, sadness, feeling upset

  • Intrusive and/or racing thoughts

  • Memory lapses, difficulties in concentrating, indecision

  • Frequent absences from work, lowered productivity

  • Feeling overwhelmed

  • Loss of sense of humor

That’s just for starters. Prolonged and/or intense stress can have more serious effects: It can make you sick.

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