Before you can begin dealing with your stress, you must recognize its warning signs. Below, we’ve divided stress’ warning signs into Physical, Intellectual, Behavioral, and Emotional signals. Although the lists are quite long, they are by no means all inclusive.

  • Physical Signals: How Your Body is Functioning:

    • Tension, or migraine headaches
    • Upset stomach, problems retaining food
    • Change in appetite
    • Tightness in chest, back, shoulders
    • Aching jaw, tight forehead
    • Shortness of breath, dizziness
    • Excessive sweating
    • Sweaty palms
    • Tingling sensation in fingers, toes
    • Nervous tension all over; heart palpitations
    • Diarrhea or constipation
    • Constant low grade fever
    • Cold, or sore throat
    • Rashes, hives, skin irritation
    • Increased blood pressure
    • Always tired
    • Menstrual problems, missed menstrual periods
  • Behavioral Signals: What You Are Doing

    • Change in eating habits
    • Eating more or less
    • Sleep problems
    • Too much, too little
    • Difficulty talking to, holding, loved ones
    • Isolating self from others
    • Staying at home or staying at work
    • Complaining more
    • Increased use of alcohol, drugs, coffee, tobacco
    • Change in general activity level
    • Change in sexual activity, either more or less
    • Pacing
    • Increased nervous habit, such as nail biting or hair twisting
    • Loss of temper: yelling, throwing, and kicking
    • Increased recklessness, risk-taking
    • Bossiness or inflexibility with others
    • Grinding teeth
    • Stuttering
    • Sudden outbursts of crying
    • Laughing or anger

    Emotional Signals: What You Are Feeling

    • Less interest in hobbies, familiar fun activities
    • Upset by the unexpected
    • Sudden shifts in mood
    • Frequent and/or recurring nightmares
    • Vague feelings or uneasiness, restlessness
    • Feelings of being swamped, overwhelmed
    • Feelings of anger, resentment
    • Intolerance, irritability with others
    • More easily frustrated
    • Increased fear of failure
    • Feelings of inadequacy, powerlessness, hopelessness
    • Changed interest in sex, either more or less
    • Apathy, general dissatisfaction
    • Desire to cry
    • Reduced confidence
    • Fear that everyone except you is doing fine
    • Worry that you are asking for too much help or too much time from others

    Intellectual Signals: How Your Mind is Functioning

    • Having difficulty remembering recent information or details of recent situations
    • Less able to make decisions
    • Difficulty concentrating
    • Attention span shortens
    • Feeling confused, especially with familiar tasks
    • Repetitive thoughts
    • Continually thinking particular thoughts
    • Misunderstanding what others tell you
    • Increasingly poor judgment
    • Thoughts of escaping, running away
    • Racing thoughts
    • Unable to slow down thought process
    • Loss of objectivity