Stress: The Signs, Symptoms & Self-help

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Stress causes physical changes in your body designed to help you take on difficulties.

But if you’re always stressed, your body stays on ‘high alert’ and you may develop stress-related symptoms.

Signs and symptoms of stress


Signs of stress to be aware of

If you feel undue pressure, you may find that you:

  • often rush to get things done
  • try to be in too many places at once
  • don’t take breaks or miss lunch
  • take work home
  • don’t have enough time for exercise or relaxation
  • spend less time with your family
  • don’t take your full holiday entitlement
  • work longer hours.


Symptoms of undue pressure

Everyone reacts to pressure in different ways depending on their personality and individual coping strategies. For some, the pressure can become more than they feel they can cope with.

Common psychological symptoms include:

  • being unable to concentrate
  • losing confidence
  • losing motivation and commitment
  • disappointment with yourself

You might also have emotional symptoms, such as:

  • anxious or depressive feelings
  • increased emotional reactions (for example, you’re tearful or sensitive)
  • irritability or short temper
  • feeling overwhelmed
  • mood swings

You may also get physical symptoms. These may include:

  • diarrhoea or constipation
  • indigestion
  • headaches
  • weight changes
  • chest pains
  • joint or back pain

Your behaviour might also change and may include:

  • eating more or less
  • sleeping too much or too little
  • isolating yourself from others
  • drinking alcohol, smoking or taking illegal drugs to relax.

If you have any of these symptoms and signs, see your GP for advice.



The NHS mood self-assessment tool takes only a few minutes and you get an instant result with links to other pages suggesting ways to improve your mental well-being in 5 areas:

  • get active
  • connect with others
  • keep learning
  • be aware of yourself and the world
  • give to others.

Breathing Exercises for Stress is a calming breathing technique for stress, anxiety and panic. It takes just a few minutes and can be done anywhere.

Free Mindfulness has free resources to learn mindfulness meditations.


Get in touch with a therapist today

Sometimes all the self-help in the world just doesn’t seem to make enough of a difference.

At NIHP Durham you have access to a number of treatments and qualified counsellors/therapists who can provide you with the relevant help and support to get you back on the right track.

Contact the team in confidence with your questions for information and advice.
Book Online or call 0191 398 0000 to chat with one of the team.

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