How do you feel?

Stress is normal! Our reactions to it vary. The most frequent reaction is anxiety. Anxiety increases with stress, fatigue, overwork, illness, or the recurrence of previously stressful or harmful situations. There are multiple indicators of stress and they are usually easy to recognize, if you take the time to observe how you feel and act.

Physical Indicators Emotional Indicators Mental Indicators Behavioral Indicators
  • Low energy/fatigue
  • Physical illness
  • Insomnia
  • Change in appetite
  • Upset stomach
  • Tension or headaches
  • Lower-back or neck pain
  • Dark circles under eyes
  • High blood pressure
  • Higher pulse & breathing rates
  • Dryness-throat & mouth
  • Restlessness
  • Nervous tics
  • Increased blood glucose levels
  • Tendency to blame others
  • Excessive complaints
  • Feeling of being overwhelmed
  • Feeling of ineffectiveness
  • Feeling of being trapped
  • Anxiety
  • Phobias
  • Depression with emotional withdrawal
  • Emotional outbursts with crying
  • Hostility
  • Emotional instability
  • Irritability
  • Boredom
  • Misplaced priorities
  • Decreased creativity
  • Poor judgement
  • Inability to concentrate on tasks
  • Sudden change in thinking about, or handling of, problems
  • Tendancy to make more mistakes
  • Increased forgetfulness
  • Decreased performance
  • Excessive daydreaming
  • Illogical thinking
  • Low risk-taking
  • Accident prone
  • Impulsive behavior
  • Eating disorders
  • Increased smoking
  • Increased absenteeism
  • Sudden habit changes
  • Easily startled
  • Nervous laugh
  • Stuttering or other speech difficulty
  • Nightmares & insomnia
  • Agitation
  • Lack of enthusiaum
  • Short temper
  • Increased use of drugs
  • Non-productive but busy

What to do...

  • Identify the cause
  • Minimize your dependancy on stimulants and drugs
  • Avoid caffeine, other stimulants, and alcohol
  • Make time for leisure, start a hobby
  • Get enough sleep
  • Learn to relax
  • Exercise regularly
  • Follow your diet
  • Learn deep breathing, yoga, or meditation
  • Be patient with yourself and others
  • Explore how you feel by writing them down in a journal
  • Talk to someone and verbally express your feelings
  • Take a stress management course
  • Seek professional help

Updated: March 12, 2003