What Are the Signs of Stress?

February 2018

Stress can affect your body, your mood and your behavior. Being able to recognize common stress symptoms can give you a jump on dealing with them. Stress that is not managed can contribute to many health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes.

Here are some common effects of stress on your body:

  • Headache
  • Muscle tension or pain
  • Chest pain
  • Fatigue
  • Change in sex drive
  • Stomach upset
  • Sleep problems

Your thoughts and feelings can contribute to a higher stress level. Stress can also manifest itself in actions that that are detrimental to your well being. Some of these include:

  • Eating too little or too much
  • Angry outbursts
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Tobacco use
  • Social withdrawal
  • Exercising less often

Stress is not a problem only for adults. Children often feel a lot of stress. Parents can play a key role in helping identify and manage their kids’ stress. They can make sure that children know that they can approach them when worried, and should also keep an eye out for signs of anxiety. Here are some symptoms that may indicate that a child is stressed:

  • Decreased appetite
  • Headaches
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Bedwetting
  • Upset stomach or abdominal pain
  • Inability to relax
  • Aggressiveness or stubbornness
  • Inability to control emotions
  • Unwillingness to engage in family or school activities

Family routines, such as family dinners or game and movie nights, can help relieve children’s stress, as can spending calm, relaxing time together. Parents shouldn’t hesitate to ask their pediatrician or a therapist for help managing their child’s stress if symptoms don’t seem to be improving.

Source: Mayo Clinic; National Sleep Foundation

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