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hand squeezing a stress ball with a smiley face on it


What are the signs I’m stressed?


Stress can affect the way you feel, think and behave. 

The purpose of our ‘fight or flight’ stress response is to help us overcome the challenge that caused it, but not all challenges can be overcome. We might deal with them temporarily before they reappear, or we might become stressed in response to normal or unavoidable events. Ongoing stress can be bad for your health. Knowing your own signs and symptoms of stress can help you to recognise when you need help to overcome or cope with a problem.

Mind, a mental health organisation from England and Wales, have a useful list of signs and symptoms of stress. It includes common feelings that accompany anxiety and depression in men and boys; such as anger, irritability and a loss of interest in things.

Physical signs of stress can be caused by the hormones and nervous system activity activated in stressful situations. These include a quickening or strengthening of heartbeats, faster breathing, sweating and a heightened sense of awareness.

Long-term stress can lead to panic attacks, sleep problems, fatigue, muscle aches, chest pains, gastrointestinal upset, dizziness or fainting.

Any existing health problems you have can get worse because of stress.

Other effects of stress can include problems with concentration, memory or making decisions. Some people might bite their nails or pick at their skin when they’re stressed; or grind their teeth or clench their jaw.

Other signs of stress can be compulsive behaviours like overeating, overexercising, drinking too much, and smoking or using drugs more than usual.

If you notice any of these signs or symptoms of stress, you might benefit from reaching out to someone for help. If you notice any changes in the way you’re feeling, or your body doesn’t feel like it's working the way it should, it’s best to see a doctor as soon as you can.

Dr Beau Growcott
Dr Beau Growcott

Beau is a registered psychologist with both academic training and real-world experience. He has considerable experience working with clients from the LGBTIAQ+ community and is passionate about bringing mental healthcare to all men, wherever they are at on their mental healthcare journey.

  • BA(Psych), GradDipPsych, MPsych (Counselling), PhD
  • Macquarie St Psychology, Prahran VIC

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