Stress: The Signs, Symptoms & Self-help


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 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.


Self-help Tools & Techniques


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.


Free Mindfulness has free resources to learn mindfulness meditations.


A guide to a stress-free day
A guide to a stress-free day is packed full of effective ways to manage stress, minimise its impact, and effectively relax so that you can go about your life refreshed and energised.


Breathing for Stress Management

Breathing is part of our body’s master blueprint for regulating the body’s rhythms. Yet how often do we take breathing for granted?

Stress and anxiety frequently causes improper breathing. However, it’s also something that we can master on an individual basis with slow, steady breathing through the nose.

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.

To discover more about breathing techniques that you can use right away, as well as finding out more about the science, check out Breathing Techniques: A Guide to the Science and Methods from Groom + Style.


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.