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Stressed out man rubbing his templesAlthough it is natural to feel anxious or "stressed out" sometimes, anxiety and/or prolonged stress, or stress that goes ignored can be unhealthy. However, you can learn how to recognize both the physical and the emotional signs of stress and anxiety. Once you learn to recognize stress, then you will be much better able to use coping strategies to relieve your stress and ease your tension.


Physical Signs of a Stress Response

  • Increased or irregular blood pressure
  • Insomnia
  • Tight muscles
  • Restlessness
  • Shallow, rapid breathing
  • Change in blood sugar
  • Tight throat
  • Cold extremities
  • Elevated cholesterol
  • Sweating
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Rapid pulse
  • Headache
  • Digestive upset
  • Weight change
  • Lack of energy
  • Back or neck ache
  • Knot in stomach
  • Blurred vision
  • High voice

Emotional Signs of a Stress Response

  • Irritability
  • Forgetfulness
  • Boredom
  • Feeling of ‘emptiness'
  • Anxiety
  • Discouragement
  • Decreased libido
  • Lowered psychological resistance
  • Feeling hopeless or helpless
  • Anger
  • Confusion
  • Worrying
  • Lack of concentration
  • Fear

Having read some of the physical and emotional signs of stress, can you think back to times when you have felt stress? If so, take a moment to write down specific things or times that have made you feel stressed. Writing down your thoughts will help you process and understand what causes you stress and why. Understanding these two things is fundamental to managing your stress.