Signs of Stress

It will come as no surprise to many at uni that stress is on the rise amongst students, and it only seems to be getting worse. To acknowledge Stress Awareness Month, we’ve put together this blog with some pointers to help you recognise the signs of stress.

There are four key markers to identify the signs of stress: Physical Symptoms, Emotional Symptoms, Cognitive Function and Behaviour Patterns. The markers will be different for different people, but hopefully this list gives you a good idea of the things to look out for.

Symptoms of stress include:

  • Physical Symptoms like headaches; disrupted sleep; fatigue; involuntary twitching or shaking; getting ill more often than you think is normal and generally your body feeling a bit ‘weird’.  
  • Emotional Symptoms like less patience; feeling overwhelmed with no way of dealing with things; feeling sad and isolated; restlessness; reluctance to do the things you usually enjoy and increased levels of pessimism.
  • Cognitive Function like having difficulty concentrating and remembering things, feeling constantly anxious and worried, unwanted thoughts and making judgements that feel out of character. 
  • Behaviour Patterns like an unhealthy change in eating and sleeping patterns; a desire to try things more often that you feel might help you cope e.g. bingeing, smoking or drugs; an increase in subconscious behaviours; an uncommon desire to be alone as well as having difficulty in getting along with people and possibly frequent lying.

Some of these might be harder to spot than others, but being able to recognise the signs of stress will help you to put things in place to alleviate the symptoms before things get out of control. Look out for your friends too; if you think they might be feeling stressed ask what you can do to support them.

We know that for many stress and anxiety are much more complicated issues that may require more attention. If you are struggling and feel your mental and physical health is suffering, please seek support from your G.P. You can also contact The Samaritans 24 hours a day, 365 days a year by calling 116 123 for free.

Read Part Two: Dealing With Stress

Read De-stressing on a Time Budget