As a consequence of triggering the stress response we can experience a wide array of physical, emotional, cognitive, and behavioural responses. The lists below contain some of the most common responses (stress symptoms). You might like to print off the list and tick which symptoms you are currently experiencing.
The consequences of triggering the Stress Response
• Poor eating
• Digestive upsets
• Nausea
• Lump in the throat
• Difficulty swallowing
• High blood pressure
• Dizziness
• Sweating/sweaty palms
• Chills
• Broken sleep
• Excessive dreams
• Hyperventilating/Rapid breathing
• Increased heart rate/racing heart
• Aching muscles or muscle tension/twitching
• Clenched jaw
• Grinding teeth
• Agitated behaviour, like twiddling fingers
• Playing with one’s hair
• General restlessness
• Non-cardiac chest pains
• Stumbling over words
• Lack of energy
• Fatigue
• Nervousness
• Undue concerns
• Undue anxiety
• Undue fear
• Mood swings
• Easily upset
• Irritation
• Frustration
• Sudden anger
• Feeling alone
• Feeling lost
• Feeling guilty
• Feeling overwhelmed
• Feeling overworked
• No sense of humour
• Sense of helplessness
• Apathy
• Jumpiness/over-excitability
• Low self-esteem
• Wanting to hide
• Confused thinking
• Poor decisions
• Constant worry
• Difficulty concentrating
• Disorientation
• Mental slowness
• Reduced scrutiny
• Memory lapses
• Forgetfulness
• Abnormal ‘after the event’ thoughts
• Undue daydreaming
• Racing mind
• General negative attitudes
• Decreased problem-solving
Additionally, you may exhibit some of the following behavioural signs of stress:
• Decreased contact with family and friends
• Poor work relations
• Sense of loneliness
• Decreased sex drive
• Avoiding others (and being avoided) because of being cranky
• Failing to set aside times for relaxation through activities such as hobbies, art, music, or reading
Many of the above stress symptoms can also be characteristic of other physical or mental disorders. Your doctor, or a health care professional, can help you rule out causes other than fear or anxiety.