Feeling overwhelmed? A psychologist shares the signs that you may be stressed out

Stress is as bad for our health as a poor diet and lack of exercise - but it can be easy to miss...

Stress can be caused by a variety of different situations, from facing big changes in your life to feeling that situations are overwhelming or out of your control.

We all experience stress in different ways, and sometimes we don’t acknowledge that we’re stressed until we’ve experienced several of the symptoms.

Dr Jane Fossey, consultant clinical psychologist for Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust explains some of the tell-tale signs of stress.

Signs of stress: indicators that you might be stressed

Changes in how you feel

Your emotional reaction to things might change. Some people find themselves becoming irritable, impatient or having a short fuse. Others experience feelings of depression, like they’ve become less interested in things, or they have lost their sense of humour.

Changes in how you think

You might notice differences in the way you approach and think about situations – you find yourself becoming more indecisive, or prone to procrastinating and putting things off. People may also notice that they’re distracted and lose their concentration easily.

Changes in your behaviour

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Even if you’re feeling well in yourself, you might find that you’re restless and fidgety, or that you’ve got into the habit of biting your nails or picking at your skin. Commonly, people also notice that they’re eating too much or too little, or that they’ve started smoking or drinking more than they used to.

Finding it hard to get a good night’s sleep

Stress can make it difficult to get a good night’s sleep. Feelings of anxiety or dread, or not being able to “switch off” when you go to bed can mean that you can struggle to drift off, or stay asleep throughout the night.

Feeling ill or under the weather

You might find that you’ve come down with lot of colds recently, or you just haven’t quite been feeling yourself; or you might have notice that you’ve had a lot of headaches or chest pains recently. Other physical signs include feeling short of breath, feeling sick, or having sore eyes.

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