A List of Unhealthy Chronic Stress Symptoms

supportive-talk-eldermanlowbackpainTo Prevent Problems associated with Stress it becomes important to incorporate Stress Management Techniques on a regular basis in our Lives. Here are some examples of how unreleased stress can affect our mental, physical and emotional Health.

Physical Stress Symptoms   (How Our Body Reacts)

Breathlessness                                                            Impotence                              

Churning stomach                                                      Hyperventilating       

Nausea                                                                        Sense of heart pounding

Palpitations                                                                 Shallow breathing

Diarrhea/Constipation                                              Sleeping problems

Dizziness                                                                    Tension headaches

Dry mouth                                                                  Tingling in hands or legs      

Excess perspiration                                                   Tremors

Fatigue                                                                        Weight gain or loss


Escalated colds/flu

Increased heart rate


Psychological Stress Symptoms (How We Think and Feel)

 Abrasive                                                                    Increase worrying

Anxious                                                                      Indecision

Blaming others                                                           Irritability

Catastrophizing                                                          Lack of concentration

Cynical                                                                       Loss of confidence

Depression                                                                  Lower self-esteem

Anxious thinking                                                        Mind in a whirl

Overabundance of guilt                                              Mood swings

Excess worries over health                                        Negative thinking

Feeling like a failure                                                  Rumination

Fearful feelings                                                          Sensitivity to criticism

Unable to cope                                                            Snappy

Frustration                                                                  Tense



Hypercritical of self/others


Behavioral Stress Symptoms (How We Behave)

Aggression                                                                  Losing temper

Agitation                                                                     Making mistakes

Avoidance behavior                                                   Nail biting

Crying                                                                         Outbursts of anger

Decreased/increased sexuality                                   Poor eye contact        

Struggling to relax                                                     Inferior personal hygiene

Difficulty with relationships                                      Mediocre time management

Eating fast                                                                  Restlessness

Overeating or starving self                                        Risk taking

Gambling                                                                    Substance abuse

Hostile behavior                                                         Talking rapidly

Impatience                                                                  Walking fast

Increased alcohol                                                        Withdrawal from relationships

Amplified caffeine use                                               Pulling out of activities

Increased smoking

Work Related Stress Symptoms (How we may be affected by our work)

Absenteeism                                                               Inadequate decision making

Accidents                                                                    Poor interaction with colleagues

Inability to delegate                                                   Reduced work performance

Increased sick days                                                     Resentment/anger/irritability


Persistent lateness


If you are having these types of symptoms, you may want to consider that they are from a state of chronic stress. To help alleviate your stress symptoms, incorporate the tools of stress reduction found in Vicki Langemo’s 3 Part series on The Core of Stress Management: Tools of Empowerment. Learn about your stress in the first article and then read about Healthy Initiatives and Concrete tools. 

(This symptoms list was modified by Vicki Langemo, LPC, MA, in 2015 but the essence of the material originated at http://stresscourse.tripod.com)