Everyone has their own unique way that their body expresses stress. For some it can be a racing mind, tight muscles, a dreaded cold sore popping up or the return of a patch of eczema.

Being able to recognise how your body expresses when you are feeling overwhelmed is crucial in stress management and emotional health. But it can take time to teach ourselves to look for the signs. Here’s some common ones-

Typical Signs and Symptoms of Stress

  • Mood swings
  • Clenched jaw
  • Irritability, anger
  • Increased perspiration
  • Inability to relax- restlessness
  • High blood pressure
  • Racing thoughts
  • Chest pain
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Over-eating
  • Insomnia
  • Lack of confidence
  • Tight muscles- neck or back pain
  • Loss of interest in sex
  • Tiredness
  • Headaches
  • Dissatisfaction with work, friends, life
  • Nausea
  • A sense of loneliness or isolation
  • Sadness
  • Digestive problems- constipation, diarrhoea, indigestion
  • Preference for solitude

A great way to get to know how your body expresses stress is to keep a record for a week or so. At the end of each day give your stress level a rating out of 10 (10 = Panic attack, 0 = No stress at all) and then write down any body symptoms you noticed on that day.

Over a few days you might start to see a pattern in your stress levels and the kinds of symptoms your body develops when under stress.

What are the symptoms you regularly get on a busy day of work? Is there anything that you struggle with all week that then miraculously resolves itself on Saturday? Upset stomachs are a classic example of this.

As you get to know your body’s natural default setting for stress the more you can pre-empt the stress and put in place some preventative strategies before it takes over.


By Jessica Trethowan – Naturopath
BHSc. (Nat), BHSc. (Rehab. Counselling), NHAA



Photo by Greg Raines on Unsplash