We all experience stress differently in different situations. Sometimes you might be able to tell right away when you're feeling under stress, but other times you might keep going without recognising the signs. Stress can affect you both emotionally and physically, and it can affect the way you behave.

Common signs of stress

You might feel  
•irritable, aggressive, impatient or wound up
•anxious, nervous or afraid
•like your thoughts are racing and you can't switch off
•unable to enjoy yourself
•uninterested in life
•like you've lost your sense of humour
•a sense of dread
•worried about your health
•neglected or lonely

You might

•find it hard to make decisions
•avoid situations that are troubling you
•snap at people
•bite your nails
•pick at your skin
 •be unable to concentrate
•eat too much or too little
•smoke or drink alcohol more than usual
•be restless, like you can't sit still
•feel tearful or crying

You might be physically affected  and experience problems such as

•you might experience shallow breathing or hyperventilating
•you might have a panic attack
•experience blurred eyesight or sore eyes
•have problems getting to sleep, staying asleep or having nightmares
•have sexual problems, such as losing interest in sex or being unable to enjoy sex
 •be tired all the time
•grind your teeth or clench your jaw
•chest pains
•high blood pressure
•indigestion or heartburn
•constipation or diarrhoea
•feel sick, dizzy or fainting
Feelings of stress are normally triggered by things happening in your life which involve:
•being under lots of pressure
•facing big changes
•worrying about something
•not having much or any control over the outcome of a situation
•having responsibilities that you're finding overwhelming
•not having enough work, activities or change in your life

There might be one big thing causing you stress, but stress can also be caused by a build-up of small challenges. This might make it harder for you to identify what's making you feel stressed, or to explain it to other people.