21st February 2014

Four actions that managers and leaders need to take to reduce growing pressure

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18th February 2014

From catastrophe to success

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  • Personal resilience and emotional intelligence – is there a link?

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  • When will organisations really take stress seriously?

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  • Manage stress and mental health to improve performance

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More articles ›

Signs & symptoms of possible stress

Stress rarely just hits us as though a switch has been flicked. The pressure builds and as it does so we will usually experience a variety of symptoms. These can be very useful early warning signals, indicating that if we take action we can prevent stress occurring.

Cognitive Indicators

  • Memory problems
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Poor judgement
  • Seeing only the negative
  • Anxious or racing thoughts
  • Constant worrying
  • Confusion
  • Boredom
  • Unable to have new ideas

Emotional and Attitudinal Indicators

  • Moodiness
  • Irritability or short temper
  • Agitation, inability to relax
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Sense of loneliness and isolation
  • Depression or general unhappiness
  • Forgetful
  • Tearful
  • Anxious
  • Emptiness
  • Apathy
  • No sense of direction or purpose

Physical Indicators

  • Aches and pains
  • Digestive upset
  • Nausea, dizziness
  • Chest pain, rapid heartbeat
  • Loss of sex drive
  • Frequent colds
  • Headaches
  • Tension and muscle aches
  • Rashes or skin change
  • Weight change

Behavioural Indicators

  • Eating more or less
  • Eating comfort foods
  • Sleeping patterns change
  • Nightmares or troubled dreams
  • Isolating yourself from others
  • Intolerance
  • Distrust of others
  • Procrastinating or neglecting responsibilities
  • Using alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs to relax
  • Nervous habits (e.g. nail biting, pacing, teeth grinding)

There may by other reasons for these symptoms occurring. Think about what it is in your situation that might be contributing to and affecting your condition. Then decide what you can do to change these factors. If you are unsure, and your condition appears to be worsening, visit your doctor who should be able to help you determine whether these are stress-related.

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