Stress can affect you and your body almost without you realizing it. It’s easy to ignore little problems like an occasional upset stomach or forgetting to pick up your dry cleaning on the way home. And you might not notice you’re up from two cigarettes a day a few months ago to two packs each day now. But these add up.

Physical Symptoms

  • headache
  • menstrual disorders
  • decreased libido
  • back pain
  • chest pain
  • neck pain
  • heart disease
  • high blood pressure
  • heart palpitations
  • heart burn
  • nausea
  • upset stomach
  • decreased immunity
  • weight problems due to overeating
  • sleep problems

Mental and Emotional Symptoms

  • feeling out of control
  • forgetfulness
  • feeling insecure
  • lack of focus
  • burning out more quickly
  • depression
  • sadness
  • anxiety
  • worrying
  • irritability
  • anger
  • restlessness

Behavioral Symptoms

  • overeating
  • undereating
  • drug or alcohol abuse
  • increased smoking
  • crying spells
  • angry outbursts
  • social withdrawal
  • indecisiveness
  • relationship conflicts

The signs of stress can also be symptoms for other, sometimes bigger, problems. That’s why it’s important to talk with your doctor about what you’re experiencing. He or she will talk you through what is going on in your life, what symptoms you are having, when or if they get worse, and how often they happen. If your doctor concludes your body is reacting to your increased stress level, he or she might suggest a variety of solutions to help ease the symptoms while you work to reduce the sources of stress. You don’t have to let your stress run your life. You can get ahead of it and channel it to make your life better, more productive, and healthier.