Common Physical, Emotional and Behavioral Symptoms of Stress


repeat headaches neck pains
backaches skin problems
dry mouth or throat overeating
loss of appetite nausea, vomiting and diarrhea
fatigue (excess tiredness) muscle aches
excess sweating twitching eyelid
insomnia (difficulty sleeping) excess sleeping
heartburn heart palpitations (fast/irregular heartbeats)
rapid breathing
irritability anger
moodiness loss of concentration
restlessness nightmare
feelings of helplessness anxiety or eagerness
depression racing thoughts
grinding teeth wrinkling forehead
foot or finger tapping increased alcohol intake
nail biting pacing the floor
hair pulling/twirling loss of interest in physical appearance
sudden change in social habits high pitched nervous laugh
putting things off (procrastination)


12 Common Negative Stressors (Causes of Distress):

  • financial problems
  • personal illness and the illness of a loved one
  • being a single parent
  • on-the-job stress including burnout
  • loss of a loved one (usually through separation, divorce or death)
  • long-term care-giving
  • troubled relationship with spouse or partner
  • difficult parent-child relationship
  • menopause
  • sexual difficulties
  • undesired change in physical appearance
  • relocation

There are, of course, many other stressors. It should be remembered that the experiences that produce good stress (or eustress), like marriages, birthday celebrations and other special events, generally cause the same symptoms of stress as the stressors that cause distress.