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What are the signs excess stress?

If any of the following show up, you might want to take a closer look at your stress levels:

  • Problems sleeping including falling asleep, staying asleep or waking up and not feeling refreshed.

  • Changes in behaviour- increased irritability, impatience, needing to control others.

  • Social withdrawal, spending lots of time alone not wanting to spend time with family or friends.

  • Craving junk food that contains high sugar, salt or fat

  • Stomach aches and bloating- the digestive system slows down during stress.

  • Very strong emotional outbursts

  • Weight gain especially around the middle- high cortisol levels make you accumulate fat around your middle.

  • Difficulty with learning and memory (when a person is stressed they have a hard time focusing and distinguishing between what is relevant and not relevant)

  • Hyperactive behaviours (think fight and flight!)

  • Frequent colds and infections (this may be a sign of a low immune system)

  • Changes is hunger, appetite and digestion

  • Muscle tension and headaches

  • Risky behaviour including alcohol and drug taking

Stress awareness is key to reducing stress and recovering after a stressful event. If you don't realise you are stressed and if you don't know how to recover your are at higher risk of mental and physical health problems. By being aware of both the physical and emotional signs of stress in yourself, the more quickly you can intervene to soothe or reduce the stressors. Stress can be positive or negative, it depends on our ability to respond and recover. We all respond and recover differently, what is a positive stressor for one person might be negative for another. For more information on Self-Reg go to

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