What are the signs of stress?

Many of the outward signs of stress are readily noticeable, although the indications will vary considerably between individuals. Stress triggers a number of changes in the body's processes. These changes are often complex and may include:

  • frustration
  • nervousness
  • depression
  • worrying tension
  • mood swings
  • easily discouraged
  • crying spells
  • irritability
  • dread
  • helplessness
  • forgetfulness
  • poor concentration
  • confusion
  • making mistakes
  • negative attitude
  • boredom
  • lethargy
  • lack of motivation
  • accident prone
  • deteriorating relationships with colleagues
  • irritability
  • indecisiveness
  • absenteeism
  • excessive smoking
  • excessive drinking
  • overeating
  • headaches
  • dizziness
  • teeth grinding
  • insomnia
  • stomach problems
  • frequent colds
  • general aches and pains
  • isolation
  • lashing out
  • clamming up
  • lowered sex drive
  • nagging
  • less contact with friends and colleagues

Stress, when prolonged or particularly intense, may lead to longer term health problems such as:

  • high blood pressure
  • heart disease
  • ulcers
  • thyroid disorders
  • gastrointestinal disturbances
  • psychological effects, such as anxiety and depression

Stress can also have detrimental consequences for your colleagues and the University. It can lead to:

  • an increase in sickness absence, which can result in workloads being shared among the other staff in your team and possibly causing them stress
  • reduced staff morale
  • reduced staff performance
  • staff seeking alternative employment, giving the University the expense of recruiting, inducting, and training replacement staff


Find out more about common causes of stress.