Lots of things can cause stress, including work, relationships and money problems. Stress can affect how you feel, think, behave and how your body works – from how well you sleep to your immune system. In the short-term that’s not really a bad thing, but long-term stress puts your health at risk.

Stress is not an illness itself, but if it isn’t under control it can cause serious illnesses, such as heart disease, asthma, stroke, diabetes and some types of cancer. Spotting the early signs of stress, like sweating, loss of appetite, headaches and loss of concentration will help prevent it getting worse.

Feeling stressed can also mean you don’t sleep well enough, and if you don’t sleep well enough this may make you feel more stressed.

And if you are stressed you may feel worried, anxious, irritable or have low self-esteem. You may also notice that you lose your temper more easily, drink more or act unreasonably.

Stress is not what happens to us, but how we respond to, and deal with, situations that are stressful for us.

Symptoms of stress
Stress can affect how you feel emotionally, mentally and physically, and also how you behave.



  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Irritable and ‘wound up’
  • Anxious or fearful
  • Lacking in self esteem


  • Racing thoughts
  • Constant worrying
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty making decisions


  • Headaches
  • Muscle tension or pain
  • Dizziness
  • Sleep problems
  • Feeling tired all the time
  • Eating too much or too little


  • Drinking or smoking more
  • Snapping at people
  • Avoiding things or people you are having problems with

For further information on stress visit the mental health charity Mind’s website