Physical Effects

Low energy

Stress can make you feel exhausted, although you may still find it hard to relax.

Nausea, dizziness and headaches

These symptoms may be confused with those of another illness, but they can stem from stress.

Woman suffering with headache

Rapid heartbeat and increased blood pressure

This is one of the most common effects of stress, and can have serious implications for your health.

Sweating and/or shaking

This often signifies that your nervous system is overstretched.

Loss of sex drive

Stress can lead to a reduced interest in or ability to perform sex.

Frequent infections

Stress can reduce the body’s ability to resist disease, leading you to get coughs and colds more often.

Aches and pains

Muscle tension and aching joints can be caused by stress.

Stomach upset

Stress can also lead to constipation or diarrhoea.

Mental Effects

Inability to focus

Although stress is supposed to help us concentrate in tight situations, over time it can have the opposite effect.


Trouble sleeping is a common effect of stress, although some sufferers find themselves oversleeping.

Bad moods and frustration

When you are stressed, you may get frustrated and annoyed more easily than usual.

Feeling lonely or isolated

It can be difficult to relate to others when you’re stressed, especially if they don’t seem to have the same problems as you.

Difficulty relaxing

Stressed people often find it hard to switch off and may stop taking pleasure in things they used to enjoy.

Increased dependence on alcohol, tobacco or drugs

This is often a coping mechanism, but stimulants and depressants won’t help you to relax properly – they will probably make things worse.

Feeling apathetic or depressed

Many of the symptoms of stress are similar to those of depression, and stress can lead to depression over time.

Avoiding social situations

You may begin feeling anxious around groups of people, even if you are usually a sociable person.

Worrying more

Stress can cause you to start worrying more about things such as your health, family and job, which can in turn increase your stress levels.

Nervous habits

Some people find they develop habits such as pacing or losing control of their voice when they are stressed.