Seven Warning Signs Of Stress You Should Know

Updated August 28, 2020

The American Psychological Association describes stress as “a normal reaction to everyday pressures.” However, the esteemed outlet also notes that stress can become unhealthy — or even turn into chronic stress — when the operations of your daily life are adversely impacted.


In mainstream society, stress generally gets a bad rap; in a significant amount of circumstances, this negative perception of stress is justifiable. Left unchecked, stress can rapidly turn into chronic stress. As many people are aware, chronic stress can contribute to or worsen serious mental, emotional, and even physical health problems.

For these reasons, knowing the warning signs of stress in addition to other relevant information is absolutely critical.

Why is Stress So Dangerous?

Stress levels can inherently vary, as do the consequences of stress. Nevertheless, stress, in and of itself, is so dangerous due to the impacts it has on human beings. If and when you find yourself feeling stressed out, this is indicative of a problem. Taking the necessary steps to nip stress in the bud lessens your likelihood of dealing with the fallout later.

It Negatively Impacts Your Brain

One of the greatest dangers of stress deals with the negative impacts that it has on the human brain. According to Psychology Today, prolonged, ongoing stress kills neurons and produces hormones that enable depression, kill memory abilities, and complicate the learning process. Needless to say, a brain compromised by stress or chronic stress will have harmful effects on your day-to-day life and functionality.

Your Emotions Take a Hit

Some of the greatest emotional stress symptoms include anxiety, anger, irritation, depression, and more. If you are someone who already struggles with mental health issues, then chronic stress (or stress, in general) can truly wreak havoc on your emotional state. Over time, emotions that have become contaminated by stress will affect how you move through the world, make decisions, and interact with others.

It Detracts from the Joys of Life

Stress symptoms, chronic stress, etc. are bad enough. Similar to the adverse physical, mental, and emotional impacts engendered by stress, stress also detracts from the joys of life.

Believe it or not, life, in and of itself, has so much to offer. There are countless possibilities and opportunities that are available for people to make the most of. However, a sound mind and overall health are necessary to reap the benefits of life’s joys. The presence of continued, ongoing stress ultimately interferes with the many positive impacts of life; this is yet another reason why stress is so dangerous.

Top Leading Stress Signs You Need to Know

The plethora of dangers from stress is well-established and documented. With that in mind, it’s important to know that stress doesn’t usually happen overnight. In most cases, stress takes time to develop, materialize, or turn into chronic stress.


For these reasons, knowing the leading seven warning signs of stress matters. Having this knowledge can aid you in both preventing stress and learning stress management strategies.

Strained Relations with Other People

To date, a deterioration in your quality of interpersonal relationships is one warning sign of stress. Unfortunately, this particular one of several stress symptoms has a tendency to go unnoticed.

It can be easy to write off situations like avoidance of others and communication struggles as no big deal. However, these are actually serious indicators of emerging or present stress. Stress management is deeply imperative before stress becomes chronic and especially when your interpersonal relationships start to suffer.

Out-of-Character Behavior

As human beings, the quality of our behavior can provide warning signs of stress. When determining whether or not you may be on the cusp of stress or chronic stress, ask yourself if any of your behavior has been out-of-character lately.

When your behavior shifts or changes from what is typical of you, this is a sign that stress is either present or on the horizon. If you notice out-of-character within yourself, taking a step back, pausing, and determining the source of stress is always advisable. Ideally, you’ll also want to develop healthy stress management techniques; this can help prevent the situation from getting any worse.

Consistently Negative Emotions

No one is happy or in good spirits all of the time. That being said, if you find yourself constantly feeling stressed, irritable, on edge, or otherwise unhappy, this is one of the leading warning signs of stress. The emotional impacts of stress are well-documented, but this type of harm doesn’t happen overnight. Being mindful of how you are feeling more often than not is highly advisable; your emotions can tell you a lot about yourself, including how you’re doing and reacting to the outside world around you.


Trouble with Sleeping

Because of the impact that stress can have on your mental and emotional health, one of the most critical signs to be aware of is trouble with sleeping. Sadly, restlessness is not an uncommon thing to come from stress. If left unchecked, problems with getting a good night’s rest can become even more threatening when stress turns into chronic stress.

The necessary health benefits of sleep are very well-documented. While trouble with sleeping is a warning sign of stress, it also carries the potential to worsen existing problems. A lack of proper rest can impair your judgment, place a strain on your interpersonal relationships, and even complicate the means of processing information. If you’re struggling with sleep, take this as a serious indicator of necessary change.

Concerns from Those Closest to You

If other people around you are letting you know that you seem off or otherwise not like yourself, this is often a warning sign of stress. Of course, stress levels can vary, but sometimes, people who are closest to you can notice that something’s wrong before you do.

Feedback from other people is not always accurate, though and at the end of the day, it’s up to you to be in tune with how you’re doing. However, if other people are consistently concerned or worried about you, this something to be mindful of. Stress symptoms are plentiful and you might be exhibiting symptoms without even realizing it. This is yet another reason why your interpersonal relationships are so critical.

Lack of Interest in Hobbies or Activities

Hobbies and recreational activities are critical parts of living a healthy and balanced lifestyle. If you find that your interest in these pursuits is declining, this is an important warning sign of stress. Lack of interest in hobbies or activities that you typically enjoy can be indicative of chronic stress or even depression.

Hobbies and activities are important, but a healthy state of mind and wellbeing are necessary to reap the benefits. If you’re concerned about whether or not you’re feeling stressed, ask yourself when you last spent time on a hobby or leisurely endeavor.

Lack of Overall Energy

Stress is inherently draining and chronic stress is even worse. If you find yourself constantly lacking energy or feeling sluggish, this is an important stress symptom to be aware of. No one is always upbeat or energetic and one bad day doesn’t mean that you’re on the cusp of stress. However, when you are constantly feeling strained or depleted day in and day out, this means there’s an issue.

As troubling as this may seem, nipping stress in the bud now can save you from dealing with even worse issues later down the line. It’s important to not only recognize stress symptoms but to also develop constructive stress management techniques.

Changing Your Life with Stress Management Techniques

The National Institutes of Health explains the adverse impacts that stress can have on the lives of afflicted persons. Thankfully, stress management techniques help you deal with stress and achieve a higher quality of mental health.



As simple as it may sound, relaxation can be an extremely effective stress management technique. From deep breathing to meditating or even practicing yoga, learning to hit the pause button when you feel yourself becoming overwhelmed is imperative. Knowing the warning signs of stress and taking the necessary actions is what can help shield you from chronic stress and the subsequent fallout.

Removal from Sources of Stress

Sometimes, removing yourself from the source of stress is the best management technique of all. This may not always be possible, but when you can eliminate sources of stress in your life, doing so is highly advisable. What’s difficult in the short-term just may save your life later down the line.

Support from BetterHelp

Dealing with warning signs of stress, stress itself, and stress management is no easy walk in the park. Thankfully, these aren’t issues that you have to take on by yourself. BetterHelp couldn’t be prouder to offer online therapy services.

To date, online therapy has changed countless lives and it can change your life also. When you work with a BetterHelp online therapist, you can count on getting help, support, and advice that specifically pertains to your situation. Online therapy won’t make your problems vanish overnight; however, this process can help you learn more about yourself and develop productive ways of overcoming life’s challenges.

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