The Most Common Symptoms of Stress


When you notice yourself experiencing more symptoms of stress more often, it’s a good time to focus on self-care, Dossett says. Remember, self-care is everything you do to take care of your health and well-being. It can be making time for a yoga class, taking a walk in nature, focusing on getting more sleep, or connecting with a close friend, among many other things.

If focusing on self-care doesn’t help (or is not possible or available to you), talk to your doctor about stress, Dossett says. Your doctor can help identify underlying health issues that may be contributing, or help you create a self-care routine that better helps you manage the stressors in your life (or refer you to someone who can help with this, like a therapist or psychiatrist).

Whether or not you’re stressed, it’s smart to see your primary care physician once a year for a complete exam, including a check of blood pressure, heart rate, weight, cholesterol, and possibly thyroid hormones. Stress and symptoms of stress you’re experiencing (or not experiencing) should be part of that conversation. Stress symptoms can be signs of other significant health issues.

“When women have heart palpitations, doctors are more likely to think that they’re either experiencing stress or anxiety, or [even potentially judge] that they’re hysterical in some way. As a result, women tend to be underdiagnosed with heart disease,” says Dr. Haythe. And this happens despite the fact that heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States.

 (Common heart attack symptoms for women are fatigue, shortness of breath, jaw and back pain, and nausea.)

A good rule of thumb: If unusual symptoms or symptoms you suspect may be stress-related persist for more than a week or two, see your physician.

You should also see your doctor if symptoms of stress interfere with getting through your normal daily routines. Worry, fear, or sadness are all normal responses to the situations life throws your way. But when these emotions make it harder for you to do your job or interact with friends and family, that warrants a conversation with your doctor.


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