Signs of stress

Advice for identifying the signs and symptoms of stress and where you can find help


If you are suffering from some of the following symptoms it may indicate that you are feeling the effects of stress.

Emotional symptoms

  • Feeling negative or depressed
  • Disappointment with yourself
  • Increased emotional reactions - more tearful or sensitive or aggressive
  • Loneliness, withdrawn
  • Loss of motivation, commitment and confidence


  • Confusion, indecision
  • Difficulty to concentrate
  • Poor memory

Changes from your normal behaviour

  • Changes in eating habits
  • Increased smoking, drinking or drug taking 'to cope'
  • Mood swings effecting your behaviour
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Twitchy, nervous behaviour
  • Changes in attendance such as arriving later or taking more time off

Peer Support Line

Please note these are some symptoms of those experiencing stress. However, they may also be indicative of other conditions. If you are concerned about yourself or a colleague, a good first step is to contact the AOP Peer Support Line offering peer-to-peer support by phone for those experiencing a difficult situation, stress or anxiety.

Your GP

It is important to recognise when you or one of your team is suffering from stress. These signs are clues that something is amiss. It could be that the issues are workplace related and can be resolved through discussion and by making some changes there.

However, if you are very worried about yourself or a team member then the best course of action would be to see a GP.

This page contains public sector information published by the Health and Safety Executive and licensed under the Open Government Licence.