Emotional Symptoms of Stress

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Stress is experienced on various levels and shows up as symptoms on a physical, emotional, mental and behavioral level. In this article we will specifically look at how stress manifests as symptoms on an emotional level.

Stress can be experienced in a range of different ways. Here are some of the common emotional effects of stress.

1. Psychological tension and irritability: Hand in hand with the physical tension goes psychological tension which will affect your ability to manage your emotions. You might feel short tempered, be emotionally more reactive, have mood swings, break downs, fly off the handle or cry for no apparent reason.

2. Self-esteem and self-confidence: Your self-image will obviously be strongly affected by all of the symptoms especially since you feel different from the way you normally experience yourself.

3. Feeling low: You may feel overwhelmed, overanxious, experience lack of patience and generally feel low most of the time.

4. Depression: As an extension from the previous point you might regularly have feelings of depression and helplessness. General unhappiness without understanding why is a common emotional symptom.

5. Diminished enthusiasm and interest: You might not enjoy activities, situations and people like you used to as your interest and enthusiasm is diminished.

6. Changes in the way you know yourself: You may feel that you have changed and that you do not know yourself anymore. Your personality traits that you felt made up who you were might be lost.

7. Sense of loneliness: You might prefer to stay home and socialize less which might lead to isolation and feeling lonely, even when in company.

8. Responsibilities: You might either feel unable or disinterested to take on your responsibilities. An attitude of ‘I don’t care’ is often a common emotional expression of stress.

9. Cynicism: You might feel cynical about people around you which comes with decreased patience.

10. Suicidal thoughts: if the stress is not managed and the emotional effect is becoming worse it may lead to suicidal tendencies and suicide threats may be made.

The symptoms mentioned can appear in any order but will very often be subtle at the beginning and become more intensive and include multiple symptoms when stress is not managed or the causes are not addressed.

Remember that stress can only be managed successfully over a period of time. Once you address the causes for the stress, your emotional symptoms will reduce and subside given time.

For the other symptoms of stress, please refer to my following articles:

  • Mental Symptoms of Stress
  • Physical Symptoms of Stress
  • Behavioral Symptoms of Stress