How Do I Know If I Am Stressed? 10 Common Signs

by Melissa Chichester

Keeping stress at a manageable level is key to maintaining good health and wellness for a lifetime. 

Unfortunately, many people adapt to living in constant stressful conditions. They may not realize the impact it has on their health. Stress is so serious that the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders has an entire category of conditions related to stress. 

April is Stress Awareness Month – but evaluating how much stress you are experiencing is important year-round. So what exactly is stress? 

“Stress” can be described as tension you experience. It can be a physical or emotional strain on your body and mentality. When you feel threatened, your body responds. This is usually referred to as “flight-or-fight” mode. In other words, your body is ready to react to the threat. Being ready to react all the time can lead to chronic stress that interferes with your health. 

>>How to Cope with the Effects of Stress

Learning how to cope with stress can help you live a balanced life. However, you might not know if you are actually stressed or not. You may have learned to deal with daily discomforts that are related to stress. Here are 10 common physical and emotional signs of stress. 

10 common signs of stress 


One of the most common signs of stress is headaches. Headaches can range from mild to intense and could be caused by stress. However, there are many other triggers for headaches, such as dehydration, so it is difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of a headache. If you have headaches daily, it is important to let your healthcare practitioner know. 

Frequent colds 

According to the Centers for Disease Control, most adults have between two and three colds per year. If you have more colds than average, it may be the result of stress impacting your immune health.


When you’re stressed and worried frequently, it may interfere with your sleep. Unfortunately, not sleeping also influences the impact of other signs of stress. 

Muscle tension 

Sore muscles can be a sign of stress. This is especially true when you do not take time during the day to move or stretch your body. Exercise in the form of stretching can help improve physical signs of stress. 

Low libido

If your libido isn’t what it used to be, it could be a sign of stress. This is true for both men and women. 


Anxiety is classified as overwhelming feelings of worry and dread. It is not considered the same as depression, but it may be linked. If you are experiencing anxiety regularly, it’s important to discuss it with a doctor.


Short tempers, anger, and irritability are all signs of stress. If you find yourself irritated by things that usually don’t bother you, this might be the result of stress. 

Trouble concentrating 

Stress can lead to cognitive issues such as brain fog, memory issues, and trouble concentrating. 

Mood swings 

Happy one minute and filled with dread the next? Mood swings are another common sign of emotional stress. 

How can I cope with stress? 

Coping with stress can improve your well-being. It’s easiest to start with the basics. A nutritious diet full of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and high-quality proteins; regular exercise; getting plenty of sleep; and consuming enough water to avoid dehydration. 

A final note about stress

Like any other wellness concern, it is extremely important to manage stress before it leads to other issues. If you feel that you cannot manage your stress or need to talk to someone about it, discuss it with your personal physician right away.