Stress is the feeling of being under too much mental or emotional pressure.

Pressure turns into stress when you feel unable to cope. People have different ways of reacting to stress, so a situation that feels stressful to one person may in fact be motivating to another.

Many of life’s demands can cause stress, especially work, relationships and money problems, and when you feel stressed, it can affect everything you do.

Read more about what causes stress.

Stress can affect how you feel, how you think, how you behave and how your body works. Sleeping problems, sweating, loss of appetite and difficulty concentrating are common signs of stress.

Managing stress

Stress is not itself an illness but it can cause serious illness if not tackled. It is important to recognise the symptoms of stress early.

This will help you figure out ways of coping and save you from adopting unhealthy coping methods, such as drinking or smoking.

Spotting the early signs of stress will also help prevent it worsening and potentially causing serious complications, such as high blood pressure, anxiety and depression. Read more about the health complications of stress.

While there is little you can do to prevent stress, there are many things you can do to manage stress more effectively, such as learning how to relax, taking regular exercise and adopting good time management techniques.

Learn how to manage stress effectively.

When to see your GP

If you've tried self-help techniques and they aren't working, make an appointment to see your GP. They may suggest other coping techniques or recommend some form of counselling. If your stress is causing serious health problems, such as high blood pressure, you may need medication or further tests.

Mental health issues, including stress, anxiety and depression, are the reason for one in five visits to a GP.


Information from NHS Choices

Mental Health Foundation
Mental Health Foundation
The Royal College Of Psychiatrists