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Stress is a normal response to situational pressures or demands, especially if they are perceived as threatening or dangerous. 
A certain amount of stress is a normal part of daily life. Small doses of stress help people meet deadlines, be prepared for presentations, be productive and arrive on time for important events. However, long-term stress can become harmful. When stress becomes overwhelming and prolonged, the risks for mental health problems increase.

The signs and symptoms of stress may be cognitive (thinking-related), emotional, physical or behavioural. Their severity can range from mild to severe.

Cognitive symptoms include:

  • Difficulty concentrating or thinking

  • Memory problems

  • Negativity or lack of self-confidence

  • Constant worrying

  • Difficulty making decisions.

Emotional symptoms include:

  • Moodiness

  • Low morale

  • Irritability

  • Feeling hopeless or helpless

  • Feeling apprehensive, anxious or nervous

  • Feeling depressed

  • Feeling unhappy or guilty

  • Feeling agitated or unable to relax.

Physical symptoms include:

  • Headaches

  • Muscle tension or other physical pain or discomfort

  • Stomach problems

  • Nausea, diarrhea or vomiting

  • Loss of sex drive

  • Rapid heart rate

  • High blood pressure

  • Fatigue.

Behavioural symptoms include:

  • Changes in eating or sleeping patterns

  • Social withdrawal

  • Nervous habits such as nail biting, teeth grinding or foot tapping

  • Increased use of caffeinecigarettesalcohol or other drugs

  • Neglect of family or work responsibilities

  • Decline in performance or productivity.

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