Mental Health Awareness for Stress

Stress is the body’s reaction to any change that it experiences, which requires an adjustment or response. The body reacts to these changes with physical, mental, and emotional responses. The word 'stress' is quite often used in a negative sense.

But stress isn't always bad and it is a normal part of life. In fact, sometimes stress can be positive and can spur one to be productive, creative, prepared for challenges, and stay motivated and focused. But too much stress or prolonged stress can impact our physical and mental health. It can bring on – or worsen – certain symptoms or diseases. Common side effects of stress on the body range from aches and pains, sleep-related issues, nausea and dizziness to anxious or racing thoughts, moodiness, and even irritability and short temper.

When does stress become a matter of concern? When it becomes overwhelming and starts affecting your health, your productivity, your relationships, and the overall quality of your life. There are physical, emotional and behavioral symptoms of stress. Being aware of these can help you understand what you are going through and deal with it accordingly.

Signs & Symptoms of Stress

  • Memory problems
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Poor judgment
  • Seeing only the negative
  • Anxious or racing thoughts
  • Constant worrying
  • Moodiness
  • Irritability or short temper
  • Agitation, inability to relax
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Sense of loneliness and isolation
  • General unhappiness
  • Aches and pains
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Nausea, dizziness
  • Chest pain, rapid heartbeat
  • Loss of sex drive
  • Frequent colds
  • Eating more or less
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Isolating yourself from others
  • Neglecting responsibilities
  • Using alcohol, cigarettes or drugs to relax
  • Nervous habits (e.g., nail-biting, pacing)

What causes stress?

A person can feel stress anytime a situation is seen as threatening, challenging and difficult to cope with. An extremely busy lifestyle with multiple responsibilities, aspirations, competition, coupled with poor nutrition and sleep, lack of relaxation, inadequate exercise, increased use of smartphones, and being confined indoors can increase the risk of stress.

How can you help yourself?

Having become aware that you have stress, the next step is to know that it can be managed. Practicing self-care is a good step to begin with. Incorporating certain activities into your daily routine can help make stress management part of your lifestyle. There are many fun and calming activities that will help relieve stress if done consistently. Adopting strategies for managing stress in the workplace – for example, prioritizing tasks, managing time, taking breaks – is also an important part of overall stress management.

Engage in a relaxing activity

Practice breathing exercises, listen to your favorite songs, or make time for hobbies to relax.

Practice yoga and meditation

Regular yoga and meditation can help alleviate stress.

Exercise regularly

Even 30 minutes of walking on a regular basis can improve your health.

Write down your feelings

This will help you reflect upon things and understand the reasons why you are feeling stressed.

Organize and prioritize tasks

Creating a daily ‘to-do list' helps to visualize what needs to be done and prioritize the things that are important, as against those that are not so important. Planning also helps to use your time efficiently by determining how important tasks are and how quickly they must get done.

Eat a balanced diet

Studies have pointed out that fresh fruits and vegetables provide vitamins and minerals that help reduce stress. On the other hand, eating a diet full of processed and convenience food, refined carbohydrates, and sugary snacks can worsen symptoms of stress.

Talk to someone

Talk to people you trust and can be honest with. They are the ones who are likely to provide emotional support and practical help.

How can you help someone else?

You may notice that your friend or a family member is stressed and is finding it difficult to cope. While encouraging them to seek help from a mental health professional is necessary, there are lots of practical things you can do to support them.


Giving someone who is feeling stressed your time and undivided attention is a good way to support them.

Participate in activities together

Pursuing a hobby, going on walks or treks, listening to music, or exercising can be some of the activities you can do together.

Use physical gestures

Smiling, holding hands, hugging, lending a shoulder are gestures that can comfort a person.

Follow up

Staying in touch and checking up on them regularly can be reassuring and supportive.

Help them recognize symptoms

Often, people don’t recognize that certain symptoms (for example, changes in eating or sleeping habits, or inability to concentrate) are actually signs of stress. Sometimes you may be able to identify it before they recognize it in themselves.

Encourage them to seek help

If you feel that they are unable to manage their stress, urge them to seek help from a mental health professional. You could also offer to accompany them.

Frequently Asked Questions

Know more about the conditions that can and might co-exist with stress.



Join our mailing list

Be a part of the change