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NHS Wellbeing advice on National Stress Awareness Day

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust's Wellbeing Service is offering advice on spotting the signs of stress to help mark National Stress Awareness Day.

National Stress Awareness Day is Wednesday 5 November and the theme is Stress: the balancing act. It is sometimes difficult to keep the balance right in terms of work, play and lifestyle. 

Recognising the signs of stress early and taking active steps to manage symptoms can make a big positive difference to everyday life 

Nesta Reeve, consultant clinical psychologist, said: "Stress is a very common issue and has an impact on every area of life including home life, relationships, family life, physical health and work.

"It's important to recognised that stress is not good for you and not a positive thing. Stress creates unhealthy biological reactions, and prolonged stress can lead to both physical and mental health problems.

"There is a big difference between feeling under a bit of positive pressure and stress. Stress only happens when people feel they don't have control over events."

People in Norfolk and Suffolk, who are registered with a GP, and think they are suffering from stress, anxiety or depression, can refer themselves to the NHS Wellbeing Service. Please call 0300 123 1503 in Norfolk and 0300 123 1781 in Suffolk or visit  

Signs of stress

These are some of the symptoms that are indicators of too much pressure that can come from yourself, work, home, any combination of, or maybe even all three.

Psychological signs: 
Inability to concentrate or make simple decisions
Memory lapses
Becoming rather vague
Easily distracted
Less intuitive & creative
Negative thinking
Depression & anxiety

Emotional signs:
Mood swings
Extra sensitive to criticism
Feeling out of control
Lack of motivation
Lack of confidence
Lack of self-esteem

Physical signs:
Aches/pains & muscle tension/grinding teeth
Frequent colds/infections
Allergies/rashes/skin irritations
Constipation/diarrhoea/ IBS
Weight loss or gain
Hyperventilating/lump in the throat/pins & needles
Panic attacks/nausea
Physical tiredness
Menstrual changes/loss of libido/sexual problems
Heart problems/high blood pressure

Behavioural signs:
No time for relaxation or pleasurable activities
Prone to accidents, forgetfulness
Increased reliance on alcohol, smoking, caffeine, recreational or illegal drugs
Becoming a workaholic
Poor time management and/or poor standards of work
Self neglect/change in appearance
Social withdrawal
Relationship problems
Insomnia or waking tired
Aggressive/anger outbursts
Uncharacteristically lying

The symptoms that affect you will often accumulate until you are forced to take notice of them. Don't rationalise the symptoms away, if you are not sure – get in touch with the NHS Wellbeing Service or your GP.​