Recognise the signs

According to the Australian Psychological Society, on average, 32 per cent of Australians report that work-related issues are a cause of stress and poor psychological wellbeing. Too much stress can leave people feeling anxious, depressed, exhausted and disengaged from their work. It is important to try and recognise the signs and symptoms of stress early and seek assistance to manage stress, before it starts to have a negative impact on mental health.

The common symptoms of stress can be divided into four categories: physical, cognitive, emotional and behavioural. The following table outlines some of the key symptoms:

Physical Cognitive Emotional Behavioural
Headaches Difficulty concentrating Anger Increased alcohol use
Backaches Forgetfulness Anxiety Cigarette smoking
Chest tightness Worrying Depression Increased caffeine use
Fatigue Thoughts of death Poor self-esteem Drug use
Stomach cramps Poor attention to detail Moodiness Violence
Difficulty breathing Perfectionist tendencies Suspiciousness Overeating
Diarrhoea Indecisiveness Guilt Weight gain/loss
Loss of sexual interest Feeling helpless Weeping Relationship conflict
Insomnia Catastrophising Loss of motivation Decreased activity

If you notice that you or one of your colleagues is exhibiting some of the symptoms, seek appropriate assistance. Asking for help may be as simple as talking to your manager or supervisor about work-related factors that might be increasing stress, such as high workloads and tight timeframes.

Other strategies to manage stress may include:

  • keeping physically active
  • eating well
  • limiting alcohol intake
  • talking about your feelings with peers, friends, family or a professional
  • getting involved and making a contribution in your community e.g. caring for someone else or volunteering
  • learning a new skill

More information

For more information about work-related stress, go to work-related stress webpage.

Last updated
23 August 2018