Behavioral Symptoms of Stress

Stress is experienced on various levels and shows up as symptoms on a physical, emotional, mental and behavioral level. In this article we will specifically look at how stress manifests as symptoms on a behavioral level.

Stress can be experienced in a range of different ways. Here are some of the common behavioral effects of stress.

1. Meaningless activities: When you are under the influence of stress you might get lost in activities like watching TV, even though you are not interested in the program, or playing video games for hours.

2. Drugs, cigarettes, alcohol, and tranquilizer consumption: A common behavioral symptom is the increased use of recreational drugs, cigarettes, tranquilizers and alcohol which leads to physical symptoms. The effect of those drugs on your stress levels will only ever be short-term and with the physical after-effect you will be less equipped to deal with stress.

3. Cynicism: Your reaction towards people around you may be colored by impatience and cynicism. Things that previously did not bother you as much might now be difficult to accept or handle.

4. Nervous habits: You might experience restlessness which shows up in nervous habits such as pacing, moving your legs up and down or nail-biting.

5. Isolation: You might prefer staying home and be less inclined to socialize.

6. Inability to carry out tasks: You might feel challenged or unable to carry out normal tasks like doing the dishes, going shopping or doing housework

7. Behaviour in general: Strange behaviour patterns may appear that you do not normally engage in. This leads to disappointment in self, low self-esteem and low self-confidence.

8. Changed eating habits: You may be eating too much or not enough as an effect of stress. In addition you might lose appetite for what normally would be your favorite foods.

9. Low sex drive: You might feel low or lack of sex drive or not be interested in engaging in intimacy.

10. Responsibilities: You might procrastinate doing things or neglect your responsibility altogether.

The symptoms mentioned can appear in any order but will very often be subtle at the beginning and become more intensive and include multiple symptoms when stress is not managed or the causes are not addressed.

Remember that stress can only be managed successfully over a period of time. Once you address the causes for the stress, your behavioral symptoms will reduce and subside given time.

For the other symptoms of stress, please refer to my following articles:

  • Mental Symptoms of Stress
  • Emotional Symptoms of Stress
  • Physical Symptoms of Stress

Behavioral Symptoms of Stress by Nathalie Himmelrich

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