Stress is very common. We all feel stressed at times. However, it can become a problem when we start to feel stressed for no real reason or when we just can’t seem to get rid of or manage it.  Recognising stress is a good first step. 

Common signs of stress

Unable to Switch Off

  • “My mind seems to race with thoughts all the time”
  • “I’m always worrying. I try to turn the worries off, but it doesn’t work”

Poor Concentration 

  • “I struggle to concentrate on one task at a time” 
  • “I find myself not concentrating on what my friend is saying to me and then I can’t remember what time they said to meet”

Panic Attacks

  • “I sometimes get weird feelings in my body and I worry there is something really wrong with me”
  • “They seem to come out of the blue and I feel really out of breath"

Poor Sleep

  • “As soon as my head hits the pillow my mind starts going and I just can’t get to sleep”
  • “I get to sleep ok but then I’ll wake up lots during the night”

Anger and Irritability

  • “I'm always in a bad mood these days”
  • “I snap at the kids all the time, even when they haven’t done anything wrong”


  • “I felt my colleague was being critical of my work and I found myself welling up. It wouldn’t have bothered me a few months ago”
  • “ I’m crying much more than I used to”


  • “My husband was late from work last night. I found myself thinking about all the bad things that could have happened to him. By the time he got home safe and sound I was a wreck”
  • “I find myself worrying about the future a lot - what if I lose my job, what if we can’t pay the mortgage, what if I my wife leaves me”


  • “I put things off until I feel a bit less stressed. I never seem to feel less stressed though”
  • “I don’t like busy places, so I tend to avoid going to parties with friends or to the supermarket when it is busy. It really affects my life”

Feeling worthless/hopeless

  • “I will always feel stressed, nothing I do works”
  • “I’m not very good to be around at the moment”

What can I do about it?

Looking after yourself physically and emotionally is really helpful.  See the advice in the Moodcafe Wellbeing and Lifestyle section.

There are practical tips and techniques which can help you manage stress, such as learning to relax or recognise unhelpful ways of thinking.

Learning skills such as assertiveness can also help. 

Steps to deal with Stress is a useful booklet giving advice on a range of ways to better manage stress.

If you live in Fife, you can book yourself directly on to one of our free classes held in many locations in Fife. To book yourself on a course go to our sister website and click on "How can we help you" which will give you a list of groups.

The Mental Health Foundation has good tips for managing stress