Psychological Effects of Stress

Psychological effects of stress today are more complex than ever. We live in an increasingly complex and fast paced world. Modern civilization has created many stressors that our ancestors did not have to deal with. Daily stressors, microstressors, and major life events are often common triggers for symptoms of stress to manifest.

These symptoms manifest on both physiological and psychological levels. Physiological reactions to stress are common to all animals with a developed nervous system. But in humans, there is an added dimension of complexity - the human mind. It is our mind that leads to certain psychological effects of stress.

Some common psychological effects of stress are:

  • Mood swings
  • Irritability
  • Resentment
  • Feeling of powerlessness
  • Low self esteem
  • Low self worth
  • Lack of interest in activities
  • Cognitive effects of stress
  • Effects of stress on memory
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Panic attacks
  • Feeling of guilt
  • Angry outbursts
  • Increased cynicism
  • Isolation/few close friends
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Unable to feel happy
  • Feeling of hopelessness


Western medicine is coming to realize that we cannot separate body and mind. It is coming to realize that mental and emotional states contribute to physical illness.

Body and mind are interconnected.

Psychosomatic disorders

It is now known that bottled up emotions can lead to bodily symptoms or bodily and mental symptoms that arise from mental conflict or inner stress.

Emotions such as anger, rage, grief, anxiety from unfulfilled deadlines, or fear of failure can manifest themselves in the form of a psychosomatic illness. For example, suppression of anger has been linked to breast cancer.

That is the mind/body involvement. Our minds influence our bodies and our bodies influence our minds.

It gets even more complex, because many psychological effects of stress became conditioned, deeply ingrained in our nervous systems.

For example, if you as a young child had bad experiences with authority figures, your body reacted with fear. Over the years this reaction of fear can become a pattern for you - it can become a habitual response.

The psychological effects of your childhood stress are that even now, in your adult life, you react with fear whenever you are face to face with an authority figure.

Related Articles:

Effects of Stress
Effects of Stress on Health
Effects of Stress on the Brain
Long Term Effects of Stress
Physiological Effects of Stress
Positive Effects of Stress


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Words of Wisdom

The time to relax is when you don't have time for it.
~Sydney J. Harris

Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.
~Chinese Proverb

There cannot be a stressful crisis next week. My schedule is already full.
~Henry Kissinger

Humor, a great stress reliever!
Laugh, be happy and have less stress!
~Catherine Pulsifer




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