What is stress?

Feeling under pressure is a common experience, and almost everyone will feel stressed at different times in their life. According to Mind UK, stress can be characterised by both the situations that put pressure on us, and our subsequent reactions to those situations.

While stress is not a formally diagnosed condition in the same way that, for example, depression or anxiety is, it can present similar challenges, and have a big impact on our health if not managed properly. Stress can both cause and be caused by mental health issues, so it is important to learn how to identify and manage feelings of stress to avoid these.

Stress is common among university students, especially at particularly busy times of the year such as during the examination period. The Wellbeing team at the university have some top tips for dealing with exam pressure available here.

Symptoms of stress

Some key signs of stress to look out for are:

  • Feeling irritable or agitated
  • Unable to “switch off” or relax
  • Finding it difficult to make decisions
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Little appetite, or overeating
  • Tearfulness
  • Feelings of worry
  • Feeling unable to enjoy yourself or like you’ve lost your sense of humour
  • Headaches, chest pains or stomach aches
  • Experiencing panic attacks
  • Grinding your teeth, jaw pain

Where to find support

Resources for managing your stress:

If you’re finding it difficult to manage your feelings of stress on your own you can access help by:

  • Contacting the Student Advisory and Wellbeing team at the University by emailing - they can offer advice, and direct you to the most appropriate service within their team
  • Speaking to your GP about any concerns you may have. You can register with the on-campus GP surgery here if you haven’t already, or find other local GPs here. DocReady is a website offering a practical guide to get you ready to talk to a doctor about your mental health for the first time.
  • You can self-refer to the Berkshire Talking Therapies service here- they also have self-help resources available on their website.

Worried about a friend

If you’re concerned that a friend may be struggling with their mental health, then there are a number of steps you can take to offer them support.

Check out our resource about starting conversations about mental health here for a good starting point. You may wish to share the support resources above with them, and e.g. offer to accompany them to a doctors appointment to make it less daunting.

Alternatively, if they are a student you can contact the Wellbeing team to report a concern- read more information about this here.

want to speak to an advisor?

If you've already looked through our web pages and can't find the information you're after, and would like to discuss something face-to-face, it's easy to see an Advisor.


We hold weekly drop-in sessions on Zoom during term time. Check out our Events Calendar here to find out when the next drop-in is- just use the "Advice" filter on the left hand side of the page.


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