How Stress Affects Your Communication Skills

See also: Improving Communication Skills

Stress is a common occurrence nowadays, especially considering how humans lead hectic lives. Everyone goes through it occasionally, so it's pretty safe to assume you've already been through it at least a few times in your lifetime.

Stress is a bodily reaction to an existing or past occurrence. Your body reacts to that situation, causing emotional, physical, and mental strain. In essence, stress is not necessarily a bad thing because it helps you avoid danger and increases your motivation and productivity.

However, learning what stress is, how it affects your communication skills, and what you can do to alleviate it is another story. Keep reading this article, which discusses the effects of stress and how to manage it.

Stress Symptoms

Your body responds to stress in different ways. For example, your blood pressure may rise, your heart rate may increase, or your breathing can tighten. When you experience these symptoms, you have a “fight or flight” reaction. It’s your body’s way of getting ready for a quick response.

Stress can also cause symptoms throughout your body. And when stress is severe, it can impact you physically, emotionally, or mentally. Here’s how.

Physical Stress Symptoms

The most common physical symptoms of stress that you can feel in your body are:

  • Muscle aches, pains and tension
  • GI tract issues (upset stomach, diarrhea, constipation, nausea)
  • Sleep issues
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Shaking or nervousness
  • Weak immune system
  • Dry mouth
  • Hyperventilation
  • Sweating
  • Grinding teeth or clenched jaw.

Of course, not managing your stress levels can lead to complications, including heart disease, irregular heart rhythm, and high blood pressure, because we’re not invincible Marvel characters. It can lead to panic attacks, which can feel like heart attacks, or in extreme cases, strokes and heart attacks.

Stress can also lead to acne, eczema, psoriasis, and hair loss, and it contributes to obesity, menstrual irregularities, eating disorders, and respiratory infections. Stress can also affect your GI tract. It can lead to irritable bowel syndrome, GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), and peptic ulcers, among other things.

Mental and Emotional Stress Symptoms

Stress affects you on an emotional and mental level, as well. Here are a few symptoms:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Moodiness
  • Low self-esteem
  • Overwhelming feelings
  • People avoidance
  • Excessive worry.

How Stress Affects Your Communication Skills

Stress can also manifest through communication. It leads to frustration and anger, which can affect communication skills. When you are angry, you may find it more challenging to choose your words carefully or express yourself appropriately.

Stressed-out people are also more likely to pull away from social interactions. They can find it easier to isolate from their friends and loved ones. That’s when communication becomes impaired.

A stressed person may find it easier to misinterpret others’ intentions and perceive them as hostile.

Another way that stress affects communication skills is by inhibiting one’s ability to engage in public speaking. The anxiety caused can stop someone from talking in front of a crowd by activating the fight or flight response, forcing them to avoid the situation entirely.

How Can You Manage Stress?

There are different ways to try and manage your stress. But first, you must discover where it is rooted.

Identify Your Causes of Stress

One of the first things you should do to overcome a stress episode is to find its source. Sometimes, it may be difficult to discover the root cause of your stress, however. Consider that not everyone has a stress response to the same things. The stress triggers can be specific to one person or another.

Some people may be stressed out in social situations, while others may feel it in work or academics. Because we are unique, we have different stress triggers. You can start managing your stress levels and find an appropriate plan to fight it as soon as you identify your stressor.

Increase Communication with the People Around You

There are many cases where stress levels go up when we are dealing with social circumstances. One situation is when we must communicate with others, but we’re doing a poor job of it.

Sometimes, nobody can help us relieve our stress. That's when we can resort to something that relaxes us. Let’s say you love fishing. You can buy your J&H Tackle fishing gear online and go fishing in the wilderness for a few hours. Or you can work out, crochet, cook, or draw.

Other times, we can reduce our stress levels through communication. Let’s discuss three ways to manage your stress through communication.

Use Communication in Work and Academics

Work and academics are common stress factors for many people. For example, you will probably notice increased stress levels when you start a new job or academic project. Communication can help you manage stress and improve your quality of life in professional settings.

Sometimes, work situations like being under pressure from a boss with unrealistic expectations can increase your stress. To preserve a healthy work environment, try to talk with your superior.

Although you may find it difficult, it’s better to try and clarify your load than to suffer under stress. Even when lowering your load may not be possible, your superiors may find creative ways to help you.

The field of academics is the same. You may find that the material you’re covering is causing you stress. It would be a great time to talk to your professor. They may find you a tutor or help you during office hours if they learn that you struggle but are willing to make an effort to keep up.

Talk About Your Stress with Your Close Ones

When you feel overwhelmed, your first action may be to isolate yourself from everyone you know. However, what you should do to lessen your stress load is communicate. Reach out to someone you love about the things that stress you and your emotions.

It's always recommended to reach out to a professional therapist when dealing with chronic stress. When you talk about your emotions, you can lessen the intensity of anger, pain, and sadness.

Take Advantage of Communication in Relationships

Social relationships can become a stress factor for many people. They are, after all, fundamental to people's well-being. But when you experience a tense situation with a spouse, family member, roommate, or close friend, you can feel the stress creeping in.

However, you can avoid these situations by communicating clearly and early on. Don't wait to reach a boiling point when you are unsatisfied. Let your loved ones know when you are frustrated in a gentle manner. Thus, you can defuse potentially dangerous situations.

Similarly, you should be willing to listen when a loved one expresses their feelings. Allow them to take the time to explain how they are affected, and try not to interrupt them. You can discuss your disagreements and reach a peaceful conclusion.

Other Ways to Get Rid of Stress

One trendy way of managing stress is to exercise. A walk, a run, and lifting weights are all great ways to keep fit physically and mentally. The release of endorphins at the end of your workout session makes you feel good as you build a healthy routine.

Another way to keep stress under control is to make a second change in your life – eating healthier. Try to limit your sugar, alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine intake to lower their effects on your body. Instead, increase energy levels with foods rich in magnesium and vitamins B and C. Other ways to decrease stress:

  • Getting enough sleep
  • Drawing or painting
  • Fishing
  • Gardening
  • Taking a bath
  • Getting a massage
  • Doing arts and crafts.


Stress is something that happens to all of us, but we don’t have to let it run our lives. If you’re feeling stress creeping in, try some changes to lessen your load. Communicate with your loved ones, share your feelings, and try to relax.

Any hobby or recreational activity can help you manage stress and improve your quality of life. Take control of your stress by making these simple changes. Don't let the weight of stress hold you down any longer.

About the Author

Alex Oger is a content developer both by passion and profession. His favorite niche, as well as expertise area, is digital marketing. Alex is very ardent about certain interest areas like SEO, digital strategies, video editing and link building.