Outer signs

Have you noticed yourself doing things differently lately?

If you’re not feeling right, your behaviour is likely to be affected. You might not have realised that these changes on the outside had anything to do with the way you are feeling or thinking on the inside.

Body (Tinana)


These are some of the changes you might notice yourself doing or experiencing when you’re distressed:

  • staying up far too late
  • drinking alcohol and/or using recreational drugs too much
  • less exercise 
  • unexplained aches and pains
  • not showering or shaving, or wanting to change clothes 
  • eating more junk food (than usual)
  • a racing heart, sweaty clammy hands, difficulty catching your breath or a lump in your throat. You may even worry you’re having a heart attack.

Mind (Hinengaro)


These are some of the changes you might notice yourself doing or experiencing when you’re distressed:

  • crying more often than usual
  • avoiding going out with your mates
  • having trouble concentrating
  • getting frustrated (hōhā) all the time
  • worrying so much about your work (mahi) that you can't finish it
  • feeling like people don’t understand or 'get where you’re coming from'
  • difficulty making decisions.

Social (Whānau)


These are some of the changes you might notice yourself doing or experiencing when you’re distressed:

  • avoiding talking with others
  • skipping get-togethers or whānau occasions
  • yelling at your children all the time
  • avoiding other parents at school (kura) or day care (ōhanga)
  • not wanting to socialise after sporting matches
  • not seeing your grandchildren (mokopuna) 
  • picking fights with your partner.

Spirit (Wairua)


These are some of the changes you might notice yourself doing or experiencing when you’re distressed:

  • losing your enjoyment of the world around you
  • staying away from your usual sources of strength (e.g. your iwi, hapū or marae)
  • not going to your place of worship (for example, your church, temple or mosque).

Could it be depression or anxiety?


The examples above cover a range of signs of distress. If you’re mainly worrying, on edge or having times of panic, it could be anxiety. If it’s more about feeling low and miserable, it could be depression. Have a closer look at the signs and symptoms for depression and anxiety.

It is common for people to experience symptoms of both anxiety and depression so you may find it useful to explore both.

How have you been feeling?


Changes in your behaviour can be caused by the way you think or feel. Check to see if you have any of these inner signs of distress.

What next?

Did you notice more issues with any particular area of your life? It might help to work on those areas first to help you get better. 

How to get better

Other people's stories

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I couldn't control my body

I worried about study non-stop

I lost my sight

I struggled with my gender identity