Stress is a natural physical and mental reaction and something we all experience from time to time. However, prolonged or frequent bouts of stress, known as chronic stress, can have significant negative effects on our bodies and impact our overall wellbeing.
What are some common signs of stress on your body?
Stress can impact both our physical and mental health and the effects of stress can be seen or felt in all areas of our bodies. Here are some of the common signs of stress.
Stress alters our immune response, making us more susceptible to illnesses such as colds and flu.
Stress can be responsible for a whole host of digestive issues, such as heartburn, acid reflux, constipation or diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, bloating, and stomach aches.
Aches and pains
When you’re stressed, your muscles tense up, which over time can lead to aches and pains, particularly in your shoulders and/or back.
Mental health issues
Chronic stress can cause or exacerbate mental health difficulties, such as anxiety, depression, and insomnia, and can also contribute to problems like disordered eating, and alcohol and drug misuse.
Problems with vision
Roshni Patel, BSC (Hons) MCOptom, expert optometrist at Lenstore, explains how stress can affect our vision:
“Repeated stress can take a toll on you not only mentally, but physically as well. Stress impacts your eyes with symptoms including sensitivity to light, eye twitching, too dry or too wet eyes, blurry vision, and eye strain.
If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s important to stop, take a break from what you are doing, get some rest, and try and take part in any of your favorite relaxation techniques. Stress-related eye issues are most likely temporary but, do be sure to see your optometrist if any of these symptoms persist.
If you’re feeling stressed, you might also experience visual disturbances or loss of sight in your periphery. If you begin to experience this make sure to take some time to relax and if the vision issues persist see your optometrist.
Finally, whilst it is important to consult your optometrist with any problems related to your vision, it is also crucial to visit your GP and speak through how you are feeling with friends and family to protect your wellbeing.”
Reasons to include stress management in your daily life
Unfortunately, stress is an unavoidable part of life for many of us, but there are things we can do to mitigate its effects, such as including stress management techniques in our day-to-day lives. This is important because it helps us deal with stress and can prevent it from becoming a long-term problem.
Finding ways to reduce or manage stress is vital as chronic stress can increase your chances of developing health conditions such as high blood pressure, which can increase your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. Long-term stress can also have severe negative consequences on our overall health, fitness, and wellbeing.
Stress management techniques will look different for each individual, but meditation, mindfulness, exercise, a healthy, balanced diet, and good sleep hygiene can all make a difference to stress levels if incorporated into your daily routines.