Stress is an epidemic, that is directly impacting millions of Brits – whether as a result of work, issues at home or political and economic factors beyond our control. Recent statistics have revealed that in the past year alone, around three-quarters of UK citizens have felt overwhelmed or unable to cope at least once.
Stress can manifest in a number of different ways, and can also cause a number of different problems; this is true not just for mental health, but also for physical health, as we will discover shortly. As such, managing stress is a vital skill for people to learn. How does stress manifest, what can it do to us and how should we approach managing it?
How Stress Manifests
Stress is caused through a variety of means and experiences; stressors are events or experiences that negatively impact you, from traumatic events such as injuries, discomforting situations or abuse to sustained pressures in personal or professional life. How this can manifest is through a sense of looming uncertainty, often accompanied by irritability, anger and increased emotional sensitivity.
Impacts on the Body
But the impacts of stress are not just mental. Contact lens specialists Lenstore explain further: “Repeated stress can take a toll on you not only mentally, but physically as well.” The physical sensations attributed to stress is part of a hormone response, wherein heightened levels of cortisol produce symptoms such as high blood pressure, fast heartbeat, shortness of breath and even issues relating to your head and senses.
Lenstore continues: “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 favourite 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.”
Treating the symptoms of stress as they emerge is only a short-term salve for what may be a long-term problem. Managing stress should start with prevention, where possible. Are you aware of the specific events or obligations that are causing your stress response?
Organising to address these root causes is the best place to start; you might talk to your boss about reducing your hours or workload, or talk to family members about lightening the load at home. If the root cause is less obvious, conversations with your GP about therapeutic solutions could be beneficial.