By Lana Barth, RN-BC, BSN, at Cole Memorial
Life can cause many forms of stress. Stress can be either good stress or bad stress. Good stress motivates and energizes a person. This is what spurs us on to improve ourselves and to be happy in our lives. It helps us to set goals for ourselves and our families. Holidays, vacations, weddings, promotions, and romance produce good stress. Sickness, pain, grief, financial struggles and conflict produce bad stress.
Stress is actually a physical reaction in our body. Some physical signs of stress are a faster heartbeat, tightening of muscles, heightened sensation, sweating, and faster breathing. The normal stress reaction starts slow and rises to a peak. This is when your heart rate, breathing, and nerves are at their high alert state. It then has a slowing down phase where those physical symptoms begin to go back to a normal state. When there are many different stressors at the same time, or if they occur too soon to allow for the cooling off period, the body will begin to wear down. An overload of stress can result in chronic pain, migraines, diarrhea, constipation, tremors, depression, anxiety, heart attack, stroke, or even death.