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Stress Is Bad For Physical And Mental Health

June 26, 2014, 6:15 PM by Casey Wonnenberg

Stress Is Bad For Physical And Mental Health

From taking care of your children to meeting expectations at work, many of us face a lot of stressful situations. If you suffer from day-to-day stress, it might not only be bad for your physical health, but it could impact your memory.

As a registered nurse, Jo Landis feels responsible for her patient's health and safety.

"My goal every day is to make sure I have taken care of my patients by the time I have gone home," Landis said.

But Landis admits that responsibility comes with potentially stressful situations.

"We have challenges with our schedule with adding patients and being required to work patients in on a daily basis," Landis said.

While a certain level of stress is to be expected, too much can impact your mental health and memory.

"It's not like you are focusing on one task at hand. You are thinking of where you should be, what else you should be doing, and you are trying to multi-task. It can be distracting, and it can affect memory," Sanford Neurologist Dr. Jerome Freeman said.

In fact, University of Iowa researchers recently found a connection between the stress hormone cortisol and short-term memory loss in animals.

"It's conjectural, but I think it fits with the experience people have that with chronic stress, you can also have other associated symptoms, like loss of attention," Freeman said.

Your brain actually reacts differently to long-term stress than acute, short-term stress, such as a car crash.

"With an acute stress, like a car accident, some times people actually have heightened alertness or awareness," Freeman said.

But as far as day-to-day stress, Landis says she takes steps to minimize it.

"Try to get to work on time, so I have time to get my day organized, so I'm not rushing in," Landis said.

Which Landis says not only helps her memory, but also her patients' health.

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