Good stress and bad stress


The movie “Goodfellas” has a classic stress scene where the mob character Ray Liotta is juggling many stressors. He has to make Sunday dinner for his Italian family, pick up his wheelchair-bound brother from the hospital, keep his girlfriend/drug dealer happy … and all the while he thinks he’s being followed by a police helicopter as he’s driving in busy New York City traffic.

Movies are great at showing us what excess stress is like. Not that we need it. Most of us have enough stress in our lives. One day vaccines are flowing into peoples’ arms and the pandemic looks like it’s coming to the end, then there’s an alarming drop in vaccine acceptance. One day you can drive up to a gas pump and fill up, then two days later it might take an hour in line if you’re lucky. Yikes!

Stress is part of life. A student has an exam, a worker has to meet a deadline or deal with a difficult customer or over-demanding boss. Anyone of us might be coping with bereavement, struggling under financial pressure, or a failing relationship or health problems. These issues usually are perceived as threatening.