Physical reactions to grief

From my journal dated August 26, 2002:

Joe and Jenna keep telling me I mumble when I talk. Is it stress or is there something else wrong with  me? I know I have physical signs of stress – rapid heartbeat, rapid breathing. It seems like I breathe shallowly, too…it’s like if I breathe too deeply, the pain of grief goes too deep. There is almost always a pain in my chest down to my gut, always pain in some form or to some degree.

I keep having a sore throat and a cough. I just don’t feel well.

I haven’t actually relaxed since…I don’t know when. I know I’m tense. My face is taut. I’m so jumpy and loud noises irritate the heck out of me. I’m antsy and get panic-y at the drop of a hat.

What is the matter with me?



Stress as a result of grief affects to body in a multitude of ways. I ended up being so jumpy. Too much noise was like fingernails on a blackboard, and I had a major fight-or-flight reaction at times. Sometimes I thought I was having a heart attack.

Although physical reactions are common and walking or some other form of exercise can help relieve some of the stress, it’s always a good idea to check with your doctor if you are concerned about any physical symptom you may be having.

This is an excellent article on the physical reactions to grief:

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