The beginning or end of a relationship is always a time of tension and turmoil. Likewise, any change in your life can cause stress: a new job, starting college, even a vacation. Although change puts spice in our lives, all change demands some adjustment. But, did you realize that too much change of any sort can jeopardize your health? Even events that we welcome may require major changes in our routines and adaptation to new requirements.

Studies reveal that one of the most desired changes in a married couple’s life, the birth of their first child, is also a source of major stress, contributing to reduced marital satisfaction for many couples. On the other hand, stress may result more from anticipating events than from living with them. For example, a review of research on the psychological responses to abortion reveals that distress is generally greatest before the abortion. Severe distress is low for most women following the abortion of an unwanted pregnancy, especially if they have had social support for their decision.

In general, significant levels of stress can result from any important life change, but people vary considerably in the ways they respond to change in their lives. Sometimes people can absorb stress and keep on functioning. Their reactions depend on their resources and the contexts in which stress occurs. If you have the money, time, and friends to help you pick up and go on after a disruption, you will certainly fare better than someone for whom more bad news is the last straw in a series of setbacks they have faced alone.