• Take The Stress Test

    Stress TestNowadays most of us are familiar with the idea that life events cause stress and that stress can cause illness. The original work in this area was done in 1967 by two US psychiatrists, Drs Holmes and Rahe, whose research led to the establishment of a correlation between the experience of certain life events and the likelihood of someone becoming ill. The tables developed from their work are reproduced below.

    When you are looking at these tables please bear in mind that they were produced in USA, about US citizens at a particular time, the late 1960s.

    In UK in 2012 the order of significant events is likely to be different, with “Change in residence” coming much higher up, particularly if that change involves selling and buying property.

    What is important is the support they give to the idea that if we experience difficult and painful emotional and/or intellectual circumstances, our bodies will reflect our pain and will share our suffering.  We are whole, complex and unified organisms, our various parts do not co-exist in separate compartments labelled Mind, Body, Emotions, Spirit/Soul.  Our immune systems can and will be depleted when we are more than usually stressed – this can be measured by simple stress tests.  We have all heard about heart attacks striking people who are experiencing unusual stress and tensions in their family or their work.  And at the same time, as has been stated in another article, (Personal Stress Management Part 1), we all need a certain amount of stress in order to survive.  A human without any stress would be like an amoeba without any surface tension.  That human would lack the heightened awareness which can be an important survival tool, whether s/he is fleeing from a sabre-toothed tiger or dealing with a recalcitrant teenager or a difficult situation at work.

    So what can we do to keep ourselves in good shape, given that it is not possible nor desirable to avoid all stressful situations?

    We can try to keep ourselves both fit and healthy, by watching our diet, our weight, how much exercise we take, our work/life balance.  Easier said than done, of course, but if we are aware of the potential problems we can all find room for some positive adjustments in one or more areas.  For example, walking rather than taking the bus or car for short journeys, snacking on fruit or raw vegetables rather than chocolate or biscuits, having a break at lunchtime by getting out instead of eating sandwiches at our desks – these are now so well known that they are almost clichés, but please don’t discount them because of this. They work.

    If you feel that you need help and support while you get to grips with stress related issues, one of the qualified and experienced counsellors at Birmingham Counselling Services could be there to accompany you on your life-changing journey.  Get in touch with us by telephoning 0121 314 9903 or via our website: www.BirminghamCounsellingServices.co.uk

    The Holmes-Rahe Social Readjustment Scale

    Life event – Adult

    Life change units

    Death of a spouse

    100

    Divorce

    73

    Marital separation

    65

    Imprisonment

    63

    Death of a close family member

    63

    Personal injury or illness

    53

    Marriage

    50

    Dismissal from work

    47

    Marital reconciliation

    45

    Retirement

    45

    Change in health of family member

    44

    Pregnancy

    40

    Sexual difficulties

    39

    Gain a new family member

    39

    Business readjustment

    39

    Change in financial state

    38

    Death of a close friend

    37

    Change to different line of work

    36

    Change in frequency of arguments

    35

    Major mortgage

    32

    Foreclosure of mortgage or loan

    30

    Change in responsibilities at work

    29

    Child leaving home

    29

    Trouble with in-laws

    29

    Outstanding personal achievement

    28

    Spouse starts or stops work

    26

    Begin or end school

    26

    Change in living conditions

    25

    Revision of personal habits

    24

    Trouble with boss

    23

    Change in working hours or conditions

    20

    Change in residence

    20

    Change in schools

    20

    Change in recreation

    19

    Change in church activities

    19

    Change in social activities

    18

    Minor mortgage or loan

    17

    Change in sleeping habits

    16

    Change in number of family reunions

    15

    Change in eating habits

    15

    Vacation

    13

    Christmas

    12

    Minor violation of law

    11

    Score of 300+: At risk of illness.

    Score of 150-299+: Risk of illness is moderate (reduced by 30% from the above risk).

    Score 150-: Only have a slight risk of illness.

     

    Life Events – Non Adult

    Life Change Units

    Unplanned pregnancy/abortion

    100

    Unplanned pregnancy of sister

    64

    Suspension from school

    50

    Serious illness requiring hospitalization

    58

    Outstanding personal achievement

    46

    Not making an extracurricular activity

    55

    Mother or father beginning work

    26

    Marriage of parent to stepparent

    63

    Marital separation of parents

    69

    Loss of job by parent

    46

    Jail sentence of parent for over one year

    70

    Jail sentence of parent for over 30 days

    53

    Increased absence of parent from home

    38

    Increase in arguments between parents

    47

    Hospitalization of a sibling

    41

    Hospitalization of a parent

    55

    Having a visible congenital deformity

    62

    Getting married

    95

    Fathering a child

    70

    Failure of a grade in school

    56

    Divorce of parents

    90

    Discovery of being an adopted child

    63

    Decrease in arguments with parents

    26

    Decrease in arguments between parents

    27

    Death of parent

    100

    Death of a close friend

    63

    Death of a brother or sister

    68

    Change in parent’s financial status

    45

    Change in acceptance by peers

    67

    Brother or sister leaving home

    37

    Breaking up with boyfriend or girlfriend

    53

    Birth of a brother or sister

    50

    Being a senior in high school

    42

    Beginning to date

    51

    Becoming involved with drugs or alcohol

    50

    Becoming a full fledged member of a church

    31

    Addition of third adult to family

    34

    Acquiring a visible deformity

    80

    Accepted at college of choice

    43

    Score of 300+: At risk of illness.

    Score of 150-299+: Risk of illness is moderate. (reduced by || 30% from the above risk)

    Score 150-: Slight risk of illness.

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