Good Stress-Bad Stress

Fall 2008-UK-Budapest-Spain_140

Not all stress is bad for you. However, the response system that was designed to save your life can also do some serious harm. You can take steps to see that it doesn’t.  Your body doesn’t knows the difference between pre-marital anxiety (good stress) and taking an important test or being in an accident (bad stress).  What happens is adrenalin and cortisol is up and you may be feeling a bit “overwhelmed” or “out of control”,  both of which are “standard” definitions of stress, which varies with individuals.

 In 1967, psychiatrists Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe examined the medical records of over 5,000 medical patients as a way to determine whether stressful events might cause illnesses. Patients were asked to tally a list of 43 life events based on a relative score. A positive correlation of 0.118 was found between their life events and their illnesses.

Their results were published as the Social Readjustment Rating Scale (SRRS), known more commonly as the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale. Subsequent validation has supported the links between stress and illness.

To measure stress according to the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale, for adults,  the number of “Life Change Units” that apply to events in the past year of an individual’s life are added and the final score will give a rough estimate of how stress affects health.  Add up your score, and the scale is given below this chart.

Life event

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.

 

Need help learning stress reduction? Call me for a FREE phone consult: 516 623 4353 www.balanceandpower.com


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