How do you know how stressed you are?

stress.png“Stress” has become just another word in our day-to-day life. In fact, the modern urban man is becoming accustomed to use the word “stress” for even a minor discomfort or inconvenience. I always used to wonder how to actually define and quantify this term (a few of my close friends know how much stressed I have been in last few years) that had become a invidious bedfellow of mine.

Last night, I was reading this book called Committed (Sequel of Eat Pray Love) by Elizabeth Gilbert) . Committed takes the story ahead from the point where Eat Pray Love had ended- Liz and Felipe are in love and now due to some unforeseeable circumstances, they must marry. This makes Liz to ponder and research on the entire idea and institution of marriage and the book begins with an extremely interesting account of the history and evolution of matrimony. While reading this book I came to know about the  Social Readjustment Rating Scale (SRRS), commonly known as Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale, named after two psychiatrists Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe who formulated this scale.

To measure stress according to the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale, 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.

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
Beginning 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
Major Holiday 12
Minor violation of law 11

You can add all the points and the final score can be interpreted as follows:-

11-149-You have only a low to moderate chance of becoming ill in the near future.

150-299-You have a moderate to high chance of becoming ill in the near future.

300-600-You have a high or very high risk of becoming ill in the near future.

Did you notice something weird? Because I did. I have no idea how authentic is this scale, or how accurately it can measure your stress level but a few points did amuse me :-

  1. Divorce comes in the second place, next only to death of your spouse. It means even if you are in a failed marriage and it is in best of your interests to end it, the entire legal and emotional wreckage involved with the procedure called ‘Divorce’ can stress you out to the level of actually falling sick.
  2. Marriage itself has a whooping 50 points to contribute to your stress level. Interesting, isn’t it?
  3. Marital reconciliation is also among the toppers! Ofcourse! Don’t we all know that nothing can be as stressful as going back to the same person to live with, whom you have already considered unbearable for once. *grin*

Calculate your level of stress and have fun!

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