Measuring Long Term Stress

Friend of mine  had his machine shed catch fire yesterday.  Fortunately no one was injured, but I keep thinking to myself, the stress level in his life has got to be off the chart.  He was diagnosed with prostrate cancer in April, had surgery in May.  In June their farm sustained considerable storm damage from straight line winds.

In July, their place was hit with a tornado.

…and now a fire.

Back in the mid 80’s I audited several counseling classes.  In one of them we  looked at the effects of long-term stress.

(Side note: Not all stress is bad.  In fact, in measured doses it can actually contribute to your quality of life.  In gardening we call the process  “Hardening off.”  Hardening  enables a  plant to grow strong to be able to withstand  all the challenges it will meet in the garden.  The problems start when the plant experience too much stress in too short of time.)

Back to that class I mentioned….There was a stress assessment we all took called the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale.

It rated life events on a scale from 15 to 100 points.  The higher you scored, the more likely a candidate  you were to come down with a stressed induce illness.

Had a light bulb moment when I saw my score.

Over 300 points.

  Here is a link to that test if you’re interested.


Here is a link to a new Huffington Post article on stress I just came across that ties right in to this topic.

Thoughts, comments questions? DM






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6 Responses to Measuring Long Term Stress

  1. Suffering from stress is rather like living with chronic pain.
    Both are natures way of telling you that you are alive.
    Is that like hitting yourself on the thumb with a hammer to take your mind off your tooth ache? good to hear from you Thoughtfully prepping. DM

  2. I tend to be an “overthinker” which probably goes hand in hand with being a stress puppy, but I’m pretty good about not bottling things up, so I think that helps a little. I really like your analogy to hardening off. I have definitely “hardened off” over time, that’s for sure. I suppose I’ll go take that test and try not to get stressed out if I get a high score.
    So how did you score Laurie? 😉 DM

  3. Bill says:

    I remember being told about those kinds of tests many years ago by a friend who was a Navy pilot. They are measured by those tests and if they score over a certain amount they aren’t allowed to fly. At the time I was getting married and changing jobs, He said, “We wouldn’t let you anywhere near an airplane.”

    Funny thing is I don’t remember feeling very stressed about those things. (Some other big one was going on too but I don’t even recall it now). But the day to day stress of litigation was suffocating.
    Bill, What part about the day today litigations was so hard? Is it dealing with other lawyers, unreasonable judges, long days? I like that word “suffocating” Nothing worse than living with something oppressive, day after day. DM

    • Bill says:

      Constant conflict. In my life now, conflict and confrontation is rare. In litigation that is what it is. All day, every day. And you’re an advocate for other people, not yourself. They are depending on you and usually have a lot at stake. You can never lose your edge, so there’s a constant worry about whether you’ve covered every angle, found every argument, correctly analyzed every bit of evidence, managed the client’s expectations, presented the arguments effectively, etc.
      That would stress me out! I can see why you changed careers and went into farming…not that it doesn’t also have it’s stress, just a different kind…a more organic stress maybe? 😉 DM

  4. micey says:

    This is a very timely post considering the massive panic attack I had 2 weeks ago. I took the test and scored 274. I really need to slow down and rest more, stay put for awhile, regroup, take care of myself. Thanks for this. I needed it!
    That does not surprise me Michelle, that score of yours… You did give yourself 100 points for the stress of being a parent right? Good to hear from you. DM

  5. shoreacres says:

    I suppose that test is one good measure of things, but I can think of several dynamics it doesn’t take into account: social media, for example. I know a whole lot of people who stress themselves out on a daily basis, getting into arguments with perfect strangers on Facebook. And, the test is measuring things, like marriage and mortgages, that aren’t as relevant today as they were in the past. It’s a good rough estimate, but I’d want to fine-tune it a little.

    In any event, no matter how we measure it, everyone knows that stress isn’t good. Even in the 1950s we knew that stress wasn’t good. What’s amazing is that so many haven’t improved their ability to cope with it.
    Never thought of that…(there wasn’t much on that assessment test to measure some of the definite sources of stress in many of our day today stress of news, social media in some cases, day today angst in some relationships, etc.) so many of our “scores” would actually be higher than the chart would show. DM

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