Stress: How Much Is Too Much?

To get an idea of the level of stress you are currently operating under, read each of the events listed below and calculate the number of events which have occurred in the last year. Also include events that you believe may still be affecting you, even if the event occurred prior to the last 12 months.

Life Event Life Change

Death of spouse 100
Divorce 73
Marital separation 65
Jail term 63
Death of close family member 63
Personal injury or illness 53
Marriage 50
Retrenched or fired 47
Marital reconciliation 45
Retirement 45
Illness of family member 44
Pregnancy 40
Sexual difficulties 39
Birth of new child 39
Change of financial state 38
Death of close friend 37
Change of job 36
Increased arguments with spouse 35
House mortgage 31
Foreclosure of mortgage 30
Change in responsibilities at work 29
Child leaving home 29
Problems with in-laws 29
Partner begins or stops work 29
Begin or end school 28
Problems with boss 23
Change in work hours or conditions 20
Change in residence 20
Change of school 20
Change in social activities 17
Change in sleeping habits 16
Change in eating habits 15
Vacation 13
Christmas 12
Minor violation of the law 11

If your final score is over 300, you are under a considerable amount of stress. Scores between 200 and 300 indicate a moderate stress level, and under 200 points to a low stress load.

This list is obviously incomplete as it does not include events such as sexual assault, having a family member in active service, having a chronic mental illness or a family member with a mental illness, and other common yet stressful situations. The list is not meant to be exhaustive, but to provide a means of approximately assessing the level of stress in your life. Knowledge is power and being aware of your “Stress Score” gives you the opportunity to take steps to alleviate the effect of stress. Increased exercise, better diet, talking to friends and family about what is concerning you, taking up yoga, consulting a counselor: all are useful tools to help you cope with the stress in your life.

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