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
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.
via Holmes and Rahe stress scale – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
It’s healthy to relax, renew, and rejuvenate
Stress happens. Sometimes it’s unavoidable, at times it’s unbearable. That’s why taking time for yourself is a necessity.
Stress does not merely afflict your mind; it can also affect you on a cellular level. In fact, long-term stress can lead to a wide range of illnesses – from headaches to stomach disorders to depression – and can even increase the risk of serious conditions like stroke and heart disease. Understanding the mind/stress/health connection can help you better manage stress and improve your health and well-being.
via Stress Awareness.
Policy Considerations for Lowering Stress and Improving Overall Health in the Workplace:
- Teleworking and flex-schedule policies
- Job-sharing, phased retirement options
- Healthy commuting supports and incentives
- Smoke-free building and campuses
- Healthy foods, healthy meetings and green/sustainable environments policies
- Peer support and mentoring programs
- Policies promoting volunteering and community service
- Time off work for health promotion, physical activity, screenings, healthcare visits
- Robust non-discrimination, diversity and cultural awareness/sensitivity programs
- Continuing education, distance learning, and other training supports
- Incentives for health program participation and engagement
via CDC – NIOSH – Total Worker Health™ in Action – January 2013.
You know that exercise does your body good, but you’re too busy and stressed to fit it into your routine. Hold on a second — there’s good news when it comes to exercise and stress.
Virtually any form of exercise, from aerobics to yoga, can act as a stress reliever. If you’re not an athlete or even if you’re downright out of shape, you can still make a little exercise go a long way toward stress management.
via Exercise and stress: Get moving to manage stress – Mayo Clinic.
Stress is a normal part of any life, and any job. Stress can be positive or negative, and how people react to various stressors is highly individual. But excessive negative stress (or distress) can contribute to or even cause serious health problems for employees.
Excessive job stress can be caused by many factors, but research over the past 15 years has shown that some stressors are worse than others:
- Jobs that are highly demanding because they involve constant imposed deadlines over prolonged period, and provide the individual with very little control over the day to day organization of their work (high demand/low control jobs).
- Jobs that require high physical or mental effort but offer little reward in the way of compensation, status, financial gain or career enhancement (high effort/low reward jobs).
- An accumulation of home stress and job stress affect overall wellness.
The health of workers doesn’t have to be compromised by stress, however. Changes to the organization of work can make for a more mentally healthy workplace, especially when employees feel adequately rewarded and under greater control of their work.
via Isn’t stress just part of any job? | Mental Health Works.
If stress has you anxious, tense and worried, consider trying meditation. Spending even a few minutes in meditation can restore your calm and inner peace.
Anyone can practice meditation. It’s simple and inexpensive, and it doesn’t require any special equipment.
And you can practice meditation wherever you are — whether you’re out for a walk, riding the bus, waiting at the doctor’s office or even in the middle of a difficult business meeting.
via Meditation: Take a stress-reduction break wherever you are – Mayo Clinic.
Stress sets off an alarm in the brain, which responds by preparing the body for defensive action. The nervous system is aroused and hormones are released to sharpen the senses, quicken the pulse, deepen respiration, and tense the muscles. This response (sometimes called the fight or flight response) is important because it helps us defend against threatening situations. The response is preprogrammed biologically. Everyone responds in much the same way, regardless of whether the stressful situation is at work or home.
Short-lived or infrequent episodes of stress pose little risk. But when stressful situations go unresolved, the body is kept in a constant state of activation, which increases the rate of wear and tear to biological systems. Ultimately, fatigue or damage results, and the ability of the body to repair and defend itself can become seriously compromised. As a result, the risk of injury or disease escalates.
via CDC – NIOSH Publications and Products – STRESS…At Work (99-101).
The demands on a person who is taking care of elderly parents result in a great deal of stress. If caregivers aren’t careful, they jeopardize their own health and well-being.
A study of family caregivers found that those who experience caregiving-related stress have a 63% higher mortality rate than non-caregivers of the same age. There are several reasons why stress occurs, such as working too much, not sleeping enough, having to deal with family and work at the same time, and not having as many hours in the day as you need to take care of yourself.
Remember you can’t care for your loved one if you are ill yourself. The first step in dealing with caregiver stress is to recognize the signs. Then, you can find ways to deal with it and enlist support or medical help when needed.
via Signs of Caregiver Stress: How Can I Tell if I am Too Stressed From Caregiving? – AgingCare.com.
Everyone feels stressed from time to time. Not all stress is bad. All animals have a stress response, and it can be life-saving. But chronic stress can cause both physical and mental harm.
There are at least three different types of stress:
- Routine stress related to the pressures of work, family, and other daily responsibilities
- Stress brought about by a sudden negative change, such as losing a job, divorce, or illness
- Traumatic stress, which happens when you are in danger of being seriously hurt or killed. Examples include a major accident, war, assault, or a natural disaster. This type of stress can cause post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Different people may feel stress in different ways. Some people experience digestive symptoms. Others may have headaches, sleeplessness, depressed mood, anger, and irritability. People under chronic stress get more frequent and severe viral infections, such as the flu or common cold. Vaccines, such as the flu shot, are less effective for them.
Some people cope with stress more effectively than others. It’s important to know your limits when it comes to stress, so you can avoid more serious health effects.
via Stress: MedlinePlus.
First, it’s important to recognize the source(s) of your stress. Events such as the death of a loved one, starting a new job or moving house are certainly stressful.
However, much of our stress comes from within us. How we interpret things – a conversation, a performance review, even a look – determines whether something becomes a stressor. Negative self-talk, where we focus on self-criticism and pessimistic over-analysis, can turn an innocent remark into a major source of stress.
Understanding where your stress originates can help you decide on a course of action. External stressors, like bereavement or career changes, can be managed over time and with the support of family and friends. Internal stressors, caused by our own negative interpretation, require changes in attitude and behaviour.
The goal of managing stress is to cue the “relaxation response”. This is the physiological and psychological calming process our body goes through when we perceive that the danger, or stressful event, has passed.
Here are some tips for triggering the relaxation response:
- Learn relaxation techniques – Practicing meditation or breathing awareness every day can relieve chronic stress and realign your outlook in a more positive way. Good breathing habits alone can improve both your psychological and physical well-being.
- Set realistic goals – Learning to say no is essential for some people. Assess your schedule and identify tasks or activities that you can or should let go. Don’t automatically volunteer to do something until you’ve considered whether it is feasible and healthy for you to do so.
- Exercise – You don’t have to train for a marathon, but regular, moderate exercise helps ease tension, improves sleep and self-esteem. Making exercise a habit is key.
- Enjoy yourself – Taking the time for a favourite hobby is a great way of connecting with and nurturing your creative self.
- Visualization – Athletes achieve results by picturing themselves crossing the finish line first. Use the same technique to practice “seeing” yourself succeed in whatever situation is uppermost in your mind.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle – A good diet is often the first thing to go when we’re feeling stressed. Making a meal instead of buying one ready-made may seem like a challenge, but it will be probably cheaper and certainly better for you and the simple action of doing something good for yourself can soothe stressful feelings.
- Talk about it – Sharing your troubles with a friend may help you to put things in perspective and to feel that you’re not alone. You may also learn some other ways to manage stress effectively.
via Benefits of Good Mental Health | Canadian Mental Health Association.