Thursday, December 10, 2009

What's Your Score?

Recently, I wrote a curriculum to use with foster parents. The subject was stress, and I included a little test that I had taken in college. It’s certainly not comprehensive, but it gives you an idea of where you are at. Try it yourself; for each life change that has happened in your life in the past year, circle the number to the left. If you aren’t sure if it applies, use your best judgment. When finished, go back and add up the numbers.

100 Death of spouse
73 Divorce
65 Marital separation
63 Jail
63 Death of a close family member
53 Major injury or illness
50 Marriage
47 Fired from work
45 Marital reconciliation
45 Retirement
44 Major change in health or behavior of a family member
40 Pregnancy
39 Sexual difficulties
39 New family member (birth, adoption, someone moving in)
39 Major business readjustment (reorganization, bancruptcy, etc)
38 Major change in financial status
37 Death of a close friend or more distant family member
36 Change to a different line of work
35 Major change in number of arguments with spouse
31 Taking out a mortgage or loan for a major purpose
30 Forclosure of mortgage or loan
29 Major change in responsibilities at work (promotion, demotion, transfer)
29 Son or daughter leaving home (marriage, attending college)
29 Trouble with in-laws
28 Outstanding personal achievement
26 Spouse starting or ending work
26 Starting or ending schooling (long-term)
25 Major change in living conditions (moving, remodeling, building new home)
24 Change in personal habits (dressing, manners)
23 Trouble with your boss
20 Major change in working hours or conditions
20 Change of residence (new town, new state)
20 Change in schools
19 Major change in usual type or amount of recreation
19 Major change in church activities (a lot more or less than usual)
18 Major change in social activities (a lot more or less than usual)
17 Taking out a loan for a smaller purchase (such as car, TV, freezer)
16 Major change in sleeping habits (a lot more or less than usual, change in
part of day when you sleep)
15 Major change in family get-togethers (a lot more or less than usual)
15 Major change in eating habits (a lot more or less than usual, different meal
hours or surroundings)
13 Vacation
12 Christmas/holiday season
11 Minor violations of the law (traffic tickets)

Do you have your score?

Below 150-Low stress: Only 30% of people with scores below 150 will probably encounter a significant health problem soon.
151-299 Moderate stress: 50% of people with scores between 150-300 will probably encounter a significant health problem soon.
Above 300 High stress: 80% of people with scores above 300 will probably encounter a significant health problem soon.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that if you have high stress you will get sick. To me, it is just a heads up that you have to be careful, and remember to do lots of things that relieve stress.

I scored 591. So, that’s relatively high. Quite frankly, that only includes one of our 4 moves this year, but that is not the point. [I don't say this to be one of those people who always takes pride about how busy they are. Do you notice how that has become part of American culture? It's like if you aren't overcommitted, you aren't doing anything. Ugh.] What I take away from this is not that I am on my deathbed or something, quite the contrary. I know that God is protecting us. I know that He is faithful, and that gives me so much peace.

At times, I have felt like a hypocrite when teaching about stress. I have a lot of answers and suggestions, but I fail to use them myself. I am working on it. There is a good chance that I will have a moderate to high amount of stress for most of my life, so I am learning to manage it.

The other helpful thing? It’s nice to know you’re not crazy. From now on, when I feel the stress is overwhelming me, I think I might just say “591” over and over. It’s like permission to feel overwhelmed, to just accept it. Stress is a part of life, and that’s okay.


Greg said...

I enjoyed reading your post. I've found out plenty of techniques which can be used to relief stress. Read them up at and give them a try today. It'll do good for you.

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