“Stress is nothing more than a socially acceptable form of mental illness.” Richard Carlson
Hans Selye Coined the Term Stress!
Everyday stress can build until we are at a critical distress point, often referred to as burn out. In 2011, I hit a critical mass point. I called it “My horribilis year”. Yes, there is such a word. In 1992, the year Princess Diana divorced from Prince Charles, Queen Elizabeth coined the term annus horribilis. I arranged for emotional support. I wonder if the queen did. Please, don’t you shy away from reaching out yourself. OK?
Many of us have no idea what their critical point of distress is. Here is a self-assessment to help you consider the amount of change and stress you are experiencing. I have had countless people in my workshops tell me, “Thank you for this tool. I thought I was crazy. Now I realize I have been dealing with overwhelming stress.”
If you know someone who would benefit from stress awareness, please consider sharing this assessment with them.
Assess Your Stress: Frantic, Frenzied or Simply Fried?
Change is inevitable, requires us to adjust, and is often OUT of OUR CONTROL. Individual differences in adapting to life events are due to genetics, attitude, awareness, support, self-care, habitual self-talk, and stress management. Lifestyle has a huge influence on managing distress.
1) Circle the events that have occurred in your life in the last year.
2) Give each circled event a rating of between 0 and 100. A rating of 0 indicates that an event had no effect on your physical, mental or emotional well being. A rating of 100 indicates that an event caused major trauma requiring significant life adjustment.
3) Total your ratings.
- Death of a child
- Death of a spouse
- Partner separation
- Death of close family
- Personal injury or illness
- Fired from work
- Partner reconciliation
- Personal health challenges
- Health change of family member
- Sexual difficulties
- Addition of a new family member
- Change in financial state
- Death of close friend
- New job
- Spousal arguments
- Conflict with boss
- Conflict with colleagues
- Job expectations too high
- Boring/meaningless work
- Too much job responsibility
- Too little job control
- Change in work hours/conditions
- Major mortgage
- Foreclosure of mortgage/loan
- Care needs of older generation
- Change in work responsibilities
- Son/Daughter leave/come home
- Trouble with in-laws
- Outstanding personal achievement
- Partner begins or stops work
- Begin or end of school
- Death of family pet
- Change in residence
- Change in schools
- Change in recreation
- Change in social activities
- Minor mortgage or loan
- Change in sleep habits
- Change in eating habits
- Living with challenging teen (s)
- Living with individual/s with high
- Holiday celebrations
Assess Your Total:
Frantic: 150 points or under, you probably are experiencing a typical amount of life stress.
Frenzied: Between 151 and 300 points indicate you probably need to add to your time and efforts of self-care.
Fried: 301 points or more indicate you risk burn-out. You probably should increase your self-care, stress management practices, and investigate emotional support.
Note: Inspired by, and adapted from, the “Social Readjustment Rating Scale” by Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe which was first published in the “Journal of Psychosomatic Research”, Copyright 1967, vol.II p. 214. Pergamon Press Ltd.