You can predict whether recent events in a person's life are likely to induce a stress-related illness. This idea was derived from research by Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe of the University of Washington, who questioned over 5000 people and found a high degree of correlation between the onset of stress-related illness and certain life events.
Each of these events was then ascribed an LCU (Life Change Unit) value, which indicates the amount of stress it is potentially capable of producing. The full list is shown in Table 2. It is called the Social Readjustment Rating Scale, or SRRS for short.
Table 2. Social readjustment rating scale
You can use the SRRS by adding up all the LCU values of the events which have happened to you in the past year. Then:
We must emphasize certain points about the SRRS. First of all, if you obtain a score of, say, 320 you need not panic. The ratings were derived from an average American population between 1949 and 1967. Times have changed, and events which were very stressful at one time may no longer be so. What's more, the table is an average, and in all averages there are extremes.
For example, retirement may be very boring and therefore unusually stressful for one person, but produce only average stress in someone whose time is fully occupied. Secondly, more recent research has indicated that events may produce harmful stress only if we regard them as negative or unpleasant.
But despite these notes of caution, the SRRS remains a useful general guide to your level of stress and the problems it can cause. To recognize and admit that you are stressed may require careful self-analysis and total honesty.
Consciously recognizing that you are stressed means admitting that something in your environment disturbs you; and that implies change and effort to do something about it.