41 major life stressors

life stress test

Check to see how many of these life stressors you’ve experienced in the last year and find out just how high your stress levels are.

For many people, stress levels go hand-in-hand with getting ill. Some stress is good for us, but when it’s prolonged, stress is very bad for our health. We’re simply not put together to deal with the kind of stressors that modern life often imposes on us.

There’s no doubt that a shock or prolonged stress has a huge impact on our immune systems, but can this be measured in any way?

As far back as 1967, two psychiatrists, Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe, researched the causal link between stress and illness. What they came up with is called (you guessed it) the Holmes and Rahe stress scale. It lists life events in order of the stress levels they cause.

Below is the scale. Check to see how many of these stresses you’ve experienced in the last year, and see how high your risk is of becoming ill. The more of these stressors you’ve experienced, the bigger your risk

Life event Life change units

Death of a spouse  100
Divorce  73
Marital separation 65
Imprisonment 63
Death of a close family member 53
Personal injury or illness 50
Marriage 47
Dismissal from work 45
Marital reconciliation 45
Retirement 44
Change in health of family member 40
Pregnancy 39
Sexual difficulties 39
Gain a new family member 39
Business readjustment 38
Change in financial state 35
Change in frequency of arguments 32
Major mortgage 30
Foreclosure of mortgage or loan 29
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
Begin 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 19
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
Christmas 12
Minor violation of law 11


Score of 300+: At risk of illness. Always put yourself first and be aware of your tension levels.

Score of 150-299+: Risk of illness is moderate (reduced by 30% from the above risk). Take Care & monitor stress levels.

Score 150-: Only a slight risk of illness.


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