|What is stress? It has been defined as a pressure, either external or internal, to do something at which you fear that you will fail. Some stress in your life is unavoidable but it can become an unbearable burden when the degree becomes too high, whatever that level may be for each person.Stress is accumulated over a period of time and experiencing one major stressful event will not only raise your stress level but it may possibly take 12 months, under normal conditions, to reduce it to previous levels. If another highly stressful event occurs during this ‘recovery’ period, it will add to the level and make it even higher. Even minor levels of stress sustained over a prolonged period can lead to stress related problems, but higher levels can lead to physical ailments and more severe psychological disorders.This questionnaire (on the right), adapted from the Holmes – Rahe Scale (1967), has been designed to help assess your present stress level. In order to complete this form, determine which life events have occurred in your life over the past 2 years and add up your total stress score. Please note, the degree to which any particular event is stressful to you will depend upon how you perceive it and the scores in the survey, are averaged over many different peoples’ responses.
The years of parenting can be particularly stressful. In a 1996 study of 318 Australian families, (http://www.caper.com.au/adultsurvresult.htm) the most frequently reported stressful life events reported by the parents, were:
However, those events which caused the most intensity of stress were not rated in the same order and the event which caused most stress in these families was ‘discipline problems with children’, not one of the most frequently reported events. It is clear that rating the degree of stress arising from any particular event, is a very personal one and must be dependant upon other factors than frequency.
So why do some people deal with stress in a more functional manner than others?
Stress affects everyone in different ways but falls into three main areas.
Once you realise that there are excessive amounts of stress in your life that are causing problems to yourself or others, there are several things that you can do to help control them.
Under 150: You are less likely to be suffering from the effects of cumulative stress
150 – 300: You may be suffering from chronic stress
Over 300: You are probably suffering some effects of cumulative stress