Stress is a part of our modern lives, but if we pay attention to how it affects us, we can minimize its negative effects. We’ve all heard the phrase “stressed out”. When we notice everyday stress is affecting us, we need to take action or it can easily overwhelm us, possibly leading to physical and/or mental health issues.

To get an idea of how much stress you might be under, go down the list below and identify all of the life events that have happened to you in the past year. Add up the points next to all of the events that happened to you and you’ll get a final stress score. Look at the ranges at the bottom of the grid to see if you are at risk of developing health problems due to stress. This list leaves out some important (stressful) events that are probably happening in your life, but it will give you an idea of how stressed you might be.

Modified Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale for Youth

Life Event  

Life Change Units  

Getting married 101
Unwed pregnancy 92
Death of parent 87
Acquiring a visible deformity 81
Divorce of parents 77
Fathering an unwed pregnancy 77
Becoming involved with drugs or alcohol 76
Jail sentence of parent for over one year 75
Marital separation of parents 69
Death of a brother or sister 68
Change in acceptance by peers 67
Pregnancy of unwed sister 64
Discovery of being an adopted child 63
Marriage of parent to stepparent 63
Death of a close friend 63
Having a visible congenital deformity 62
Serious illness requiring hospitalization 58
Failure of a grade in school 56
Not making an extracurricular activity 55
Hospitalization of a parent 55
Jail sentence of parent for over 30 days 53
Breaking up with boyfriend or girlfriend 53
Beginning to date 51
Suspension from school 50
Birth of a brother or sister 50
Increase in arguments between parents 47
Loss of job by parent 46
Outstanding personal achievement 46
Change in parent’s financial status 45
Accepted at college of choice 43
Being a senior in high school 42
Hospitalization of a sibling 41
Increased absence of parent from home 38
Brother or sister leaving home 37
Addition of third adult to family 34
Becoming a full fledged member of a church 31
Decrease in arguments between parents 27
Decrease in arguments with parents 26
Mother or father beginning work 26

Score of 300+: At risk of illness.

Score of 150-299+: Risk of illness is moderate. (reduced by || 30% from the above risk)

Score 150-: Slight risk of illness.

Regardless of how much stress we have in our lives, getting into the habit of reducing our stress levels is a good idea. We can reduce our stress levels by eating right, getting enough sleep, exercising, meditation, aromatherapy, and problem solving to reduce the number of stressful events in our lives.

Here’s a list of techniques that can help manage your stress levels. Just click on the topic and it will link you to more info.

(Modified Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale and list of stress management techniques taken from Wikipedia website on 4/28/09. All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License. (See Copyrights for details.) Wikipedia® is a registered trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.)