We live in the unstable world. Every day we are stressed: problems at work, at home, children do not want to make home assignment, relatives are ill, etc. Sometimes it seems that one has all the world’s problems, that his or her neighbors do not have any problems at all. It seems like punishment and we are trying to understand what we were punished for.
However, the main thing is not our problems, but the way we cope with them. Everyone has his or her own “immunity” against the problems. Some prefer to analyze a problem, others need to cry alone; there are people who need to tell everybody about his or her problems. When we have problems, even the most inessential ones, we are always stressed, whether we want it or not. People feel stressed when they realize that situation is out of their control. The more stressed we are, the weaker is our nervous system. The weaker our nervous system is, the worse health we have. The employers are interested in having people working for the company, who does not have the weak nervous system, who are able to cope with stress. Nowadays many companies propose to their future employees the test called “The Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale” during the interview. This scale is listed 43 events, which can damage our health.
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So, what is “The Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale”?
In 1967 two psychiatrists, Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe, examined five thousand patients to understand whether their diseases were caused by stress or not. And they have proved their theory. The correlation was only 0.118. It was obvious that there is a strong connection between illnesses and the life of a patient. Today we know it as “The Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale”, but back in 1967, the test was called “Social Readjustment Rating Scale” (SRRS). This test was developed to predict how fast the person’s stress may make him or her ill. For every event form the list, there is a particular score, for example, the highest score is for “Death of spouse”, which one is 100 points; the less points one gets for such events as “Christmas”, “minor violation of the law”, which twelve and eleven points are. After marking all the events, that took place during the last twelve month, the total score is counted. If it is less than one hundred fifty points, it means that a person is unlikely to get ill in the nearest future; if it is from one hundred fifty to three hundred points, there is a moderate probability to become ill in the nearest future; if the score is higher than three hundred points, there are all chances to get ill very soon.
Later on, such a scale was developed also for not adults. And the highest scores were for two events: death of parents and unplanned pregnancy or abortion. The least score was given to such events as “mother or father beginning work” and “decrease in arguments with parents”. As we may see, every age has its own stressful situations.
But not only such event, as the death of parents, or giving birth to a child, can damage our lives. In the list of the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale one may found such events, as purchasing freezer or a new TV-set and even Christmas and vacations. Firstly, it seemed very strange to me, because holidays and vacations are always happy period and everyone waits for them. But on the other hand, it may also be considered as stress. Probably, we do not realize that, but we always have a long preparation for holidays and vacations; we choose the route or buy presents.
If we look at this list more carefully, we may see that everyone gets stressed not once or twice a day, more often. One may quarrel with children in the morning, then, on the way to work, stop not on the parking lot, be late for work, be rude with the boss and then forget about an important meeting or an assignment, which should have been done long time ago. Take children from school, make dinner, do the washing up, clean the house and make the report for the next morning. There is so much stress in our life. One problem is solved, and one has another one, which is probably, even worse, than the previous one. That makes us worry about our health. But we have no time to worry about it; we should take the winter coat from the laundry. We are too busy, that have no time to be ill. It seems that we are very important, people surrounding us need us every minute; they need the piece of advice or help. We do not think about our health, because the temp of our everyday life is that if you are ill for a long time, you will not be able to catch up with new information after recovered.
According to the research, made by Holmes and Rahe, the diseases that are caused by stressful situations are:
- Brain Overstress: fatigue, pain, aches, depression, anxiety attacks, sleep disturbance, crying spells.
- Gastrointestinal Tract: ulcer, cramps, diarrhea, colitis, irritable bowel.
- Skin: itchy skin rashes.
- Immune System: decreased resistance to infection and neoplasm.
- Cardiovascular: high blood pressure, heart attack, abnormal heartbeat, stroke.
- Glandular System: thyroid grand malfunction.
As we may see, there are the diseases that cause death. A person may live and get stressed every day, and then at the age of forty of forty five has heart attack and dies. His relatives begin to think that this may be some genetically illness and begin to check their health. But it appears that they all are almost healthy, that their dead relative did not have any genetically disorder, he or she was also healthy. The relatives begin to think that he or she was cursed. And begin to call different witches who may release their family from the curse. They spend a lot of money, but nothing helps. They only spend a lot of money for useless examinations and releasing from non-existing curses. But they do not know that the person has died because of stress. If they knew, money, time, effort would not have been wasted and the relatives would not have got so much stress.
As for me, I have checked myself. My score was one hundred seventy. Let me explain why. As everyone in the world, during the last twelve months I had vacations and Christmas, which is twenty five points. The event of changing the place of living is also worth twenty five points. Besides that, my spiritual and sleeping habits were changed, which is thirty five points. The next sixty five points I have got, because during the last year, I have changed my job and the responsibilities on my new job were changed very fast. The rest twenty points were given because of the change in working hours. So, as one may see, according to this test, there is a probability to get ill soon.
It is obvious that I should avoid dangers and get more stressed. I should reduce the number of conflicts with my friends, relatives and neighbors. I should avoid taking new responsibilities, both on my job and in school. As the psychologists say, those who have moderate chances to get ill should relax and take everything easy.
On the other hand, some scientists do not agree to Holmes and Rahe. According to the research, the Stress Scale is good only for the Americans, because different cultures have different ideas about stressful situations. For example, Malaysians have different ideas about breaking the law and problems in relationships with the others than Americans do.
But in my opinion, I think that this test is very helpful. This test may help us to understand ourselves and to stay positive. We all care about our health and if one knows that he or she has moderate or even high risk of getting ill, he or she will be more careful, will take care of him or herself, will keep positive, because no one wants to become ill after arguing with a boss. Misdemeanors will become lesser, because people will think about their health and try not to get involved in troubles with law.
As we have seen, stress can cause even death. Perhaps, if a person knows his or her stress level, he or she will become kinder. In my opinion, Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale should be used everywhere, because, hopefully, when a person knows his or her stress level and the consequences of it, he or she will become kinder and better, and in the end, the whole world will become better. We do not need any wars to destroy violence and weapons; we need to use the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale to show people what their state is now and what can be in future, and they will hopefully think about their health.