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Measuring Stress- ABKpsych

How can we measure this menace?

Here Is an excel spreadsheet I’ve constructed containing the Holmes- Rahe Social Readjustment Rating Scale. It measures your stress level based on the responses you give to the stressors. Feel free to check it out and get a quantitative answer for how stressed you might be. I have placed instructions in green and the form should only take a few minutes to fill. It is set as view only so you will have to download it to fill out the sheet. You can also visit the website here for an online version. Both should bring similar results (though the excel spreadsheet may give you the more accurate score).

I’m interested in seeing your stress levels, and would like the chance to discuss it in next week’s post. So please let me know what your scores are in the comments below and indicate which test you took.

Healthier scores are below 300. According to the scale scores between 150-299 a half of participants are likely to experience a serious health change as a result of stress, while scores of 149 or lower one third of participants are likely to experience a serious health change as a result of stress. Above 300 and the risk increases dramatically.

Your stress score does not define you!

As a student I’m expected to have a stress level of around 300, which means I am 80% more likely to develop a serious health change due to stress. When I took this I scored much higher than average at 1435 and 548 for the more restricted online scale. I will be honest- I do not feel stressed, and I am not particularly unhealthy. But I rapidly try to improve my habits and thus take on a lot of positive stressors that are reflected in this score. I also have a significant retinue of destressors and coping mechanisms which I will discuss in a later post. Know that your stress level score does not define you!

It is important to be aware of your stress load in today’s society to prevent the risk of developing health issues and to prevent an instance where you may take on more than you really can handle. While Some of us can function under high stress without any adverse effects- the majority of us cannot handle it, and the ends for these people do not justify the means.

Make an effort to know how stressed you are, let me know how you ranked on the scale in the comments below and feel free to come by next Sunday at noon to learn about ways of offloading or even coping with stress. The great thing about stress is that you and your body’s reaction to it is a learned behavior (Gazzaniga), so you can learn to overcome many of the trials of modern life and stand tall and calm in a sea of fire.

Keep thinking my friends.

The main book used in this post is Gazzaniga’s Psychological Sciences and not cited are my class lectures. You can find a link to that book below or in any textbook store.

Bernstein, R. (2019, January 04). The Mind and Mental Health: How Stress Affects the Brain. Retrieved from
Gazzaniga, M. S. (2018). Psychological science. New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company.
Holmes- Rahe Stress Inventory. (n.d.). Retrieved from

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I felt as if I’ve gone through a biology class. It’s rare that I find a clear explanation of a specific subject, which you’ve handled professionally. I admire that talent 😊

This is a topic dear to my heart. Stress is so detrimental to our physiological and psychological wellbeing, yet it is so often overlooked or minimized. I don’t know if you’ve seen any of the MRI images of how brains are affected by stress, particularly those of the developing brain. There are particularly well-known images of the brains of Romanian orphans, showing how stress (particularly caused by neglect and disrupted attachment relationships) results in major physiological changes in brain development. On the other side of the coin, there are also such promising studies on the positive impact on brain physiology of strategies such as meditation and mindfulness. Studies that show our resilience, and neuronal plasticity, even as adults… Minds and bodies are tightly woven, you cannot affect one without affecting the other.. Consistent and chronic activation of the fight/flight/freeze response (and increased cortisol levels) is such a major symptom of anxiety disorders..

You probably know all this, so I’m sorry, it’s just a topic I find hard not to get on a soap box about. I was SO happy to read your well-researched words in such an important topic. Awesome in fact. I had a very vebose response to it!!!

Happy everything, and you should start carrying less text books at a time! 😂

Actually I haven’t seen the MRI image data yet! I’ll have to look that up.

I would say that our time in history is all about dealing with stress, and I have to add that this really is a wonderful time to be alive because of this. Your comment should be on billboards as a happy little PSA for everyone!

Thank you, as always, for being so engaging. Absolutely loved this comment.

Absolutely happy everything. And I’ll be sure to get a book bin next time!

i hear you! there is so much to say about the effects of stress—and some stress is good for us. Some healthy stress/pain/suffering. It’s totally normal! Lest we grow weak. And so kinstugi (beautiful image by the way)…keep writing, my friend. 🙂

I’m glad you said this! It really is normal and we can get through it.
Hopefully the next ABKpsych will cover the topic in a more uplifting light too!

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