Which would stress you more, changing jobs, or moving house?

Would most people be more stressed by a son or daughter leaving home, or retirement?

Are you thinking 'It depends'?

It does.

Holmes and Rahe scale

Those events are listed in the life events scale developed by two psychiatrists, Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe, in the late 1960s.

The Holmes and Rahe scale is a stress test and easy to access on the internet.

According to the scale, death of a spouse in the last year rates 100, retirement rates 45 and taking a holiday rates 12. A score of more than 300 suggests there's an 80 per cent chance we will develop a stress-related illness.

Seem plausible? If you want to predict how people generally react when going through life-events, fair enough.

Even so, you'd have to ask what the particular event means to them.

Is it a relief to change to a new job, despite the stress of learning a new one? Are the parents pleased to see their sons and daughters moving out, or grieving because moving out means moving to Pakistan? Does your retiree see retirement as a new freedom, or the end of feeling useful?

Here's the main problem for us

We could start to believe that events dictate our health. They don't. It's our reaction that does.

A high score on stress scales doesn't make a stress-related disease inevitable. Resilient people take action instead of dwelling on the event. They develop plans. They draw on their relationships for support. They see setbacks as a challenge. 

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