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Stress Relief Techniques
9 Ways to Reduce Stress

Keep a daily log to relieve stress.
Keep a daily log to relieve stress.

A little stress can help provide motivation. It makes people uncomfortable, so they look for ways to reduce or eliminate it. The problem comes when multiple stressful events pile on top of each other.

There is a very famous stress scale. It was designed in 1967 by psychiatrists Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe. They went through the medical records of over 5,000 patients to see if stressful events increase the risk of illness. They made a list of 43 life events and attached a number to them of 0 to 100. The more stressful something is, the higher the number.

The scale is known as the Social Readjustment Rating Scale (SRRS) or the Holmes Rahe Stress Scale. To use it, you add up all the life change units you're experiencing. The final number indicates your risk of getting ill.

Score below 150: You have only a slight risk of illness, about 30%.
Score of 150-299: Your risk is moderate, about 50%.
Score of 300+: You're at risk of illness, about 80%.

Social Readjustment Rating Scale (SRRS) or the Holmes Rahe Stress Scale

Stress Relief Techniques - 9 Ways to Reduce Stress

Facebook Twitter

Stress Relief Techniques
9 Ways to Reduce Stress

Keep a daily log to relieve stress.
Keep a daily log to relieve stress.

A little stress can help provide motivation. It makes people uncomfortable, so they look for ways to reduce or eliminate it. The problem comes when multiple stressful events pile on top of each other.

There is a very famous stress scale. It was designed in 1967 by psychiatrists Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe. They went through the medical records of over 5,000 patients to see if stressful events increase the risk of illness. They made a list of 43 life events and attached a number to them of 0 to 100. The more stressful something is, the higher the number.

The scale is known as the Social Readjustment Rating Scale (SRRS) or the Holmes Rahe Stress Scale. To use it, you add up all the life change units you're experiencing. The final number indicates your risk of getting ill.

Score below 150: You have only a slight risk of illness, about 30%.
Score of 150-299: Your risk is moderate, about 50%.
Score of 300+: You're at risk of illness, about 80%.

Social Readjustment Rating Scale (SRRS) or the Holmes Rahe Stress Scale

Life Event Life Change Units
Death of a spouse 100
Divorce 73
Marital separation 65
Imprisonment 63
Death of a close family member 63
Personal injury or illness 53
Marriage 50
Dismissal from work 47
Marital reconciliation 45
Retirement 45
Change in health of family member 44
Pregnancy 40
Sexual difficulties 39
Gain a new family member 39
Business readjustment 39
Change in financial state 38
Death of a close friend 37
Change to different line of work 36
Change in frequency of arguments 35
Major mortgage 32
Foreclosure of mortgage or loan 30
Change in responsibilities at work 29
Child leaving home 29
Trouble with in-laws 29
Outstanding personal achievement 28
Spouse starts or stops work 26
Beginning or end of school 26
Change in living conditions 25
Revision of personal habits 24
Trouble with boss 23
Change in working hours or conditions 20
Change in residence 20
Change in schools 20
Change in recreation 19
Change in church activities 19
Change in social activities 18
Minor mortgage or loan 17
Change in sleeping habits 16
Change in number of family reunions 15
Change in eating habits 15
Vacation 13
Major Holiday 12
Minor violation of law 11

Several studies have validated the scale and the ratings attached to it. What that means for you is simple. If you're experiencing multiple life stressors, you're much more likely to get sick.

You might notice, several incredibly stressful things seem to be missing from that scale. War, famine and pandemics don't make the list. That doesn't mean they aren't stressful, just that they were beyond the experience of many people, so they couldn't be reliably added.

Living through a global pandemic, watching entire sectors of society being shut down and the fear for the health and safety of loved ones is incredibly stressful. The last thing you need right now is to get sick. To help reduce that stress, and keep you healthier, here are some suggestions from the Red Cross and mental health professionals.

Acknowledge the Stress. When you're in a bad situation, you have to confront reality. Accept the fact that you're dealing with stress, and where you stand on the scale. You can't deal with it until you admit it's real.

Collect information about assistance and resources that you, your family and friends might need. Make a note of local hospitals, where food is being distributed, how to contact non-emergency law enforcement and numbers for local utilities. If you have access, bookmark the websites of city, state and federal agencies that offer help and information.

Choose a relaxation technique. Practice 10 minutes of progressive muscle relaxation, 10 minutes of meditation, listen to 10 minutes of music or spend 5 minutes sitting down and taking deep breaths. The idea is to quiet your mind so you're not jumping from thought to thought. Collect yourself and focus.

Talk and stay connected with friends and loved ones. They can provide reassurance and a different perspective. Use them as a sounding board to get your feelings out and take time to listen to their problems. Offering emotional support to others can help give your mind a break from what you're dealing with.

If you're unable to reach out to others, put your thoughts onto paper. Write down your fears and pain. Keep a daily log of what's happening. Researchers found that people who wrote about what they were going through, were less likely to succumb to illness.

Food. Choose to eat healthier fruits and vegetables instead of junk food. If you're not hungry enough to eat some vegetables, you're not really hungry.

Rest. Set aside as much time as you can for sleep. Try to get at least 8 hours each night, even if it means turning off the television and reading something until you get sleepy.

Exercise. Do something physical for at least 30 minutes a day. Jog, bike, swim or workout. Just getting up and walking around can increase blood flow. Exercise raises the level of feel-good endorphins your body makes. Plus, your body fights stress better when it's fit.

Face the financial issues. Typically during a disaster, experts recommend taking out enough cash for two weeks. That way you can pay for things when people aren't accepting checks or credit cards. During a pandemic, people don't want to touch money because it can make them sick.

When credit cards are the preferred payment method, you have to make a plan. Write down on a piece of paper, the number of exactly how much you are comfortable spending over the next two weeks. Then before you buy something, subtract your purchase from that number you wrote down. That forces you to see how much each purchase takes away from your total, and may help you avoid buying unnecessary things.

Ignoring the financial issues create more stress than dealing with them directly, because they're always lurking in the back of your mind. Writing it down helps give you real numbers you can start working with.

Don't spend a lot of time thinking about things you can't control. It's OK to rant for a few minutes, but then wrap it up. You're not doing any good getting all worked up. Put your energy into changing the things you can. When you find your mind drifting, go back to the relaxation steps and spend a few more minutes refocusing yourself.

At the end of each day, pick one thing to be grateful for. Write it down as a reminder that good things are, and will continue to happen.

Learn more about the strange things stress does to our bodies by clicking here.

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CAUTION: Check with your doctor before
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3/26/2020