Stress Management: Some Practical Tools

What are your go-to methods for stress management? Is it possible to predict the state of your health via stress testing? Some scientists believe so and there are a few tools available to give yourself the “stress test”. Here we take a look at a couple that are out there…

Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale

This stress test was developed by psychiatrists Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe in 1967. Their scale was built on the basis of studies they conducted with over 5000 medical patients. In an effort to determine whether or not stress contributes to illness, they asked patients whether they had experienced any of 43 different life events in the last 2 years.

Stress events were given different weights in terms of severity on the stress scale, with the higher the score and the higher the weight of events in a persons life, the higher the likelihood of them becoming ill.

This test is still often used – you can test yourself and determine your own score here. A score of 300+ puts you at high to very high risk of becoming ill in the near future, 150 – 299 is a moderate risk and less than 150 gives you a low risk.

While many researchers agree that this test has it’s place in providing awareness of your risk from stress, there are those who argue that it is weak in certain areas. For example, the scale doesn’t take into account the fact that different people or cultures react differently to the stress events used on the scale. It was developed in America by studying American patients so it is possible that other cultures will have a different view of the factors used.

Another point to note: if you get a high score, don’t exacerbate the stress by dwelling on your score! Use it as an indicator that you need to be looking at reducing stress in your life where you can.

Stress Management Competency Tool

In another spin on stress management, this tool has been developed by researchers at Goldsmith’s, University of London and Affinity Health at work as a result of a 4 year study. The idea of this test is that people managers can self-evaluate to determine whether they display the behaviors that are identified as being effective for preventing or reducing stress at work.

The idea of this test is it is about managers taking a role in reducing stress amongst their staff – most of us have experienced the manager who makes stress worse before! If you are a manager of people, you can check this test out here and get some practical ideas for effectively managing stress in the workplace.

What do you think? Have you tried any of these tools? Let us know in the comments below…