zandax online course logo
Info, Blogs, Contact & Login

Which Situations Cause the Most Stress?

From the ZandaX Stress Management Blog

Articles to help you reduce and control your stress

Home  >  Blogs Home  >  Development Blog  >  Stress Management Articles  > 
Which Situations Cause the Most Stress?

Which Situations Cause the Most Stress?

A post from our Stress Management blog

      Written by Ronnie Peterson
"Stress" is a word often bandied around without much thought—when our unreliable computer is really "stressing us out"—for example.

But rarely does a dodgy desktop cause any proper psychological damage. So what is stress, really? describes it as a feeling of being overwhelmed. A sort of thick fogginess which can be hard to see past and might, eventually, impact our physical wellbeing. Stress comes about through pressures that we face in life and our reaction to those pressures.

So which situations are believed to place the most mental burden on us? The Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale—one of the more widely used stress measurement tools in the US—looks at various triggers, labelled Life Change Units (LCUs), and allocates a point score to each. Totting up the figures then allows the subject to give his or herself an overall stress rating, in the hope of nipping future health issues in the bud.

Want to Manage your Stress Better?

We have online courses with full 12-months' access.
RRP from $59 – limited time offer just $12.00

According to the Scale, the 43 most significant triggers in life are [1]:
  1. The death of spouse (100)
  2. Divorce (73)
  3. Marital separation (65)
  4. A jail term (63)
  5. The death of close family member (63)
  6. Personal injury or illness (53)
  7. Marriage (50)
  8. Losing your job (47)
  9. Marital reconciliation (45)
  10. Retirement (45)
  11. Change in health of family member (44)
  12. Pregnancy (40)
  13. Sexual difficulties (39)
  14. Gaining a new family member (39)
  15. Business readjustment (39)
  16. A change in financial state (38)
  17. The death of close friend (37)
  18. A change in career (36)
  19. Arguing more or less with a spouse (35)
  20. A large mortgage or loan (31)
  21. Foreclosure of mortgage or loan (30)
  22. A change in responsibilities at work (29)
  23. A son or daughter leaving home (29)
  24. Trouble with in-laws (29)
  25. Outstanding personal achievement (28)
  26. A spouse beginning or stopping work (26)
  27. Starting or leaving school/college (26)
  28. A change in living conditions (25)
  29. Changing personal habits – i.e. quitting smoking (24)
  30. Difficulties with a boss (23)
  31. A change in work hours or conditions (20)
  32. A change in residence (20)
  33. Changing school/college (20)
  34. Changing leisure activities (19)
  35. A change in church activities (19)
  36. A change in social activities (18)
  37. A moderate loan or mortgage (17)
  38. Disturbed sleeping habits (16)
  39. A change in number of family get-togethers (15)
  40. A change in eating habits (15)
  41. Planning or going on holiday (13)
  42. Christmas (12)
  43. Minor violations of the law (11)
What's interesting is that some of these would appear to be good things. Planning or going on holiday, as well as Christmas, should be good things in our lives, right?

Yet, despite being good things, they still cause stress!

A second really interesting thing to note is how some "groups" appear. For example, death appears on the list on multiple occasions, and has different scores, depending on who has died. Similarly, any kind of change appears many times.

This would indicate that often, it's not just about the nature of the event itself, but the type of the event, that can cause stress.

Now, while some individuals may find that their own personal impact by these factors is different to this list, as an average for all society, they do tend to be valid.

Holmes and Rahe were able to test their hypothesis on US submarine staff. Working in a contained environment for up to six months, with no capacity for external illnesses to hit some and not others, the submariners could be assessed to see who was ill over the period, and who had experienced which elements of the list within 24 months prior to departure. (Should you be interested in this, try reading Future Shock by Alvin Toffler. While some of his predictions have not come to pass, and some others were simply wrong, overall it is still a really interesting idea and book.)

A direct link was found, with those scoring higher numbers on the test being more ill throughout the term of their trip.

The direct conclusion? If you experience a high amount of stress, you are likely to get ill!

Now, nobody wants to get ill, right? So the answer to avoiding the potential illness as much as possible is to try and reduce the impact that stress has on you, and that comes down to our individual responses to the stress.

So what influences our stress response?

Let's look at some basic aspects here.
  • Perception of the situation: This might be linked with previous life experience which proved to be negative, or vice versa. Or we might just be more prone to thinking less optimistically about things, which makes it difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel and leads to heightened feelings of anxiety.
  • Experience at dealing with stressful situations: If we've never encountered a circumstance before and we're not sure what to expect, we can't anticipate an end to it—and this takes its toll on our stress levels. If a patient has to undergo surgery, for example, and they've never had any kind of procedure before, they might feel stressed about the pain and healing time that follows.
  • Emotional resilience: Those who have a strong sense of self-control, hardiness and adaptability often find it easier to deal with stressful situations than those with low self esteem and a nervous nature. To someone less resilient even a relatively minor life incident can seem overwhelming.
  • Other pressure factors in our life at that time: Stress mounts when one tricky situation is accompanied by another—or several—e.g. losing your job whilst going through relationship troubles. Multiple stressors can seem difficult, even impossible, to overcome.
  • What kind of support network we have: We've all heard that a problem shared is a problem halved. But many people don't have a strong support network to turn to in times of stress and that inevitably leads to feelings of being unable to cope.

In Conclusion

Different events, and different types of events, cause us stress. Both good and bad. But just as important is how we respond to these events. While you can't do anything about the events that occur, you can do something about the way that you respond to them.

It's my guess that if you're reading this, you're feeling stressed out to some degree. Now's the time to take some action, and try head off any potential illnesses that could be down the road if you don't make any changes.

Want to Manage your Stress Better?

We have online courses with full 12-months' access.
RRP from $59 – limited time offer just $12.00


Back to the Stress Management blog

Click the button for more Stress Management articles.

The ZandaX Personal Development blog

Click a panel for great articles on personal development

ZandaX Blog Contents

Want to see them all? Click to view a full list of articles in our blogs.

Online courses to boost your skills
Click a button to see more about each course
Personal Development
Microsoft Software
Leadership & Management
ZandaX online training course logo
ZandaX – Change Your Life ... Today
All content © ZandaX 2022
Close menu element
See how you score on a range of skills that are critical to your well-being and performance
Communication Skill test
Communication Skills
How Can You Communicate Better?
Would you like to see what kind of communicator you are? And how you can improve the effectiveness of your communications?
Likeability test
How Much Do People Like You?
Do you sometimes wonder just how likeable you are? And wouldn't you like to see how you can (genuinely) become more likeable?

Time Management test
Time Management
How Can You Make More Use Of Your Time?
Are you frustrated by how easily time slips away? Do you get frustrated when things don't get done just because you run out of time?
Assertiveness test
Are you Passive, Aggressive or Assertive?
Would you like to know where you fall on the behavior spectrum? Does your response to events sometimes surprise you?

Close menu element
Information & Resources
ZandaX information
Read more about us, our Privacy Policy and our Terms of Service
See how we want to help you, and how we make everything easy for everyone
Callback request
ZandaX Blogs
Articles to increase your knowledge and understanding in key areas of your life and career.
Read our blogs on Personal Development, Business Skills and Leadership & Management

Time Management test
Log In
Log in to your online dashboard
View your courses, review what you want and download your workbooks and certificates
Assertiveness test
Contact Us
An easy online form to get in touch
With options for More Information, Customer Service and Feedback

Close menu element
Learn About:
Personal Development
Leadership & Management
Sales & Presentations
Microsoft Office
Microsoft Project
Microsoft Visio

[NOTE: Mouse over the titles above,
then to visit the website pages you want,
click on the links in the right hand panel]
Our courses
We have everything covered: learn all applications at all levels!
Microsoft Excel courses
Microsoft Excel 2021 / 365
Introduction to Advanced (*NEW*)
Microsoft Excel VBA
Introduction & Intermediate
Microsoft Excel 2013 / 2016
Introduction to Professional
Microsoft Powerpoint courses
Microsoft PowerPoint 365 (2021)
Ultimate all-in-one (*NEW*)
Microsoft PowerPoint 2019
Introduction to Advanced
Microsoft PowerPoint 2013/2016
Introduction & Advanced
Microsoft Word courses
Microsoft Word 365 (2019)
Introduction & Advanced
Microsoft PowerPoint 2013/2016
Introduction & Advanced
Microsoft Access courses
Microsoft Access 365 (2019)
Introduction & Advanced
Microsoft Access 2013/2016
Introduction to Advanced
Microsoft Outlook courses
Microsoft Outlook 365 (2019)
Ultimate all-in-one (*NEW*)
Microsoft Outlook 365 (2019)
Introduction to Advanced
Microsoft Outlook 2013/2016
Microsoft Project
Enhance your project management with our two intensive but very easy-to-follow CPD certified Microsoft Project courses.
Microsoft Project courses
Microsoft Project Introduction
Get a solid foundation in Project software to create solid, resilient project plans.
You don't need prior experience with Project: just be able to use a PC with Microsoft Windows.
Microsoft Project Advanced
The Advanced course takes you to a level that will put you in complete control of your projects.
You should, of course, be fully conversant with the skills and concepts taught in the Introduction course.
Microsoft Visio
Become a Visio master with our two intensive but very easy-to-follow CPD certified Microsoft Visio courses.
Microsoft Visio courses
Microsoft Visio Introduction
Get a solid base for using Visio to create high quality, impressive diagrams.
You don't need prior experience with Visio: just be able to use a PC with Microsoft Windows.
Microsoft Visio Advanced
This course will enable you to use Visio to design graphics at the highest level.
You should, of course, be fully conversant with the skills and concepts taught in the Introduction course.
Take a look at our new Marketing section which we begin with two great books on Copywriting
... there will be more to follow, so stay tuned!
Copywriting books
Copywriting for Results
A two-book set that will give you all you need to write great copy every time.
Get the first book to learn the process, then the second to see how to apply it to all media types.
  • Copywriting for Results: Your Complete Guide
  • Copywriting for Results: Putting It Into Action
Watch This Space
We have more in the pipeline so be sure to check back soon to see what's new!
More marketing books
Take a look at our new Leadership & Management section which we begin with a superb course on Managing Teams
... there's lots more to follow, so keep in touch!
Team Leadership courses
Team Leadership & Line Management
For practical advice on managing teams for results.
Make your team successful and more positive with tons of real-world techniques that work.
  • Team Management for Line Managers & Supervisors
  • Building High Performing Teams (in production)
Watch Out For More!
We have more courses in the pipeline so check back soon to see what's new!
More team leader courses
Great, easy-to-follow courses on how to succeed in sales and presentations
Drive Your Sales to New Levels
Selling Skills course
Learn how to sell more, to more people
Deliver Presentations that Get Results
Presentation Skills course
Build and deliver great presentations
Your Keys to Success are here!
Sales Management course
Manage your team for great results
Great, easy-to-follow CPD certified courses on skills that will change your life!
Learn How to Stop Wasting Time!
Time Management course
Get more out of every day of your life ...
Boost Your Self Esteem: Be Assertive
Assertiveness course
Learn how to deal with bad behavior
Great Communications = A Happy Life!
Communication Skills course
Supercharge your communications
Improve Your Relationships
Building Relationships course
Learn how to be more likeable!
Get a Plan to Beat Your Stress
Stress Management course
Learn how to reduce & manage your stress
It's the Behavior, Not the Anger!
Anger Management course
Control anger in yourself and other people
Site Cookies
We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better.

You can change your cookie settings in your browser. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

I'm fine with this