In 1967, Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe created a scale based on scientific research on the effects of stressful events and their correlation to future health implications. This scale is now called the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale (shocker, I know), and it ranks the stressors in order of how much they affect daily life and probability of illness as a result.
At the bottom of the list is minor violations of the law, such as jaywalking or speeding tickets. I can just picture myself hyperventilating at the police officer for going through a yellow light four years ago, but it having little effect on the outcome of my health later. Surprisingly enough, there are 41 life-changing events that have been considered effective on you over health (check out the scale here, provided from Dartmouth University).
1. Major holidays
Scientifically, Christmas is considered a stressful life event. Just think about how EVERY year, you have to see estranged family members, eat mystery food, and guilt yourself into buying unnecessary gifts.
Shockingly enough, your relief from your 9-5 day job and heading to paradise is actually considered a life-changing stressor! Now in comparison to a change in responsibilities at work or a different line of work (both higher up on this scale), vacationing is less stressful, but it is still more stressful than the ominous of every day. Planning, agreeing, paying, and the pressure to have fun is actually impacting your health!
3. Beginning and ending school
Thank Jesus I never have to apply for college undergraduate schools again... oh the endless possibilities and terrifying self-judgment. While heading off to college was an exciting and trivial time, this is definitely a stressor for the books. In contrast, finishing school is equally, if not more, stressful because of the unknown ahead. I'm stressing bro because big kid jobs and 401k's are in the near future.
4. Outstanding personal acheivements
Okay seriously!? Who knew that Nobel Peace Prizes, Job Promotions, and other great accomplishments are stressful and potentially making one more susceptible to illness because I am shook. Unless you count a rise to fame because of said accomplishments. The newfound responsibilities and projection of oneself are actually stressful AF, be aware of success, people!
5. Change in frequency of arguments
I find this one surprisingly up on the list, simply because of the specifics of it. I think it is only a stressful life-changer because of the keyword "frequency". So, if you were to fight with your S.O. every week, that's stressful. But if you now fight 2-3 times a week, now you are more stressed than if you have a mortgage over $20,000. I think the real question is, does the inverse also create an epic amount of stress? Say you argue less. You think you'd be less stressed, but not according to the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale (no escaping the stress)!
This one... I get it. Like I'd be hella stressed if I was growing a baby in me like one of that miracle grow Chia Pets. The care of a baby on the way is enough to freak not only the momma out but also everyone invested in her and the baby's well-being. Well deserved, life change.
7. Getting married
Wedding bells are ringing and so are your ears from the tinnitus of stress. Any life change can be stressful, but the "happy couple" is just a giant ball of stress while being surrounded by white dresses, wedding rings, bridezillas, gluten-free cakes, open bars, and the disgust of the father of the bride. Yikes.
8. The death of a spouse
Coming in at number 1, the death of a spouse is considered the most stressful event in terms of impact on health. Not surprising, but affirming that the heart has the most power over the body's wellbeing. Mourning of any kind is on this list, but losing a soul-mate and partner for life is debilitating to many. It makes getting sent to prison feel like a cake walk. I want to take this stressful event to give a pause for anyone who has ever lost a loved one, especially a spouse. Keep on, keepin' on.
To put everything into perspective, you never know what kind of stress affects people, and the magnitude of their crises and life-changes. It can be as simple as a birthday, or as shattering as divorce.