Stress is an unfortunate but often unavoidable side effect of our busy lives. Having on-hand methods for managing stress is a good way to combat its physical, mental, and emotional impact. How stressful are big life events at work such as starting a new job, being fired, commuting delays, taking a break from work or being promoted?
This question has been answered by means of survey on stress in modern Britain by the Physiological Society, said to be Europe’s largest network of physiologists.
In partnership with the polling firm You Gov, it surveyed 2000 British adults and asked them to rate how stressful they find (or imagine they would find) various different life events.
The following is a rundown of the top 18 ranked stressful events, (the number that follows is the average score out of 10 points assigned to each work or life event as an indication of how stressful the situation is).
- Death of spouse/relative/friend (9.43)
- Imprisonment (9.15)
- Flood/fire damaging your home (8.89)
- Being seriously ill (8.52)
- Being fired (8.47)
- Separation/divorce (8.47)
- Identity theft (8.16)
- Unexpected money problems (7.39)
- Starting a new job (6.54)
- Planning a wedding (6.51)
- Arrival of first child (6.06)
- Commute delays (5.94)
- Terrorist threats (5.84)
- Losing smartphone (5.79)
- Moving to bigger house (5.77)
- Brexit (4.23)
- Going on holiday (3.99)
- Promotion/success at work (3.78)
Interestingly, for every event, the reported stress experienced by men was lower than that by women. The average difference was 0.56 points.
The biggest difference was in the stress caused by the threat of terrorism, which was 1.25 points higher for women. The smallest difference was for the arrival of a first child — a life-changing event for either sex.
As I am planning my own wedding it is interesting to see that this category falls at number 10. As the day gets nearer (a week to go) I personally feel that the last couple of months has been the most stressful of my life and I have experienced a few from the 18 stressful events!
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