AltanaESP Glossary

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Approved 17 February, 2022 @ 11:21am by Jan Viljoen (version: 2)

Stress Barometer

Impact of stressors on our emotional landscape!

The human stress barometer is a natural human phenomenon, which has intrigued scientists for many years and - even after plenty of painstaking research being done - very little is still known about the finer workings and mechanisms of the human stress barometer. The intriguing functioning of our stress barometer would probably remain a mystery for some time yet to come, mainly because of the complex body-mind symbiosis which govern the “automatic” functioning of our stress barometer.

However, enough is already known about the human stress barometer to realize that we shouldn't take the functioning of our stress barometer for granted, because it…

  • filters - making use of a type of grading scale – our stressors (i.e. triggers) to prioritize which stressors should receive immediate attention and dealt with now and which ones could “wait” to be dealt with at a later stage.
  • group or classify possible stressors to determine the most effective action or behaviours for the particular context of the situation.
  • co-direct and steer our “fight-&-flight-&-freeze” mechanism and identify alternatives or possibilities for appropriate actions to be taken.
  • prevent panic and inappropriate actions, that - when implemented - could increase the danger component of a specific situation or event.
  • has direct access to our bio-computer (i.e. our muscles, glands, etc.) to ready our bodies - in a fraction of a second - to take the required action needed to best deal with the situation or circumstances.

It is pretty obvious that we no longer could afford to treat our stress barometer as something that just happens instinctively and automatically as the years pass us by. We should be a tat more attentive to how our stress barometer functions. Specially, because of our stress barometer's (i.e. how we deal with change and possible discomforts resulting from change) symbiotic synchronicity with our Environmental Noise Filter. Our stress barometer (& environmental noise filter) is at the very frontier of our harmonious interactions with the environment, and when changes occur (i.e. disturbances of our present comfort zone) we become stressed, which compel us to take action in an attempt to restore a harmonious environmental fit as soon as possible.

Based on research conducted - since the early 1960s- the “life change unit scale” was developed in an approximate attempt to “measure” the impact of stressors on the psyche of an individual and indicate the changes required to cope with “the new circumstances”. Although each person deals with stressors in his/her own unique way - based on his/her unique personality, temperament, attitude towards life, personal experiences & Umwelt - it was determined that most people tend to have a fairly similar stressful experience with regards to the following events…

Incident Stress Value
(in life change units%)
Death of a spouse 119
Divorce 98
Sexual abuse (family members & relatives) 95
Death of a close family member 92
Sexual abuse (strangers & outsiders) 85
Insomnia 80
Marital separation 79
Loss of a job (poorer economic conditions) 79
Business readjustment (challenging economic conditions) 78
Major personal injury or illness 77
Emotional and physical abuse 76
Going to prison 75
Death of a close friend 70
Change in financial state (earning less) 70
Pregnancy 66
Infertility 60
Gaining a new family member (e.g. birth of a child) 57
Marital reconciliation 57
Change in health or behaviour of a family member 56
Foreclosure on mortgage 55
Retirement 54
Change to a different line of work 51
Marriage 50
Revision of personal position in life (i.e. reflection) 49
Loss of job (better economic conditions) 47
Spouse begins or ends work 46
Change place of residence (family) 45
Child or children leaving home 44
Change in responsibilities at work 43
Change in number of arguments with spouse 40
Sexual difficulties 39
Business readjustment (better economic conditions) 39
Outstanding personal achievement 37
Change in work hours or conditions 36
Change in financial state (earning more) 35
Change in living conditions 35
Starting at new school 35
Debt above R500,000 30
Christmas 30
Trouble with in-laws 30
Change in eating habits (e.g. going on a diet) 27
Change in sleeping patterns 26
Foreclosure on loans 25
Going on holiday 25
Trouble with manager or person in authority 24
Start or complete school 23
Change place or residence (single) 20
Change schools 20
Change recreation activities 18
Debt below R500,000 17
Changing church and/or religion activities 15
Change in social activities 14
Change in the number of family “get-togethers 12
Minor violations of the law 10

Please note that the above list is merely an extract of some daily events, which are experienced by most people and that have a fairly similar stress value attached to it by the majority of individuals questioned in this regard. This stressor list is by now means complete - as a matter of fact, its not even close - and doesn't account for the majority of all possible stressors. For example…

  • it doesn't account for catastrophes (such as earthquakes, floods, tsunami's, …etc.),
  • nor does it account for traumatic events (such as rape, murder, war, aeroplane crashes, …etc.),
  • it doesn't consider the events and circumstances in context (e.g. when earning R2,000 per month, a debt of R500 can be as stressful as R500,000 for people in higher income brackets) and
  • take into account previous experiences that an individual might have had with a specific stressor.

The goal of the research done wasn't to compile a comprehensive list of all possible stressors. The purpose of the research was to try and understand to some extent, how the human stress barometer functions and it was “discovered” that all possible stressors are filtered, graded, prioritized and then scheduled for taking actionplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bige.g. immediately or for the short, medium or long term , which applies to all stressors; both the stressors that we perceive as good/positive and stressors that we perceive as bad/negative. However, it seems that research results tend to consistently indicate that the stressors we are inclined to perceive as bad, often increase our stress levels quite considerably, in comparison to stressors that we are inclined to perceive as good or acceptable.

All changes - the good, the bad and the ugly - are stressors that triggers stress, which in turn compels us to either take immediate action or delay our actions for the time being… depending on whether we choose to confront or avoid dealing with the consequences of the stressor.

dispositions/stressbarometer.txt · Last modified: 17 February, 2022 @ 11:20am by Jan Viljoen