Anxiety, Peace, The Winds of Change, Words of Endurance

The Stress of Change: Check Your Vital Signs!

Change isn’t something we humans handle well. When we’re forced to deal with change such as the upheaval cancer can bring, most of us will recognize some indications of stress. In fact, even positive changes such as getting married, taking a vacation, or completing school can stress us out.

When we’re under stress we may eat less (or more) than usual, particularly of certain foods. We may cry more easily. We may be more than a little irritable with coworkers, family, or friends. We may not be able to sleep or we may want only to sleep. We may feel anxious or have panic attacks. We may seem to be “preoccupied” or become forgetful—the list of stress symptoms could go on and on. And the stress behind those symptoms can do a number on our emotional, physical and spiritual health.

So score yourself on the Life Change Scale and see what your current level of change-related stress is.

No wonder you’re feeling stressed! Maybe it’s time to renew your efforts to adjust to the changes happening in your life.

If you need more reasons to give yourself a break, or cut yourself some slack, note that the researchers who did this study identified a connection between unrelieved stress and physical illness. Individuals who scored 300 or more Life Change Units in a twelve-month period had a 40-50% chance of developing a major illness within two years. The more change we must deal with, the more stress we accumulate. It doesn’t matter who you are or how much you may know about human behavior. The formula applies to us all.

Christian Psychologist Gary Oliver, for example, was a devoted husband and loving father. He had a busy practice, taught at a prestigious seminary and had authored several successful counseling books. His life would be deemed a success by anyone’s standards. But after his second battle with cancer, the winds of change and the stresses that accompanied those changes led him to make some changes of his own. One of those adjustments was to redefine his view of success. Success was no longer a long list of credits or accomplishments. It became “just putting one foot in front of the other.”

So give yourself a break. If you’re dealing with cancer, whether as a patient or a caregiver, you’re dealing with a full load of change. Perhaps it’s time for some stress management; time to call in reinforcements, a helpful neighbor, or a housekeeper; time to steal away for a few days or even a few hours; time to call a friend, a pastor, or your doctor. Whatever you do to increase your ability to cope with the stress of change, do it! It will be good for you.

Life Change Scale – Which events have happened to you during the past 12 months?

HTML Tables
Event Value Life Event Happened to you? Your Score
100 Death of Spouse
73 Divorce
65 Marital Separation
63 Jail Term
63 Death of close family member
53 Personal injury or illness
50 Marriage
47 Fired from job
45 Marital reconciliation
45 Retirement
44 Change in health of family member
40 Pregnancy
39 Sex difficulties
39 Gain of new family member
39 Business readjustment
38 Change in financial state
37 Death of close friend
36 Change to different line of work
35 Change in number of arguments with spouse
31 Mortgage of loan over $10,000
30 Foreclosure of mortgage or loan
29 Change in responsibilities at work
29 Son or daughter leaving home
29 Trouble with in-laws
28 Outstanding personal achievement
26 Wife begins or stops work
26 Begin or end school
25 Change in living conditions
24 Revision of personal habits
23 Trouble with boss
20 Change in work hours or conditions
20 Change in residence
20 Change in schools
19 Change in recreation
19 Change in church activities
18 Change in social activities
17 Mortgage or loan less than $10,000
16 Change in sleeping habits
15 Change in number of family get togethers
15 Change in eating habits
13 Vacation
12 Christmas
11 Minor violations of the law