Check to see how many of these life stressors you have experienced in the last year and find out just how high your stress levels are.

For many people, stress levels go hand-in-hand with getting ill. Some stress is good for us, but when it is prolonged, stress is very bad for our health. We are simply not put together to deal with the kind of stressors that modern life often imposes on us.

There is no doubt that a shock or prolonged stress has a huge impact on our immune systems, but can this be measured in any way?

As far back as 1967, two psychiatrists, Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe, researched the causal link between stress and illness. What they came up with is called (you guessed it) the Holmes and Rahe stress scale. It lists life events in order of the stress levels they cause.

Below is the scale. Check to see how many of these stresses you have experienced in the last year, and see how high your risk is of becoming ill. The more of these stressors you have experienced, the bigger your risk. Also check out the stress management tips at the end of this article.

Life event  Life change units 
Death of a spouse  100
Divorce  73
Marital separation  65
Imprisonment  63
Death of a close family member  63
Personal injury or illness  53
Marriage  50
Dismissal from work  47
Marital reconciliation  45
Retirement  45
Change in health of family member  44
Pregnancy  40
Sexual difficulties  39
Gain a new family member  39
Business readjusment  39
Change in financial state  38
Change in frequency of arguments  35
Major mortgage  32
Foreclosure of mortgage or loan  30
Change in responsibilities at work  29
Child leaving home  29
Trouble with in-laws  29
Outstanding personal achievement  28
Spouse starts or stops work  26
Begin or end school  26
Change in living conditions  25
Revision of personal habits  24
Trouble with boss  23
Change in working hours or conditions  20
Change in residence  20
Change in schools  20
Change in recreation  19
Change in church activities  19
Change in social activities  18
Minor mortgage or loan  17
Change in sleeping habits  16
Change in number of family reunions  15
Change in eating habits  15
Vacation  13
Christmas  12
Minor violation of law  11

Score of 300+: At risk of illness.

Score of 150-299+: Risk of illness is moderate (reduced by 30% from the above risk).

Score 150-: Only has a slight risk of illness.