So Many Life Changes

photo by Greg Smith

photo by Greg Smith

Whether or not you have ever heard of the Social Readjustment Rating Scale also known as the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale, you are likely familiar with the idea that people who experience many significant life changes in a relatively short period of time are at an increased risk for illness.  This scale is a well known and frequently utilized way to self-assess the amount of change a person has experienced.  Each life change has a numeric score associated with it, and the total of all scores relevant to a given person is used to determine that person’s liklihood of illness in the near future.

Those scoring 300 or higher are at the greatest risk for illness in the near future.  I scored 368!

I won’t list all of the many changes I have experienced.  Select changes include:

  • real estate: selling three homes in Florida and buying one in Texas
  • living arrangements: living alone and living with my wife – each for several months
  • living quarters: moving from a house that had been home for awhile to an apartment with our “stuff” to another apartment without our “stuff” and preparing to move into a new home once renovations are completed
  • leaving employment: ending two positions: Director of Adult Education and Transitional Pastor
  • starting employment: Manager of Education.

So What?

While it may be true that the only constant in life is change, it is important to remember all changes are not equal in their impact to one’s wellbeing.  Also, while my high score places me at higher risk for illness it does not mean I am guaranteed that illness will be a part of my near term future.

Many changes happen that are beyond our control. My score, however, was derived almost exclusively from changes I chose for myself or my family chose together.  This awareness along with my very intentional shift toward a healthier lifestyle with a better diet and significantly increased exercise are steps I have taken to help increase my chances of avoiding illness.

  • What are some of the significant changes you have experienced in 2015?
  • How has your faith helped you process and make meaning of these changes (or, if you have not had any major life change this year, then the last few big changes you have experienced)?
  • What advice would you offer me as I continue my journey through 2015 – a year that may well end up including more life change than any prior year?

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