Everydata on the Stress of Death and Taxes...

Source: www.notable-quotes.com/f/benjamin_franklin_quote_3.jpg

Source: www.notable-quotes.com/f/benjamin_franklin_quote_3.jpg

It is that time of year..TAX DAY..and for many, perhaps the most stressful interaction with every day data most individuals have.   Ironic that Ben Franklin said that nothing in life was certain but death and taxes, because these two events cause as much stress as any in our lives.

Today's everydata blog focuses on how me quantify stress in our every day lives.  Some interesting tidbits related to stress:

  • In a 2011 survey by Office Max, 4 out of 10 people said that taking a pair of scissors to their own hair is less dangerous than doing their own taxes.
  • According to examinedexistence.com, "chewing gum eases, not only the jaw, but stress as well.  Ancient Mayans and Greeks chomped on resin gum; stress sure had been around a long time."
  • In this infographic on 11 Scary Statistics About Stress from OfficeVibe, "300 billion dollars a year spent by employers due to  lost productivity and health care due to stress by employers."

The website Statistic Brain provides these additional statistics about stress:

  • 77% of people report regularly experiencing physical symptoms of stress.
  • 33% of people report living with extreme stress.
  • 54% of people said stress caused them to fight with people who were close to them.
  • 46% reported lying awake at night due to stress.
  • 76% cite money and work as the leading cause of their stress.

And this recent NPR story highlights survey evidence on how Americans view stress, including this interesting graphic on the most stressful experiences in the past year reported by survey respondents:

Source: http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2014/07/07/327322187/stressed-out-americans-tell-us-about-stress-in-their-lives

Source: http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2014/07/07/327322187/stressed-out-americans-tell-us-about-stress-in-their-lives

How can we quantify stress?   One method involves the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale, which, is explained at mindtools.com:

"In 1967, psychiatrists Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe decided to study whether or not stress contributes to illness. They surveyed more than 5,000 medical patients and asked them to say whether they had experience any of a series of 43 life events in the previous two years.

Each event, called a Life Change Unit (LCU), had a different "weight" for stress. The more events the patient added up, the higher the score. The higher the score, and the larger the weight of each event, the more likely the patient was to become ill."

You can take the Holmes and Rahe life events stress test here.

Scientists have also attempted to measure physiological metrics of stress, such as cortisol levels, dopamine, blood pressure, temperature, and adrenaline.   One older study looked at bankers before and after being required to give a 15 minute lecture as a way to measure which of these physiological measures responded to stress.

What is a stressed out person to do?   My choice--yoga.   Here is a recent scientific study talking about the potential stress reducing benefits of a regular yoga practice.  Ommmm.