People say that moving is the most stressful thing that can happen, not counting the death of a family member. Is this true? Are moving really worse than other important events in life, for example, suffering from a terminal illness, the death of parents, giving birth, being fired from work or taking care of a newborn who does not sleep at night?
The comparative data of stress levels caused by the different events are somewhat old.
The best-known scale is the Holmes and Rahe Social Readjustment or Stress Scale (SRRS), developed in 1967 by psychiatrists Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe.
They asked people how stressful 43 different events seemed to them and made a list that measures the impact of those events, in which, for example, 100 points are given to the death of a spouse and 11 to minor crimes. This allows one to mark what has happened to him and calculate a total for the events of his life.
Then, we tried to use these data to find a connection between negative events and levels of depression and illness.
Moving does not even appear on this list. The closest events are having a very high mortgage in 20th place on the list, changing the standard of living in 28 and having a small mortgage in 37.
While SRRS is not the only scale of life events, we have not been able to find a scale that has removals at the top of the list. It is also debatable how useful these scales really are. For starters, we are not very good at remembering what or when something happened. We usually assume that they happened more recently. And in other cases, we forget them completely.
When a group of women were asked to mark the events that happened to them monthly and then to remember them after 10 months, only 25% of the events were on both lists, thus demonstrating how easy we forget things.
Coping with a move is, as a rule, overwhelming and stressful. Often, when it comes to moving all your belongings from one house to another, they become a huge mountain and we don’t know where to start.
Take a deep breath. If you follow these simple organisational steps it will be easier to undertake this adventure, and you will know from how to load the moving truck to how to deal with the inevitable moments of crisis.
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Depends on the situation
The other problem with the scales is that they assume that a given event will always have the same impact, regardless of the situation. Losing employment causes stress but how much depends on the circumstances.
Losing a job that one likes is different from losing one that he hates, just like moving home can be a simple move forced by war or the need to leave his country forever. These situations are hardly comparable.
To this we must add the fact that the reactions to the same situation vary from person to person.
The idea that a certain event is inevitably stressful was denied years ago by the pioneer in psychology Richard Lazarus.
There are many factors at stake: it is not only about the event but about one’s vision of it and whether one feels that he has the strength to deal with it and a support network.
It also depends on emotions and knowledge; There are many people who thrive on stressful jobs because they enjoy facing challenges. Even when extreme events such as a natural catastrophe are taken into account, few are involved who suffer from post-traumatic stress; Most find a way to overcome it.
Day by day, for many, it is more stressful than moving from home.
Another type of approach to this issue is not based on measuring dramatic events, but the small discomforts of daily life, such as that one loses things or the devices do not work.
Perhaps this would be the ideal category for removals, since they certainly involve a lot of inconvenience. If one gathers all research on the causes of disease, important events are only responsible for 12% of the link, while daily discomforts are more closely related.
Keep in mind that the scales to measure the impact of daily discomfort allow one to decide if something stresses you, instead of deciding that a certain event is inevitably stressful. However, the important thing is how stressful you perceive a certain event, how much you think about it and if you think you can overcome it.
Pack the problems
In the end, although at the moment it seems the worst, the removals do not appear as particularly stressful events on the lists. So where are the removals in the daily discomfort studies?
According to a test group formed by middle-aged adults in the United States, “housing, investments and taxes” reaches eighth place, behind issues of weight, family health, home repairs, having too much to do and losing things. So, even on the daily hassle list, the removals don’t seem so bad.
Specific studies on moving stress are scarce, most deal with migration and involve many additional factors. There is a British study where 75% of respondents said moving to work was stressful at different levels. However, this does not tell us how it compares to other events.
In the end, there is little evidence that moving is almost as stressful as the death of a spouse or a divorce. Obviously, organising is key when putting a house in boxes. Where do I begin? And more importantly: Will we finish one day? We can help you finish as soon as possible! Here at Five Star Removals you will find experts ready to help you