Are you feelin’ it?
This post is my response to Jenny Matlock’s Alphabe-Thursday challenge for the letter “C”. Click here for other letter “C” entries.
I heard a newscaster last week use the term “crisis fatigue” to refer to investors’ reactions to recent wild swings in the financial markets. As soon as I heard the term I thought, “that’s exactly what I feel,” except, of course, my crisis fatigue is more broad-based than just financial. Every day it seems, there’s a crisis, some new threat, that needs to be assessed and assimilated into the everyday fabric of my life.
It doesn’t take more than a moment or two to compile a long list of financial, natural, and manmade disasters. Here are just a few of what we’ve experienced so far in 2011:
- the attempted assassination of Congressman Giffords and the deaths of so many others in that attack
- the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear power plant disaster in Japan (and have you heard about the debris field that is making its way across the Pacific ocean?)
- the ongoing housing and unemployment crises
- the terrorist attacks in Norway
- the earthquake that shook the Virginia/DC area, followed a few days later by a hurricane that affected a good part of the eastern U.S., and then just before Halloween, an early snowstorm that left hundreds of thousands without electrical power for days
- severe drought and wildfires in Texas and Oklahoma
- worry over what comes next if Congress’s “super committee” fails to meet its mandate to reduce the country’s deficit
- widespread political unrest including the “Arab Spring” uprisings
Years ago, Reader’s Digest ran an article about point values associated with personal stressors such as marriage, divorce, birth of a child, unemployment, etc. Out of curiosity, I “googled” point values for personal stress and, among other entries, found the Holmes and Rahe (H&R) Stress Scale. This scale assigns “life change units” to various events that might occur in an individual’s life over a year-long period, with the final score providing a rough estimate of how stress affects health. The adult scale ranges from 100 for death of a spouse to 11 for a minor violation of law; vacation and Christmas earn stress factors of 13 and 12 points respectively. Scoring more than 300 indicates an (increased) risk of illness, 150-299 indicates a moderate risk for illness, and less than 150 indicates a slight risk for illness.
I’m glad to report that my score on the H&R scale is on the low end, so it’s obvious I have a lot to be grateful for. Anticipating Thanksgiving next week, I’m choosing to focus on the blessings of my personal life rather than worrying overmuch about large scale events I can’t influence. I do hope you find yourself in a similar place—informed and concerned about big picture events but happy and secure on a personal basis.