How much stress is “normal”?

Stress gets a bad rap. It seems to be linked to many major diseases as well as being a significant contributor to the onset of a mental illness. Yet stress is evitable. It is inescapable and in fact endeavours to avoid stress are likely to cause stress.


New research has found that stress in and of itself is not bad; the belief that stress is bad is what contributes to poor health outcomes (see Kelly McGonigal’s Ted talk on this). But how much stress is a normal amount?


To answer this question the Australian Psychological Society has been surveying a 1500 Australians every year for the last 5 years. Their Stress and Wellbeing study found that Australians felt stressed some of the time up to most of the time about the following things:


  • Personal financial issues (50% of us)
  • Health issues (45% of us)
  • Family issues (45% of us)
  • Maintaining a healthy lifestyle (40% of us)
  • Health of people close to us (38% of us)
  • Work (32% of us)


Participants completed a Perceptions of Stress Scale where scores vary from 0 to 44. The results show an average amount of reported stress in 2015 was 15.8.

How much

Want to know if you have a “normal” amount of stress, you can complete the survey here. (Note about the Perceptions of Stress Scale: questions 4,5,7 and 8 are reverse scored which means that 0=very often, 3=fairly often, 1=sometimes and 0=never).


Are there results true for you? What causes you the most stress?



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