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Stress Management: How Much Stress Do You Have In Your Life?

by Xander Rens

Posted Apr 27th 2007,
Read 123 times since then.

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There are numerous ‘stress scales’ to measure your stress levels. In this article, we’ve give you several ways to approach the analysis and measurement of the stress levels in your life. If you are one of those people that accepts and tries to adjust to the stress, no matter how much life piles on your plate, you may be surprised at the results of these tests.

Whatever you do, don’t take long-term stress lightly and feel you can ‘handle it’ without at least considering how you might eliminate, reduce or learn to handle stress more effectively. If you don’t address the stress in your life, and if this stress is long-term, you will experience physical, emotional and mental effects, and by the time you decide there is a problem, some of these problems may be difficult to solve.

What makes this fact particularly dangerous is that we have all come to take stress for granted, and in so doing, we have gradually adjusted to the physical and mental toll stress can take on our bodies and minds.

If you have a job, a relationship or a life that is particularly stressful, you may find yourself wondering if the stress you endure is hurting you.

Will you know when the damage is irreparable before it is too late? Is the stress as bad as you think it is, or are you overreacting?

These are good questions to ask. Answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to all of the following questions and keep track of your answers. Then total your scores in each section, as instructed, to see how you did!

Routines and Habits

1. My sleeping patterns have changed (I sleep a lot less, a lot more or at different times of day)

2. My eating habits have changed (I eat a lot more, a lot less or under different circumstances, I have problems with digestion, pain in my stomach, etc.)

3. My weight, exercise or recreational activities have changed (I exercise less, I am obsessive about exercise, I have gained or lost a lot of weight, etc)

4. My social life has changed a lot (I go out less/more, talk on the phone less, don’t feel like seeing anyone)

Thoughts and Feelings

1. I am tired all the time, I have no energy
2. I am worried a lot
3. I have knots in my stomach a lot
4. I feel anxious even when nothing is happening
5. I feel depressed or ‘blue’ a lot of the time
6. I feel overwhelmed much of the time
7. I cry too easily
8. I don’t laugh often anymore
9. I don’t care much about my appearance or what people think anymore – I’m just tired of trying to please people
10. I often feel like my brain is racing in 20 different directions at once

Relationship Problems
1. I have problems with my boss or co-workers at work
2. I have problems with my girlfriend, boyfriend, spouse, etc.
3. I have problems with my children
4. I have problems with in-laws
5. I have problems with others (friends, neighbors, club members, associates)
6. I often find myself in arguments with others, or feeling angry or hurt by the behavior of others
7. I feel like I never have time for myself
8. It is hard for me to focus or concentrate
9. I miss a lot of appointments, or I’m late a lot because I have too much to do
10. I find it hard to say ‘no’ when someone asks me to do something, even if I don’t have the time to do what they are asking

Changes or Life Events
1. I was recently separated or divorced
2. My child is having problems in school or in life in general
3. I lost my job
4. I have recently been ill or hospitalized
5. A family member has recently been ill or hospitalized
6. There has been a death in my family or in my circle of friends
7. I am having financial difficulty
8. I am having problems with sexual performance or in my sex life in general
9. I or someone in my family have recently had legal problems or been in jail
10. I recently moved or relocated or started in a new school or a new job
11. I recently had a new addition to my family (child, relative moving in, new dog)
12. There is a lot of disruption where I live (new neighbors, increased noise level, crime, remodeling of home
13. Our family or circle of friends does not seem to get together as often anymore
14. I just got engaged, married or entered into a new intimate relationship
15. I just got a promotion, raise or a lot more responsibility at work
16. I just took on a lot of new responsibility at school, in the community or with family (caring for an older relative, etc.)
17. I just retired
18. My child just left for school, got married or moved out of the house
19. I just changed careers
20. My spouse just started working outside the home, or got a new job
21. I just took on a large loan or financial responsibility
22. I just suffered a major setback (default on a mortgage, repossessed car, didn’t get the promotion I wanted, failed the bar exam, dropped out of school, etc.)
23. I am pregnant or about to adopt a child
24. I just got back together with my spouse or girlfriend, boyfriend (after separation or divorce)
25. I am working or studying a lot more hours during the week

Routines and Habits

If you didn’t answer ‘yes’ to any of these questions, skip to the next section and continue adding your totals.

If you answered ‘yes’ to 1 of these questions, add 2 points to your score.
If you answered ‘yes’ to 2 of these questions, add 5 points to your score.
If you answered ‘yes’ to 3-4 of these questions, add 10 points to your score

Thoughts and Feelings

If you didn’t answer ‘yes’ to any of these questions, skip to the next section and continue adding your totals.

If you answered ‘yes’ to 1 of these questions, add 2 points to your score.
If you answered ‘yes’ to 3-4 of these questions, add 5 points to your score.
If you answered ‘yes’ to 5-6 of these questions, add 10 points to your score.

If you answered ‘yes’ to more than 6 of these questions, add 20 points to your score.

Relationship Problems

If you didn’t answer ‘yes’ to any of these questions, skip to the next section and continue adding your totals.

If you answered ‘yes’ to 1 of these questions, add 2 points to your score.
If you answered ‘yes’ to 3-4 of these questions, add 5 points to your score.
If you answered ‘yes’ to 5-6 of these questions, add 10 points to your score

If you answered ‘yes’ to more than 6 of these questions, add 20 points to your score

Changes or Life Events

If you didn’t answer ‘yes’ to any of these questions, you can now begin to total your scores for each section and proceed to the TOTALS section below, to see how you did.

If you answered ‘yes’ to 1 of these questions, add 1 point to your score.
If you answered ‘yes’ to 3-4 of these questions, add 3 points to your score.
If you answered ‘yes’ to 5-6 of these questions, add 5 points to your score.
If you answered ‘yes’ to 6-8 of these questions, add 10 points to your score.
If you answered ‘yes’ to 9-12 of these questions, add 20 points to your score.
If you answered ‘yes’ to 13-15 of these questions, add 30 points to your score.
If you answered ‘yes’ to more than 15 of these questions, add 50 points to your score


Total your points for each section and add them together. Now look at the list below to determine your stress levels.

0-10 — Your long-term stress levels are low. You are doing just fine!

11-30 — You have moderate levels of long-term stress in your life. You should look for ways to reduce stress (time management, more aggressive negotiation of deadlines, training in conflict management, etc.)

31-60 – Your long-term stress levels are a real concern. Review the areas in which you feel the most stress and work on those to improve your quality of life. Consider a meditation, exercise program, and/or counseling to help you reduce stress more quickly and analyze the areas you may need help so you can set goals and work toward reducing stress in the short term and long term.

Over 60 – Your long-term stress levels are VERY HIGH. You should immediately assess the areas of stress in your life, talk to friends, family and co-workers, and begin a program to reduce AND to handle stress better. Consider exercise, meditation, counseling and other stress management techniques as appropriate (time management, training in conflict management and assertiveness, career change or counseling, etc.)

As you assess your stress levels and consider options for dealing with your stress, remember that everyone is different. Each of us has a different capacity for handling and tolerating stress. If you have a high score because of temporary conditions that you KNOW will change soon, you need not be as concerned as if you have stress factors that are longer term. These will, over time, affect your mental and physical health and your relationships, unless you address these stressors and find a way to deal with them or get rid of them.

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