The first step to overcome the causes and effects of stress is to acknowledge stress and become aware of its symptoms. By identifying the following telltale signs of stress, you can take steps to manage them.
Evaluate your level of stress by taking a simple quiz that I developed recently. Rate your experience against each category of stress symptoms in the following list. Score 1 for “Rarely”, 2 for “On occasion lately”, 3 for “Often” and 4 for “A lot lately.”
- Irritability, nervous temperament, moodiness, short temper, aggressiveness
- Lack of enthusiasm, neglect of responsibilities
- Inability to relax, concentrate, focus, or remember
- Poor health, body aches, pains, indigestion, constipation, nausea, etc.
- Eating and sleeping more or less, poor hygiene, substance abuse
- Nervous habits: fidgeting, foot tapping, nail biting, giggling, etc.
- Excessive frustration, cynicism, paranoia, distrust or worry
- Feeling of loneliness, withdrawal from friends and family
- Reluctance to express opinions, feeling of being “used” by others
- Excessive sensitivity, feeling of being overwhelmed
- Indecisiveness, poor judgment, unwillingness to take risks, impatience
- Blaming self for problems, evoking past distresses or sorrow demanding attention, aggressiveness
- Feeling of lack of control and authority, pressure to yield to demands
Assess Your Level of Stress
Tally up your scores and rate yourself on the following scale. The more symptoms you observe in your everyday life, the more stressed you are.
- 18 or lesser indicates a normal level of stress. Stress is an essential part of existence.
- 19 to 25 indicates that you may be facing a brown-out. The temporary hardships you are experiencing may intensify your level of stress if you do not address their causes immediately.
- 26 to 34 indicates acute level of stress. Carefully address everything that bothers you and consider changes to your lifestyle. Seek therapy.
- 35 or greater indicates potentially serious consequences to your wellbeing. Seek medicinal or therapeutic help.
- Budget your time by your values and priorities
- Fight clutter and simplify life
- Health and fitness for the sedentary professional
- Working exercise into a busy day
- Make your weekends feel longer