How Stressed Do You Feel?

Stress is a killer and a life force.  How can you tell the good from the bad, and too little from too much?  Scientists have found that:

“Stress, when it’s chronic or repeated, does more than unnerve us; it can make us physically sick.  It dampens the immune system and dries out the digestive tract, setting the stage for disorders from irritable bowel syndrome to ulcerative colitis.  It impairs memory and in extreme cases fuels anxiety.  It can even gnaw away at the ends of chromosomes, thereby accelerating cellular aging” (p. 80). 

Stress is also essential to our system and keeps us engaged with our world. 

“Our goal isn’t a life without stress,” Stanford University neurobiologist Robert M. Sapolsky says.  “The idea is to have the right amount of stress.”  That means stressors that are short-lived and manageable” (p.80).

Researchers have also linked cortisol levels with memory.  Too much cortisol will result in memory decreases.  They have also found that the way in which we perceive stressful events also affects us.  However, we are able to alter our perceptions of events.

So how stressed do you feel?  Take the test.

How Stressed Do You Feel?

The following questions pertain to your feelings and thoughts during the last month.  In each case, circle how often you feel or thought a certain way.

0 = Never     1 = Almost Never     2 = Sometimes     3 = Fairly Often     4 = Very Often

1.  In the last month, how often have you been upset because of something that happened unexpectedly?                                                                         

0   1   2   3   4

2.  In the last month, how often have you felt that you were unable to control the important things in your life?                                                            

0   1   2   3   4

3.  In the last month, how often have you felt nervous and stressed?

0   1   2   3   4

4. In the last month, how often have you felt confident about your ability to handle your personal problems?                                                                        

0   1   2   3   4

5. In the last month, how often have your felt that things were going your way?

0   1   2   3   4

6. In the last month, how often have you found that you could not cope with all the things that you had to do?                                                                       

0   1   2   3   4

7. In the last month, how often have you been able to control irritations on your life?

0   1   2   3   4

8. In the last month, how often have you felt that you were on top of things?

0   1   2   3   4

9. In the last month, how often have you been angered because of things that were outside of your control?                                                                       

0   1   2   3   4

10. In the last month, how often have you felt difficulties were piling up so high that you could not overcome them?                                                           

0   1   2   3   4

Calculating your score:

1. Take your responses to questions 4, 5, 7, and 8 and reverse each one.  That is, if you circled 0, give the response the value of 4; if you circled 1, give the response that value of 3; and so on: 2 = 2, 3 = 1, 4 = 0.  Add up the reversed values.

2. Add up your responses to the remaining questions: 1, 2, 3, 6, 9, 10.

3. Add the sums from (1) and (2) to get your total score.  Scores range from 0-40.  The higher your score, the more stressed-out you feel.

Interpreting your score:*

0-10 = low stress, 11-20 = medium stress, 21-30 = high stress, 31-40 = extreme stress (p. 84)

Source: Singer, T., Psychology Today (April, 2012)  How do people emotionally manage crisis in their life, major life changes or situations that arise in everyday life?

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