Take our quiz and determine whether or not your stress levels are approaching critical
By Phillip Hodson
Published in The Times February 9th 2008
All organisms need to alternate between tension and relaxation if they are to survive and thrive. However, when it builds up, a healthy level of anxiety that keeps you on your toes can develop into stress-related illness, causing mental exhaustion, physical fatigue and pain.
For a rough guide to whether your stress levels are too high, answer the following 15 questions. Choose one of the response scores below and keep a tally of your scores.
Does not apply = 0
Rarely = 1
Sometimes = 2
Frequently = 3
Almost always = 4
Always = 5
How often do you…
Have such a heavy workload that it is impossible to complete all the tasks demanded of you during a normal working day?
Treat like an enemy a person whom you say you love?
Use alcohol to help you sparkle, relax, forget or sleep?
Get little or no appreciation from your boss when your performance is excellent?
Feel torn between your loyalties to work, life and home?
Lie awake thinking about how to repay your personal debts?
Believe you are not fully trained to do your job?
Dread personal meetings with specific work colleagues?
Delay going home to escape the atmosphere that awaits you?
Fear that guilty secrets may be exposed to members of your family?
Suffer medically inexplicable indigestion for which you purchase antacids?
Worry about losing your home?
Wish you were in a personal relationship with somebody else?
Get a tension headache in your neck and/or shoulders?
Avoid making love to those whose bed you normally share?
0-25 Low stress
26-50 Medium stress
51+ High stress
What your result means
Low stress Congratulations – you are a joy to be around by day or night.
Medium stress Try to keep a reserve in your tank. Most ambitious go-getters will cluster in this group. We know you can multi-task – but save it for when you have to. The brain really does prefer to finish one job before starting another.
High stress You’re showing characteristic signs of high stress. Time to review the basics, do some stress-busting exercise and make the following changes to your diet: eat a good breakfast, light lunch and dinner – with time to digest them – and avoid late or nocturnal eating. Don’t miss meals or eat when your pulse is high, and don’t rush. Avoid using alcohol and drugs to manage your mood. (If drink is the answer, what’s the question?) If your relationship is suffering, remember that support should be mutual.
For professional help, contact www.counselling.co.uk.
Phillip Hodson is a Fellow of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy www.bacp.co.uk; www.philliphodson.co.uk