Too Much Stress

Not only are there external factors that contribute to our level of stress, there are inner ones as well. Denial is one mechanism most often used in life, and is not necessarily a bad thing. Without denial, we wouldn't be able to carry on in an emergency situation. But, denial can also be used to prevent ourselves from looking at what we need to in order to be well adjusted in life and live our life well. Take a minute to assess your current attitudes of how you feel about your life.

Study the following statements and choose the answer that best applies to you, using a scale from 1 to 4 (1 being almost never and 4 being almost always).

  1. Things must be perfect.
  2. I must do it myself.
  3. I feel more isolated from my family or close friends.
  4. I feel that people should listen better.
  5. My life is running me.
  6. I must not fail.
  7. When overworked, I cannot say no to new demands without feeling guilt.
  8. I need to generate excitement again and again to avoid boredom.
  9. I feel a lack of intimacy with people around me.
  10. I am unable to relax.
  11. I feel increasingly cynical and disenchanted.
  12. I am unable to laugh at a joke about myself.
  13. I avoid speaking my mind.
  14. I feel under pressure to succeed all the time.
  15. I automatically express negative attitudes.
  16. I seem further behind at the end of the day than when I started.
  17. I forget deadlines, appointments & personal possessions.
  18. I am irritable, short-tempered, disappointed in the people around me.
  19. Sex seems like more trouble than it's worth.
  20. I consider myself exploited.
  21. I wake up earlier and cannot sleep.
  22. I feel unrested.
  23. I feel dissatisfied with my work life.
  24. I feel dissatisfied with my personal life.
  25. I'm not where I want to be in my life.
  26. I avoid being alone.
  27. I have trouble getting to sleep.
  28. I have trouble waking up.
  29. I can't seem to get out of bed.
SCORE YOURSELF: 29-low stress; 30-58-mild stress; 59 to 87-moderate stress; 88 to 116-high stress.

Distress Symptoms or Signals

There may be times when it is difficult to step back and examine your own attitudes about life. There are other clues or signs that let you know that it's time to make some changes to reduce your stress level. Some of these signs are:

  1. Expression of boredom with much or everything.
  2. Tendency to begin vacillating in decision-making.
  3. Tendency to become distraught with trifles.
  4. Inattentiveness or loss of power to concentrate.
  5. Irritability.
  6. Procrastination.
  7. Feelings of persecution.
  8. Gut-level feelings of unexplainable dissatisfaction.
  9. Forgetfulness.
  10. Tendency to misjudge people.
  11. Uncertain about whom to trust.
  12. Inability to organize self.
  13. Inner confusion about duties or roles.
  14. Physical changes such as:
    • Sudden, noticeable loss or gain of weight
    • Sudden change or appearance
    • Decline or improvement in dress
    • Sudden change of complexion (sallow, reddened, acne)
    • Difficult breathing
    • Sudden change of smoking habits
    • Sudden change in use of alcohol
    • Allergies or new allergies
    • Sudden facial expression changes
    • Sudden changes in social habits
    • Not going to work or home according to past schedule
    • Change of life situation or style, e.g., marriage, birth of baby, divorce, death of spouse.

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