ASSESS YOUR STRESS
One of the looming challenges for successful stress management is to assess your stress. A certain level of stress can energize and motivate you to deal with the important issues in your life. You will want to focus your energy on the things in your life that are truly important. How do you determine what factors cause you unnecessary stress? How does your stress level compare to others?
The purpose of the stress assessment is to help you get a sense of your current stress levels through a
variety of self-assessment instruments.
To assess stress, no one best tool will suffice, in part because reactions to events vary from person to person. What distresses one person excites and challenges another. Research increasingly supports the idea that the amount of stress is not what matters but, instead, the individual’s ability to control the stressful situation. Often, external events are not what cause stress. How we perceive and cope with stressful events is the determining factor. Here are a few measurements we use to analyze your current stress levels.
Resting Heart Rate
After you have been sitting or relaxing for a period of time, find your pulse.

Your radial pulse can be found on the thumb side of your wrist.

Your carotid pulse can be found on your neck, just under the jaw.

Count the number of beats for sixty seconds.

Record Your heart rate in beats per minute (BPM) here:
Breathing Pattern
Sit in a chair so your back is primarily straight up and down against the backrest.

Place one hand on your abdomen with your palm covering your navel. Place the other hand on your chest.

While sitting straight up, notice your breath as it goes in and comes back out.

Notice which hand moves more—your chest or your abdominal hand.
Respiration Rate
While sitting, breathe normally and naturally.

Count how many natural, effortless breaths you take in a minute. This is called respiration rate.

Each inhalation and exhalation cycle is considered one breath.
Stress-O-Meter
Think back over the last month of your life, including all of your waking moments.

Give yourself a rating on the “Stress-O-Meter” along a continuum in which:

“1” means that you feel your life has been relatively stress-free during that period. You have felt blissful and calm most of the time. Everything seemed to go your way.

“10” means that you felt very high anxiety most of the time and that this was a month packed with high levels of stress. You felt totally overwhelmed, like your life was out of control, and like you were unable to cope.

Considering the last month as a single period of time, you most likely would rank yourself somewhere between these two extremes. To average out the month (we all have highs and lows), what number between 1 and 10 would you give yourself?
How Do You Compare?
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