You may be quite shocked in conversation with others when you are talking about your problems that they do not see them as you do. They think it a joke or they cap your story with their own! Now that is off-putting. The disappointment of not being heard or respected can add to your stress.
So here is an opportunity to assess your stress state compared to hundreds of people who have contributed to the development of a questionnaire that seeks to score stress, without going into the reasons for it. It is about your general sense of stress.
(Disclaimer: Although the questionnaire has some similarities to those used by mental health professionals to assess the clinical and emotional well-being of their patients or clients it is not such a tool. It is designed for self-assessment and self-education. Confusion can arise because mental health symptoms are similar to the symptoms of stress. If you have any concerns about your state of emotional health, you should consult a mental health professional.)
Click on the button to access the questionnaire.
Refer to your saved copy of the assessment and count your total score and compare it with the following interpretation guidelines.
0-25: A score in this range suggests that you are probably in great stress-shape!
26-50: A score in this range suggests that you may be experiencing a low to moderate degree of stress.
51-75: A score in this range suggests you may be experiencing a moderate to high degree of stress.
76-100: A score in this range suggests that you may be experiencing a very high degree of stress.
Dr Frank uses this exercise as homework for those who attend Stress Management Seminars. He does not ask for detailed feedback as it is intended for personal assessment and on the second of a 4-session course few are relaxed and willing to reveal much about themselves to the group. However, of those who do say something, the majority admit they are not as significantly stressed as they expected. They are surprised but Dr Frank is not.
You see, when you are stressed you tend to become inward looking, focussing on your own problems and ignoring the world around. You may not be aware of this as you will not ‘see’ anything else but your own situation.
That means you can easily get your problems out of perspective. When saying this, I do not mean to demean or belittle your own situation. Rather, it is to help you get a balance so you acknowledge the way you feel, without ignoring significant symptoms and yet recognise that what happens to you happens to others also.
Here are some questions you may wish to use to help your reflection.
What have you learned about yourself while completing this questionnaire?
What has encouraged you?
What aspects do you need to explore further?
What changes in your life will you now introduce?
This questionnaire is based on a tool developed by the Headington Institute which is a free on-line training centre that was established in order to provide support for humanitarian relief and emergency response personnel worldwide. Check them out at http://www.headington-institute.org/. This means, you will appreciate, that your stress level is being compared with people who are involved in caring for people in extremely difficult and even dangerous situations. Am I being unfair? Yes, I agree. However, take some encouragement, for if people in such circumstances cope with stress so also can you.