Symptoms of Stress
How frequently do you find yourself experiencing such problems as headaches, problems going to sleep or staying asleep, unexplained muscle pain, jaw pain, uncontrolled anger, and frustration? Using the table below, assess the frequency that you experience these common symptoms of stress.
The following are a series of self-assessment scales to help us determine the degree and type of stress we are experiencing and how well our stress coping skills are working.
· Impact ·
The more often you experience these symptoms of stress, the more likely stress is having a negative impact on your life. You may be so used to feeling a certain way that you assume this is normal. Look back over the Symptoms of Stress Table. Are there symptoms of stress that you would like to eliminate or change?
Perceived Stress scale
A more precise measure of personal stress can be determined by using a variety of instruments that have been designed to help measure individual stress levels. The first of these is called the Perceived Stress Scale.
The Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) is a classic stress assessment instrument. This tool, while originally developed in 1983, remains a popular choice for helping us understand how different situations affect our feelings and our perceived stress. The questions in this scale ask about your feelings and thoughts during the last month. In each case, you will be asked to indicate how often you felt or thought a certain way. Although some of the questions are similar, there are differences between them and you should treat each one as a separate question. The best approach is to answer fairly quickly. That is, don’t try to count up the number of times you felt a particular way; rather indicate the alternative that seems like a reasonable estimate.
The Ardell Wellness Stress Test
Don Ardell developed a stress assessment that is unique in its holistic approach to stress. In chapter one, you learned about the importance of incorporating all dimensions of health in your understanding of stress. The Ardell Wellness Stress Test incorporates physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and social aspects of health for a balanced assessment.
Ardell Wellness Stress Test Interpretation
+ 51 to + 75 You are a self-actualized person, nearly immune from the ravages of stress. There are few, if any, challenges likely to untrack you from a sense of near total well-being.*Adapted from High Level Wellness: An Alternative to Doc, Drugs and Disease by Don Ardell
+ 25 to + 50 You have mastered the wellness approach to life and have the capacity to deal creatively and efficiently with events and circumstances.
+ 1 to + 24 You are a wellness-oriented person, with an ability to prosper as a whole person, but you should give a bit more attention to optimal health concepts and skill building.
0 to – 24 You are a candidate for additional training in how to deal with stress. A sudden increase in potentially negative events and circumstances could cause a severe emotional setback.
-25 to – 50 You are a candidate for counseling. You are either too pessimistic or have severe problems in dealing with stress.
-51 to – 75 You are a candidate for major psychological care with virtually no capacity for coping with life’s problems.
Look back at the items in the Ardell Wellness Stress Test. Identify which items related more to physical health, to mental health, to emotional health, to spiritual health, and to social health. Do you see any patterns develop? For instance, are more areas of disappointment related to physical health than to social health? Remember, for holistic health we are seeking a balance in all dimensions of health.
Stress Coping Resources Inventory: A Self-Assessment
People differ remarkably in their responses to potentially stressful events. For instance, about one in ten hostages comes out of captivity a mentally healthier person that when entering, while the others may face extreme emotional difficulty. What are the factors associated with coping success? The questions below relate to factors most closely associated with the capacity to cope successfully with stress. Circle the letter which lists the option that you choose. Answer each question as honestly as possible.
Interpreting Your Score
Please note that the scoring legend has been derived rationally, not empirically.
A perfect score on each scale would be 4. With this in mind, we might construct the following interpretive key:
An overall score of 3.5+ suggests you may be a superior stresscoper.
An overall score of 2.5-3.4 suggests you may be an above average stresscoper.
An overall score of 1.5-2.4 suggests you may be an average stresscoper.
An overall score of less than 1.5 suggests you may be a below average stresscoper.