How Stressed Are You?
To help determine how much stress you experience on a daily basis, answer the following questions. How many of the symptoms of excess stress in the list below do you experience frequently?
Disrupted eating habits Disrupted sleeping habits Harsh treatment of others
Increased use of tobacco, alcohol, or other drugs Problems communicating Sexual problems Social isolation
1. Are you easily startled or irritated?
2. Are you increasingly forgetful?
3. Do you have trouble falling or staying asleep?
4. Do you continually worry about events in your future?
5. Do you feel as if you are constantly under pressure to produce?
6. Do you frequently use tobacco, alcohol, or other drugs to help you relax?
7. Do you often feel as if you have less energy than you need to finish the day?
8. Do you have recurrent stomachaches or headaches?
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9. Is it difficult for you to find satisfaction in simple life pleasures?
10. Are you often disappointed in yourself and others?
11. Are you overly concerned with being liked or accepted by others?
12. Have you lost interest in intimacy or sex?
13. Are you concerned that you do not have enough money?
Experiencing some stress-related symptoms or answering yes to a few questions is normal. However, if you experience a large number of stress symptoms or you answered yes to a majority of the questions, you may be experiencing a high level of stress. Take time out to develop effective stress-management techniques. Many coping strategies that can aid you in dealing with college stressors are described in this chapter. In addition, your school’s counseling center can provide valuable support.
Weekly Stress Log
Now that you are familiar with the signals of stress, complete the weekly stress log to map patterns in your stress levels and identify sources of stress. Enter a score for each hour of each day according to the ratings listed below.
Ratings: 1 = No anxiety; general feeling of well-being
2 = Mild anxiety; no interference with activity
3 = Moderate anxiety; specific signal(s) of stress present
4 = High anxiety; interference with activity
5 = Very high anxiety and panic reactions; general inability to engage in activity
To identify daily or weekly patterns in your stress level, average your stress rating for each hour and each day. For example, if your scores for 6:00 a.m. are 3, 3, 4, 3, and 4, with blanks for Saturday and Sunday, your 6:00 a.m. rating would be 17 5, or 3.4 (moderate to high anxiety). Then calculate an average weekly stress score by averaging your daily average stress scores. Your weekly average will give you a sense of your overall level
Using Your Results
How did you score? How high are your daily and weekly stress scores?
Are you satisfied with your stress rating? If not, set a specific goal:
What should you do next? Enter the results of this lab in the Preprogram Assessment column in Appendix C. If you’ve set a goal for improvement, begin by using your log to look for patterns and significant time periods in order to identify key stressors in your life. Below, list any stressors that caused you a significant amount of discomfort this week; these can be people, places, events, or recurring thoughts or worries. For each, enter one strategy that would help you deal more successfully with the stressor. Examples of strategies might include practicing an oral presentation in front of a friend or engaging in positive self-talk.
Next, begin to put your strategies into action. In addition, complete Lab 10.2 to help you incorporate lifestyle stress-management techniques into your daily routine.