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Is Stress Taking Over Your Life?

by Hanna Brooks Olsen
money & life

To learn more, check out Cynthia Ackrill’s free online class, Stress is Optional.

stress test

If you’ve tuned into NPR at all in the last few weeks, you’ve definitely heard about the many perils of stress. It’s a fact of life, which very real consequences; stress ages you prematurely, it’s hard on your body and your relationships, it makes you less productive — and, to a certain extent, it’s avoidable. Or at least, you can mitigate its impact if you’re aware of it.

But how do you know if you’re too stressed? What is a normal amount of stress — and when do you need some intervention?

We’ve made a quiz to help you decide.

To take the quiz, answer each question with a yes or no, giving yourself 1 point for each “Yes” answer

  • Your days contain more sighs than smiles. (Nervous “about-to-lose-it” laughter does not count as smiles!)
  • You are having a harder time focusing, concentrating, or remembering. (Maybe you forget why you entered the room, or what you started out doing before you had 15 tabs open on your browser, or you feel like it’s taking you far longer than it should to get stuff done.)
  • You fantasize about a good night’s sleep; you have trouble getting to or staying asleep, or wake up not rested.
  • If you were the 8th dwarf, you would be Irritable, Overwhelmed, Cynical, Distracted, Lonely, or Restless.
  • Your “fuse” keeps shortening, your patience shrinking, even with yourself. (Extra point if even your dog is avoiding you!)
  • You consider caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, medications, or “recreational” substances (coping tools), critical to managing your energy, focus, or emotions.
  • You feel like a fireman, just putting out fire after fire. Urgency is your motivator or the MO of your work/family culture.
  • You are eating, sleeping, daydreaming, drinking, cursing, snapping, forgetting, obsessing far more than usual, or more than you would like. (Extra point for undesired 10 pound weight gain or loss in the last 5 years.)
  • You feel like everyone wants or expects a piece of you! You can’t remember the last time you had time to just think, or do something that replenishes you. You are not a priority on your own schedule.
  • You feel like you will never find enough energy and time to do all you need to do and still have some left to enjoy your friends, family, and life.

If you scored:

7 +     You are on the burnout track. It is critical to come up with some strategies to reclaim your energy, focus, health, and happiness! (And this can be done!)

4-6    You are losing ground– stress is interfering with your best life. Time to put some new techniques and strategies into play to become more effective with less effort.

1-3    Congratulations! You are in the minority. It’s always good to evaluate what you are doing that’s working and what other easy shifts would secure your health and happiness for the future!

To learn more, sign up for physician, stress expert, and leadership coach Cynthia Ackrill’s free online class, Stress is Optional because really, any amount of stress could be tamed, right?

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Hanna Brooks Olsen

Hanna Brooks Olsen is a writer and editor for CreativeLive, longtime reporter, and the co-founder of Seattlish. Follow her on Twitter at @mshannabrooks or go to her website for more stuff.