How to Measure Your Stress

Part of the Stress Management For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Recognizing stress symptoms and how often they occur can help you deal with stress. Use the previous two weeks as your timeframe and record the occurrence of the following physical and emotional signs and symptoms of stress. After identifying your stress symptoms and how often they occur, use the stress rating scale to find your score. If your score is high, or if you are experiencing any of the symptoms below with increased frequency or severity, there may be other factors besides stress that are involved. You may want to consult with your family physician and let him or her determine the best way to help you manage these symptoms.

Stress symptom scale

  • 0 = Never

  • 1 = Sometimes

  • 2 = Often

  • 3 = Very often

    ____ Fatigue or tiredness ____ Feelings of helplessness or hopelessness
    ____ Pounding heart ____ Excessive drinking
    ____ Rapid pulse ____ Excessive smoking
    ____ Increased perspiration ____ Excessive spending
    ____ Rapid breathing ____ Excessive drug or medication use
    ____ Aching neck or shoulders ____ Feelings of upset
    ____ Low back pain ____ Feelings of nervousness or anxiety
    ____ Gritted teeth or clenched jaw ____ Increased irritability
    ____ Hives or skin rash ____ Worrisome thoughts
    ____ Headaches ____ Impatience
    ____ Cold hands or feet ____ Feelings of sadness
    ____ Tightness in chest ____ Loss of sexual interest
    ____ Nausea ____ Feelings of anger
    ____ Diarrhea or constipation ____ Sleep difficulties
    ____ Stomach discomfort ____ Forgetfulness
    ____ Nail biting ____ Racing or intrusive thoughts
    ____ Twitches or tics ____ Feelings of restlessness
    ____ Difficulty swallowing or dry mouth ____ Difficulty concentrating
    ____ Colds or flu ____ Periods of crying
    ____ Lack of energy ____ Frequent absences from work
    ____ Overeating ____ Your total stress-symptom score

Your stress rating

Your Score Your Comparative Rating
0–19 Lower than average
20–39 Average
40–49 Moderately higher than average
50 and above Much higher than average
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