Most online stress measurement tools use an "life-event" method to determine your stress levels. If you have a divorce, a job loss or major illness; you are considered to have high stress levels. However, the problem with this approach is that it does not measure our daily activities and how we react to this. We may have a boss that we do not like or our stress related to specific relationships may be increasing in small but significant measures.
The best analogy I found for stress assessment is that of RPE - (Rating of Perceived Exertion by Borg) to measure the intensity of your daily exercise routine. Instead of using a heart-monitor or trying to measure your pulse, you can estimate the intensity of your exercise by how hard you feel you are working out. You give yourself a rating of 6-20 - 6 being no exertion at all and 20 being very intense exercise. Typical walking can have RPE levels of 9-12 while intense aerobics may cause you to give a rating 16-19. While this may seem subjective, your mind is pretty good at assessing your exercise intensity. These measures are often as sensitive as heart monitors or pulse counter techniques.
A similar method is used to assess your stress levels. Dr. Sheldon Cohen of Carnegie Mellon University pioneered in a unique self-assessment technique for stress called PSS (Perceived Stress Scale). Similar to RPE above, you are asked to estimate your own level of stress based on the uncertainty, lack of control and overload that exists in various areas of your life. Here are two websites that give help you self-assess your stress levels based on Dr. Cohen's technique.
Try this Stress Vulnerability Self-Test online
You may also have a hard copy printed out from the MindGarden.com website and use it to assess your stress levels during the week.
The University of Minnesota - Twin Cities campus offers an online screening for depression, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, generalized anxiety, post-traumatic stress, and alcohol.
The bottom line - the few minutes you take to become aware of your stress levels and the causes for it - actually will help you lower your stress levels. These free screenings are taken anonymously. I suggest you use your browser in incognito mode when you do this test, if you wish complete privacy.
Please remember these tests and screenings are not a substitute for a clinical evaluation.
Contact a health professional for more information and a complete exam.
Do you have your own method of assessing your stress levels? I would love to hear about it!
Recipe for Self-Compassion
Want to feel love, joy and peace? Acknowledge your pain and suffering and cultivate self-warmth, self-care and an empowering attitude.
Ingredients:½ Cup - Gratitude
1 Cup - Self-Kindness
1 Cup -Connection
1 Cup -Mindfulness
Directions:Measure 1 cup of self-kindness. Mix in 1 cup of mindfulness to be open. Observe your feelings and thoughts without judgement. Sift in 1 generous cup connection of your loved ones and journaling to remind that you are not alone! Top off the recipe with a touch of gratitude. Let rise until you are bubbling with love and joy.
Serve generous portions to your hungry guests; chronic pain, failure or suffering until they feel full of love, joy and peace!
© Sudesh Kannan 2019 www.meditation-magic.com
Do you want to transform your relationship with yourself and others around you? Cultivate self-compassion as that generates good self worth – a key component of good relationships! Be sure to check out the quiz link below.
Kristen Neff, an Associate Professor in Human Development and Culture (Educational Psychology Department) at University of Texas at Austin, has written a very easy-to-understand tome on Self-Compassion. She shows that developing self-compassion is a healthier way of improving our relation to ourselves as compared to self esteem. Self-esteem refers to our sense of self-worth, perceived value, or how much we like ourselves. Low self-esteem often correlates with depression and lack of motivation. On the other hand, high self-esteem may result in narcissistic or self-absorbed behavior. In contrast, self-compassion is based on acknowledging our challenges and problems with kindness and objectivity. We don’t judge ourselves but accept ourselves.
Practicing self esteem helps maintain a better emotional balance, it leads to less depression, more optimism and more life satisfaction.
Kristen Neff indicates that there are three components of self-compassion.
Self Kindness – As opposed to self-judgement, self-kindness refers to the act of being kind to ourselves and our suffering. Very often we beat ourselves instead of being and warm and supportive during our tough times.
Humanity – as opposed to a sense of isolation. We often have to understand that imperfection is part of human experience. We are not alone in our suffering. While we may feel isolated, we have to realize that other people go through hard times too.
Mindfulness – as opposed to over-identification with the current challenge. It is easy for us to over-react or suppress negative feelings or emotions. Part of mindfulness to embrace the pain and suffering we are going through.
Check below to see how you can measure and evaluate your level of compassion. In the relationship seminar, we will discuss various ways of increasing your self compassion through meditation, mindful activities such as journaling and role-playing.
Check out my blog article Embrace Your Inner “Room-mate” for Creativity and Love on ways you can address your inner critical voice.
Here is a typical report on self-compassion -
These scales are 1 to 5 with 2.5 being the average.
The first three show components of your self-compassion (Self Kindness, Common Humanity and Mindfulness
Self-kindness - being warm and understanding toward ourselves when we suffer, fail, or feel inadequate, rather than ignoring our pain or flagellating ourselves with self-criticism
Opposing component - Self-Judgment: 2.60
Common Humanity: 3.00
Common Humanity - recognizing that suffering and personal inadequacy is part of the shared human experience - something that we all go through rather than being something that happens to “me” alone.
Opposing component - Isolation: 2.75 (Reverse score of Common Humanity)
Mindfulness - a non-judgmental, open state of mind in which one observes thoughts and feelings as they are, without trying to suppress or deny them
Opposing component - Over-Identification: 2.75 (Reverse score of Mindfulness)
Overall score: 3.06
a guided finger meditation
Engage your senses with soothing music, guided imagery and a labyrinth tracing activity which leverages the power of touch. Click the album cover to learn more.