Recently, a friend said she had been feeling unaccountably drained and on edge. As we talked, she admitted she was in the midst of a battle with her husband over something their son had done, was feeling overwhelmed at work, and was deeply angry about an unkind remark a co-worker had said to her. All of these are big stressors: no wonder she was tired!
See where you rate on the stress scale. If your stress levels are high, this book can help you find greater self-awareness around what needs to change in order to bring more ease to your life.
There are no right or wrong answers. Rather, use your answers to gain a deeper understanding of where you are not able to cope and what areas in your life need attention and consideration, and then find a way to express your feelings and needs. Changing your relationship to stress means changing yourself from the inside.
About Your Work
1. Do you feel you have too much to do?
2. Do you often work overtime?
3. Do you believe you are capable of what is being asked of you?
4. Do you enjoy what you do?
5. Does your work environment feel depressing? Sad? Loud? Pressured?
6. How do you feel about your colleagues? Intimidated? Angry? Jealous?
7. Do you feel unfulfilled? Unacknowledged? Unrecognized?
8. Would you rather be doing something different?
About Your Family
1. Have you recently experienced a death or loss in the family?
2. Have you recently been married, separated, or divorced?
3. Has anyone in your family recently experienced a particularly difficult time, such as mental illness or trouble with the police?
4. Is anyone ill or in need of your care? And do you resent this?
5. Do your parents worry you a great deal?
6. Do you feel unable to share any of these difficulties?
About Your Relationships
1. If your primary relationship is not a happy one, do you believe you have to stick it out regardless of your feelings?
2. Do you disagree about money? The children? Your lifestyle preferences?
3. Do you have sexual difficulties or differences?
4. Do you feel unable to stand up for yourself?
5. Did you grow up watching your parents have difficulties, either fighting or ignoring each other?
6. Do you find it difficult to be committed to a relationship?
7. Do you have anyone you can talk to?
1. Do you believe, or have you been told, that you are no good, hopeless, worthless, or incapable?
2. Do you get irritated or annoyed easily?
3. Do you always seem to be rushing from one thing to another without being able to complete anything?
4. Do you have an addiction of any sort?
5. Do you feel trapped and powerless to change anything?
6. Do you panic easily or feel anxious about the future?
7. Do you talk to anyone about your feelings?
8. Do you feel shameful about something you have done?
9. Are you angry about something that was done to you?
About Your Health
1. Do you get tired or run down easily?
2. Do you get any regular exercise?
3. Do you eat while doing other things, such as working, watching TV, reading the paper, or feeding the children?
4. Is television, alcohol, or food your main means of relaxation?
5. Do you have deep muscular aches and pains?
6. Do you drink more than two cups of coffee a day?
7. Do you spend any part of the day being quiet and reflective?
If your answers showed high levels of stress, forgive yourself! We live in stressful times. But meditation, prayer, yoga, and other time-honored methods of stress-relief might be helpful to you. Even a warm bath or a soothing foot-rub could make a positive difference.
By Cait Johnson, adapted from Your Body Speaks Your Mind, by Deb Shapiro (Sounds True, 2006).