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Measuring Stress

Feeling stress is a fact of life for most people. But it affects everyone differently. What causes stress for you may not be stressful for someone else. That's because how you view a situation affects how much stress it causes you. Only you can figure out whether you have too much stress in your life.

Ask yourself these questions to find out what is causing your stress:

What job, family, or personal stress do you have?

Stress can be caused by an ongoing personal situation such as:

  • Problems in your family or with a relationship.
  • Caring for a family member who is elderly, has chronic health problems, or is disabled. Caregiving is a major source of stress.
    For more information, see the topic Quick Tips: Reducing the Stress of Caregiving.
  • Your job.
  • Dealing with a family member who is under stress.

Have you had any recent major life changes?

Life changes such as getting married, moving to a new city, or losing a job can all be stressful. You can't always control these things, but you can control how you respond to them.

To find out your current stress level based on recent changes in your life, try this Interactive Tool: What Is Your Stress Level? calculator.gif

Do your beliefs cause you stress?

Some people feel stress because their beliefs conflict with the way they are living their life. Examine your beliefs, such as your values and life goals, to find out if you have this kind of conflict in your life.

How are you coping with stress?

Your lifestyle choices can prevent your body from recovering from stress. For example, as you sleep, your body recovers from the stresses of the day. If you're not getting enough sleep or your sleep is often interrupted, you lose the chance to recover from stress.

The way you act and behave can also be a sign of stress. Some people who face a lot of stress react by smoking, drinking too much alcohol, eating poorly, or not exercising. The health risks posed by these habits are made even worse by stress.

Your body feels stress-related wear and tear in two ways: the stress itself and the unhealthy ways you respond to it.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: May 03, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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