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How Vulnerable Are You To Stress?

In modern society, most of us can't avoid stress.  But we can learn to behave in ways that lessen its effects.  Researchers have identified a number of factors that affect one's vulnerability to stress - among them are eating and sleeping habits, caffeine and alcohol intake, and how we express our emotions.  The following questionnaire is designed to help you discover your vulnerability quotient and to pinpoint trouble spots.  Rate each item from 1 (always) to 5 (never), according to how much of the time the statement is true of you.  Be sure to mark each item, even if it does not apply to you - for example, if you don't smoke, circle 1 next to item six.

Always Sometimes Never
1.  I eat at least one hot, balanced meal a day. 1 2 3 4 5
2.  I get seven to eight hours of sleep at least four nights a week. 1 2 3 4 5
3.  I give and receive affection regularly. 1 2 3 4 5
4.  I have at least one relative within 50 miles, on whom I can rely. 1 2 3 4 5
5.  I exercise to the point of perspiration at least twice a week. 1 2 3 4 5
6.  I limit myself to less than half a pack of cigarettes a day. 1 2 3 4 5
7.  I take fewer than five alcohol drinks a week. 1 2 3 4 5
8.  I am the appropriate weight for me height. 1 2 3 4 5
9.  I have an income adequate to meet basic expenses. 1 2 3 4 5
10.  I get strength from my religious beliefs. 1 2 3 4 5
11.  I regularly attend club or social activities. 1 2 3 4 5
12.  I have a network of friends and acquaintances. 1 2 3 4 5
13.  I have one or more friends to confide in about personal matters. 1 2 3 4 5
14.  I am in good health (including eye-sight, hearing, teeth). 1 2 3 4 5
15.  I am able to speak openly about my feelings when angry or worried. 1 2 3 4 5
16.  I have regular conversations with the people I live with about domestic problems - for example, chores and money. 1 2 3 4 5
17.  I do something for fun at least once a week. 1 2 3 4 5
18.  I am able to organize my time effectively. 1 2 3 4 5
19.  I drink fewer than three cups of coffee (or other caffeine-rich drinks) a day. 1 2 3 4 5
20.  I take some quite time for myself during the day. 1 2 3 4 5

To get your score, add up the figures and subtract 20.  A score below 10 indicates excellent resistance to stress.  A score over 30 indicates some vulnerability to stress; you are seriously vulnerable if your score is over 50.  You can make yourself less vulnerable by reviewing the items on which you scored three of higher and trying to modify them.  Notice that nearly all them describe situations and behaviors over which you have a great deal of control.  Concentrate first on those that are easiest to change - for example, eating a hot, balanced meal daily and having fun at least once a week - before tackling those that seem difficult.

Source:
University of California, Berkeley Wellness Letter, August, 1985. Scale Developers: Lyle Miller and Alma Dell Smith of Boston University Medical Center.