How Extreme Is Your Stress Level? Take This Quiz to Find Out

When you think of stress, you probably think of major life-disrupting events: job loss, identity theft, financial ruin, serious illness. But the small stuff can add up to big stress effects when there are enough of them. In fact, studies suggest that, taken together, the accumulated annoyances of everyday life may be the biggest stressor you face.

Take this quiz to find out whether the small stuff is doing you in.

Daily Life Equilibrium Calculator

Think of a typical day, and rate on a scale of 0 to 3 how much the items below contributed to your stress level. Many will qualify for both aggravating and satisfying feelings. For example, your kids' progress in school makes you proud, but their behavior at the dinner table makes you grit your teeth. Rate each item on both the "aggravation" and "satisfaction" sides.

0 = None, or not applicable
1 = A little bit
2 = Quite a bit
3 = A great deal

 AGGRAVATION RATING PLEASE RATE SATISFACTION RATING Your Family and Friends Children Spouse Relatives Friends Coworkers Family pets Your Work Job security Workload Amount of time off Benefits Your World Current events Economy Weather Community or neighborhood issues Your Life Time with family or friends Time alone Housework, yard work Local travel (errands, appointments, work) Cooking, eating Entertainment and recreation Personal organization Your Finances Bills, financial obligations, medical costs Savings, investments, emergency funds, retirement plan Your Health Physical appearance Physical and mental abilities Drinking and/or smoking Sex and intimacy Exercise Nutrition Aggravation Score = Add up the total of each column and do the math: Aggravation Score - Satisfaction Score = Equilibrium Score Satisfaction Score =

If your score is less than or equal to -25
Your daily life is fairly stressful and includes quite a few trouble spots. Because daily patterns tend to repeat over time, the negative aspects of your day-to-day life may be contributing to an unhealthful level of stress. Learning to minimize your responses to stress (see the tool below) and increase the satisfaction you get from your daily activities could help.

If your score is between -24 and +24
You have probably struck a good balance between satisfying and aggravating daily activities. Try to maintain the healthy balance you have struck and even push the balance more toward satisfying.

If your score is equal to or greater than +25
Your day-to-day activities bring you quite a bit of satisfaction. Having the positive aspects of your daily life outweigh concerns is a healthy sign of your well-being. Good for you!

What's your favorite -- and most effective -- relaxation technique?

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