Stress: How Can I Tell If I am Stressed?

How Can I Tell If I'm Stressed?

In today’s fast-paced demanding world, it’s almost impossible not to be stressed to some degree.

The question is: how stressed are you and should you be doing something about it?

Many people suffer a lot of stress before they admit to themselves they have a problem.

Very often, their partner, friends, colleagues will notice a change before they do.

It’s probably because admitting you are stressed would appear to be a weakness (whether you are stressed at home or stressed at work).

We want to be able to ‘take the pressure’ and show everyone we remain in control however hard things get. But, when the pressure is just too much and sustained over a long period of time, we don’t just suffer mentally but we suffer physically too and, unintentionally, we make our entourage suffer as well.

OK, So How Can I Tell If I Am Stressed?

If you suspect you might be stressed or if you have been told by others that you are stressed, don’t ignore it. Take our simple test below to ascertain whether you are stressed or not.

Simply go through the list below and tick, honestly, each bullet point that applies to you.

  • You feel less eager to go to work after the weekend
  • You are less patient with others
  • You often are moody
  • You discourage conversations with others
  • You are less fun
  • You take less care of your friendhsips
  • You find it difficult to concentrate
  • You seem to have lost your sense of humour
  • You feel almost constantly tired
  • You feel trapped
  • You take less care of yourself (bad diet, less exercise)
  • You feel no dedication or motivation at work
  • You feel less or no sense of responsibility in life
  • You do not feel like making efforts to change the situation
  • You muscles are stiff
  • You do not sleep well or have difficulties falling asleep
  • You feel drained
  • You have stomach problems (pain, cramps, heartburn, diaorrhea)
  • Your blood pressure is higher
  • You have lost a lot of weight
  • You have gained a lot of weight

If you have ticked less than 4, you might just be exhausted rather than stressed.

If you have ticked more than 4, there’s a high chance you are stressed.

Now that you know if you are likely to be stressed or not, let’s try and find out how much stress you’re under.

How Can I Tell How Bad It Is? What Level Of Stress Am I Under?

This time, rather than looking at mental and physical signs of stress, let’s look at potential causes. The higher number of stressful situations you are faced with, the higher your stress levels are likely to be.

Once again, go through the list below and tick, honestly, each bullet point that applies to you.

  • You are going through a divorce or a separation
  • A close family member or friend has died
  • You have a grave illness
  • A close family or friend has a grave illness
  • You have lost your job
  • You are starting a new job
  • You are getting married
  • You have just had a baby
  • Your children are leaving home
  • You have relationship problems and regular arguments with your partner
  • You have relationship problems and regular arguments with your children
  • You have relationship problems with your family / in-laws
  • You have relationship problems at work with your boss
  • You have relationship problems at work with your colleagues
  • You have been given responsibilities without the resources or the authority necessary to fulfill them
  • You are constantly overworked
  • You are being ‘managed out’ of your work / your company
  • You have taken a new mortgage or new loan
  • You are short of cash

What’s your score?

If you have ticked 3 or more, your stress levels are likely to be high.

What Do I Do Now?

Take a step back and analyze honestly the situation.

Untreated stress has many consequences:
– it is unhealthy for you (it will destroy your health)
– it is unhealthy for people around you (it will weigh on your relationships and might destroy them)

You do not need to admit to being stressed to your boss or colleagues but you can
admit it:
– to yourself
– to your partner
– to your friends

If you have a strong support system in place, you are more likely to overcome it and find solutions.

Take Action

Next, push yourself to take action to solve the problem.

Causes of stress will always appear and rather than trying to avoid them, it’s best to learn how to face them.

There are many ways to tackle causes of stress.

The best thing you can do is to learn to manage your stress and turn it into a positive source of
challenge and motivation for you. You can do it by yourself or, if you feel you need more help and structure, contact a Life Coach or take a look at our new Stress Management e-Course.

Whatever you decide, act now. Don’t let stress overtake your life.



Stress: How Can I Tell If I am Stressed? — 14 Comments

  1. Hi Sally,

    I’m not sure what you’re referring to as we are UK based too (based in the Peak District) and we’re not trying to sell you anything. The article that Isabelle pointed you to is more free advice and it’s just one of many articles we have which are all free.

    In addition to that, Isabelle offered you further help via email – I’m not really sure how you could take her comment badly but I’m sorry you feel that way.

    If what you’re referring to is our e-course, then yes this is a paid course but that’s not where Isabelle directed you and there’s plenty of free advice here – some of the articles on our site (all of which are free) do have links to our e-course as it’s a related subject but these are just links (we are also a business after all) – and if you look they’re hardly a hard-sell.

    Of course Isabelle couldn’t give you all the advice you need in a single comment without knowing more about your situation, but she tried to help point you in the right direction. Drop one of us an email if you want to and if we can help, we will (just reply to any email if you’re on our subscribers list (which is also free) or if not use the contact form).

    In any case I wish you all the best and I hope you find the advice you need with or without our help,

    best wishes,

  2. Amazing I try to have some genuine advise fee on line and I get directed to a web sit in America [ I’m english] selling me something !!!! Tks for nothing ……. I bet this doesn’t get posted !!!

  3. I’ve gone through your ck list ….4 ticks now what should I do …. I’ve googled stress as husband saying I am ….. Yes I feel upset 16 hrs a day I hate wk fell out with my daughter she not even speaking to me now 1st Xmas in 20 years with out her ……. Put official complaint in about my boss ….. Now she not talking to me at all and giving me all jobs she knows I hate !!!! Advise please

    • Hi Sally,
      I’m really sorry to hear how much stress you’re under.

      The good news is that now you realize you’re stressed, you can start doing something about it before it overwhelms you.

      You’re faced with challenging situations at work and at home but what matters is HOW you choose to react to them. Read our article: It’s not the stress that kills us, It’s our reaction to it.

      You need to start developing some coping and stress management strategies so you get your stress under control.

      Send me an email to let me know how it goes.
      I wish you all the very best.

  4. Hello
    Great post – thank you. I would like to emphasize one thing – very often people stress over things they cannot change. This kind of behavior is one of the worst things you can do. The best thing to do is leave those things alone. It is wise to focus on positive and positive future instead.
    Best Regards

    • Hi Mat,

      So true. Worrying about things we cannot change or correct is the second mistake in the 6 Mistakes of man by Cicero. We love this list. Alan wrote an article about it here.
      Sometimes, altering things that cause us stress is the right response. But, when it cannot be done, we need to accept, let go and move on… for our own sake.

      Many thanks for your comment

  5. I learned that if I don’t workout I tend to get into the stress mode. This works for me. And also not watching the news. This helps a great deal. Because I believe all the negativity also gets to us sooner or later.

    • Hi Adam,

      Funny you should say so. Apparently people who read the Daily Mail (a British tabloid) and watch Eastenders are more likely to be depressed.

      Stress is a highly personal thing though. Some people will be affected by the news (and there’s plenty of bad news going round at the moment with the state of the economy), others won’t or it will take them a lot of bad news to reach the same state. Just like I would be stressed at the thought of going on a roller coaster when my kids just relish it!

      It’s great that you’ve identifiied what stresses you and have found solutions to build up your resistance to stress. Gentle regular exercise and positive thinking are good ways to fight stress off.

      Best Wishes

  6. I have a couple of questions, you seem to know what you’re talking about. Do you think stress causes more stress? And if you’re mentally focussing on the good stuff, will this reduce the stress hormones in your body so to say? I’ve always wondered about that.

    Thanks in advance

    • Hi Wouter,

      A one-off stressful event that you handled positively is unlikely to cause you more stress. The problem comes when stress is repetitive. As you get more and more stressed, the stress hormones that are subconsciously released by your body to help you cope with stress take longer and longer to return to normal levels (especially cortisol). Eventually, cortisol levels remain high almost all the time and the glands that produce cortisol get burnt out. At this point, you’re likely to experience exhaustion and depression (and other negative effects such as lowered immunity, blood sugar imbalances, higher blood pressure, increased abdominal fat…). So chronic stress will cause you more stress.

      You’re right, focussing on the good stuff will reduce stress. Fostering a ‘Don’t worry, be happy’ attitude will help you learn to respond to stress in a healthy way. There are other ways as well to build up your resistance to stress (relaxation, breathing, adequate nutrition, meditation, laughing,…).

      Hope this helps.
      Take care

  7. People seem to get stressed all the time. I do on some level, but I try to stay calm and let it roll off. But my life is pretty calm at this point. I’m at a good point and my stress level isn’t very bad. But we all have our days when we get stressed out for some reason or other.

    • Hi Jennifer,

      I’m glad you’re at a good point in your life at the moment.

      It looks like you’ve learned to manage your stress levels – keeping calm, not letting things get to you. That’s great. That’s what we all need to learn to do. And you’re right, there will always be calls for stress but, as you build up your resistance, you’ll be more inclined to respond in a positive way and appropriately by either ignoring it or rising to the challenge with vigor and energy.

      Best Wishes

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *