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More Stress Management


How Vulnerable Are You To Stress?


Mark from 1 (almost always) to 5 (never), according to how much of the time each statement applies to you.


___ 1. I eat at least one hot, balanced meal a day.

___ 2. I get 7 to 8 hours of sleep at least 4 nights a week.

___ 3. I give and receive affection regularly.

___ 4. I have at least one relative within 50 miles on whom I can rely.

___ 5. I exercise to the point of perspiration at least twice a week.

___ 6. I smoke less than half a pack of cigarettes a day.

___ 7. I take fewer than five alcoholic drinks a week.

___ 8. I am the appropriate weight for my height.

___ 9. I have an income adequate to meet my basic expenses.

___10. I get strength from my religious beliefs.

___11. I regularly attend club or social activities.

___12. I have a network of friends and acquaintances.

___13. I have one or more friends to confide in about personal matters.

___14. I am in good health (including eyesight, hearing, teeth).

___15. I am able to speak openly about my feelings when angry or worried.

___16. I have regular conversations with the people I live with about domestic problems, e.g., chores, money, and daily living issues.

___17. I do something for fun at least once a week.

___18. I am able to organize my time effectively.

___19. I drink fewer than three cups of coffee (or tea or cola) a day.

___20. I take quiet time for myself during the day.


___ SUBTOTAL - 20 = ___ TOTAL


To get your score, add up the figures. Then, subtract 20. Any number over 5 indicates a vulnerability to stress. You are seriously vulnerable if your score is between 25 and 55, and extremely vulnerable if your score is over 55.




Adapted from a test developed by Lyle H. Miller and Alma Dell Smith at Boston University Medical Center,



More Details on Supporting Yourself During Stress


Here is a more detailed explanation of things you can do to support your ability to handle and recover from stress.


·        Get adequate sleep. Seven or eight hours minimum on a schedule regular. More than an hour or so of difference in bedtime or waking can disrupt your body's daily cycle. Your energy level may take several days to recover. You may be used to operating on less sleep and an irregular schedule, but you can't handle stress as well in this mode.


·        Get some exercise every day (at minimum, 3 times/week, 20-30 minutes). Choose an activity that you enjoy, not one that seems like a chore. Exercise releases endorphins, natural chemicals promote calm and contentment. Start slow if you haven't been exercising--walking is a good starter. Exercise discharges stress tension from the body.


·        Eat three or more small to medium meals on a regular schedule with good nutrition, including fruits and veggies, to maintain a balanced energy and coping level.  Keep your eating moderate and avoid any drastic diets, etc.  Take a standard multiple vitamin supplement to fill-in any nutritional gaps. Drink a lot of water. Water assists the body in eliminating biochemical waste.


·       Take care of your body by avoiding excess sugar, caffeine (coffee, cola, tea), nicotine, alcohol, drugs, etc. All of these cause your system to 'crash'. Even though some provide a temporary simulating or relaxing effect, ultimately your energy level suffers. These substances take more of a toll than you realize, until you have to handle stress. Cut down gradually over a period of a week or so to prevent severe withdrawal symptoms.


·        Learn relaxation exercises or meditation (slow, deep breathing; imagine pleasant scenes; tense & relax muscles) Listen to relaxing music; read for pleasure. These activities decreases tension and help to process stress reactions.


·        Maintain your perspective. Sometimes how you look at things can greatly increase or reduce their stressfulness. Keep an eye out for your unhelpful and untrue thoughts. ("I just can't do this.") Think through why these thoughts are incorrect and unhelpful. Then substitute more correct/helpful thoughts. ("If I just take one thing at a time, I'll accomplish my most important goals. But if I try to think about or do everything at once, I'll get overwhelmed.") If you don't substitute positive thoughts, the negative ones will prevail.


·        Use time management techniques to avoid becoming swamped. Make lists, get a sense of accomplishment checking off tasks as you get things done. If you can't stand to face a task, shift temporarily to another priority, then tackle the unpleasant item when you feel stronger.


·        Be sure to have an emotional outlet. Weddings are emotionally demanding. Talk to others about the stress. (Everyone has or has had stress!) In the press of activity we tend to put our emotional needs on hold. Expectations for an upbeat mood can be difficult when we have other feelings. Set aside time for yourself. Take special care to express your "negative" feelings. Don't fall prey to the myth that weddings only involve good feelings. Stress is not a sign of weakness. On the contrary, dealing with stress appropriately is a sign of maturity and health.


·        Make time for fun and other pleasurable activities.


Don't pressure yourself to make too many changes all at once. We all change at our own pace.


Click here for info on (relatively affordable) stress reduction (relaxation training) biofeedback devices which can be effective in helping to alleviate stress.


If, after trying these suggestions, you still feel excessively over-stressed or run down, you might want to seek some professional advice.


More on Signs of Stress


Over-stress reactions include a wide range of symptoms, including physical, emotional, behavioral, and cognitive signs.


Physical symptoms:


·        Stomach ache, headache, dizziness, eye strain

·        Sleep problems (too little or too much)

·        Problems concentrating




·        Moodiness (Feeling low or depressed)

·        Anxiety (Tense, nervous, jumpy, unable to relax)

·        Irritable or hostile (Getting angry over minor things)

·        Fearfulness (Afraid to make decisions)




·        Exaggerating normal behavior (hard workers turn into workaholics; quiet people become isolated)

·        Withdrawing (from friends, family, and coworkers)

·        Working harder (but getting less done)

·        Blaming others (finding fault, being critical or hard to please)

·        Having fewer stress-free conversations with family and friends

·        Having fights (about everything and nothing)

·        Sharing fewer satisfactions with family and friends

·        Having other family members with stress problems (Stress is contagious.)

·        Pretending that nothing is wrong (denial)




·        This is horrible/unbearable. I'm not good enough.

·        I'm going to go crazy.

·        I can't go through with my wedding.


Again, it's important to recognize that these are all signs of stress overload, probably not of more a more serious condition.



Click here for info on (relatively affordable) stress reduction (relaxation training) biofeedback devices which can be effective in helping to alleviate stress.



Now that you're more relaxed, consider attending a Marriage Success Training seminar with your partner. MST helps couples handle the increased stress of the pre-wedding period in a much more healthy way, so that they can use the pre-wedding experience to deepen their intimacy--not stress their relationship-- during this special time. Click here to learn about the benefits of MST.


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Copyright 2003, Patricia S. & Gregory A. Kuhlman. You may copy this article for non-commercial use provided that no changes are made and this copyright notice, author credit and source citation are included.



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