How do you cope with stress in your life? Gauge your ability with the following quiz, created by University of Maryland psychologist George S. Everly Jr. for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. You'll need a paper and pencil.
1. Do you feel that you have a supportive family? If so, score 10 points.
2. Give yourself 10 points if you actively pursue a hobby.
3. Do you belong to some social activity group that meets at least once a month (other than your family)? If so, score 10 points.
4. Are you within five pounds of your "ideal" body weight, considering your health, age and bone structure? If so, give yourself 15 points.
5. Do you practice some form of "deep relaxation" at least three times a week. These include meditation, imagery, yoga, etc. If so, score 15 points.
6. Give yourself five points for each time you exercise 30 minutes or longer during the course of an average week.
7. Give yourself five points for each nutritionally balanced and wholesome meal you consume during an average day.
8. If during the week you do something that you really enjoy and is "just for you," give yourself five points.
9. Do you have some place in your home that you can go to relax or be by yourself? If so, score 10 points.
10. Give yourself 10 points if you practice time management techniques in your daily life.
11. Subtract 10 points for each pack of cigarettes you smoke in an average day.
12. Do you use any drugs or alcohol to help you sleep? If so, subtract five points for each evening during an average week that you do this to help get to sleep.
13. During the day, do you take any drugs or alcohol to reduce anxiety or calm you down? If so, subtract 10 points for each time you do this during the course of an average week.
14. Do you ever bring work home in the evening? Substract five points for each evening during an average week that you bring office work home. Scoring
Calculate your total score. A "perfect" score would be 115 points. Short of that, the higher the score, the greater the ability to cope with stress, with a score of 50 to 60 points indicating an adequate ability to cope with most common sources of stress. Experts advise against using drugs or alcohol to deal with stress, and instead advocate exercising, eating a balanced diet and employing relaxation techniques to minimize the effects of stress.