Northwest Center for Applied Psychophysiology

Stress Free... Naturally!

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What is stress?

Stress is a term used to describe the wear and tear the body experiences in reaction to everyday tensions and pressures. Change, illness, injury or career and lifestyle changes, are common causes of stress. However, it’s the emotional pressure and tension we feel in response to the little everyday hassles—rush hour traffic, waiting in line, and too many emails—that do the most damage.

How does stress affect health?

Stress affects people physically, mentally and emotionally. According to the American Institute of Stress, up to 90% of all health problems are related to stress. Too much stress can contribute to and agitate many health problems including heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, depression and sleep disorders.

How stressed are you?

Everyone responds to stress differently. Use this check list to assess the impact stress is having on your life and determine if it’s time to do something about it.

Low stress levels

  • I feel well
  • I am able to relax
  • Physical recreation brings me pleasure
  • Increasing pressure enhances my performance
  • My thinking is clear and I learn easily
  • I am able to say “No”
  • Others see me as adaptable and approachable
  • Others see me as energized and successful

Moderate stress levels

  • I feel driven, hyperactive, and restless
  • I tend to make snap decisions but with errors
  • I feel over-burdened but can still say “No”
  • I often feel tired but am taking steps to recover
  • I often try to squeeze a few extra drops out of my performance
  • Discipline, fitness, social pressure and stimulants play a greater
  • role in my ability to perform
  • My sleep is just about adequate
  • Others see me as tired yet successful

High stress levels

  • I don’t think as clearly as I used to
  • I feel irritable and “on edge”
  • I complain and grumble regularly
  • I work longer hours but get less done
  • I have repeated minor ailments, aches and pains
  • I am exhausted, have poor endurance and my work/life balance is
  • suffering
  • I am unable to distinguish the essential from non essential
  • I have sleep problems
  • I feel like I’m l operating in survival mode
  • I accept excessive burdens and see them as inevitable

© HeartMath 2004. Reprinted with permission

Northwest Center for Applied Psychophysiology - Stress Free... Naturally!
Lake Oswego, OR