Posted on Nov 18th, 2006

Here’s what you need to do. Schedule some time and lock yourself away for at least one hour. Somewhere quiet. Switch off the mobile phone, the television and devote this time to you.

You don’t need to sit cross-legged on the floor for this, but I want you to do some contemplation. Think about your everyday life. Run the video in your mind. Take yourself through a regular week. But pay attention to your feelings. Where does it grate?

What negative feelings do you have about any part of your regular schedule? What are the feelings? Why do you feel that way? Perhaps a job that you loved 5 years ago is now just a 9-to-5 grind. Why? What happened?

Write it down. All your thoughts. Try to identify where in your life you are stressed and why. Then I want you to keep a diary for the next week. If you think about this period of contemplation often, during the next week, I will guarantee you will find a lot more issues or problems. Write them in your diary.

By the end of the week you should have a comprehensive list of your stressors or pressure points.

You may also find a combination of circumstances pushing the boundaries on your natural coping skills. And don’t forget that recent house move or job redundancy.

Calculate your stress levels

Here is a test to determine how stressed you are. In the past 12-24 months, which of the following major life events have taken place in your life?

· Death of a spouse

· Divorce
· Marital separation
· Jail term · Death of a close family member
· Personal injury or illness
· Marriage
· Fired from work
· Marital reconciliation
· Retirement
· Change in a family member’s health
· Pregnancy
· Sexual difficulties
· Addition to the family
· Business changes
· Change in finances
· Death of a close friend
· Changing jobs
· Increase in number of marital arguments
· Taking out a large mortgage or loan
· Foreclosure of a mortgage or loan
· Changes in work responsibilities
· Trouble with the in-laws
· Outstanding personal achievement
· Spouse begins or stops work
· Starting or finishing school
· Changes in living conditions
· Changes in personal habits
· Trouble with the boss
· Changes in working hours and condition
· Moving house
· Moving school
· Changing recreational habits
· Changing church activities
· Changing social activities
· Changing sleeping habits
· Less family gatherings
· Change of eating habits
· A Vacation
· Christmas period
· Minor violations of the law

These changes are ranked in order of impact on your life. How many of these did you tick? The more you ticked, particularly from the top of the list, the more stressed you are.

Now that you know where your stress is coming from, it’s time to find some solutions. And there are many to choose from. The trick is to find techniques and strategies to suit you.

Now that you’ve started thinking about it, don’t stop. Resolve to find and and try one new technique every week.

The stress doctor provides advice, tips, tools and techniques for beating your stress problems. You can get a free short report "18 health problems linked to stress you should know about" or get daily "Stress Buster Tips" at

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