Read our related article: Stress and your heart
1. You're on your way to work when you hit a traffic jam. What do you do?
a. Honk your horn and grit your teeth.
b. Use the time to check email on your iPhone or Blackberry.
c. Sit and listen to music, using the time as a break before your busy day.
Stress-o-meter says: A big source of stress is how you handle it, explains Paul Ratté, ND, a physician at Northwestern Health Sciences University in Bloomington, Minnesota. If you answered C, you've learned to let go of things you can't control. By using the time to be in the moment (rather than multitask), you're training your body to remain calm during stressful moments.
Do you often feel fatigued during the day?
Stress-o-meter says: While heart disease is a silent condition because symptoms like high blood pressure and high lipids don't have warning signs, stress can cause a host of physical symptoms, says Christie Ballantyne, MD, director of the Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Center at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. Physical side effects of stress include excessive fatigue, tremors, back pain, headaches, diarrhea or constipation, weight gain or loss, and insomnia.
You go to the grocery store and forget your grocery list. Can you remember it off the top of your head?
a. Sure. You just wrote everything down earlier in the day, so it's fresh in your mind.
b. No. You keep walking the same aisle, forgetting what you were there for (is it coffee filters or coffee that you need?).
c. You can remember almost everything, but have to make a second trip to the store for toilet paper.
Stress-o-meter says: If you answered B, you may have overwhelming stress in your life. Mental symptoms of stress include difficulty concentrating, forgetfulness, indecisiveness, and worrying, says Ballantyne.
True or false: You're eating more or less than usual lately.
Stress-o-meter says: Changes in your eating, sleeping, and exercise schedule can all be signs that stress is interfering with your life, as can picking up nervous habits like nail biting and pacing, says Ballantyne.
For more about how to lower stress in your life, visit deliciouslivingmag.com/stress.