By Fylvia Fowler Kline, Scheer Memorial Hospital, Kathmandu, Nepal

Summary: A stress evaluation test followed by suggestions of ways to control stress.

Introduction. Ask class members to list life events that are reminders of the passing of time (death, age, seasons, the unexpected, birthdays, etc.). Then give the following stress test to evaluate how each copes with life’s stressors.

1. I’m frequently late or missing appointments. 5 4 3 2 1

2. My emotions are near the surface (anger or tears come easily). 5 4 3 2 1

3. I feel that my time is controlled by others. 5 4 3 2 1

4. I find myself engaging in mental arguments with my employer, family, others.5 4 3 2 1

5. I feel like I’m always with people and am rarely alone. 5 4 3 2 1

6. I wonder when I’m going to get around to what I really want to do. 5 4 3 2 1

7. I feel tired emotionally, physically or spiritually. 5 4 3 2 1

8. On my day off, I feel compelled to go to the office to finish work. 5 4 3 2 1

9. If married: we seem too busy or tired for romance. 5 4 3 2 1

10. I think grass is greener thoughts about my career. 5 4 3 2 1

11. I find myself seeking escapes (food, sleep, TV, etc.). 5 4 3 2 1

12. I seem to rush from one thing to the next and always feel busy. 5 4 3 2 1

13. I am not sleeping well. 5 4 3 2 1

14. I’m overly concerned with finances. 5 4 3 2 1

15. I don’t have time to maintain my most important relationships. 5 4 3 2 1

16. I’m always busy but wonder if I’m doing the right things. 5 4 3 2 1

TOTAL:

(Scoring: 61-85 High stress. You are running on empty; 36-60 Medium stress. Make some adjustments; 17-35 Low stress in general. Address any 4s and 5s.)

Next, have the class come up with ways to take control of stress factors to simplify life. Here are some suggestions:

  1. God gives you power when you make Him the first priority in your life. When we try to run the universe, we experience stress. When we trust the outcomes to Christ, we experience what Isaiah wrote many years ago: ?You will keep in perfect peace with him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you? (Is 26:3).

  1. Take goals in small bites. At age 14, John Erskine said this practicing the piano: ?When you grow up, time won’t come in long stretches. Practice in minutes, whenever you can find them—five or ten before school, after lunch, between chores. Spread the practice throughout the day and music will become a part of your life.? Erskine grew up to write Helen of Troy as he rode on streetcars to and from his work.

  1. Use the word NO. We can say ?yes’ to please other people—to make sure they’ll like us. We people-pleasers can sniff out even the slightest hint of anger or disappointment, and this acute sense triggers a ?yes’ to fend it of f. Of course, there is nothing wrong in wanting to be accepted or to feel worthy. But when it gets out of balance, our need for acceptance tyrannizes us and leads us into wrong choices. ?We mustn’t say ?yes’ just to please?—Howard Macy
Media Block Image Alt

October–December, 2001

Simplicity