Find out your stress levels with the Perceived Stress Scale and use our tips to manage your stress levels more effectively
Perceived Stress Scale
A more precise measure of personal stress can be determined by using a variety of instruments that have been designed to help measure individual stress levels. The first of these is called the Perceived Stress Scale.
The Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) is a classic stress assessment instrument. The tool, while originally developed in 1983, remains a popular choice for helping us understand how different situations affect our feelings and our perceived stress. In this scale, the questions are focused on your feelings and thoughts during the last month.
In each case, you will be asked to indicate how often you felt or thought a certain way. Although some of the questions are similar, there are differences between them and you should treat each one as a separate question. The best approach is to answer fairly quickly. That is, don’t try to count up the number of times you have felt a particular way but estimate the best option that applies to you.
Now add up your scores for each item to get a total.
My total score is
Individual scores on the PSS can range from 0 to 40, with higher scores indicating higher perceived stress.
Scores ranging from 0–13 would be considered low stress.
Scores ranging from 14–26 would be considered moderate stress.
Scores ranging from 27–40 would be considered high perceived stress.
The Perceived Stress Scale is important because your perception of what is happening in your life is most important. Consider the idea that two individuals could have the exact same events and experiences in their lives for the past month. Depending on their perception, the total score could put one person in the low stress category and the other person in the high stress category.
Remember that screening self-tests can’t diagnose you; health professionals need much more information about you to make the right diagnosis. If you are troubled by thoughts of harming yourself or ending your life, regardless of your total score, it is strongly recommended that you discuss your results with your doctor or a mental health professional, such as Dr. Gutzmann.
A support line can be a good resource if you ever think of hurting yourself or think that you’d be better off dead. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours daily at (800) 273-8255 and you should call them if you have any suicidal thoughts at all.
Even if your symptoms are in the mild range, it is a good idea to seek the help of a professional to improve the quality of your life. Everyone faces challenges at some time or another. We can all benefit from developing mental healthcare tools so that we can manage difficulties more skillfully and become more resilient.
Stress Relief Tips
Try to follow these tips to manage your stress better and live a more fulfilling life:
I am doing things that I enjoy.
I eat at least 3 nutritious meals or snacks each day.
I sleep at least 7 hours nightly.
I give and receive affection and attention regularly.
I am satisfied with my sex life.
I have a group of friends and/or relatives who live nearby and on whom I can rely.
I have someone in whom I can confide.
I have regular domestic discussions with those with whom I live.
I set aside quiet time for myself.
I exercise at least 3 times weekly at an intensity that causes me to perspire.
I drink no more than 2 cups of coffee, tea, or soda each day.
I drink fewer than 7 alcoholic drinks weekly
I am in good health.
I consciously try to look on the bright side of every situation.
I am happy with my work.
I don't live beyond my means.
I am involved in my community in a meaningful way.
I manage my time well.
I derive strength from spiritual/philosophical beliefs and practices.
I laugh or chuckle daily.
Are you ready to take the next step and get the support that you deserve?