How Stressed Are You?

This is a question you can find the answer to if you complete the online Stress Test at  It takes about 20 minutes to complete the questions and tests and at the end you get feedback on your current stress levels, the possible causes and your coping strategies.
It is important to be able to manage your stress because our bodies have not evolved to deal with sustained high levels of stress and it increases your risk  of a range of life threatening illnesses including heart disease and cancer.
So what do you do if your stress level is high?  One sign of stress is rumination ie going over and over problems in your life, particularly at night.  If this happens to you, Professor Mark Williams of University of Oxford suggests a mindful three step approach that he calls the 3 Minute Breathing Space.
Step 1 Take a minute to acknowledge what’s going on.  Recognise that your mind is racing and that you don’t like it.  It’s ok not to like it so just allow it to happen without trying to fix it.
Step 2 Move your attention to your breathing.  Notice the sensations of the breath from the flow of air over your nose or mouth, down through your chest and into your stomach.  Follow the breath without trying to control it.  If your attention wanders, acknowledge where it went and then come back to your breathing.  Do that for a minute.
Step 3 Expand your attention to your whole body and notice what is going on eg the sensations in your feet, legs, torso, face etc.  Just notice them without trying to change anything.  Leave out or let go of any emotions associated with those sensations.  This may take practice but it is worth uncoupling your experience of bodily sensations from your associated thoughts and feelings
At the end of the 3 minutes, if you are still awake, the worries may still be there but you will be able to focus on possible solutions rather than infecting them with past experiences and regrets.