In this article, we share three tests to help you manage stress and anxiety. These simple exercises will help you if you’re one of the many people suffering from:
- high-stress levels
- low-level or high-level anxiety
Evaluating and managing stress
The World Health Organization (WHO) is calling stress the “Health Epidemic of the 21st Century”. Stress inevitably impacts life as a whole, irrespective of where it originates from. So we wanted to share three simple tests you can use to evaluate your stress level.
The three stress tests below are easy to use and useful for three reasons:
- They provide you with a numerical baseline that will help you see how you’re doing.
- They help you consider whether seeking further professional help may be useful.
- They can help you measure the impact of the Grid practice on your wellbeing and stress.
I use them in addition to my Grid approach when I coach.
Success is way too often built around impossible tradeoffs that in my experience coaching clients, can lead to erosion of health and genuine joy. I created the Grid to help people discover and create success on far healthier terms so they and the people around them are well, and all do well.
As people often turn to the Grid for a “life saving solution” when they face burnout or intense overhelm, I sought to find a series of subjective, yet nonetheless numerical measures, that can give us a starting point for the work and test how Grid is helping to turn things around.Dr. Magdalena Bak-Maier, Grid creator and top international coach to academics
From short to long-term stress
In my search for quick diagnostic stress tests that use subjective client-led evaluation, I wanted to cover:
- The current stress one is under.
- Prolonged stress — the stress that lingers long enough to begin to cause anxiety.
- Chronic stress that is likely to cause or potentiate anxiety and depression.
For this reason, the three tests below follow this order. You may want to try one or all of them, depending on how you’re feeling and what you want to find out. Each test will display your results in the browser without the need to share your e-mail or further information.
Online tests: a good first step to take on your way to recovery
I have completed each test myself and used them with my clients as an early-stage diagnostic. Each of these tools uses questions healthcare professionals and more advanced diagnostics use. That said, these tests are NOT a substitute for professional assessment or further advice. They are an excellent first step to see where you are at the moment. They will help raise your awareness of stress. They are also useful for creating a baseline if you’re planning to tackle your stress levels.
1. Test your current stress level
This stress test from Psychcentral will tell you how much stress you’re dealing with right now. It invites you to look at the past 7 days as a reasonable predictor of your current stress levels.
Many of the questions this test uses are also present in more comprehensive burnout assessments, including the Maslach Burnout Inventory™ (MBI). I find this test to be a pretty good general indicator of one’s current stress levels.
Your answers are compiled into a stress spectrum from 0 – not stressed to 100 – very stressed. The test takes less than 5 minutes to complete and your results will place you into one of four categories:
- 0-39 Stress is unlikely.
- 40-53 stress is possible.
- 54-71 stress is likely.
- 72+ You are stressed!
Not bad for a quick test! Once you know where you are, it may be easier to think about your next steps. We offer some neuroscience and trauma-informed ideas for this at the end of this article.
2. Find out whether you’re suffering from prolonged stress
The Bank Workers Charity test is very good for individuals working in intense, complex and high-stress environments.
This test poses questions in the context of a 2 weeks timespan and helps to check for a longer pattern of stress. The Bank Worker’s Charity test features questions used by health professionals to assess anxiety and depression levels. Based on your answers, it will also dive deeper into some questions to help generate a more tailored recommendation. Thus, this test goes further than the first stress test I described.
Research shows that anxiety and depression are often connected with each other. Prolonged stress lowers mood and increases anxiety.
This is a great test for anyone who is frequently in a high stress environment. This includes academics, researchers, PhD students, entrepreneurs, parents, and portfolio workers. All of these categories often juggle many competing priorities. They often benefit from our Grid method as you can see in our success stories.
Why I like the Bank Worker’s Charity test
The test will takes 5-10 minutes and has a cute indicator that tracks progress. What I like about this test is that apart from measuring stress and assessing anxiety and depression, this instrument also offers sound ideas on what to do to improve.
Because it is based on your specific results, you will get a very accurate and helpful list of tips that are well-matched to your circumstances. I have tried this test with a number of clients covering a broad range of stress, anxiety, and depression and they found the test useful.
Another great feature of this test is a list of factors that can make one vulnerable to stress and reduce one’s ability to cope. Based on the answers and the final score, this test offers advice for boosting resilience.
Taking this test will raise your awareness as to what you’re currently facing and the impact this has.
3. Low mood and depression test
The last test comes from the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK. What I like about this online tool is that like the other two options, it is free and easily assessable.
Another great feature here is that the test also includes a separate version for people under the age of 16. Many of my clients are also parents. As mental health issues are climbing in this demographic, parents and carers are directly impacted.
I have recommended this test to help clients assess their own mood levels, and encouraged them to try the young mind quiz with their kids and teenagers.
The adult test has 18 questions and takes less than 5minutes to complete. Based on the answers given, the test will provide depression and anxiety scores. This can be reassuring to some and also a critical stepping stone for further help to others.
The instrument includes links to further advice and when it may be good to speak to a GP. Finally, upon completion, the test also includes links to further helpful resources for mental health.
Why I like this test from a Grid perspective
From a Grid perspective and 1:1 coaching, what I especially appreciate about this test is the last question. It directly tests the extent to which the challenges probed are making everyday work and life at home difficult. It’s a great impact question. I have used this test with clients to help them:
- Understand what may be going on in their lives.
- Explore what is causing their stress and how this can be countered with the Grid approach.
- Use the scores over a 2-3month window to keep an eye on whether things are keeping steady, improving or getting worse.
- Track the impact of specific changes on one’s test score.
Grid helps people manage stress and anxiety
Feeling on top of things across the board means one is holistically productive. As today’s lives can be highly stressful such a balanced approach creates a healthy buffer against stress. Anxiety and depression can easily creep in when uncontrollable events combine with life’s challenges and family issues. With the Grid, we can actually do something about this that counters stress and overwhelm.
Grid was named one of the top 5 productivity tools
Get the Gloss named Grid one of the top 5 productivity tools of 2022 showing why the way it nurtures wellbeing matters. Grids and the gridding process offer a rich hand of psychological and health benefits that strike at the heart of today’s life challenges:
- Too much stress and poor sleep due to worry.
- Lack of rest and good self-care.
- The need to create healthier and more sustainable lifestyles: the goal of the 2022 Health Day Campaign.
- Effective practical strategies that work at the roots of low mood and depression in students and adults.
Next steps to manage your current stress levels
No matter what your stress levels are, if you’re reading this article, you’re on your way to doing something about it. Yay!
Below are neuro-informed and highly practical recommendations for action which are grouped by stress severity.
Short-term acute stress-busting activities
- Daily 1 minute of grounded breathing: breathe in for 4 counts, hold your breath for 2 counts and breathe out for 6 counts.
- A 10-20 minute daily fresh air break and gentle body movement that you can add to your day Grid self-care quadrant.
- Drawing a 3-part strip cartoon using stick figures where the first frame depicts your current stress, the last one what life will look like after it passes, and the middle one an in-between step that helps you get from left to right.
Practical ideas to tackle prolonged stress we recommend
- Our 90min drop-in Grid clinics will help you find meaningful solutions to your core challenge.
- Our Habit Builder Course, designed to experientially guide you to make one positive tweak to your life in just 2 weeks.
- Our Grid Introductory Course to help you develop healthy foundations for life and teach you the Grid method.
If you think you may have anxiety and/or depression we recommend
- Talking to someone you can trust about how you’re feeling.
- Finding a life coach or another professional to help you take pro-active steps toward making your life better.
- Speaking with your physician or mental health professional to explore appropriate intervention.
Do you have 5 more minutes to take a practical step right now?
Here are two options to help you take a decisive step towards managing stress and anxiety.
Our 25-week Grid starter pack
Put the magic of the Grid to work from day 1 and start a life-changing habit with our Get Productive Grid book and Weekly Grid Pad plus two bonus highlighters.
Take our Grid Life Satisfaction Quiz
Our 15-minute Life Satisfaction Quiz will help you take a step back, look at how your life has been going and make a good plan of action.