Stressed? Me?

Jim Still-Pepper

Annoyed Redhead2 TSP 174262414If you can’t manage stress, stress will manage you!

Negative, tense times produce stress; but so do wonderful, exciting times. Stress can pile up and leave us feeling buried. Take this Stress Test to determine how much stress is affecting you.


Stress Test

If any of these events has happened to you in the last six months or if you know it will happen in the next three months, circle the corresponding number of points.

Your parent dies.  ….. (100 points)

Your parents divorce.  ….. (80 points; add 25 points for a stressful divorce)

Your parents separate.  ….. (73 points; add 15 points for a stressful separation)

You are sexually molested.  ….. (73 points)

Your home is dysfunctional.  ….. (68 points)

Your parent travels as part of his or her job.  ….. (63 points)

A close family member dies.  ….. (63 points)

You are ill or injured.  ….. (53 points)

Your parent remarries.  ….. (50 points)

Your parent gets fired.  ….. (40 points)

Your parents reconcile.  ….. (40 points)

Your mother works.  ….. (39 points)

A family member’s health changes.  ….. (38 points)

Your mother is pregnant.  ….. (38 points)

You have difficulties in school.  ….. (38 points)

A sibling is born.  ….. (36 points)

You go to a new school.  ….. (34 points)

Your family’s financial situation changes.  ….. (32 points)

A close friend is ill or injured.  ….. (30 points)

You start a new extracurricular activity.  ….. (28 points)

The number of fights you have with siblings changes.  ….. (28 points)

You are threatened by violence at school.  ….. (28 points)

Your personal possessions are stolen.  ….. (27 points)

Your responsibilities at home change.  ….. (25 points)

Your older sibling leaves home.  ….. (25 points)

You have trouble with your grandparents.  ….. (23 points)

You experience outstanding personal achievement.  ….. (20 points)

You adjust to changes at school (new teacher, new class).  ….. (20 points)

You move to another city.  ….. (20 points)

You move to another part of town.  ….. (19 points)

You move to a new house.  ….. (19 points)

You get or lose a pet.  ….. (17 points)

Your personal habits change.  ….. (15 points)

You have trouble with a teacher.  ….. (15 points)

You experience changes at work.  ….. (15 points)

You can’t play the way you used to.  ….. (12 points)

You take a vacation with your family.  ….. (12 points)

Your friends change.  ….. (12 points)

You go to summer camp.  ….. (11 points)

Your sleeping habits change.  ….. (11 points)

The number of family get-togethers changes.  ….. (11 points)

Your eating habits change.  ….. (10 points)

The time you spend watching TV changes.  ….. (10 points)

You have a birthday party.  ….. (9 points)

You are punished for lying.  ….. (9 points)

You are a teenager.  ….. (1,558,551 points)


Add up the numbers you circled. (OK, the last one is a joke. Don’t add it to your total, even if you feel it’s true.)

Total Score: _______


What Does Your Score Mean?

Below 150

Your stress level is low. Celebrate! Thank God for this opportunity to relax. Figure out healthy ways to handle stress so that you can prepare for times when your stress level is higher.


Your stress level is high. Find better ways to cope with stress. Look back through this week’s meditations for suggestions to help reduce stress, and ask God to help you.

Over 300

You are in the danger zone. Make changes in the situations you can control. Talk to an adult you trust, and figure out ways to reduce and to deal with your stress now!

(NOTE: This test is for your general information and does not constitute medical advice. If you are concerned about anything you circled or about your total score, please talk with a counselor or with an adult you trust.)



Place tissue paper on the bottom of a cardboard paper towel roll; secure it with a rubber band. Hold a fork above the tube and drop it through the tube. (Caution: The fork will break through the tissue paper, so don’t let it land on your toes!) How does this demonstration relate to your stress?

Repeat the process; but before you drop the fork, put a few inches of uncooked rice in the bottom of the tube. Does the tissue hold?

The rice is like stress management, providing protection and support. What gives you inner strength and helps to protect you from stress?

Read Luke 10:38–42. One of the women managed stress well; the other was managed by stress. What lifestyle changes can you make and what habits can you adopt to help you manage stress in healthier ways?

Jim Still-Pepper , a therapist in Zanesville, Ohio, uses this stress test in his work with teens and their families.

—from devozine (September/October 2007). Copyright © 2007 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.

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