Measuring your stress

One thing I realised during the course of my life is that while I can tell when I’m stressed out, I often underestimate just how stressed I am. Like let’s say I had a bad day, now I feel slightly sad and pissed off, which is okay, what else can you expect from a bad day. But then, sometimes someone will be talking to me after a bad day and I get so annoyed with them that I just want to snap at them and bite their head off. That’s when I realise I’m actually more stressed out than I first thought I was.

It’s when stuff like that happens that I wish there was some kind of stress thermometer so that I knew just how stressed I was and that I needed to take a chill pill. I kept on thinking about it and then I decided I’m going to see if something like that actually exists, and well this is what I found.

Oddly enough there are a bunch of online tests and even a few apps meant to measure your stress. I tried out a few of them to see how reliable they were (even the apps, but only the free ones).

I found the online tests to be surprisingly accurate, the questions they asked were relevant (more or less) and they were all multiple choice so you just had to choose the answer which applied to you. Of course you have to be brutally honest with yourself when you’re answering the questions, no short cuts or telling yourself “well yes this does happen to me but isn’t that bad,” when you see the question. You either be truthful or don’t take the test. I’ll leave the links to some of tests I found down below, in case you’re interested and feel like taking it yourself.

As for the apps, I actually found those to be disappointing. When I searched for stress measuring apps, it gave me a list of mostly stress management apps, which is nice but not what I was looking for. The few apps I did find which were supposed to measure stress, were basically heart beat monitor apps which told you your stress level based on your heart rate. Most of the time it couldn’t even detect my heart or it would give me a reading which I didn’t think was right. Now, maybe I’m using it wrong or maybe my phone isn’t sensitive enough for this sort of thing, but overall I didn’t like the apps, especially when I compare them to the online tests.

While I was taking the online tests, I learnt about something called the perceived stress scale or PSS. It’s a psychological test which is used to measure stress and it is the most used test in practice. I found a PDF titled Perceived Stress Scale of the process and realised that a lot of the online tests I took are a complete rip-off of this test; not all of them but quite a few. I suppose it’s a testament to how good the test is, and to be fair, they probably have every right to use it, after all it’s not like I’m going to go to the local library, find the test, take it and then grade myself, that’s stress inducing by itself. These websites have made it lot easier to take the tests and I thank them for that.

Anyway it’s nice to know that there is a way to measure how stressed out I am. Now all I have to do is convince my boss that it’s a legit test and that I am stressed out and could use a break. Between you and me though, I don’t think he’s going to care.

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