(As published in Localiiz)

HOW STRESSED ARE YOU? TAKE THIS QUIZ AND FIND OUT. THEN, WE’LL TELL YOU WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT.

If you live and work in Hong Kong, you probably experience stress on a daily basis. A simple taxi ride through Central can feel like you accidentally hopped in a car destined for the ‘Hong Kong Grand Prix’, and that’s just the start of your day. Combined with the Universal Stressors which include work, relationships, financial issues, health problems, parents and parenting issues, as well as seemingly harmless daily hassles and busy schedules – it all adds up.

So, how stressed are you? Take this quiz and find out. Then, we’ll tell you what to do about it.

SELF A-STRESS-MENT

Track and add up your points:

0 = never-  1 = almost never –  2 = sometimes-  3 = fairly often-  4 = very often

In the last month, how often have you…

·         Been upset because of something that happened unexpectedly?

·         Found your schedule so packed you felt like you needed to schedule a breather?

·         Missed appointments or been unable to cope with all the things that you had to do?

·         Been angered by something over which you had no control?

·         Felt that you were unable to control the important things in your life?

·         Felt overwhelmed by life or said, “I just have to get through the next three days…”

How did you do?

Below 10: Low stress and loving life.

11-15: Moderately stressed – welcome to Hong Kong.

16-24: Extremely stressed – stress is negatively impacting your quality of life. (And now knowing that is stressing you out even more. Yikes!)

Over 20: Consider seeking professional help. Seriously. This isn’t healthy – mentally or physically.

Each of us experiences stress differently. Chronic stress can interfere with learning and memory, lower immune function and bone density, increase weight, blood pressure and cholesterol, cue heart disease, and disrupt healthy sleep patterns. Over time, the physical effects can increase the risk of depression and mental illness, and lower life expectancy.

Learning to recognise your own stressors, listening to your body signals for stress and investing time in learning effective coping strategies to deal with these stressors can help reduce your experience of stress.

5 AMAZING STRESS-BUSTING TIPS:

·         Breathe. Learn to respond rather than react to situations. Twice – In through your nose, out through your mouth and clear your mind. Close your mouth and think. Now respond. Simply choosing to take a deep breath before reacting can change how you think and feel. You’ll keep your cool and make better decisions – an all-round winner.

·         Take care of your body. Seeking optimal physical health is a top priority. Twenty to 30 minutes of any aerobic activity, like walking, running, hiking, swimming, biking – done most days of the week will help clear your mind, provide “aha!” moments, help you sleep better,  and rebalance stress hormones. Avoid caffeine after 3pm, eat a balanced diet, and sleep at least 6 hours per night. Developing healthy eating habits and getting enough sleep are critical to combat the negative physical effects of stress.

·         Tend and befriend. Invest in a network of friends who help you cope in a positive way. Make an effort to spend real face-to-face time with loved ones who are there to listen and support you.

·         Own your calendar instead of your calendar owning you. Make a point to schedule time for yourself, your family, your friends, and activities that help you recharge. Take stock of activities and relationships that don’t enhance your career or personal life, and minimise the time you spend on them. Learn to respond to emails within working hours. After work, allow yourself to go offline. Prioritise your “to-do” list and outsource some of the most time-consuming tasks. When you see your calendar blowing up block time out to breathe.

·         There’s an App for that. Introducing and practicing effective and scientifically proven stress reduction techniques – like progressive muscle relaxation and mindfulness-based stress reduction – will help immensely. Potential Project has a great app (HK$32) with guided and custom mindfulness practices. You can even set reminders for when you aren’t being so mindful about being mindful.

TAKE THE ULTIMATE DE-STRESSOR CHALLENGE:

Kick it up a notch – schedule 20 minutes twice a day and grab your phone! With regular practice, you will feel like a completely different person in 2 weeks.

1.       Open Potential Project app and run one of the 10-minute Focus Training programs.

2.       Open 7-Minute Workout app and give your all for 7 glorious minutes of fitness.

3.       Re-open Potential Project, set the Silence with Bells for a minimum of 2 minutes, and either sit quietly or lay down in Savasana.

Read the original article HERE.

Dr. Quratulain Zaidi (BSc. Hons, MSc, MSc, PhD) is a mother and a member of the British Psychological Society and British Association Counselling & Psychotherapy and abides by the Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychology. She has lived in Hong Kong and Singapore for 12 years.  She specialises in assisting families with issues including parenting, teen issues, Cybersafety,  marriage guidance, post natal depression, stress and anxiety disorders, depression, bullying, eating disorders, OCD and self-harm. She is an expert in educational assessments and learning challenges in children, for example ADHD, ADD, Dyslexia and ASD.