__ Do you have little time for hobbies or time by yourself?
__ Do you have a tendency to talk quickly or hasten conversations?
__ Do you consider yourself a hard-driving individual?
__ Do your friends or relatives consider you hard driving?
__ Do you have a tendency to get involved in multiple projects?
__ Do you have a lot of deadlines in your daily life?
__ Do you feel vaguely guilty if you relax and do nothing during leisure?
__ Do you take on too many responsibilities?
If your score is between 20 and 30, chances are you are nonproductive or your life lacks stimulation.
A score between 31 and 50 designates a good balance in your ability to handle and control stress.
If you tallied up a score ranging between 51 and 60, your stress level is marginal, and you are bordering on being excessively tense.
If your total number of points exceeds 60, you may be a candidate for heart disease.
Now that you know your score, you can look at the specific triggers in your daily life for clues as to what creates stress for you. Go back and check out the statements that you rated a 4.
If you have the habit of doing more than one thing at a time, maybe you could try less multitasking. Or you could make a conscious effort to slow down at caution lights instead of speeding up. (Note to self.) Be willing to ask for help with a problem from time to time. And see if you can actually enjoy the process of a game or a sport, rather than the outcome.
If you're impatient with delays, why not have something with you to read - or a crossword puzzle to work? Some folks carry around cards to dash off a quick note while waiting at the doctor's office.
On the other hand, you can look at the statements which you rated a 1 or 2 and give yourself a pat on the back. These are areas in which you've mastered a better balance in your life.
Obviously, some situations are out of our control. However, if you can take small steps in those areas that are within your control, you may be surprised at the overall positive effects on your life - mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually.
Life is not a race, although sometimes we act like it is. As the saying goes, we often turn into "human doings" instead of "human beings."
Here's to longer fuses!
Linda Arnold, MBA, is a certified wellness instructor and chairwoman and chief executive officer of The Arnold Agency, a marketing communications firm in Charleston. Reader comments may be directed to Linda Arnold, The Arnold Agency, 117 Summers St., Charleston, WV 25301, or e-mailed to livinglifefu...@arnoldagency.com.