4. How do you know you're stressed out?
a. My behavior changes. My junk food consumption skyrockets, my cravings for alcohol, cigarettes or caffeine intensify, and/or I have trouble making myself get off the couch.
b. I recognize my own warning signs like insomnia, headaches or digestive problems, and do something to address my stress level so I can get relief.
c. I wouldn't know if I have a stress warning sign because I'm so used to popping a pill for every twinge of mental or physical discomfort.
5. When it comes to your emotions, how private are you?
a. I feel pretty comfortable and stable in my own skin so I let most of my feelings show when it's appropriate.
b. I only feel comfortable sharing my highest highs and lowest lows. I don't usually reveal what I'm feeling in between.
c. I tend to bottle everything up inside. I don't really want people to know how I'm feeling.
6. When you feel like there are too many demands being made of you and you feel like screaming in frustration, you tend to:
a. Know myself well enough to recognize that I've hit emotional overload and pull out one of my trusty coping skills like taking a walk, calling a friend or doing something else to decompress.
b. Find myself watching more TV than usual, going shopping frequently or seeking other opportunities for emotional escape.
c. Find myself getting sucked into the eye of the storm without knowing how to help myself get out of it.
If you want me to send you the entire quiz, just drop me an e-mail. You can probably gauge from your responses to these sample questions, though, which of the below category you fall into.
1. You're emotionally as fit as a fiddle.
You're in touch with your feelings, and you have good coping mechanisms. While you have your ups and downs, you don't let setbacks keep you down. You have a strong support system that goes both ways.
2. Your emotional level could use a boost.
You're too easily upset by life's curveballs. You've got some good coping skills, but you need to build on them. Think about situations where you feel confident and think of ways you could transfer this confidence into areas in which you feel shakier. How could you better manage your moods?
How could you change the way you think about difficult situations? Could you cultivate some more supportive relationships?
3. You're not in tune with what's going on in your heart, mind or soul; and you're overwhelmed by the demands in your life.
This is your wake-up call. It's time to get to work on your emotional fitness. Start by taking baby steps. Learn to recognize your own feelings -- and their causes -- by trying to name them when they occur. Find one person you can trust and begin to confide in him or her. Reduce stress in your life: ask for help, set limits or delegate. Get a grip on your own mood management by practicing relaxation techniques or engaging in healthy problem-solving activities. Each successful change you make will encourage you to take more positive steps.
Put your own oxygen mask on first.
Linda Arnold, MBA, is a certified wellness instructor and chairwoman/CEO of The Arnold Agency, an advertising, public relations and government relations firm. Reader inquiries may be directed to Linda Arnold, The Arnold Agency, 117 Summers St., Charleston, WV 25301, or e-mailed to livinglifefu...@arnoldagency.com.