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The Self Stress Test
Your doctor may not ask about your emotional health as part of routine checkups. So how can you tell if you—and your heart—are feeling especially put-upon?

Here's a self test adapted from the Perceived Stress Scale, a psychological tool that's used in studies to assess how stressful you view your life to be (whether you realize it or not). Start by taking stock of your thoughts and feelings during the past month. Now ask yourself the following questions:
  • How often have I been upset because of something that happened unexpectedly?
  • How often have I felt that I was unable to control the important things in my life?
  • How often have I found that I could not cope with all the things I had to do?
  • How often have I been angered because of things that were outside my control?

    If you found yourself answering "often" or "very often" to most of these questions, it's fair to say you've had a rough month and could be experiencing lingering effects. Your answers don't mean that you or your heart is about to explode—this isn't a diagnostic tool. But it can help you gain perspective and identify when you need to get serious about de-stressing.