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Stress Management for Health Course

Stressful Thinking Self Test


Read each of the ten short scenarios below.  Choose one of the four statements which follows each scenario that most aptly describes what your thinking would be if you found yourself in this situation.  Simply circle the number that precedes the statement you choose.


1.        Your significant other is meeting you for lunch at 12 noon.  Its now 12:30, your first thoughts are:  1. He/she probably got stuck in traffic and will be here any minute.   2. It's annoying when people are late. 3. I'm worried, maybe he/she got in an accident.  4. Perhaps something terrible has happened.


2.        You are waiting at an unusually long traffic light.  There is no other traffic in sight.  Your thoughts are:  1. Completely unrelated to the wait (i.e., this song on the radio is my favourite.)  2. This wait is a bit annoying.  3.  This is the longest light I've ever seen.  4. Who's the idiot who programmed this light to be so long?  There are no cops around; maybe I'll just go through it.


3.   Your boss asks you to work late on Friday.  As you nod your head yes, your thoughts are:  1. This is a nuisance but it doesn't happen too often so I can deal with it this time.  2. This seems unfair; why doesn't he do it himself?  3. This is awful; I shouldn't have to stay late on a Friday.  4. That jerk, who does he think he is?  This kind of request is intolerable.


4.        Your mother calls and simply inquires why you haven't visited her lately.  Your thoughts are:  1. She's right, it has been a while.  2. It's a bit annoying to feel as though I have to visit her.  3. She does this to me on purpose, I know it, she knows it makes me feel guilty.  4. I can't stand it when she asks me that question.  It makes me crazy!


5.        You get turned down for a promotion.  It's been a year since your last one.  Your thoughts are:  1. It's OK, I can't expect a promotion every year.  2. I can't help it.  This bothers me.  3. They don't appreciate me in this place and this is proof of it.  4. I think my boss has it out for me.  I hate this job.


6.        Your neighbour has his stereo turned up all the way.  You can hear it through the walls of your apartment.  Your thoughts are:  1. I guess he's having a good time.  If it goes on much later I'll call him and ask him to turn it down.  2. It bothers me when he plays it that loud.  I'll just call him and let him know.  3. This isn't right, he should have more respect for his neighbours.  4. The jerk.  Anybody who is that inconsiderate probably wont even bother to turn it down if I do call him.


7.   Your significant other finds you've left a wet towel on the bed and asks that you never do it again.  Your thoughts are:  1. He/she's right. I'll make an effort to change.  2. He or she is over reacting, but I can deal with it.  3. Why is he/she always criticizing me?  4. He/she should talk, he/she's just as bad as I am.  Maybe worse!


8.         It rains on the day you planned to have an outdoor picnic.  Your thoughts are:  1. Well postpone it to another day.  No big deal.  2. I was counting on good weather.  This is annoying, but I guess I can deal with it.  3. I can't believe it rains on the one day I plan to have a picnic!  4. This stinks.  It always rains when I plan something like this.  Now we'll never be able to have this picnic!


9.        You're leaving your house for work and discover your car has a flat tyre.  Your thoughts are:  1. I can change this myself or call AA or get someone to help me.  I'll be on my way in no time.  2. What a nuisance.  Flat tyres are a pain, but I can get this fixed and I won't be too late.       3. This is the worst.  I just can't deal with this.  4. Why does this stuff always happen to me?  My boss is never going to understand why I am late again.


10.    You discover that a letter has been sent which you signed, but has several mistakes in it.  It was typed by your assistant and signed by you personally.  Your thoughts about this are: 1. I should have proofed the letter more carefully when I signed it.  Next time I'll be more careful.  2. These kind of mistakes are annoying, but it happens.  I can deal with it.  3. He should have proofed the letter before he gave it to me.  It's his fault.  4. This is awful.  I can't stand it when letters go out with typos.  It makes us look like idiots.


Total Score ___________




Find out what your score means:       



To compute your score simply add up all the numbers you circled.

If your score is:



10-14         You are the most rational thinker on the planet.  You should be considered for sainthood.



15-19         You are very rational.  Life is full of annoying surprises, but for the most part you handle them well.



20-24         You are rational most of the time.  Sometimes you let disturbances get under your skin which causes you to be irrational.



25-29         You are on the border.  Your thinking is sometimes irrational.  Try to look at things more objectively.  Think things through.



30-34         You are easily upset.  Reading a book on cognitive therapy may be helpful.



35-40         Your thinking is often irrational.  You get upset and angry at the drop of a hat.  You feel the world is treating you unfairly.  You may need professional help working through your distorted thinking.


(Ref: Audio Vision/Stress Stop.com, The Cognitive Restructuring Workbook for Managing Stress 1999)

Click here to be taken to Rational Beliefs Inventory

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