Dr Oz: The Great American Stress Test
Dr Oz’s Stress Test, called The Great American Stress Test, is a new way to figure out just how much stress we have in our lives. Doctor Oz said that half of all women say that their stress has increased in the past 5 years. In fact, 2/3 of all doctor’s visits are now related to stress. How much stress do we carry? What is the best way to measure stress? Dr Oz was joined by Dr John M Kennedy, another Cardiologist, to talk about this Stress Test. Answer each of the following yes / no questions and count the number of times that you answer yes.
Dr Oz’s Stress Test
1. Do You Rarely Get More Than 6 Hours Of Sleep?
Dr Oz said that 49% of women have problems sleeping at night from stress. We get thoughts racing through our minds and just cannot relax. Stress interferes with our Serotonin levels, which help you to sleep properly. If you are getting less than 6 hours of sleep every night, you increase your risk of having High Blood Pressure, Diabetes, High Cholesterol and Heart Disease.
2. Do You Often Get Upset When Driving In Heavy Traffic?
Dr Oz found a lady who gets nervous, shakes and sweats when she is driving in and out of traffic. Dr John Kennedy evaluated the results of her Zephyr BioHarness Stress Monitor, which she wore while driving to work. As soon as she pulled out of her driveway, her heart rate spiked. Then there was another spike when she drove by a police car and again when she got stuck in traffic. Being stuck in traffic increases our stress because we are confined to a small space for an indefinite amount of time, and we get nervous about being late. Dr Kennedy said that people had have Heart Attacks are three times more likely to have been stuck in traffic just an hour prior to the onset of symptoms of the Heart Attack.
3. Do You Get Stress Related Headaches At Least Once A Day?
Doctor Oz said that over 1/3 of Americans report getting headaches from stress. If you answered yes, add a point to your score.
4. Do You Often End Up In Heated Arguments?
Dr Kennedy said that this question probes into a gender-specific difference in how we respond to stress. When we argue, our heart rate and blood pressure go up as much as they do during a marathon. However, recovering from a marathon takes less time than recovering from a heated argument. Women seem to get this point much more than men.
5. Do You Constantly Worry That You Don’t Have Enough Money To Meet Your Needs?
Dr Oz placed a Zephyr BioHarness Stress Monitor on Stephanie while she paid her bills. She said that she is going through a divorce and its a big financial burden, so she worries a lot about her bills. Stephanie’s Heart Rate spiked when she looked at her bank statements and when she opened her bills. Doctor Oz said that 66% of Americans are worried about having enough money to pay their bills, which increases your risk of Metabolic Syndrome that includes things like Insulin Resistance and High Cholesterol. Also, when we are stressed over money we tend to eat poorly, exercise less and we reach for bad habits like smoking cigarettes. Stephanie said that she worries that she will forget to pay her bills or that she won’t have enough money to pay her bills.
6. Do You Often Get Neck & Shoulder Pain During The Day?
Dr Oz said that 1/4 of women report muscle tension problems. Animals in the wild put up their shoulders to protect their necks, and we do the same exact thing – it is a natural response. There are two muscles that you should tell your spouse (or whoever gives you massages) to focus on: the Trapezius Muscle and the Rhomboid Muscles. The Trapezius Muscle is the muscle that moves your shoulders up and down and are usually the muscles people massage in your shoulders. The Rhomboid Muscles are just as important though and Doctor Oz showed how to massage them by trying to go beneath the shoulder blade. He said there is also a great pressure point in this area.
7. By 6 PM Do You Feel Worn Out & Exhausted?
Dr Oz said that this is called Stress Related Fatigue because you should not be exhausted by 6 pm. If you get exhausted by 11 pm, then that is a completely different story and much less worrisome.
8. Do You Feel There Is Never Sufficient Time In The Day To Get Everything Done?
Doctor Oz said that he is most guilty of this stress causer, so he tracked his stress using a Zephyr BioHarness Stress Monitor for a couple of days. During those days he was on Good Morning America, did two surgeries at the hospital, taped an episode of The Doctor Oz Show, met with producers and went to the hair and makeup division to get ready for his show. Dr John M Kennedy said that Dr Oz was most stressed when he was stuck in traffic and right before going on the show, which is most likely just pre-game jitters. He also had a spike right before starting surgery, but the good thing is that Dr Oz remained calm, cool and collected from the second he began surgery until the end – which makes him an excellent doctor!
Dr Oz: Stress Test Results
After adding up all of the times you answered “yes” to the questions above, lets see how you did:
0-1 “yes” answers = low stress
2-4 “yes” answers = medium stress (this is the category that Dr Oz fell in)
5-8 “yes” answers = high stress
Dr Oz said that if you fall in the 5-8 “yes” category, then you might be putting yourself at risk for Burning Out. Definitely also read the Dr Oz recap on Burnout here: Dr Oz: Burnout vs Stress!