There are many different factors that can cause a vulnerability to stress according to the questionnaire developed by Miller and Smith. Some of the factors that stood out to me while taking the survey included topics such as religion, hot meals, and making quiet time for myself. There are more factors to stress than just what causes our stress, and sometimes we don’t realize how much our everyday lives play into our reactions to stress. These different areas of our lives make us less or more vulnerable to the stress that arises and if we spend conscious time thinking about these different factors and ensuring we are taking good care of ourselves, we are much more likely to handle stress as it occurs and not allowing it to blossom into a larger issue we are not able to handle.
Items for me that were higher than a 3 were eating a hot and balanced meal each day, giving and receiving affection regularly, having a relative nearby on whom I can rely, exercising regularly, having an adequate income, getting strength from religion, speaking openly of my feelings when angry, and taking quiet time for myself each day. My total score came to 30, putting me just at the line of having some vulnerability to stress. While at some level I was aware that I was vulnerable to stress, it had never occurred to me that there were areas of my life I wasn’t paying as much attention to or focusing on that relates to keeping healthy and reducing my vulnerability to stress.
There are some areas that I do not need to worry as much on, though, such as smoking, drinking, being overweight, having bad health, or having regular conversations with those I live with. These are areas that are positive for me and do not have an impact on my stress or my vulnerability to stress at this time. However, I realize I need to take measures to ensure these stay positive areas and that I don’t neglect them in the future, because it is not guaranteed that it will always be easy to keep these areas stress-free for me.
Many of these factors seem to be normal for most people who now have to balance many areas of life at one time, such as working and going to school full time while raising a family. It does not seem unusual to be at a higher risk for stress vulnerability because it feels as if stress is higher than it has ever been for all people. More is expected and desired, and we work hard to achieve our goals while self-care is neglected and even looked down upon at times.
Some ways I can work to improve my vulnerability factors include ensuring I take time to fix myself a good meal each day, working out more regularly, and taking more time for myself each day. There are many things that occupy my time, as is often normal in people’s lives nowadays, but I have learned it is important to make time, even when I feel I don’t have time, to keep myself healthy and positive. Self-care is useful as well because when we are kinder to ourselves, it is easier to have more positive interactions in our day, which may lead to less stress and better resistance to vulnerabilities.
To summarize, this questionnaire has made me more aware of the areas I tend to neglect in my life, and where I need to focus more attention on keeping positive energy and care in to keep me healthy and less susceptible to stress. This is important to remember so that stress does not cause problems when trying to achieve my goals, and ultimately my dreams. Neglecting myself and my stress levels and vulnerabilities now will only lead to more stress and problems later on in my life. I believe this survey is helpful in understanding what the hardest areas are for us and what the easy areas are so that we can know where to put our effort in improving our lives. It’s also important to keep coming back to this and reevaluating because our lives are not constant and things can change quickly and we may need to employ new strategies in our lives for ensuring we are healthy, positive, and have excellent resistance to stress.