Some stress is normal, and brief or mild stress can even be beneficial. In a fast-paced or potentially dangerous situation, stress prepares the body to act with a faster pulse, more oxygen intake, muscles ready to move, and a brain ready to think. Although we don’t have to face off against wild animals anymore (well, at least most of the time), unexpected events that are emotionally loaded trigger the same fight-or-flight response. This response is useful when you’re in a life-threatening situation, but repeated activation over a long period of time takes a toll on your body. The PSS-10 test can give you a pretty good idea of your own perception of stress. In simple terms, it can easily help you figure out whether or not your experienced stress levels are normal for you. However, this test will not tell you how and why you are experiencing stress. Introduced by researchers Cohen, Kamarck, and Mermelstein in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, the PSS is widely acknowledged, clinically validated, and used by many reputable medical services. The questions in this test ask about your feelings and thoughts during the last month. You will be asked to indicate how often you felt or thought a certain way. Although some of the questions are similar, there are differences between them and you should treat each one as a separate question.
Cohen, S., Kamarck, T., & Mermelstein, R. (1983). A global measure of perceived stress. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 24(4), 385–396.