Naked Science Forum

General Science => General Science => Topic started by: katieHaylor on 15/09/2017 10:01:21

Title: How can we measure stress?
Post by: katieHaylor on 15/09/2017 10:01:21
Johan asks:

I realise that how stressed I feel is not necessarily a reliable indicator of how stressed I actually am. And getting it tested properly could be expensive and impractical.
So, how can this be tested in a practical way in my own daily life, and how do I help my team keep track of their actual stress as opposed to just asking them how they feel today?

What do you think?
Title: Re: How can we measure stress?
Post by: Colin2B on 15/09/2017 11:38:55
There are quite a few indicators that are easy to administer, such as skin conductivity, skin temperature, heart rate, blood pressure the problem is calibrating them to a specific level for each person.
Also difficult to differentiate between good and bad stress. We all need some stress to keep us going and at first the stress/performance graph will show rising performance with stress level, however, the the problem occurs when stress reaches such a level that the curve starts a downward slope and performance falls. This point depends on a lot of factors including how much sleep and switch off time you get.
I did some work with a team measuring physical indicators and looking at how the team reacted to stress, we found that the best solution was internal assessment of stress level plus using team processes to monitor and reduce stressors.
Title: Re: How can we measure stress?
Post by: helter on 18/09/2017 10:15:22
There are people who are stressed yet still have high energy to do other things, thus doesn't get affected much by stress.
Title: Re: How can we measure stress?
Post by: evan_au on 18/09/2017 13:07:39
Scientists often measure changes in stress in humans and animals by levels of the hormone cortisol.
Since different individuals operate at different levels of cortisol, it is best used to compare an individual in unstressed and highly stressed situations. It can be collected from blood, saliva or urine, so it can be collected fairly readily.


An even less intrusive (and probably less accurate) method: my fitness band reports how long I sleep, and my resting heart rate while I am asleep. 8 hours is probably a good goal for daily sleep.