"When our entire being is in a state of balance and health," notes ayurveda">Ayurvedic consultant Jay Kumar, "nothing can throw us off." Finding this balance requires a different approach for each of us, depending on our nature. In the assessment below, circle the choices that reflect your most probable response to the given hypothetical situations. Note that the results will reveal your doshic imbalance (you under stress), not your predominant dosha (you in a balanced state). Be sure to consult an Ayurvedic physician for a full assessment, especially if stress presents a major problem in your life.
1. You never seem to have enough money. Now the bank has charged you for three bounced checks. How do you react?
a) I feel nervous and anxious.I'm afraid of what will happen if I don't get my finances together.
b) I'm angry about the bank fees and deeply frustrated, even bitter, about my financial situation.
c) I don't know what to do about my money problem, so I put off dealing with it.
2. Recent stress has begun to affect your sleep. What's the nature of the problem?
a) Insomnia makes it hard for me to fall asleep and stay asleep.
b) I get too hot; night sweats make me uncomfortable.
c) I sleep too much. I want to sleep all the time.
3. Your long-awaited trip to Paris is finally here. But as you tour the city with a group, your stress level mounts. Why?
a) I use my free hours to take in even more sights. But since I can't decide what to see, I hop from one place to another, seeing nothing in-depth.
b) I disagree with the tour guide's itinerary. I'm uncomfortable not being in control.
c) I find the packed schedule stressful. I want to go back to the hotel and relax.
4. You and your partner get into a big argument. What best characterizes your mood afterward?
a) I feel insecure and ungrounded.
b) My temper is shorter than usual. I'm irritable.
c) I'm depressed, deeply sorrowful, and lethargic.
5. You're at the park with friends playing soccer. But you're not enjoying yourself. Why?
a) I jumped into the action immediately and ran myself ragged. Now I'm exhausted.
b) I'm determined that my team win and frustrated by the fact that we're losing.
c) I don't naturally enjoy this level of physical exertion, nor do I like the element of competition.
6. Someone at work makes a critical remark about a project you've just completed. How do you react?
a) I worry that I should have worked harder on it and feel insecure about my abilities.
b) I confront her. Her criticism offends me.
c) I say nothing, then consolemy hurt feelings with a pint of Ben & Jerry's when I get home.
7. A yoga workshop you attended left you more stressed than relaxed. Why?
a) It was too slow, with long sessions of sitting meditation and not enough movement.
b) The teacher used heat, which I cant tolerate—even in small amounts.
c) I found it too strenuous, with too much flow.
8. Your brand-new car gets stolen off the street. How do you react?
a) I'm apprehensive. I panic and worry about what to do.
b) I'm furious. I deeply resent the person who did it.
c) I go into denial. I start taking the bus, thinking that my car will eventually show up again.
9. You've been having trouble with digestion. Stress is the source, but what are the symptoms?
a) I alternate between constipation and loose stools. I also have excess, sometimes painful, gas.
b) I have a burning feeling in my stomach, possibly caused by an ulcer.
c) I feel heaviness in my abdominal area, as if I'm not completely digesting my food.
10. You're listening to an engaging lecture on stress management, but you know you won't put any of the suggestions into practice. Why not?
a) When I do try a few tips, I quickly get distracted and move on to other projects.
b) I'm not convinced of the speaker's qualifications, and I'm skeptical whether she knows what she's talking about.
c) I tend to resist change. I also lack the motivation to give the ideas a try.
Tally your A, B, and C answers. A majority of A answers reflects a vata-imbalanced stress reaction, more Bs reflects a pitta imbalance, and more Cs reveals a kapha imbalance.
Jennifer Barrett is a YJ contributing editor.