Without getting too technical, it’s a *free* online tool that analyses the pitch, tone, pauses and word choices that you use as you speak into a voice recorder for 90 seconds (not saved, FYI), to determine how stressed you really are.
It’s the first of its kind, and it’s only just launched, so we can’t tell you it’ll change your life just yet, but it seems pretty legit.
Symptoms of stress are ambiguous at best. We’re told to watch out for increased anxiety (does anyone actually know what’s ‘normal’ or not?), changes in sleep patterns (that’s every day, then), and physical health changes (a.k.a. the basics of being a woman). All in all, if we go by these, we’ve got as much chance of telling whether we’re actually stressed as we have of becoming the next prime minister. That’s where Cigna’s StressWaves Test comes in.
Cigna, the medical insurance firm who produced it, says it uses an algorithm built upon the data from 15,000 adults with varying accents and levels of English-speaking ability.
The process is also a lot less stressful than using the standard symptoms as markers of stress, too. It’ll ask you to choose two topics to talk about for 1 and a half minutes from the following: current worries, self-care, relationship challenges and your health concerns.
The tool then provides the following instructions: choose any question provided in a list of four to move you to the recording page, then tap record and talk for as little or as much as you like, aiming for at least two questions, and speaking for 90 seconds or longer across both.
If you chose ‘health concerns’ as a topic, for example, questions that you’ll be asked include: how have you been feeling recently, and what worries you the most about your health? Current worries, meanwhile, will ask for replies to: what have you been worried about recently, and how does stress affect you?
When you’re done, it’ll rank you on a stress scale from ‘extremely stressed’ to ‘no stress’, and will give you some handy, albeit vague, advice.
When a member of team GLAMOUR took the test, their result was ‘moderately stressed’, which came with the below breakdown:
Your answers in the Stress Test indicate that your stress level is Moderate – which suggests you feel under pressure and that you may feel stuck.
Moderate stress can affect your mood and your body and typically manifests as feeling impatient and irritable, and getting head and muscle aches. If left unmanaged, moderate stress will continue harming your body and you may find it affects your personal relationships too. Your heart and digestive health may deteriorate and you are likely to be tenser and perhaps even hostile to the people around you. The good news is that moderate stress can usually be addressed quite easily, through small changes.
Of course, we’d recommend consulting a GP or a registered therapist for tips and tricks on feeling more zen that are specifically tailored to you, but if the tool means avoiding the stress that, ironically, comes from trying to identify stress with the traditional symptoms, we’re all for it.