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Welcome to The Globe and Mail's Quality of Life survey, presented in conjunction with Howatt HR Consulting. Click here to take our survey, measure your life stress levels, find out your Quality of Life score and determine how well you are coping with life overall.

How much life stress are you experiencing today?

When we refer to life stress, we are talking about life beyond just the workplace and its associated demands. Many people who are not working in a traditional workplace (such as stay-at-home parents) have plenty of stress.

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Life stress can originate from many sources, such as finances, balancing the demands of home and work, raising a family, caring for a family member, being unable to find time for yourself, or enjoy the benefits of supportive friendships, and dealing with the challenges of keeping a loving relationship intact.

The stress of struggling to pay bills or managing debt negatively impacts many individuals in Canada. In fact, nearly 65,000 consumers faced bankruptcy in the last year.

Another stress is divorce. In Canada, it is estimated that 70,000 people get divorced each year, and 33 per cent of first marriages end in divorce.

The Globe and Mail's Your Life at Work survey focuses on employees and the stresses they face in their work life. The goal is to provide an opportunity to self-evaluate stress, coping, engagement and health levels. The sum of the four scales defines the employee's Quality of Work Life score.

To add to this conversation, the Quality of Life survey takes a more global look at life satisfaction. Each of us has a defined amount of energy to manage all the demands of life. How much we use for work, for example, determines how much we have left for home.

This survey has four scales to help you examine your overall life satisfaction. The stress scale examines common life stressors that many face on a daily basis. The engagement scale indicates how engaged and active you are and your current level of fulfillment in these activities. The impact of stress scale measures how life stressors are impacting your overall quality of life, and the coping scale measures how effectively you are coping with stress. The sum of these four scales defines your Quality of Life risk index.

Similar to the Your Life at Work survey, once you complete this survey you will see your score.

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We anticipate that some will compare their Quality of Work Life scores to their Quality of Life scores. This may uncover insights and perspectives that may help make decisions to improve overall life satisfaction. The first step for change is awareness.

Similar to what we have done over the past year with the Your Life at Work study, the findings from this survey will spark ideas for articles and ideas that can be shared on how to improve your overall life satisfaction.

A person's satisfaction with their life influences their happiness both at home and at work. When an individual does not feel satisfied they often start to search for alternatives that may not always be in their best interest to cope with life's challenges. They may seek relief through overeating, the Internet, video games, drugs or alcohol. All of these have one purpose: to provide an escape from life so the individual doesn't have to solve their problems.

The first step a person can take is to get their own benchmark of where they are now. If the results are not where you want to be, you can continue on the same track or start to make changes and look for alternatives. Behavioural change starts with awareness; happiness and peace come from action.

Bill Howatt (@billhowatt) is president of Howatt HR Consulting in Kentville, N.S.

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