Chronic stress exposure is linked to health and performance deficits including mental disorders, chronic diseases, and metabolic conditions. Stress management is an active process of coping with internal or external stressors to prevent or dampen biological and psychological strain. To enrich analysis of the causes and the effects of stress, the process of transitioning between “stressed” and “not stressed” is quantified here with a novel, 4-item instrument that prompts participants to self-report on the temporal nature of stress emergence and dissipation. Participants use visual analog scales (VAS) to record stress intensity (with responses recorded through a rating scale represented as a thermometer icon), stress frequency (as a calendar icon), speed of onset of stress (as a speedometer icon), and speed of recovery from stress (as a speedometer icon). This longitudinal study of six crewmembers during an 8-month simulated Mars mission has shown that the self-reported stress intensity is correlated to the perception of how quickly stress emerges and how slowly stress dissipates. These results indicate that stress is perceived as most intense when it emerges suddenly and then lingers on, slowly dissipating. This novel instrument is named SIFOR which is pronounced as “Sigh-Four” as a reminder for participants to take a moment to sigh then evaluate the four items of this self-report instrument. SIFOR results have shown agreement with the validated 10-item Perceived Stress Scale, demonstrating the potential for using SIFOR as both a research and clinical tool for stress monitoring. Self-reported data from SIFOR of how stress emerges and dissipates is useful for comparing the impact of various stressor types, evaluating stress coping strategies, and promoting resilient responses.