Keep a Stress Diary
When you commit to keeping a Stress Diary, you gain important insight into how you react to stress. This allows you to better channel your energy into performing as you choose to and not as the result of the unidentified stress that has a foothold in your life.
You will begin by recording, each day, information about the stresses you are experiencing. Your goal will be to analyze these stresses and then better manage them.
Here is an example of a day one entry:
. Woke up late (alarm did not go off)
. Got the kids off to school in an awful rush, very cranky
. Arrived to work without any breakfast, feeling like a zombie
. Short-tempered with co-workers all day
. Picked up kids from school and nearly bit their heads off
. Locked myself in my room.
. Stayed in room entire night, sleeping and watching TV, had a bath
Your Stress Diary will better help you to understand:
> What causes your stress in more detail?
> Level of stress that you operate at most efficiently
> How do you react to stress? Are your reactions appropriate and useful?
When you write your Stress Diary each day, you will gain valuable insight that will help you to manage stress more proactively.
So that you can best analyze your stress, include the following information:
*Date and time of each entry
*How do you feel right now? On a scale of 1 – 10 with 1 being miserable and 10 being ecstatic
*Record your mood on a scale of 1 – 10 with 1 being low and 10 being very happy
*Record how effective you feel you are on a scale of 1 – 10 with 1 being very ineffective and 10 being highly effective
*How stressed out do you feel? On a scale of 1 – 10 with 1 being in a Zen state and 10 feeling like you are crawling out of your skin
*What stress symptom do you feel?
*How did you handle the stress?
Analyze your Stress Diary
Commit to making daily entries into your diary over a reasonable period of time. After a period of about 4 weeks, you should be able to start to see patterns.
Some of your behaviors which are provoked by stress will be repeated on a regular basis. Make a list of those behaviors that you see most often. These will be the stressors in your daily life you will want to learn to control first.
Next, look at the causes of these obvious stressors. Also, look at how well you managed them on a day-by-day basis. When you can identify areas where you can learn to manage your stress responses better, list those.
List all of the every day events of your life that cause you stress and list how these events made you feel.
By now you can see the contrast in what events cause you the most stress compared to what events cause you the least. You can now see at what stress level you can function best. Your goal now will be to lessen the stress in your life by managing how you deal with stressful situations and you can do this by responding to the stress in your life in a more proactive/positive manner.