Keeping a stress diary is important for understanding the causes of short-term stress in your life and gives an important insight into how you react to certain stressful situations.
As well as helping you capture and analyse the most common sources of stress in your life, a stress diary can help you to understand:
- The stress levels you prefer
- What triggers your stress
- How you operate under pressure
- How to develop better coping strategies
The idea is that, on a regular basis, you record information about the stresses you’re experiencing, so that you can analyse these stresses and then manage them.
When keeping a stress diary record the following:
- Date and Time
- The Intensity of Stress on a scale of 0-10
- Log the situation (circumstances, location and people), for example, stuck in traffic on your way to work
- Record the fundamental cause of the event, for example, you were running late because you didn’t want to get out of bed
- Write down your emotional and behavioural reactions, i.e. your feelings about the event, for example, feeling frustrated at not arriving to work on time
- Write down what you have learned from the event, for example, setting the alarm 10 minutes earlier and gettting up when the alarm goes off.
After a few weeks, you should analyse your stress diary to discover your optimum stress levels and understand what triggers unpleasant stress. More importantly, from this you can make an ‘Action Plan’to control it. This action plan might include actions you are going to take to control of, or contain stressful situations, as well as ways to reduce the feelings of stress such as exercising, changing your diet, or improving the quality of your environment.
Further reading is available on the NHS website.
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