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Stress Diary Journal

A Self-Help tool to effectively manage your stress

‘How can you deal with it if you do not know what it is!’ Stress demands affect each one of us differently and we respond and react in our own unique way. The skills and strategies we have at our disposal help us make the most of our situation and we try to cope as best as we can. Sometimes this though, is not enough and we feel excessively overwhelmed, and cope by using what we have learnt along the way, be it good or bad. At times we even refuse to acknowledge we may have reached ‘burnout’. All the warning signals can be evident, yet we may tend to ignore this and press on, based on our beliefs, our motivations and the demands we have to conform to. It may become bewildering and confusing to determine what it is that is stressing us, and worse still, what to do about it…

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What is a Stress Diary? How can it help & Why would I need it? Stress has become synonymous with our normal life and seems such a natural part it. It accompany us every day in different forms and situations. Distinguishing what is essential to motivate us to do things, in contrast to the ever infringing hidden demands placed on us or that we place upon ourselves, is the delicate balancing act of Managing stress. The truth is though, that managing stress is a daily process, in every thought, situation and action. It becomes a skill mastered and practiced regularly and from this competency, it truly becomes stress ‘managing’. So, how would using a Stress Diary Journal help in managing my stress better? Easy – as shown in the uniquely designed and top recommended stress management tool by stress professionals, it shows you exactly: where you stress, when you stress, what you are stressing about, who you stress with, how you stress and more importantly why you stress. This is essential to know, for ‘is it not logical to identify it before you can deal with it?’

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This is the Solution With this interactive, self help tool, the stress diary journal, your competence at managing your stress becomes so much easier. It is invaluable. By using a Stress Diary Journal and doing your daily entries for the 4 week period, you will become so much more aware of the impact stress has on you, as an individual. As we all experience stress in a totally unique and different way and on a different level, both on a daily and long-term basis, this Diary Journal becomes a personal and confidential insight into how you think about, react, respond and adapt to stressful events. Once you start your daily entries you’ll begin to see the connections between your stress symptoms, the source of your stress, your awareness of your coping skills, your stress triggers and its impact on your behaviour and you as a person.

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What does the Diary Journal do for me? Stress Diaries are important for understanding the causes of short-term stress in your life. They also give you an important insight into how you react to stress, and help you to identify the level of stress at which you prefer to operate. The idea behind Stress Diaries is that on a regular basis, you record information about the stresses you are experiencing, so that you can analyse these stresses and then manage them. This is important because often these stresses flit in and out of our minds without getting the attention and focus that they deserve. As well as helping you capture and analyse the most common sources of stress in your life, Stress Diaries help you to understand: • The causes of stress in more detail; • The levels of stress at which you operate most effectively; and • How you react to stress, and whether your reactions are appropriate and useful. Stress Diaries, therefore, give you the important information that you will identify and know, that is causing you stress. It also allow you to see your stress in perspective, including the ability to see the bigger picture and yet reflect on the more intense details, to highlight difficulties, problems and explore alternative options. www.stressdiaries.com


How to use it Stress Diaries are useful in that they gather information regularly and routinely, over a period of time. This helps you to separate the common, routine stresses from those that only occur occasionally. They establish a pattern that you can analyse to extract the information that you need. These patterns are essential. Your individual entries or stressful incidents may be seen as isolated incidents, but then these isolated incidents may occur more frequently or regularly over a period of time. When you complete your entries the pattern where these incidents keep appearing will be more evident, and may alert you to take heed. Detecting these patterns may also prove to be a different story entirely. They could indicate ingrained behavioural or ‘acquired’ personality characteristics or learnt behaviours that is contributing to your stress. These could be things you do without being consciously aware that you are doing it. Examples may be getting particularly angry when your stress overwhelm you and its effects may render you angry for extensive periods of time, being in a bad mood for no apparent reason, or worse, when you are regarded as having an aggressive personality. Others may include the tendency to show negative self-esteem or placing a negative self worth on yourself – and therefore not attempting to achieve much.

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It may include having persistent negative thoughts, keeping yourself back in the process and possibly become more depressed, or you may succumb to being controlled or manipulated because you do not want to assert yourself, and others may take advantage of this. Of particular concern could be the value system and beliefs you have developed or learnt and by analysing and reflecting on the stressful incidents you record, how you think about and what you tell yourself, including how you reacted and responded to it, may lay these beliefs bare. It might surprise you to find out, in black and white that you are not responsible for your stresses, and that you can change things. It could simply mean a regular ‘software update’ – and your stress diary will show this. So isn’t it worth spending a few minutes a day observing and writing down your stress-related symptoms if it will help you feel more at ease now? During the next 4 weeks you will focus on the kinds of stress you can control and how to eliminate it, avoid it, and cope with it so you feel happier, healthier and more relaxed. www.stressdiaries.com


Using the Stress Diary: How the Diary is set out To determine your Stress levels, a Stress Assessment Test is included in this Stress Journal Diary, with a scoring key for you to use. The Diary/Journal is divided into a 4 week cycle as a Stress Reduction and awareness programme. Each week has 7 days – from Monday to Sunday. Each week has a Daily Stress Recording page and an accompanying Stress Analysis Page – plus a page to add your personal notes or thoughts about your day or progress. Your Stress Diary Journal have these sections laid out for you and you are to simply complete the information and entries on a regular and daily basis. Each week is summarised and your stress incidents that you have recorded are analysed to determine stressors, patterns of stress occurrences, your skills training needs, your coping strategies, your stress reduction progress and your overall progress. Each week is then compiled into a full monthly summary, and an accompanying graph to highlight your weekly and overall monthly progress.

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How to complete your entries Make an entry in your diary after each incident that is stressful enough for you to feel that it is significant. Record the following information: • Time of day: Include the time of day that you are feeling stressed. Be conscientious about this. You can find a companion Daily Recorder Stress Journal in a handy small size, to carry with you and record your entries in your stress diary journal just after the event. • Intensity of stress: Rate from 1 (very little stress) to 10 (extreme stress). • What was the situation: Identify the situation that caused you stress. Attempt to be as precise as you can. Was it the annoying comment from a co-worker or were you stuck in a traffic jam? • What was the preceding event: Perhaps you have woken up late, or you are late to a meeting, or have an impending deadline – and you just didn’t need that traffic jam or the annoying comment from your co-worker. Sometimes the preceding cause (rather than the actual situation – e.g., the annoying comment) can be the cause to get a stress reaction from you. Remember that stress is often how the situation is perceived – so if you can, attempt to identify the thoughts underlying the stressful situation or preceding event. Continued >>

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How to complete your entries • How did you react/respond: Here you can describe how you responded. For example, did you react to the annoying comment from the co-worker or see the situation as an opportunity to practice your breathing exercises? How are you currently coping with each of the causes of stress? • What were your symptoms: Were your heart racing, did your breathing speed up, or perhaps you got a tension headache? These are examples of some physical symptoms of stress. Alternatively you may notice that you have difficulty concentrating, adopt a more negative outlook or feel more anxious and fearful. These are some of the psychological and emotional symptoms of stress. • How effective was your behaviour: Did you get the desired results? Did you act appropriately or could you have changed your behaviour? How could you have reacted/behaved: Was your response justified? How would you react in a similar situation in the future.

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Analysing your Stress Diary Analyse the diary in the following ways: • First, look at the different stresses you experienced during the time you kept your diary. You will become aware of the types of stress that you experienced by frequency. • You will note that those stressors that regularly appear are the most important for you to learn to control. • Working through the stresses, look at your assessments of their underlying causes, and your appraisal [your decision to stress or not] of how well you handled the stressful event. Do these show you areas where you handled stress poorly, and could improve your stress management skills? • Look through your diary at the situations that cause you stress – you may wish to adapt these situations

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Analysing your Stress Diary • Look also at how you felt when you were under stress. Look at how it affected your happiness and your effectiveness, understand how you behaved, and think about how you felt. • Review how you rate the intensity of your stress at different days and overall period you are using the Stress Diary, and how this changes with time •Remember your predictions about how much you would stress and review the truth or validity of these – as it will help you reduce the stressors on a daily basis • Review by setting your daily goals and analysing regularly what needs updating and which targets you are successfully accomplishing • Your daily stress analysis page will give you a clear indication and guide to what is happening and what is to change or be adapted. The options you are requested to generate to problems or obstacles you are coming across, itself could help in your progress and additionally your weekly and monthly progress reports will indicate your progress much clearer www.stressdiaries.com


FREE SUPPORT & GUIDANCE SERVICE Having analysed your diary, you should fully understand what the most important and frequent sources of stress are in your life. You will know the levels of stress at which you are most comfortable. You should also know the sort of situations that cause you stress so that you can prepare for them and manage them well. As well as this, you should now understand how you react to stress, and the symptoms that you show when you are stressed. When you experience these symptoms in the future, this should be a trigger for you to use appropriate stress management techniques. Commit to making daily entries into your diary over the full length period of time – on a daily basis. After a period of about 4 weeks, you should be able to start to see patterns. 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 and positive manner. Remember that you get free stress support & guidance at our interactive community support website. – www.stressdiaries.com


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