In today’s fast paced world it is critical that we get a better handle on the stress in our lives. Learning to manage our stress levels not only protects our health but allows us to function better at home, at work, and in the show pen.
Stress journals are a great way to keep up with what is going on in your life and how you are handling your day to day stressors.
Keep your journal in a handy place such as beside your bed and build a routine of spending a few minutes each day to review your day to day life. It doesn’t have to be lengthy but it does need to be consistent to give you a clear picture of how you are managing the stress in your life.
Using a table is a great visual tool that enables you to make comparisons and quickly see patterns as they arise. Try different headings that work for you such as:
|Stressful Event (SE):||Misplaced car keys and running late for an important meeting/performance|
|Stress level during SE on a scale of 0-10||8|
|Your response to SE:||Angry, yelled at my wife/kids. Threw my phone (broke it, more stress.) Sweating, increased heart rate.|
|Techniques you used to combat stress:||Slow, deep breathing exercises|
|Stress level after (0-10)||5|
|What could you have done better?||Kept a spare set on hand. Schedule meetings with time to accommodate unexpected events.|
The aim of this exercise to gain a better awareness of what is causing you stress on a daily basis and what you are doing or not doing to manage this stress. This gives you the opportunity to build some defenses against stress by implementing preventative strategies that head of potential stressful events in the future. Not all stress can be avoided but some can and your response to the stressful events you experience can mean the difference between a positive and a negative outcome.