Start a stress diary
Write a stress journal
Did you know that there are tools you can easily use, they cost very little and can help you fight stress?
The Stress Diary is one of these tools!
This is a technique that simply uses pen and paper and will help you:
Better understand what happens to you when you're under stress;
Understand your thoughts and emotions more deeply;
Develop strategies to combat stress
What is the Stress Diary?
The Stress Diary, as the name implies, is a diary that helps the person who uses it to gain awareness of the thoughts and emotions that live when it is under stress.
It is a technique that can be applied by anyone at any time: just have a notebook and a pen!
How does the Stress Diary work?
To write the Stress Diary, the person must briefly describe the stressful situation that upset her by noting the day and time.
Any situation experienced as stressful can be noted on the Stress Diary: indeed, this practice is very encouraged!
In fact, by reporting more possible situations on the diary, the person acquires the ability to see the points in common between all these situations.
They increase their knowledge of common points, it is possible to improve the ability to fight stress by finding positive alternatives to thoughts or behaviors that generate stress.
After briefly describing the situation, note the feelings that have been tried in that specific situation.
This helps to give a name to the emotions and stimulates the process of self-awareness even more.
If we do not know how to give a specific name to the emotion we felt at that specific moment, we can try to describe it by drawing on the physical sensations experienced: being in contact with the belly, our emotional center, helps a lot in describing emotions!
After describing the feelings, the person goes on to write the Thoughts that Disturb.
The Thoughts that Disturb are all those thoughts that people turn to themselves when they are under stress: have you ever noticed your thoughts in those situations?
Try to listen to yourself and make this behavior a habit: you will realize that there may be some devaluing thoughts towards yourself or others that you did not even have awareness of!
This process helps the person to get out of the automatic mental patterns and gain knowledge of their cognitive patterns.
The next part is dedicated to Positive Answers.
In every problematic situation there are aspects that we have generalized, that we have not considered or that we have considered in a much worse and more catastrophic way than they really are.
When we are faced with a problem it may be useful to ask questions similar to these:
Do I really know all the facts?
Is there a better way to consider the situation?
What would a dear friend say in this situation?
Even thinking about a person we are fond of or who we think is good at dealing with similar situations can be useful: what we need is a different perspective from which to observe the stressful situation!
Stay as close to reality as possible by letting yourself be influenced as little as possible by thoughts and feelings, and you will see that acquiring a new perspective will become easier and easier with time.
Finally, the last thing to do is to write the Action Plan, or what we will actually do to deal with the stressful situation.
Let us remember that in the first place it can be very useful to calm down and reason with a cool mind, so it can be extremely indicated to do a relaxation exercise.
Then we can use all the information we have collected so far to change the way we approach the problem and therefore increase the chances of solving it.
The compilation of the Stress Diary is as follows:
Briefly describe the situation that stressed and / or upset me (with date and time)
Write the feelings I felt at that moment
Write the thoughts that I thought at that moment
Try to see the problem from a different perspective by elaborating Positive Answers to the problem
Choose and write ways to deal with the stressful situation in the Action Plan
If at first you find it difficult, don't be discouraged! Becoming aware of the emotions and thoughts we experience in a stressful situation is a big step forward in itself and considerably improves our ability to fight stress.
Moreover, the more we use the Stress Diary, the more we will become good at using it: this means that what seemed difficult to us will become easier and we will find our alternatives to problems by ourselves.