You may not know what is causing your
stress, exactly how your body responds to stress, or
how you cope with stress. To find out, use a journal to keep track of each time
you feel stressed. Write down:
- What may have triggered the stress. Guess if you
- How you felt and behaved in response to the stressful
situation (symptoms of stress).
- What, if anything, you did to cope
with the stressful situation.
Here's a sample of what a stress journal might look like.
Stress journal example
| Time || Stressful event || Reaction (symptoms, thoughts,
behaviors) || Coping response|
Kids not getting ready for school
Felt tightness in stomach, yelled at them
Had a doughnut when I got to work
Late for meeting with supervisor
Tight stomach, fear about performance review
Talked with Janet about it and felt better
Copier broke down again
Headache, snapped at Bill to call repair person
Call from sister about her divorce interrupted my
Headache got worse
Daydreamed about trip to Hawaii
Meeting ran overtime, couldn't leave at 5:00
Headache still there, neck begins to ache
Went out for a few drinks with colleagues
- Look over your notes to learn how often you are
feeling stressed and how you are coping.
- Ask yourself which ways of
coping with stress work best and which don't work or have other effects you do
The more notes you take, the more you can learn about your stress
patterns. Keeping the journal for 1 to 2 weeks is best, although taking notes
for even 1 or 2 days can be helpful.
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Lisa S. Weinstock, MD - Psychiatry
April 20, 2011
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