Stress Management Journals
Besides keeping track of your stress in this book, one of the simplest but most potent stress management strategies you can employ is to keep a stress journal. In your stress journal, you can record the results of your stress test, write about your Personal Stress Profile, and keep track of your stress management strategies, including what you tried, when you tried it, and how well it worked.
A stress journal is also a place for you to record your sources of stress each day, as well as the ways you choose to manage your stress. You can record where stress management strategies succeed and fail, examine why you did or didn't deal with stress in an effective way, even rant about your stress (which is a stress management technique in and of itself). Writing down your stressors and the way you deal with them is helpful in several ways:
Writing down your sources of stress each day helps you to tune in to the stress in your life. You become aware of stress sources and stress patterns you might not have recognized.
Writing about your stress and the way you actually handle it helps you to figure out when your stress management strategies are working and when they fall flat. You'll also discover how you feel about the stress in your life and your stress management efforts. Writing can be the very mode of discovery.
If you are the type who tends to ignore stress, you'll have to acknowledge it when you write it down. If you tend to attack stress, attacking it with the pen is a lot healthier than saying or doing things you'll later regret. If you tend to react to stress, reacting on the page is a lot healthier than reacting by falling into destructive habits.
Your stress journal can take any format — a legal pad, a beautiful bound book of blank pages, even your computer. Whichever you choose, it should be something you enjoy using. You can list your stressors or write paragraphs describing how you felt and what you did about it. Find a way to write in your stress journal that feels right for you.
The most difficult part of keeping a stress journal is getting in the habit of writing in it every day. Like any other habit, writing in a stress journal is something you can learn, and with a little discipline, you can keep it up. You'll be glad you did. The discipline of writing in your stress journal every day is a kind of stress management victory all its own. The additional benefits you'll gain from cultivating your personal stress awareness make the effort easily worthwhile.
Organizing just one thing in your life can ease stress considerably. Instead of watching television tonight, why not tackle that sock drawer, that kitchen junk drawer, or that coat closet that's been driving you crazy? Don't expect to do anything beyond the single area you've chosen. You'll be surprised how much better you'll feel with a single drawer or closet put in order.