Stress Diary - Finding Your
Optimum Stress Levels
How to use tool:
Keeping a stress diary is an effective way of finding out
what causes you stress, the level of stress you prefer, and your
effectiveness under pressure.
In this diary note down your stress levels and how you
feel throughout the day. In particular, note down stressful events. Record
the following information:
a regular interval, for example every hour, record routine stress.
amount of stress that you feel (perhaps on a scale of 1 to 10)
happy you feel
efficiently you are working
stressful events occur, write down:
the event was
and where did it occur?
important factors made the event stressful?
stressful was the event?
did you handle the event?
you tackle the cause or the symptom?
you deal with the stress correctly?
Analyzing the Diary
After a few weeks you should be able to analyze this
information. It may be interesting as you carry out the analysis to note
down the outcomes of the jobs you were doing when you were under stress.
This should give you two types of information:
should be able to understand the level of stress you are happiest
with, and the level of stress at which you work most effectively. You
may find that your performance is good even when you feel upset by
should know what the main sources of unpleasant stress in your life
are. You should understand what circumstances make stresses
particularly unpleasant, and should be able to see whether your
strategies for handling the stresses are effective or not.
You will get the real benefits of having a stress
diary in the first few weeks. After this the benefit you get of keeping it
each additional day will reduce. If, however, your lifestyle changes or you
begin to suffer from stress again in the future, then it may be worth using
the diary approach again. You will probably find that the stresses you face
have changed. If this is the case, then keeping a diary again will help you
to develop a different approach to deal with them.
Once you have discovered the stress level you are
happiest with, and understand what triggers unpleasant stress, make an Action Plan
to control it. Some elements of this action plan will be actions you are going
to take to contain, control or eliminate problems that are causing you
stress. Other parts may be health related such as taking more exercise,
changing your diet, or improving the quality of your environment. It may
also cover stress management techniques that you will employ when stress
levels begin to build.
Keeping a stress diary helps you to learn how you
handle stress. It helps you:
out the stress levels you prefer
know how effectively you operate under pressure
the things that cause you stress
see how effective your stress control strategies are
Once you have kept a stress diary for a number of
weeks, you will be in a position to analyze it and develop an action plan
to control stress.