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Start a stress journal
A stress journal can help you identify the regular stressors in your life and the
way you deal with them. Each time you feel stressed, keep track of it in your journal.
As you keep a daily log, you will begin to see patterns and common themes. Write
What caused your stress (make a guess if you’re unsure).
How you felt, both physically and emotionally.
How you acted in response.
What you did to make yourself feel better.
Look at how you currently cope with stress
Think about the ways you currently manage and cope with stress in your life. Your
stress journal can help you identify them. Are your coping strategies healthy or
unhealthy, helpful or unproductive? Unfortunately, many people cope with stress in
ways that compound the problem.
Unhealthy ways of coping with stress
These coping strategies may temporarily reduce stress, but they cause more damage
in the long run:
Drinking too much
Overeating or under eating
Zoning out for hours in front of the TV or computer
Withdrawing from friends, family, and activities Using pills or drugs to relax
Sleeping too much
Filling up every minute of the day to avoid facing problems
Taking out your stress on others (lashing out, angry outbursts, physical violence)
Learning healthier ways to manage stress
If your methods of coping with stress aren’t contributing to your greater emotional
and physical health, it’s time to find healthier ones. There are many healthy ways
to manage and cope with stress, but they all require change. You can either change
the situation or change your reaction. When deciding which option to choose, it’s
helpful to think of the four As: avoid, alter, adapt, or accept.
Since everyone has a unique response to stress, there is no “one size fits all” solution
to managing it. No single method works for everyone or in every situation, so experiment
with different techniques and strategies. Focus on what makes you feel calm and in