When you’re a family caregiver, you might think that keeping a stress diary is something that you simply don’t have time to do. But if you take the time, it can help you immensely when you’re trying to reduce your stress levels. Here’s how it works.
Sort Through What Is Causing Your Stress.
The first part of your stress diary involves simply writing out the situation that caused you stress and determining what about the situation was stressful. In some situations, the cause and the reason are most likely going to be extremely obvious. In other situations, though, you might find yourself digging deeper to sort through several possible causes until you get to the final one.
What Exactly Did You Feel During the Situation?
Asking yourself what you felt during the situation helps you to narrow down your reactions to stress. Sometimes you might feel a headache coming on, for example, while other times you might feel a knot in your gut or you might start to feel short of breath. Your symptoms at this stage might be physical, emotional, or a combination of both. Try to be as thorough and descriptive as you can in this section.
What Did You Do that Worked?
If you implemented a solution that actually worked, be sure you write out exactly what you did and what the end result was. You might have closed your eyes and counted to ten while the insurance company stated their procedure over again. Or possibly you used deep breathing techniques while you were stuck in traffic. Whatever you tried that worked, it’s worth writing down what happened.
What Didn’t Work?
Not every technique is going to be effective in every situation, though. So as important as it is to know what worked for you while managing your stress, it’s just as important to know what you tried that didn’t work. This can also help you to spot patterns. For example, you might find that when you’re really angry and stressed, counting to ten on its own just doesn’t work.
Even if you don’t think your stress diary is helping you right now, it might help you in the future when you want to spot some patterns or try solutions that have worked for you before.
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