Those who are best at stress management still wish they could gain total mastery over stress. Those who are very weak at stress management wish for an activity, preferably the waving of a magic wand, that would remove stress from their lives once and for all.
A stress management activity that can help both is the act of journaling – writing in a stress management journal.
Journaling Identifies Stressors
According to the Merriam Webster Online Dictionary, “journaling” is not a word. The word “journal” is a noun, and cannot be used to describe an action. Modern usage is gradually changing that, and people commonly speak of “journaling” events, so we will bend the rules a bit.
Stress management specialists say “journaling” is the act of writing about stressful events with the expectation that the writing will reduce stress.
While the act itself may not reduce stress, those who use a notebook or other small book to record this type of thing should soon see a pattern emerging. This stress management activity can identify stressors and our responses.
- The boss placed a “rush” note on a large project, and I responded by getting a tension headache.
- My wife was late due to poor planning, and asked me to pick up the children at soccer practice. I responded by getting angry.
A stress management activity such as writing down both the stressor and your response to it will show you where change needs to be made.
Once the stress management activity of recording stressors and responses shows a pattern of response, you should institute change. Consciously determine that the next time your boss or your wife presents you with a stressor, you will respond appropriately and positively. After the event, record what happened.
At first, your responses may not be as successful as you would like. Stress management is potentially yours, however, if you continue to work at each one. Learn from every effort at stress management, and build on what you learn.
Before long, you will be able to look back at early pages of your journal and see that you used to become stressed at things that no longer bother you.