You may not know what is causing your
stress, exactly how your body responds to stress, or
how you cope with stress. To find out, keep a record to track the times
you feel stressed. Write down:
What may have triggered the stress. Guess, if you
How you felt and behaved in response to the stressful
situation (symptoms of stress).
What, if anything, you did to cope
with the stressful situation.
Here's a sample of what a stress record might look like.
Stress record example
Reaction (symptoms, thoughts,
Kids not getting ready for school
Felt tightness in stomach, yelled at them
Had a doughnut when I got to work
Late for meeting with supervisor
Tight stomach, fear about performance review
Talked with Janet about it and felt better
Copier broke down again
Headache, snapped at Bill to call repair person
Call from sister about her divorce interrupted my
Headache got worse
Daydreamed about trip to Hawaii
Meeting ran overtime, couldn't leave at 5:00
Headache still there, neck begins to ache
Went out for a few drinks with coworkers
Look over your notes to learn how often you are
feeling stressed and how you are coping.
Did you find that there were certain times of the day when you are more stressed? What was going on during those times?
Were your reactions related more to thoughts, like worrying, or were they more physical, like headaches?
Did you notice that certain people or certain situations triggered your stress?
Which ways of
coping with stress work best, and which ones don't work or have other effects you don't like?
The more notes you write down, the more you can learn about your stress
patterns. Tracking your stress for 1 to 2 weeks is best. But taking notes
even for 1 or 2 days can be helpful. If you are seeing a doctor or a therapist to help manage your stress, consider sharing your record with him or her. It will give your doctor important information to help you manage your stress.