How to keep a stress diary

Stress Diaries are important for understanding the causes of short-term stress in your life and give an important insight into how you react to certain stressful situations.


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As well as helping you capture and analyse the most common sources of stress in your life, a stress diary can help you to understand:

  • The stress levels you prefer
  • What triggers your stress
  • How you operate under pressure
  • How to develop better coping strategies

The idea is that, on a regular basis, you record information about the stresses you’re experiencing, so that you can analyse these stresses and then manage them. Below is a Stress Diary Example.

Date & TimeIntensity of Stress(1-10)Situation (circumstance, location, people)Fundamental cause of the eventEmotional Behavioural Reaction (your feelings about the event)What I learned from the event
Monday9am6/10Stuck in traffic on my way to workI was running late because I didn’t want to get upFrustration at not being in work on timeI must get up when my alarm goes off!

After a few weeks, you should analyse your stress diary to discover your optimum stress levels and understand what triggers unpleasant stress. More importantly, from this, you can make an ‘Action Plan’ to control it. This action plan might include actions you are going to take to control of, or contain stressful situations, as well as ways to reduce the feelings of stress such as exercising, changing your diet, or improving the quality of your environment.

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