If you’ve never taken the time to journal about the incidents that cause stress for you, you might want to reconsider. This can be a great way to dig into the details of what happened and why, which can help you to avoid similar situations later.
Write Down All the Details You Can Recall
It’s really easy to forget the details of a situation later. Humans have interesting memories in that regard. So, when you get a chance, write down all of the details of the situation that you remember. Try to include just the facts, for now. What you want is as detailed an accounting as possible so that later you’re able to look back at the entry and remember exactly what you’re recounting.
Try to Write Down All of the Emotions You Experienced
After you’ve written down as many details as possible, it’s time to start looking at how the situation made you feel. It definitely spiked your stress levels, but what other emotions did you experience? Some of the feelings you might have experienced could be related to fear, anger, frustration, and other emotions you might consider “negative.” Instead of labeling your emotions, just keep going with your list until you’re sure you’re done.
Make Note of What You Tried
What did you try and did it work? That’s the next question for you to tackle in your journal. For instance, if your senior is frustrating you because she won’t eat, you likely tried some solutions to both resolve the underlying problem and to relieve your stress around the issue. This can help because when you refer to these entries later, you can see exactly what you thought about in the situation and what you tried that worked.
Is There Anything Else You Might Try?
Finally, what else could you try, either in this situation or in the future in another situation just like it? This might be something you write much later about this entry. You might try brainstorming possible solutions. Even if those solutions aren’t reasonable, they may spark other ideas for you. It’s important that you try to look for all the different ways you might approach stressful situations from another angle, because that can help you to keep your stress levels lower down the road.
When you take the time to write out what’s causing you stress, why, and how you feel, you’re able to examine it in a different way than when you just think about it. You also give yourself a record you can refer to later.
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