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45 years of success - Established 1974

45 Years of Success
Established in 1974

"Helping you gain
.control of your career"

Stress!

We all suffer from it at some point in our lives and it is normal to have a certain amount of stress – it’s what motivates us to get on and do things. If we had no stress in our lives at all, we’d probably get nothing done. But, too much stress can cause all kinds of problems for your mental and physical health. So, over the next few weeks we’ll be looking at stress and different mechanisms for dealing with it. This week we’ll start by learning how to identify stress in your everyday life.

How to identify when the stress is becoming too much

If you think you may be suffering from the effects of too much stress and you’d like to know what‘s causing it, a stress diary is a useful place to start. Stress diaries can help you identify not only the causes of stress in your life, but how you handle it, how you can manage it better and the optimum level of stress for you.

How to keep a stress diary

It’s easy! Simply follow the instructions given below to record how you are feeling every hour. Make sure you use a diary small enough to carry around with you so you can whip it out and jot things down as you are out and about. If you think you might forget to write in your diary, why not set an alarm for the first few days. You should not need to do this for long as habits form pretty quickly.

You should note:

• the time and date

• recent events you’ve been experiencing

• how you felt about them on a scale of 1-10 – 1 being not stressed at all and 10 being very stressed

• how stressed do you feel now on a scale of 1-10 – it would be useful to also note what mood you are in now

• if you’ve experienced a stressful event, is it affecting how you are working now? Are you being less efficient because of it? Use the 1-10 scale here too

• note the cause of the stressful event

• note any physical symptoms you had during the stressful event – i.e. butterflies, nausea, anger, headache, numbness, tingling

• how well do you feel you handled the event on a scale of 1-10

You should keep your diary for at least a month, longer is better, but a month really is the minimum time you need to gather enough information to provide a decent analysis.

Taking Action

Now you have a gold mine of information that you can analyze and use to your advantage. You should work your way through your diary, noting down the common causes of stress and the incidents that you found particularly difficult to cope with. Now, look at the underlying causes of the stress, is it something you can change? If so, make the change to eliminate the stress. If it is not, use one of the stress reducing techniques detailed in the next few week’s blogs. Finally, look at the times when you felt happiest and able to work the most efficiently and try to identify your optimum level of stress.

So, now you know what’s causing your stress, you can do something about it. And next week’s blog will help as we start to look at stress reducing techniques.

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Susan Metcalfe - head of Business Training - discusses business, training and work issues. Come and join in the conversation or just enjoy the read!