How to Keep a Journal

Although there are no formal rules, here are some strategies about how to keep a journal. I write in a small-sized notebook that I can take with me in a purse or backpack, and jot down ideas as they come to mind.  I use a notebook that has lined acid-free pages and a sturdy cover.   I also use a pen with permanent ink so that the writing won't fade over time.  Think of your writing as an art form that is an expression of your inner thoughts.

In this case, we are learning to keep a journal that documents the stressors in your daily life.  The purpose of this stress journal writing exercise is to identify patterns.  You want to identify what causes your stress and identify any useful patterns regarding when or why these stressful incidents occur.

Getting Started

As you are learning how to keep a journal, remember that this exercise is a sequential writing activity.  When you make an entry, documenting a stressful situation, record the date, the time and the place.



 Then answer the following 5 questions:

1.  For each entry, what was the incident that caused you stress?


2.  Detail what happened and how did you feel as this occurred? 


3. How did  you respond to the stressor? 



4.  What you did to remedy the stress?



5. Finally, how did your stress reducing strategy work?




As you continue to record information, if you are faithful in making entries for at least one week, you will start to find patterns begin to emerge.  After a week of journaling take time to answer the following questions.

Do you find that you are stressed at a particular time of day?


Are you stressed because you are trying to accomplish too many things in too short of a period of time? 


Do you get stressed trying to locate things you have put somewhere and can't remember where they are?


Do you find yourself stressed working with a particular person on a project?



What Did You Find?

People who learn how to keep a journal are often surprised at what they find and discover certain daily patterns that need to be addressed. Time management, goal setting, and learning to say “no” are often areas that women need to improve on. What patterns did you uncover you’re your journal writing?

Useful Strategies to Cope with Stress

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