Take control of your stress
Keep a stress diary
Keeping a diary of when you experience stress during the day can help you to understand the causes of stress in your life and help you manage them. It can also help you identify the levels of pressure at which you work best. It does this by breaking down how you think, feel and behave in situations where you are affected by stress.
Download our 'Stress diary' and version with an example to get started.
Create 'Worry time'
One way of tackling your response to stress is to start monitoring your worrying during the day and actually create a daily Worry time in order to try and tackle them.
Set aside a time each day for Worry time (about 15 minutes). Find a time that works best for you. Some people who worry a lot at night can find it helpful to have Worry time in the morning, for example. This means they can delay their worrying until the morning which can help them get to sleep. Other people find a time in the evening is ideal.
When you find yourself worrying during the day you can use the Worry time list to make a record of any worries (or record them on your phone if you prefer). After making a note of each worry delay them until Worry time and remember to re-focus your thoughts back to the present moment.
You can use the 'Worry tree' sheet to decide whether your worries are practical problems which need to be tackled or hypothetical worries which you need to let go of.
During Worry time you can work through the hypothetical worries you have recorded in your Worry time list. You may find that some worries have gone away or don't seem so important now.
You can use this list of helpful tips to work through and challenge any hypothetical worries.
Read a plain text version of 'Helpful tips for Worry time' sheet
Be determined to stop thinking about these worries after the 15 minutes is over.
Make sure you follow Worry time with an activity that will lift your mood such as listening to music, watching a favourite TV programme or going for a run.
Any worries that come up after Worry time can be recorded on a new list to be considered in your next Worry time. Complete the Worry time list for about two weeks and review your progress using the Helpful tips for Worry time sheet.
Any practical problems you have identified can be tackled using the Seven step problem-solving technique. This technique can help you find and work through possible solutions.