Lately I have been experiencing an abundance of stress. Now this may not seem like a big deal to many of you. Life is stressful after all. However, on the stress scale none of the biggies were going on. So I began to wonder why despite a relatively calm period in my life when work was smooth, finances were good and friends and fun plentiful what was going on?
In order to sort it out I started writing about it. I’m not a great journaller. I have good intentions but often only turn to one of my many half-finished journals when things are really confusing and I need to sort stuff out.
Little did I know that what I was doing/have been doing is creating a ‘Stress Journal’ or as I think of it ‘The Stress Book of My Life’. Detectives create a ‘murder book’ with each homicide they have to solve where they keep all the details of the crime in order to put together a cohesive and coherent picture hoping it will lead them to the killer.
Well, my stress book is much the same. In it I record all the details, conversations and insights I can around the stress I am feeling. What caused it? How did I feel? How did my body react? What did I think about or tell myself? What did I do either in reaction to it or in order to respond to it? As I write I usually begin to see a pattern or find a clue that leads me to a better perspective on what has triggered the stress in me. Many times it is eye-opening and I have the culprit or perpetrator – Me and some old, unresolved issue that was triggered.
Since I have discovered this more intentional way of sorting through my stress I am also finding that I am much more able to identify the stress as it happens and before I do damage to a relationship, my body or my spirit. I would encourage you to start a Stress Book of your life. Like the murder book it could prevent a ‘killer’ from being on the loose in your life. And sooner, rather than later, it will have fewer and fewer entries as you begin to recognize and respond to stress on the spot.