What is a Stress Journal?

 Whether our definition of stress includes environmental demands, an appraisal of the demands, a response to the demands, or our ability to cope with the demands, it is important to become  aware of the potential damage from stressors. A Stress Journal may be our first step in a line of defense by assisting us  in increasing the awareness of the stresses and the responses we make to those environmental demands.

The etymology of the word journal comes from the French word journée which connotes a day's travel or a journey.[1]  Historically, early explorers recorded their journeys in order to orientate themselves so that they might make a safe return home. Likewise, we may find it useful to orientate ourselves on life's stressful journey by  recording  our daily stressors and responses we make to the environmental demands.

See sample below:

For full credit in your jour journal specify the type of  the event which can be categorized as follows: psychological, physical, sociological, or philosophical.

Secondly, define  stress, so that you can specify what type of intervention strategy you are applying.

For example:
1. Some people see stress as an event and are limited to the following choices:

a. avoid it
b. alter it
c. accept it

2.Others see stress as a set of coping skills and use various skills, such as the following.

a. organization
b. time management
c. priority setting
do. diet control
e. aerobic activity
e. relaxation training

3. Others think of  stress as a stimulus- response  connection and  apply reinforcement principles and  reinforcement schedules  as follows  to reinforce and to  extinguish stimuli.

a. fixed ratio schedule
b. fixed interval schedule
c. variable ratio
do. variable interval
e. rewards
f. punishments

4. Others see stress as a result of being out of touch with "Divine Spirit" or "Universal Law" and utilize the following in an attempt to get back in harmony.

a. prayer
b. meditation
c. other alter states of consciousness

Your journal needs to incorporate the definition you are using and the types of strategies that you are using. It should show the increase in your knowledge  as you progress in the course.

Be sure and follow the format of the journal as illustrated  below.

Remember if  you send  all of the journal pages to me at once, then you do not have the option of correcting them to get full credit. See the standards for assignments at the URL Frequently Asked Questions.

Now try your skill at doing a journal entry according to the sample of  the format below. 

 If you wish, you can do a journal entry per day and receive  an additional points one point per day up to a maximum allowable for journal entries. See assignment page for details.

Event ( Describe the event you perceived as a stressor)

For example, I thought this journal was a challenge to do. ( Psychological stressor )

Experiences ( What symptoms did I notice of the fight/flight response?)

I felt my heart beat accelerate, as I thought about it.

Coping Skills ( What do I normally do to cope with this stressor?)

Normally, I would procrastinate doing what I need to do. When I finally must do something after putting it off,  I increase my guilt ( psychological stressor ) and it seems to make things worse, as I have to give a reason and justify my procrastination.

What did I learn as a result of the course?

I learned that I do not have to do this journal, as the journal pages are optional and each entry adds up to 60 points total. I  can do other extra credit work if I choose to.. I can do one journal page and then send it to the instructor, or I can send them in at the end of the course. I have learned that journals may be a great way to learn and demonstrate how much I am learning in the course. I decided to do the journal pages for credit.

Has just becoming aware of my stressors helped me cope better with stress? If yes, how so? If not, how come? Yes, I can see how different stressors may necessitate different intervention strategies. I had always just thought that it did not matter what kind of a strategy that I used.

     1. Brian Luke Seaward,  Managing Stress: Principles and Strategies for Health and Well-being, 3rd,ed.,Boston: Jones and Bartlett Publishers,1997, pages.203-213

E-mail: rbrehm@msn.com  Copyright © 1998  [Robert Brehm]. All rights reserved.