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Stop Stressing - How to Log It and Block It
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An interesting thing about the human mind is that it tends
to work largely on autopilot. Whether it is showering,
driving to work, or making breakfast, there are large parts
of our daily routines that occur without needing much
conscious thought. Just as the mind can adopt behaviors as
automatic, it can be made to think about them and break them
down into meaningful pieces of information. To that end,
we're going to look at a life-building habit called a
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Distribution Date and Time: 2010-04-21 11:00:00
Written By: Larry Tobin
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Stop Stressing - How to Log It and Block It
Copyright (c) 2010 Larry Tobin
An interesting thing about the human mind is that it tends to
work largely on autopilot. Whether it is showering, driving to
work, or making breakfast, there are large parts of our daily
routines that occur without needing much conscious thought.
This is a normal, healthy behavior. If we had to stop and
consider or manually cause every single action in our lives,
we'd be slow moving creatures indeed. That said, there are times
that this tendency can give us trouble. It isn't so much a
direct problem as an indirect one of allowing stresses to build
up without really analyzing them. We go through our lives every
day with tiny stresses coming up again and again, and we don't
always take the time to consider how we can deal with them or
even where they come from, because of our automatic acceptance of
Today, let's focus on redirecting that routine. Just as the mind
can adopt behaviors as automatic, it can be made to think about
them and break them down into meaningful pieces of information.
To that end, we're going to look at a life-building habit called
a Stress Log.
What is a Stress Log?
In short, a stress log is a record of our day and the activities
in it. The record begins when we wake up, and takes account of
everything we encounter and do throughout the day so that later
we can look at the information and make healthy decisions about
it. The first step in any process of building a habit is
knowledge, after all.
The exact form the stress log takes isn't important. It can be a
program in our Smartphone, a document on the computer, or a
physical book. What is most important is that it is something we
are comfortable using on a regular basis and can easily access.
Stress Log Step 1 - Diary Daily
The first step in building up a good Stress Logging habit is to
make sure to do it every day. When we have more information to
work with, we have a better grasp on what needs to be done. The
most consistent routine in our lives is usually the daily one,
and the one we can most immediately affect. That�s why the
saying, 'one day at a time,' rings so true.
It takes about thirty days to first establish a good solid habit,
as we've discussed. We can't get to thirty without first
getting to one. So for starters, we'll make our journal one of
Stress Log Step 2 - Piece by Piece
Now that we have our stress log, it's time to begin filling it
in. We can begin with the elements of our routine. Good things to
note include the time we wake up, what we make for breakfast, how
and when we went to work, schools, or about our chores, and the
Nothing is too immaterial. If we notice it, it should go in the
book because our brain considered it important. We shouldn't let
this interrupt our work of course; if something is big and needs
attention, it should be dealt with, and then after it has been
handled it should be noted in the log.
This practice builds information in two ways. First, it creates a
steady log of information about our day that we can use as a
reference. This will let us look at trends, see patterns, and
understand the various elements that make up the complicated
picture of our lives. The second thing it does is help us build
the habit of observation. As we write down the things we notice,
we begin to notice more things, increasing our perception of the
world around us and the effects it has on us.
Stress Log Step 3 - Thoughts and Tidbits
As we build up the list of our activities, it is important to
note down our thoughts of those activities in the stress log
along with them. For example we could record a discussion with a
coworker, and whether it made us pleased, indifferent, or more
stressed out. We could put down whether the sandwich at lunch was
more disappointing than usual, or if getting in late to work
caused us problems getting things done.
This piece of information is critical to the process of later
analysis. In building a habit of considering and evaluating our
world and the stimuli it gives us, we need to know what effect
all this information and experience has on our lives.
Stress Log Step 4 - Study and Summary
The important thing at first is to avoid trying to change
anything right away. Changing matters at random might not help
us, and could cause more stress. Instead, we're just going to
journal honestly as we go along.
Then, at the end of each week of logging, we can evaluate our
experiences throughout the week and see if we can start
identifying the areas that cause us the most stress. This will
let us make strong choices to adapt and possibly change things,
giving us the ability to reshape our habits into the mold we
want, instead of one that happens on autopilot.
Larry Tobin is the co-creator of
and empowering solutions for stopping stress.
Try our 42-day program that will help you learn
proactive habits to beat stress and keep
you moving forward in the right direction.
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