We all deal with different kinds of stress throughout the day, like the frustration of rush-hour traffic, the weight of a heavy task, difficult customers, or upsetting news. The problem is that worry can make us less productive and, in the worst cases, hurt our health as a whole. The idea of keeping a “Stress Chronicle” comes in handy at this point. Stress Chronicles can be a helpful way to figure out where your short-term stress comes from. Not only do they give you important information about how you react to stress, but they also help you figure out how much pressure you can handle. Let’s not forget that a little bit of pressure can be good!

Stress Chronicles is based on the idea that you should write down your stresses on a daily basis. This lets you look at your stresses and figure out how to deal with them better. This is important because these worries often come and go from our minds without getting the focus and attention they need.

Stress Chronicles helps you identify and analyze the most common sources of worry in your life. It also helps you understand:

• More information about what causes stress.

• The best amounts of pressure for your work.

• Possible ways to improve how you deal with stress.

How to Use the Tool

To start, grab our free template for a Stress Chronicle and write in it regularly (e.g., every hour). If you think you might forget this, set an alarm to tell you to make your next entry. Always write down difficult things that happen.

When you make a new post, write down the following:

• The date and time the entry was made.

• The most recent thing that stressed you out.

• Your current level of happiness, as judged by you on a scale from -10 (the most sad) to +10 (the most happy). Also, write down how you feel right now.

• How well you’re working right now (based on your own opinion, on a scale of 0 to 10). A ‘0’ would mean that you are completely inefficient, while a ’10’ is the most efficient you’ve ever been.

• The main cause of the stress (be as honest and unbiased as you can).

You could also write down:

• The signs you had, such as a “flutter” in your stomach, anger, a headache, a faster heart rate, sweaty palms, etc.

• How well you dealt with the situation: Did your response help solve the problem or make it worse?

Analyzing the Chronicle

After keeping a Stress Chronicle for a few days, you can look at it and decide what to do:

• First, think about the different things that stressed you out while you were writing your account. Draw attention to the most common and most upsetting ones.

• Go over the underlined stresses, think about what you think caused them, and think about how well you handled the stressful event. Do these bring up problems that need to be fixed? If so, write down these places.

• Next, go through your journal and look at the things that stress you out. Make a list of things that could be changed to make things better.

• Finally, think about how you felt when you were under pressure and how that affected your happiness and how well you worked. Was there an amount of pressure where you felt most comfortable and did your best work?

After looking at your history, you should have a good idea of the most important and frequent sources of stress in your life, the amount of pressure you can handle, and the types of events that stress you out so you can be ready for them and deal with them well.

What Next?

Your next step is to make sure you don’t let your stress get out of hand. Start by taking a look at the people and things that stress you out the most.

• If a person or group of people are making you feel stressed, the topic, “Dealing with Difficult People,” might help.

• If you’re stressed out because you’re not organized or don’t know how to handle your time well, the topic “Time Management Skills Assessment” quiz will help you figure out what skills you need to work on.

• The topic “Job Analysis” will help you find structural problems that are causing stress.

• If burnout is making you feel stressed, the topic “Burnout Self-Test” can help you figure out what’s wrong and how to fix it.

Remember that you can’t avoid stress, especially if your job gives you a lot of duty. By changing the way you think, our article on “Cognitive Restructuring” can help you feel less stressed.

Helpful Hints and Tools

• Listen to our conversation with Dr. Jay Winner, “De-stress Your Life,” to learn more. He gives great advice on how to get rid of stress and make your day more relaxing.

• Use images throughout your day to help you relax and feel less stressed.

• Think about taking a trip. Keep in mind that the people or tasks that stress you out will still be there when you get back, but a vacation can give you enough space to relax, recharge, and come up with good solutions.

• Even if you only have five minutes, meditation can be a powerful way to deal with stress. In our piece “Meditation for Stress Management,” we explain how to get started with this method.

• Make sure you get enough rest. Most people need between 7 and 8 hours of sleep to be healthy and effective. Stress can be made worse by not getting enough sleep.

• If it’s hard for you to stop thinking about things at the end of the day, learn how to relax.

• Our “Stress Busters” mini-training can show you how to calm down when things are out of your control.

Keep in mind that worry can cause serious health problems and, in the worst cases, even death. Even though these methods for dealing with stress have been shown to help reduce stress, they are just suggestions. Talk to a doctor if you are worried about getting sick from stress or if stress is making you very unhappy or unhappy for a long time.

Important Lessons

Stress Chronicles are a great way to get a clear picture of the short-term, everyday worries you face. By using them, you can figure out which of your worries are the biggest and most common so you can work on those. They also help you figure out where you need to improve your ability to deal with stress and what amount of stress makes you the happiest and most productive.

To keep a Stress Chronicle, you can download our template and write in it regularly, like once an hour, and always after something upsetting happens.

Look at the chronicle to find out what worries you the most and how bad they are. You can also use it to figure out how you can handle worry better.


Stress has become an everyday part of our lives in this fast-paced world. But dealing with it well is important for our productivity and general health. The idea of a Stress Chronicle gives us the tools we need to understand, examine, and deal with stress in a healthy way. By keeping and analyzing a Stress Chronicle, we can figure out what causes us the most stress, how we respond to it, and what level of stress is best for our performance. We can also come up with better ways to deal with worry.

This active and thoughtful way of dealing with stress helps us get through our daily lives better, which is good for our health, happiness, and work. Remember that dealing with worry is a process, not an end point. It’s about figuring out what works best for you and making that part of your everyday life. We can turn the tide against worry and make our lives more balanced and calm if we work at it and pay attention to it every day.


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