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  • Writer's pictureRocio Castellanos

Stress Awareness & Journaling

Your perception creates your projection. The way that you view and experience what life has to offer is based on your capability of dealing and resolving any issues that may be influenced by external factors. Your inner belief system helps in your ability to cope with these external stressors.

To learn how to manage stress you are first encouraged to:

  1. Become aware that you are experiencing stress and the possible causes.

  2. Be able to recognize that past experiences, thoughts, & behaviors contribute to unreasonable ideas that create your current experience.

  3. Have a better stress response (strategy).

  4. Develop a higher level of adaptation by changing your self perception.

You will continue to experience stress no matter where you go, where you live, who you speak to, and what you do until there is change within you about the way you perceive yourself. As a result, you gain a better understanding of your mind, body, & spirit that allows you to have a better stress response and develop a higher level of adaptation by changing your self perception.

Fight or Flight?

Worry and anxiety affect the body by activating the emergency response system within your body. When a person encounters a stressful situation, the “fight or flight” response becomes activated, depending on your perception of the situation, your mind determines if you are safe or in danger. When this response is turned on, your body releases two naturally occurring hormones, adrenaline and cortisol, which create a short and long term response within your body. Adrenaline increases your heart rate, elevates your blood pressure and boosts energy supplies. Cortisol, the primary stress hormone, increases sugars (glucose) in the bloodstream, enhances your brain's use of glucose and increases the availability of substances that repair tissue”¹.

Listen to Your Body

When your body speaks and you don’t listen to it, the body has a unique ability to express itself through illnesses, adverse reactions, physical, emotional, and mental changes. Learn to read how your body responds by being aware of some of the things you may experience.

1. Too Much Adrenaline (short term response)²

  • Rapid heart rate.

  • Sweating.

  • Heightened senses.

  • Rapid breathing.

  • Decreased ability to feel pain.

  • Increased strength and performance.

  • Dilated pupils.

  • Feeling jittery or nervous.

2. Too Much Cortisol (long term response)³

  • Weight gain, mostly around the midsection and upper back.

  • Weight gain and rounding of the face.

  • Acne.

  • Thinning skin.

  • Easy bruising.

  • Flushed face.

  • Slowed healing.

  • Muscle weakness

3. Physical Symptoms

  • Digestive disorders

    • Constipation

    • Diarrhea

    • Loss of Appetite

    • Ulcers

    • Heartburn

    • Indigestion

  • Headaches

  • Palpitations

  • Sweating

  • Asthma Attack

  • Hyperventilation

  • Muscle Tension

  • Lack of Sexual Arousal

  • Pain

4. Emotional Symptoms

  • Crying

  • Anger

  • Sleepiness or insomnia

  • Tired

  • Nervous

  • Hyperactive

  • Sadness

  • Quiet

  • Irrational outbursts

5. Mental Symptoms

  • Confusion

  • Memory Loss

  • Forgetfulness

  • Decreased Concentration

  • Impaired Performance

  • Decreased Productivity

  • Paranoia

Tips & Phrases For Stress Reduction

Now that you are aware of some of the ways your body speaks to you, let’s take a look at the power of words and what it means to reframe your way of thinking. For example, instead of saying “I have a problem”, reframe into “I have an opportunity”. It is all about encouraging ourselves by reframing the way we express ourselves. The way we speak to ourselves will have a deeper impact when we use a compassionate and sympathetic inner voice rather than a mean voice. Here are a few examples of how the power of words influence how we feel on a day to day basis. Use painful words into meaningful powerful words by reframing your way of thinking and using positive affirmations or mantras.

Thought Reframing --Power of Words (Pain To Power words):

Lose⇒ manage Quit⇒ free from

I can’t ⇒ I won’t What will I do? ⇒ I know I can handle it

I should ⇒I could Life’s a struggle ⇒ Life’s an adventure

It’s not my fault ⇒ I’m totally responsible I hope⇒ I know

I’m never satisfied⇒ I want to learn & grow If only ⇒ next time

It’s terrible ⇒ It’s a learning experience It’s a problem⇒ It’s an opportunity

Positive Affirmations:

  • The way to my total success is clearly in my mind & manifesting now.

  • I am relaxed & feel calm.

  • I am calm, relaxed, at ease, & self-assured.

  • I choose to love & approve of myself.

  • I honor these times of transition as necessary & precious.

  • I listen carefully to my inner voice that tells me when I need to make a change.

Now, let’s put together what we’ve learned so far by creating a sample journal entry using four different categories to help us recognize and strategize for a better, less stressful outcome.

Important Journal Aspects To Share

Stressful Event

For the stressful event, begin by writing 3 to 5 entries daily that you can identify as a stressful occurrence or any triggers that may cause a stressor throughout your day.

Body Symptoms

Refer back to the Listen To Your Body section for a list of symptoms that you may be experiencing.

Please note any adverse reactions that you may be experiencing. If you need immediate medical attention please seek emergency help by dialing 911 or calling the crisis hotline. This awareness journal and the coping techniques mentioned are not intended to replace any medical advice or treatment.

Coping Stress Scale

Tension Record

0 -10

Use a subjective unit of distress scale from zero to ten to determine the level of intensity in which you are feeling stress. In this case think of 0 as "No Tension" & 10 as "Extremely Tense".

Coping Strategies

These strategies include any type of coping mechanism that you already use or any new techniques learned to manage stress. What you decide to use is up to you. Now that you have learned about some of your body’s natural reactors I invite and encourage you to write in your stress awareness journal to use it as your own personal guide to your experiences, ideas, thoughts and reflections.

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