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Stress and Keeping a Stress Diary

The first question most people usually want to know is ?how can I eliminate stress? But stress is a fact of life?it's been around since the first two people lived on earth. Stress is the physical and emotional reaction our bodies have to a changing environment and it can create both positive and negative effects.Stress, in itself, is not always bad. Positive stress is what moves us to action, what makes us feel alive.

It creates anticipation and excitement in our lives. "Dis"stress can cause "dis"ease. Take a violin for example, too little stress makes it sound dull and raspy, too much stress can make it sound shrill or even break the strings, but just the right amount of stress creates beautiful music.

With people, too little stress can act as a depressant, leaving us feeling bored or dejected; on the other hand, too much stress can leave us feeling out of control or "tied up in knots". Stress frequently shows up as muscle tension, headaches, migraines, difficulty sleeping and concentrating, ulcers, upset stomach, rashes and sexual dysfunction, among many others symptoms. Chronic stress can have serious effects on your health such as high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.What we really need to do is find our optimal level of stress, the point at which we're motivated and excited about life but not overwhelmed.

But before we can manage our stress to our optimal level, we have to find out what our stressors (sources of stress) are and how they affect us?good or bad. Do you know what causes you stress? You might be surprised!.Every person is unique and reacts differently to each event.

Since each person reacts differently to different stressors (sources of stress), the best way to find your stress factors is to chronicle them. Keep a diary of what's going on during your day and how it makes it you feel.Keeping a stress diary will help you gain insight into how you react to stress. It will allow you to better channel your energy into performing as you choose to and not in reaction to the unidentified stress that has you by the throat. Your diary will help you understand:


  • what causes your stress in more detail
  • .
  • level of stress that you operate at most efficiently
  • .
  • how do you react to stress
  • .
  • are your reactions appropriate and useful
.Include the following information, so you can best analyze your stress:

  • Date and time of each entry
  • .
  • How do you feel right now? On a scale of 1 - 10 with 1 being miserable and 10 being ecstatic
  • .
  • Record how effective you feel you are on a scale of 1 - 10 with 1 being very ineffective and 10 being highly effective
  • .
  • How stressed out do you feel? On a scale of 1 - 10 with 1 being in a state of utter peace and 10 feeling like you are crawling out of your skin
  • .
  • What stress symptom do you feel?
  • .
  • How did you handle the stress?

Make daily entries into your diary for a reasonable amount time. After about 4 weeks, you should be able to start seeing a pattern. Some of your behaviors, which are provoked by stress, will be repeated on a regular basis.

Make a list of those behaviors that you see most often. These will be the stressors in your daily life you will want to learn to control first.Next, look at the causes of these obvious stressors.

Also, look at how well you managed them on a day-by-day basis. When you can identify areas where you can learn to manage your stress responses better, list those.List all of the every day events of your life that cause you stress and list how these events made you feel.

By now you can see the contrast in what events cause you the most stress compared to what events cause you the least. You can now see at what stress level you can function best. Your goal now will be to lessen the stress in your life by managing how you deal with stressful situations and you can do this by responding to the stress in your life in a more proactive/positive manner.

.Wendy Arthurs is Founder and CEO of Beyond Goals, a BC based firm that specializes in helping people get from where they are now?to where they want to be. She is a life coach, public speaker and author who specializes in stress management, relaxation techniques and goal setting.

More tips on managing stress can be found at

By: Wendy Arthurs


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