How to Monitor Stress Triggers? 4 Easy Steps!

How to Monitor Stress Triggers? 4 Easy Steps!

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In small amounts, stress is good for us.  But the problem is most people don’t know how to monitor stress triggers effectively to determine when it’s too much.

The hormone cortisol invokes the fight-or-flight response, keeping us alert to what we perceive as danger.

This is acute stress, which simply means relatively minor stress on a sporadic basis.  No problem there whatsoever.

This type of stress kicks in when you’re about to give a speech or make toast in public. We’ve all been there.  Right?  I know I get butterflies in my stomach when I have to give a speech in public.

That’s a good kind of stress because the thought of embarrassment makes me all the more determined to stay sharp and clear-minded.how to monitor stress

However, chronic stress (prolonged periods of worry) can have very harmful effects on your health.  That’s why it’s really important to learn how to monitor stress triggers.

Besides being a known gateway into depression, chronic stress raises your blood pressure and can cause you to have a stroke or a heart attack.

Chronic stress is habitual, so it will take some time to get rid of.

You’ve got to learn how to monitor stress and how to identify what sets you off!  That is one of the first steps you can take towards a lighter heart and a happier mind.

1. How to Monitor Stress: Keep a diary

Yes, this old chestnut again. Jot down everything that stresses you out in the day. For instance traffic, your boss’s voice, the painfully slow barista, the lady who cuts queue when you’re already running late.

It doesn’t have to be rational – you just have to note it down. You may also want to score each situation on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the most stressful.

The idea is to get a look at the amount of stress you handle on any given day.

Once you do, it’s likely that you will realize just how much and how soon you need some management techniques.

2. How to Monitor Stress: Look for patterns

After you’ve diligently noted everything for two weeks, look for patterns. What has stressed you out the most? Was it the ‘snail’s-pace’ barista? If so, why? Is it because you were running late? Or was it his general laid-back attitude that annoyed you intensely?

If you were running late for an appointment, just start out 10 minutes earlier.

Try it a few times and see if you feel better getting your coffee. If this doesn’t work, simply switch coffee places.

The idea is to look at what sets you off on a daily basis. Start your day stressed and there’s virtually zero chance of it getting better.

3. How to Monitor Stress: Examine & Control Your Thoughts

Thoughts become feelings very fast, and what follows negative feelings? Stress & anger.

For example: a colleague may have made a remark that sounded nasty and hurtful to you.

You didn’t deal with it in the moment but now it’s in your mind festering.

You’re angry, you feel let down, you can’t believe that you have to work with such a person every single day.

You’re probably at home losing sleep over this and unable to do anything because it’s the middle of the night.

This is as familiar a scenario as it gets.

So, when the thought of “vicious colleague” comes to mind, cut it off immediately.

It will try and come back, so you need to be alert and cut it off again.

Choose one of two ways to deal with it.

Ask yourself if this colleague is the sort of person who’s in the habit of making such remarks.

If it’s a definitive “no”, then the remark was probably worded badly and not aimed at diminishing you.

If you can’t say for sure, tell yourself that you’ll approach this colleague as soon as you can. Prepare a script before you go. The last thing you need is for the situation to blow up and cause you more stress.

Say something like “Hey, you said something about my assignment this morning. It sounded like you were taking a dig at me. Did I get this wrong?”

This way, you’ll find out if you did indeed get it wrong.

If you didn’t, you can tell this person that you won’t take any snarky attitude lying down. If they know they’ll be confronted after a certain type of behavior, chances are high that they won’t repeat it.

4. How to Monitor Stress: Reflect on Deep-Rooted Triggers

Let’s assume that you have a boss who speaks to you in a certain tone of voice.

Others seem to be able to deal with it easily but try as you may, you just can’t tolerate it and it aggravates you on a daily basis… and you don’t know why.

In instances such as these, it may be useful to go through some of your stress issues with a coach.

It may be that you were bullied as a kid and something about your boss’s voice reminds you of that. It could be that the tone brings back an incident that made you feel small and unworthy.

Your boss may not actually be trying to do any of those things, but that sound brings back emotions that puzzle and hurt you.

Once you’ve identified the trigger, you can separate your boss from incidents of your past.  Most of all, you will be able to listen to that voice without feeling fearful or upset.

It’s important that you work through these issues with a qualified practitioner. An app is no substitute and in this instance, could end up doing more harm.

Stress is a fact of life.

There’s no way to avoid it so the only thing you can do is prevent it from hurting you.

That’s exactly what we do in my Facebook community of Women Beating Chronic Stress!

You gotten through life this far and you will continue. Better days lie ahead.

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Darlene Berkel

Stress Resilience & Life Transitions Coach Darlene is passionate about helping ambitious women 40+ conquer chronic stress and overcome whatever life throws at them. Combining personal experience, proven stress management activities and divine guidance, Darlene delivers top-tier products and services that have allowed committed women to face their challenges without losing steam.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. I love how you addressed the co-worker with an “I feel” statement and then asked: “Did I get this wrong?”. Perfect. It’s easy to make matters worse if we are not careful when dealing with co-workers.

    1. Thanks for your comment Estelle. It’s a real balance to be assertive AND at the same time to be tactful. The last thing we need is to add fuel to the fire and cause an even more stressful situation at the office, but at the same time, it’s important to speak up to clarify misunderstandings before they really escalate and become a huge mountain of “stress”.:-)

  2. Stress- ugh. Especially this time of year. I love these ideas, especially keeping a little notebook and marking 1-10 to track my triggers.

    1. Believe it or not, keeping a stress journal really helps monitor your stress triggers. Recognizing that you are stressed and then nail where you stress is coming from is more than half the battle in keeping stress under control…anytime of year! Thanks for your comment Beth. Glad you liked the notebook idea. 🙂

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