Before adding a stressful situation in a Stress Log it is important to decide which situations are worth taking the time to describe. Your negative emotions can be important; they are often telling you something is wrong.
Situations worth describing in a Stress Log may be clearly eventful (e.g. a friend just canceled dinner plans at the last minute) or not clearly eventful (e.g. contemplating the day ahead while laying in bed in the morning). As long as you felt negative emotions at the moment, it can be important to record in a Stress Log. Start by describing the situation.
When describing a stressful situation in a Stress Log answer the following:
A good example: "I was watching TV mid Sunday afternoon. It was a long weekend and I was all by myself, alone in the house."
Don't think too hard about this one. Limit the description to the one-word emotions listed or add your own. People often say things like: "I feel like a failure," "I feel like a loser," or "I feel like I'm wasting my time." For MindQuire exercises avoid describing your emotions this way. These are thoughts or ideas that can be challenged, not emotions. Even if you are quite certain you are right about these views, they are ideas and thoughts, not emotions.
Sometimes emotions are easy to identify and name. You may clearly feel sad, anxious or angry. Other times you may feel discomfort, an unpleasant sensation in your body or simply an awareness that you are not happy. That may be confusing, so in the next section you will learn how to identify different emotions.
Start by asking: What thoughts or images were in your mind at the time you were feeling the negative emotions? Pay attention to when your mood changes and ask: What was running through your mind at the moment?
Automatic thoughts are usually in the background of a more conscious thought process and may be difficult to identify. Through practice you will be able to bring these thoughts into consciousness.
Sometimes images rather than words will cross your mind when you are feeling upset. You can picture a scene, a situation, someone's reaction, another's facial expression, or the tone of someone's voice. Try and describe this in your mind with words, even if there were no words in your mind at the time you were feeling upset.
Write here the facts and evidence you can think of that may support the idea that the thought being challenged is correct or that it is wrong.
Start with the argument for supporting your automatic thought:
Then consider any available information, reasoning or experience that may be against the veracity of your automatic thought:
After a rational consideration of the evidence for and against the thought being challenged, you are likely to come up with a more balanced statement that can replace the automatic negative thought.
Write an alternative thought or view of the situation that is consistent with the evidence.
Avoid any "positive thinking" you rationally don't believe. This statement needs to be something you believe. Be rational, but truthful.
The idea here is not to go from a "I'm finished" to a "Everything will be alright." Statements like "Not all is lost" or "Things may go wrong, but it is not certain or even likely." may be closer to what you rationally believe to be true.
After doing this Thought Challenge exercise, how much less convinced are you about the statement being challenged? Are you now 100% convinced the automatic thought being challenged is not true at all? If so, then change your certainty to 0%.
Are you less certain now that this may be accurate, but still think it may be so? Re-rate how certain you are now of the statement being challenged. Try to do so thinking rationally, not rating how you feel about it. You may be convinced by now your automatic thought is completely false, or very unlikely, but still feel as-if it was true. Let your rational brain here decide what's true, or how certain you are about the statement, even if you still feel otherwise.
Information is Power. Knowing how you spend your time and how you feel when doing different things can be uniquely helpful. You may think you already know how you spend your time and how you feel about the different activities in your life, but research consistently shows that the human mind distorts the recent past when trying to recount events. And this is even worse if you are anxious or depressed.
Be curious. Wonder what you will learn about yourself. In just a few minutes a day you can easily enter many activities with one or few words and rate the emotions you had at the moment. You'll be gathering powerful information for you and your therapist.
Try using the same word(s) for the same activities on different moments, so you can see summaries of how much you do that same thing and how you've felt about it over time. For example, don't enter "Watching TV" as "TV" one day, and then "Watch TV" another day. You can call any activity how ever you want, but whatever you consider to be the same thing, name it exactly the same every time. If you consider two different activities to be different things, then call them differently. For example, if watching the news, to you, is significantly different from watching TV otherwise, you can call them "news" and "tv."
Depression is not only feeling sad. It also affects your interest in things, how much energy and motivation you have, how much you can enjoy life and how you think, sleep and eat.
Blue Scale helps you easily quantify how you are doing in all aspects of depression.
For each symptom of depression listed pick a number from best (0) to worst (100) by simply moving each slider to the right. To move each slider quickly you can simply click on the bar around the spot where you want to rate each symptom. For fine tuning you can use the arrows in your keyboard in order to move the sliders to the right or left one point at a time.
At the end of the page you'll find a slider to rate "Overall Depression." You may consider the previous symptoms as much as you want here. This one slider is for you to score your depression overall, however you define it. It doesn't need to be the average of the previously entered symptoms.
By default, Blue Scale will assume you are reporting the intensity of your depression for one day (today). If you want to report how this symptoms have been over the past week or two weeks (or any number of days), you simply need to select a different date range on the top right of the page, under "Days to Report."
Anxiety can affect the way you feel (afraid, nervous, panic), the way you think (worry, problems sleeping) and the way your body works or how you perceive it (muscle tension, palpitations, shortness of breath.)
Anxiety Scale helps you easily quantify how you are doing in all aspects of anxiety.
For each symptom of anxiety listed pick a number from best (0) to worst (100) by simply moving each slider to the right. To move each slider quickly you can simply click on the bar around the spot where you want to rate each symptom. For fine tuning you can use the arrows in your keyboard in order to move the sliders to the right or left one point at a time.
At the end of the page you'll find a slider to rate "Overall Anxiety." You may consider the previous symptoms as much as you want here. This one slider is for you to score your anxiety overall, however you define it. It doesn't need to be the average of the previously entered symptoms.
By default, Anxiety Scale will assume you are reporting the intensity of your anxiety for one day (today). If you want to report how this symptoms have been over the past week or two weeks (or any number of days), you simply need to select a different date range on the top right of the page, under "Days to Report."