Worksheets: Worksheet 1

Assess and Respond: Coping with the Stress of Deployment

A common approach to confronting stress is to 1) identify how you are feeling; and then 2) identify how those feelings impact your thoughts and behavior. This information can help you find the best ways to respond to stressful situations as they arise.

To start, use this worksheet during the pre-deployment stage to help you manage your feelings and develop personal coping behaviors. Continue to use the worksheet throughout the deployment cycle. And use what you’ve learned to communicate with your service member, family, and friends about your feelings, thoughts, and reactions around deployment.

Write down responses or complete the exercise mentally. If needed, you can print the worksheet. If needed, you can and should complete this worksheet multiple times throughout deployment.


Identify a major stressor that you’re coping with right now. This is usually something stressful in your life that you are trying to manage.

Identify your reactions to the stressor you identified above.

Consider your automatic responses in each of the following areas:

  • How does your thinking change?
  • How do your emotions change?
  • How do you change physically? (e.g., increased tension, headaches, stomach problems, sleeplessness, etc.)
  • How does your behavior change? (e.g., drinking, smoking, etc.)


Think about the healthiest and most positive responses in the face of this stressor. If you can change the stressor so that it no longer bothers you, that’s great. If you cannot, then the best response would be to react in a way that is healthy for you and others around you. Sometimes, it’s useful to consider how someone you admire might respond to this stressor, or to think about what has worked for you in the past. Try to understand what the optimal response in each area of your life might be.

  • What would you need to help you react in a healthier way? (e.g., Are you resorting to old habits? Are you using the resources you have?)
  • Who can you get assistance from? Sometimes, it helps to get assistance from others (e.g., talk to your spouse or practice role-playing with a friend before going into the actual situation).
  • Are there any skills you could learn to help yourself cope better with the situation? Sometimes it helps to learn a coping skill (e.g., anger management or relaxation training).
  • Is there anything you are not doing now that would help you in this situation? (e.g., relaxation techniques, exercise, talking to friends or relatives, keeping a journal)