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Four A's of stress management

Four A's of stress management

Have you heard of the “four A’s” of stress management? The often-discussed concept is a model for coping and a memory jogger for remembering four ways of managing stress, depending on the circumstances you face. The words are “avoid,” “alter,” “adapt” and “accept.”

Avoid refers to managing stress by planning or making different choices that steer you clear of stress and strain. (Example: You decide to file your tax return early to help avoid the stress of last-minute number crunching and any feelings of panic over the deadline.)

Alter refers to acting to create change in the present regarding the stressful situation. (Example: You decide to take a different way to work to avoid a traffic jam that will stress you out despite the alternate direction being five minutes longer.)

Adapt refers to an internal decision you make to adjust the way you cope with a stressor you can’t avoid. (Example: You make a decision to look on the bright side of a problem or situation that would otherwise be more distressful.)

Accept refers to “letting go” and ending the fight against a stressor you can’t control, but finding internal ways of coping with it to minimize its harmful effects. (Example: You experience a loss or fail a test, and decide to talk it over with a friend, counselor or advisor.)

Remember the four A’s menu of stress-management options when you are faced with a stressful situation.

Watch this short video from Continuum EAP for even more tips: Or, consider reaching out to your employee assistance program for support.

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