Together with our Partners The Capacity Specialists, we have started offering 3-month programs to optimize health and wellness in the corporate world.

In this post we’ll talk about something crucial: The Four A’s of stress management.

Avoid by anticipating and learning how to say no

Alter by changing or addressing small problems early so they don’t turn into larger ones

Accept by focusing on gratitude and the positive

Adapt by changing your perception, standards and expectations

You can read more about how to implement the four A’s in the post linked below.

Avoid; Anticipate and learn how to say no

Take some time to plan and avoid unnecessary stress factors. For example, leave the house early to avoid traffic or take some time to plan your meetings and presentations clearly.

The desire for social acceptance can make it very difficult to say no. Once it’s been established that the person in question has a lot of responsibility and demands on their time, it can become a relieving and positive attitude to turn down low-priority tasks.

In terms of planning it might be helpful to rank the tasks of the day in categories of importance, ranking in A, B, C.

Alter

small problems can create larger ones if they’re not resolved.
Situations that promote stress are able to reduce tension when you’re free to express those emotions.
Take a deep breath, recognize your feelings and find a way to express these, such as saying “I feel frustrated by the shorter deadlines and heavier workload, is there something we can do to balance things out?”

Time management is also a crucial tool for this. Try and group small tasks together, such as emails/phone calls and small/short meetings. The constant feeling of having to respond to various small tasks and requests can weigh very heavy over time.

Accept

Sometimes, it’s not possible to avoid and alter. In those cases it’s advised to accept and focus on gratitude and the positive. There is a famous Buddhist saying that goes “desire is the root of all suffering.”
This can be interpreted as wanting a situation to be different than what it really is. In other worlds, lack of acceptance.

Also, don’t be afraid to vent at times. Expressing or talking through emotions is scientifically proven to reduce stress levels.
A point of interest here is that positive venting releases stress, while negative venting / complaining can cause an increase in stress. (Bodie et all 2015, Goldsmith 2004)

Another powerful tool to release heavy baggage is forgiveness. It can break through resentment and resistance in a very effective way. Attachment to anger and resentment ask a high price to pay for your emotional and psychological health.

Inability to forgive has shown to have a detrimental impact on health and relationships (Saybold et all 2001, Gordon et al 2009).
Studies indicate that when people report higher levels of forgiveness, they also report better health habits and decreased depression, anxiety and anger.

Adapt

Adaptation is one of the most crucial characteristics for humans to survive and thrive. It often involves changing perception, standards and expectations.

This can be achieved through coaching or by questions that lead to a different approach in thinking such as “would it be possible to watch less Netflix and mediate instead?”

Meditation and other empty mind practices help to shift the brain’s default mode and filter out unnecessary noise.
A constant stream of thoughts can really drain the energy that can be used for more positive and productive habits. Refuse to replay a stressful situation as negative and it may cease to be negative.

For example, I experienced our cat fall from the fourth floor recently and have flashes of him severely hurt coming back to me regularly. Instead, I will try to focus on the fact we get to help care for him and nurture him back to full health, thankful for his survival.

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