Mental Health Matters: Coping with stress: The 4 A’s of stress management

Having finished the semester very differently from others, online and apart, and being in a pandemic having to follow strict guidelines, we’ve all been feeling the stress of COVID-19. Sometimes, stress appears to us in ways we don’t expect or fully understand, but it is crucial to try and manage the stress and find out what works best to help you to cope or relieve that stress. Here are the 4 A’s of stress management

Avoid

While this step may not always be possible, try your best to avoid things and people that cause you unnecessary stress. According to the HelpGuide, “It’s not healthy to avoid a stressful situation that needs to be addressed, but you may be surprised by the number of stressors in your life that you can eliminate.” Setting boundaries and knowing when to say “no” as well as taking control of your environment and avoiding people who stress you out can help to reduce the stress in your life.

Alter

What you can’t avoid, try to alter. While altering the way you face things may not always be the most comfortable change, it can help you to cope with stress. Creating a balanced schedule and expressing your feelings rather than bottling them up are a few ways you can alter the situations that life presents. When your stress involves other people, be willing to compromise in an effort to make the situation better for both parties involved.

Adapt

As humans, we are great at adapting to new situations. While not always comfortable, it is something we have done time and time again. One way to adapt is to reframe the problem and look at things differently. Gaining perspective and seeing the bright side can help relieve stress. Helping to keep things in perspective, try practicing gratitude. Given the current state of the world, be grateful you’re alive and healthy.

Accept

Sometimes, the stress and its sources are unavoidable. When this is the case, the best thing we can do is accept things as they are. Acceptance may sometimes be difficult, but it can also be sometimes easier than going against the currents. Try not to control the things you know you can’t control. Instead, focus on what you can control and make an effort to make things better. Let go of anger and resentment that might be holding you back.

Photo: D. Meyers

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