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The Four "A's" of Stress Management

Feb. 18, 2014|665 views
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This week, I'm sharing some advice on stress management borrowed from the renowned Mayo Clinic. They recommend that you enlist the aid of the "Four A's" to beat stress. Stress is not just about feeling unhappy or uncomfortably, it can directly affect your health and well being. So, it's important to manage stress in your life.

Yesterday, I discussed the first of the four A's: "Acceptance"

Today, "A" is for "Adaptation."

Yesterday's advice concerned the need to accept what you can't change. Today's advice is about changing your own attitudes, standards and expectations to realign with reality.

I have been working on and off in a research project in Puerto Rico and I had to apply much acceptance and lots of adaptation. First because I am not familiar with the area, second most streets in Puerto Rico have a name but no sign to be found and third, and most importantly, there is no GPS system that can be considered reliable. I have been so lost and turned around that I decided the only way to get through was to accept the beauty of the Caribbean and adapt to a completely different culture where people have a bit of chaos but don't really care about it much.

I am not a perfectionist, but if you are - I urge you to agree with yourself that perfection is neither achievable nor desirable. No one's life is perfect, nor could it ever be. That's the human condition. Give yourself permission to be less than perfect, and a whole new world of possibilities--and breathing space--is likely to emerge. Nip negative thoughts in the bud. They're self-perpetuating and ultimately toxic. A little self awareness is a good thing, but a nagging voice telling you you'll never be good enough is decidedly NOT a good thing.

View things from another angle. Instead of bemoaning your present situation, ask yourself if there isn't a'ta  bright side. Kids so full of energy, running around the house driving you nuts? Keep in mind that some children are too ill to move. Yours are not - be grateful. Of course it can be distracting and annoying to deal with rowdy kids in the short term. But think of the future. One day they'll be gone. Enjoy what you have now. It's all about shifting the way you think

Adopt a positive phrase to get you through challenging times. Positive self talk is more beneficial than you might think. Imagine, for example that you must do something that pushes you outside of your comfort zone. Take public speaking, as an example. You could approach the podium repeating to yourself: "I can do this," or you could fill your head with negative talk: "I'm not up to this; I'm going to freeze; I'm going to embarrass myself; I'm not god enough..." Which of these two approaches are likely to result in a speaker who's capable of captivating and holding the attention of her audience? Which will fare poorly?

Reframe your perspective. Sometimes it helps to look at the bigger picture. When you're stressing over something, ask yourself if it will really still seem so important in one year, or five. At the end of your life, will it really matter? Again, much depends on how you think about things. Stressors can't harm you if you don't give them the power to do so.

The Mayo Clinic website. Healthy living page. Stress management. Accessed 2-13-14 from:


Tags:  health tips, stress