Applying the Four A’s of Stress Relief to Your Life

Stress relief begins by knowing specific coping strategies that you can apply to your life every day.  We can never eliminate all our stress, but we can learn ways to decrease it and deal with it.  This can help to prevent stress-related illnesses, and ensure you live a healthier life.



Avoid the stressful situation altogether.  For example, if you find driving during rush hour causes you undue stress, you should make other transportation arrangements at that time.  

Or perhaps socialising with a particular couple causes you a lot of pressure, then it is better to stop spending time with this couple.


Alter the way you approach things during your day.  When you cannot avoid a situation, then you need to alter it.  

For example, if you are a list maker, make sure to prioritise tasks that must be done that day and those that can always be completed on another day.

Remind yourself that Rome was not built in one day either!

Change the way you do things.  For example, suppose grocery shopping causes you to stress. In that case, you can alter the situation by phoning in your order and having the groceries delivered to your home, or by going shopping when fewer people are in the store.


You need to be able to identify when something is not in your control.  

You have probably heard of the Serenity Prayer that states you need to accept the things you cannot change, the courage to change the things you can, and have the wisdom to know the difference.

What is lesser known is that this prayer was written by American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr at the height of the Great Depression in 1932, when people across the globe were faced with unprecedented difficulties.


If you cannot change the situation, you need to learn how to adapt to it.  Life is full of ongoing changes, and the earlier you realise this, the less stress you will experience. 

It helps if you can look at the positive things that can come out of a new situation, rather than the negative. 

For example, if a beloved co-worker is retiring, this could be very stressful for you.

 However, if you can look at the positive things that could come out of this such as working with a new person who could become your friend, this can help alleviate some of the stress you are feeling.

In summary, the four A's of stress are to avoid, alter, accept, or adapt to situations.  

If you can apply what the four A's are teaching, you can eventually find some stress relief in your life by using those rules.


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