AAABC of Stress

Stress is often called the ‘silent killer’ and for a good reason:

We often don’t realize just how much it can negatively impact our health until it becomes too late. 

Stress management is a process of decision-making. How we perceive it and how we decide to act on it determines its effect on us. The bad news?

We are really bad at managing stress and often allow it to get the better of us. However, there are different strategies we can use to drastically reduce the stress in our lives or, at least, how we react to it.

This is the AAABC of stress management:

A - Alter. It all begins with making adjustments. Have you ever wondered how each of us has the same 24 hours of the day, yet some people manage to achieve so much and seem so calm while doing so?

They aren’t necessarily working harder than you or me, but they are better at eliminating stress through alteration.

You see, we often get buried underneath enormous amounts of stress, and we can’t think clearly. Over time, we start accepting that stress as a normal part of life. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

If you take an objective look at the different stressors of your life, you’ll realize that some can be drastically or fully eliminated through alteration. For example:

If you have a lot of tasks you need to do each day, you can sporadically handle them, multitask, run around, and eventually complete them. 

But, if you take two steps back, you can recognize the flaws in your approach and make improvements. You can set a schedule, automate different tasks and even outsource some of the work.

A - Avoid. Sometimes, the best way to deal with a stressor is to avoid it altogether. To conserve your energy and sanity, it’s much better to say no, delegate or even quit certain tasks than to push through and pile on more stress. For example:

If you constantly accept new tasks because you don’t want to say no, there will come the point where you’ll start feeling drained and overwhelmed. Stress will get the better of you, your work performance will decrease, and you’ll feel miserable.

A lot of people are really bad at saying no, but they don’t realize that by constantly accepting more and more jobs, all they are doing is adding unnecessary stress. We need to recognize and accept our limits and know when to take a step back.

A - Accept. At some point in our lives, all we can do is accept our circumstances and push through to get to the other side. We can’t always alter or avoid stressors, but we can always choose to accept them with confidence. This is where B and C of stress management come in:

B stands for build resilience, and C stands for change perception. With these two tools, we can drastically improve our stress management. For example:

We can greatly improve our resilience by taking better care of ourselves. Positive habits such as exercise, meditation, and better nutrition make us stronger, more energetic, and more confident (1, 2, 3). All valuable traits in the fight against stress. Also, taking some time to relax and do something enjoyable each day allows us to recover and clear our head.

And by changing our perception, we can see each situation differently and find the good in the bad. 

When we fail, we can bicker and moan, or we can see it as an opportunity to learn and do better next time. When life puts us at a disadvantage, we can either get pissed off or see it as an opportunity to build resilience.

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