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Stress is a physiological and mental response to events, situations, and thoughts which people believe they have no control over. Temporary stress is often experienced at work and in personal situations. Let’s discuss some options for stress management and relief. 

This short-term stress can be helpful. For example, the stress of deadlines compels you to plan your projects beforehand and deliver them on time. The acute stress response experienced during unfortunate events like earthquakes can help you survive.

But, chronic stress, where you tend to be in a flight or fight mode always, is dangerous to your mind, body, and relationships.

Thankfully, there is the rule of 4 As – avoid, alter, accept, and adapt. This offers a practical way to overcoming your stress.

To help you adopt this process, let’s go over the 4 As for Stress Management and Stress Relief.

Why Chronic Stress Is Bad for You

When you’re stressed, your body releases cortisol, a stress hormone. Cortisol gets into action by sending a distress signal to the brain. As a result, the pulse rate increases and muscles get tensed. When stress is temporary, these physical changes subside after you calm down.

When stress is chronic, cortisol production also becomes chronic, which means your body is always in a hyper mode.

Over time, this condition increases the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, anxiety, and menstrual issues. If you are already suffering from specific ailments, chronic stress can worsen them.

Chronic stress can also interfere with your relationships. The constant pressure makes you less happy, which spills over into your life.

You stay constantly irritated and may explode at the slightest of inconveniences or disappointments. Over time, your loved ones may find it difficult to talk to you or even be around you.

Given the terrible impact that chronic stress can have on your life, it is crucial to handle it early. So, what can you do to overcome stress positively and restore peace, happiness, and balance in your life?

Fortunately, there is the rule of 4 As, which offers a practical way of overcoming stress and enables you to live your life with health, happiness, and accomplishments.

Talking out your feelings and getting a different perspective from trusted people can help you cope better with the situation.

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The 4 As for Stress Management

1. Avoid

The first technique of the 4 As is to learn to avoid situations and people that stress you.

Traffic during a commute is a universal stressor. You can avoid the situation by planning your day daily. Leave early for work to avoid getting stuck in traffic.

If leaving early is not possible, consider using the traffic time productively by listening to an audio book or podcasts. If the stressor is a difficult colleague, then try to distance yourself from the person.

Another way to avoid stressors is to say no to extra tasks. Prioritize your to-do list and tend to the most important tasks. Cancel tasks that you may have accepted to please others. You will be more relaxed than agitated with a to-do list that you can handle. Plus, people around you will be happier with a calmer you.

2. Alter

Not all situations and people are avoidable. In such cases, the Alter technique can be effective. This technique puts the power in your hands by enabling you to address stressful situations or people in the most positive way.

Start by setting expectations early. Let the other person know what you can and cannot do so that they do not overwhelm you with tasks.

Be honest when someone’s behavior irritates, hurts, or angers you. For example, if a colleague requests your help with office work, but makes a habit of it, address the issue openly. Try saying, “I do not appreciate you repeatedly asking me to do your work.” Be honest but not rude.

3. Accept

When avoiding or altering is not possible, then acceptance shows the way forward. Acceptance can be hard on your emotions. You can reduce the negative impact and make acceptance more positive by:

Talking it out 

Share your feelings with a trusted friend, colleague, or family member. Sometimes, talking it out and getting a different perspective from trusted people can help you cope better with the situation.

Learn to move on

Dwelling on a situation or person that you may perceive as unfair takes a lot of energy. Instead, you can learn to move on. Realize that you are harming yourself with your negative emotions.

Stop chronic self-blame

Repeatedly blaming yourself for your mistakes can start a chain reaction of negative thoughts. Instead, learn to accept your mistakes and act wiser in the future.

4. Adapt

Sometimes, adapting to situations or people may be what you need to overcome stress.

You may be holding yourself and others to unrealistic standards, which can create conflict and stress. Get a grip on reality and lower your expectations of yourself and others. Your life will be more pleasant.

For example, it may not be possible for you to cook an elaborate meal every weekend. Instead, settle for a simple homemade meal. Your family will be happier with a relaxed you and a simple homemade meal.

Some techniques can make it easier to adapt yourself to your environment:

Focus on the bigger picture

Your quarrel with your in-laws may not matter in a year when you call them for a family gathering. Choose to ignore minor irritations in favor of greater happiness waiting for you.

Avoid replaying stressful situations in your mind

Doing so will agitate you more. Instead, try to look at the situation in a positive or humorous light.

Have a positive personal mantra

It can be a religious hymn, a positive quote, or an inspirational song. This can be your refuge when stressed. Hold on to the mantra to stay positive and think better in tougher situations.

In Conclusion

Stress is inevitable. A realistic approach would be to minimize it than ignore or avoid it. Use any one of the above techniques according to the situation.

With regular practice, you will be able to recognize your stress indicators faster and apply a workable technique. This way, you can act faster before the stress begins to take a toll on you.

At Quotacy, we understand that uncertainty can be hard and overwhelming to deal with. You never know what tomorrow may bring. This is why life insurance is so important. 

Term life insurance is an affordable way to protect your loved ones and provide you the peace of mind knowing that their future is secure.

Ready to see what you’d pay for life insurance? Start with a free quote today.

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About the writer

Headshot of Natasha Cornelius, a life insurance writer, for Quotacy, Inc.

Greg Lewerer

Director of Creative Strategy

Greg is Quotacy’s Director of Creative Strategy. He has an eclectic past from working on movie scripts to creating ad campaigns for major brands. His love of creative solutions drove him to strategy, and he now uses his powers to help families protect their loved ones. Outside of work, Greg spends his time off the grid hunting, fishing, camping, biking, hiking, and walking his dogs.