About 90% of Indians suffer from stress, and 75% of them are uncomfortable discussing their problem with a mental health professional. Financial constraints and lack of social acceptance are the main reasons why people do not seek professional help for mental illnesses such as stress. Although it is extremely important to be properly treated for any mental illness, stress is one disorder that can be handled on your own too.
Here we shall discuss the 4 As of stress management, which can help you control your stress levels without having to seek professional help:
Avoid: Although it is not possible to avoid every stressful situation – some are part of life and some are necessary to boost your performance – avoiding unnecessary stressors can significantly impact your mental health. For example, you can avert unnecessary burden at the workplace by simply saying no to extra work. The habit of working overtime or stretching too much can be extremely stressful to you as well as to your family. So, learn to say NO when you are already occupied and cannot accommodate extra work. You could also drop work that is less important to concentrate on more important tasks. Also, you can avoid the cause of stress or the person who is a continuous source of stress by reducing the time you spend with them. Similarly, you can avoid environmental factors that make you anxious, such as watching the news, excessive traffic, coming in late to office, etc. All of these can be easily avoided to prevent unnecessary stress.
Alter: If avoiding a stressful situation is not possible, the next best option is to alter it. It may require you to either change the way you communicate or operate the things in your daily life. If a tight deadline is unavoidable, you can ensure a calm atmosphere to work faster and more efficiently. For instance, you can alter your environment by communicating the need of silence to your roommate. Also, you should be able to alter yourself too before asking the other person to change. This way you can find middle ground that is suitable for both of you. Alter your schedule in a way that it accommodates some family time, as working all the time can be quite boring.
Adapt: The next possible tactic is adaptation to stress. If there is a stressor that cannot be avoided or altered, it is best to adapt yourself to it. This will help you regain your sense of control over the stressor. You can try reframing the whole situation more positively. Say, if you always feel stressed while stuck in a traffic jam (and cannot alter or avoid it), give a new spin to the situation. Think of it as your rejuvenation time and listen to your favourite songs, and the stress could vanish in seconds. You can also evaluate the situation for its long-term effects. If the situation is not going to be significant after a few months, do not bother about it and move ahead. Another factor that is a common reason for stress is ‘perfectionism’. If you are in the habit of ensuring everything is just perfect, it can actually stress you out. Start setting reasonable standards for yourself and others and be happy with good work. Do not try to overdo it for the sake of perfection.
Accept: Lastly, some stressors are entirely unavoidable, unalterable, or unadaptable. In such cases, the only way to cope is by accepting the situation and moving ahead. The death of a loved one, physical abuse, severe illness, a natural calamity – these are all situations that are not in our control, and you can do very little about them. They are uncontrollable, so it is best to accept the situation and resolve to move on. Forgiving is also an essential part of accepting the situation or stressor. Learn to forgive people and keep negative energy away from you. Often, sharing your feelings can make a huge difference and can relieve stress. So, learn to be more accepting and keep unhealthy stress away from you.
A report says stress has almost become a subculture in corporate India, resulting in physical and mental ailments. Following these simple steps of stress management can not only help you get rid of stress, but also control your emotions in the worst situations. So, start avoiding, altering, adapting and accepting stressful situations and live a healthy and content life.