4 A’s of Stress Management To Cope With Stress

Last Update on March 15, 2021 : Published on March 15, 2021

We all experience stress in our lives and we all wish to manage it to the best of our ability.

You might have come across various tips, techniques, and tactics that can aid you in achieving this goal.

I have even read numerous texts, blogs, articles, and theories for help. Some of these measures worked for me quite effectively while others didn’t give the wow some results. So, the research to find a compact measure for stress-management continued!

Also Read: 6 Effective Stress Management Techniques | Vanish Your Stress at a Snap

But, the search did end with Mayo Clinic’s 4 A’s Stress Management Model. These 4 A’s stand to AVOID, ALTER, ADAPT and ACCEPT.

4as of stress management

Let us unroll these four A’s of Stress Management now.

Understand The 4 A’s of Stress Management:

1. AVOID Unnecessary Stress

Well, you really don’t have to avoid a stressful situation here, as that is an unhealthy practice. But, what you can do here is avoid unnecessary stress.

Also Read: 4 Types of Stress in Psychology: How to Control Stress?

Basically, it’s all about eliminating the unwanted stressors from your life. There is literally a long list of stressors that really don’t deserve to be a stressor or won’t be a stressor if you follow these 3 basic rules:

Say, NO. If it is being too much on you just say a no. Know your limits and stick by them. It is the ultimate mantra to abide by here.

Avoid Stress welcoming people. This one might sound a little bitter but let us be honest! There are definitely certain people in our lives who are likely to cause stress in our lives. So, avoiding being in contact with such people is what can help here.

Be In Charge of your own Surroundings. Be in charge of your surroundings and change it if it causes stress. If that piece of news causes stress to you, shut the app down, put your phone aside and get yourself some water.

AVOID Unnecessary Stress

2. ALTER Stressful Situation

Often we can’t really avoid a stressor in our life. So, does that mean we let stress take a toll on us? The answer to this is a big NO! Let the second A come into play here, that is, Alter it instead. When I say alter it means changing our way to operate and communicate it in our life.

Two Ways to Achieve This Goal are:

A. Have a well-balanced schedule throughout your day.

Have you heard of the word burnout? When the level of stress exceeds what we can actually deal with it leads to a state of burnout. A major reason why this happens is we stuff our plates more than what we are actually capable of consuming.

In other words, we have so much on our to-do list that we can’t complete it thus causing stress. The best way to get this sorted is by creating a schedule for your day. Make sure it is well-balanced with work time, family time, leisure time, and some solitary pursuits of course.

B. Don’t bottle up those feelings and express them out.

It is important to communicate your feelings instead of bottling them up. Do use ‘I’ statements.

Example: Not liking your sibling playing PUBG in loud music while you are struggling to meet the deadline? Get up, walk up to them with his earphones and be assertive. Please put these headphones on. I am having trouble working. Done! Isn’t it? In fact, healthier as well as resenting and letting stress build.

ALTER Stressful Situation

3. ADAPT to the Stressor

Can’t avoid or change the stressor? How about changing your own self?

Adapting to stressful situations can actually help you have a sense of control over the situation.

5*5*5 rule can help you here! Although ideally, it is an anger management technique it actually helps you look at the bigger picture. Does this situation bother you? Before stress sinks in, give your wait for 5 minutes and think, will it matter to you in the next 5 years? Or will I be upset over it after 5 years? If your answer is a NO then please don’t waste another 5 minutes on it.

Mend a little. It is okay if things didn’t happen as perfectly as you wanted it to be. Don’t stress over it. Some days adjusting your standards can actually help you feel less stressed over a particular situation.

Change your lens. Sometimes we perceive a situation as stressful whereas if we change our lens, in that case, we can actually find a viewpoint towards a given situation. Through this, you are definitely going to feel less frustrated and more happy and content for a given situation.

ADAPT to the stressor

4. ACCEPT Things You Can’t Change

Acceptance can be a little tricky and difficult. But it is any day better than letting yourself be puzzled over a stressful situation that can’t be changed or prevented when the source is unavoidable.

Also Read: The Power of Self Acceptance: Ways To Accept Yourself

3 measures that can make you more accepting are:

1. Know your powers.

Know things you can control and you can’t control and decide not to stress over things that fall in the latter category. Because things you don’t have control over should be not stressed about, rather they should be accepted as they come.

Like- bad weather!

2. Look for opportunities.

If the stressful situation arises from an outside source think of it as an opportunity for personal growth and if it is a result of your own poor choices then learn from it.

Also Read: 51 Self Improvement Tips To Change Life

3. Learn to forgive.

Forgiving is an act of freeing yourself from all the negatives or bad energy. There is no point dragging that sack full of anger and resentment on your shoulders. Just let go off of it and feel lighter and nicer.

Also Read: Self-forgiveness: High time to Heal from Shame and Guilt

With this, you will be able to accept the situation and make the most out of it.

So now you know the magic mantra of managing stress effectively.

To help you keep a note of this magic trick, here is a graphic of the same. You can also share it with a friend or loved one of yours and help them release stress from their lives.

Do try and implement these 4-A’s of stress management in your life and feel free to share your experience with us.

Smile more; stress less…

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5 Best Mantras for Anger Management: Must Try

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About The Author

Anjali Singh
Anjali Singh

Anjali Singh is a content curator in the field of Mental Health. She is currently done Ph.D. in Psychology. Her aim is to light up the world with positive vibes through her words, her idea of life is ‘Grow through what you go through’. Apart from this, she is a big-time pet lover.


  1. Sharon P
    Sharon P

    Thank you, Anjali, for this extremely well-written article about The 4 A's, I thoroughly enjoyed reading your pearls of wisdom. Well done.

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