The 4 A’s Of Stress Management

Stress is a part of everyone’s day-to-day life and it increases during uncertain situations knowingly or unknowingly like during any pandemic or situation like these. The article will be discussing the 4 A’s of stress management.

But stress is not always bad for your health or life. Psychologists have confirmed that good stress is necessary for building a happy and successful life. On that note, the article categorizes stress into two types – good or healthy stress and bad or unhealthy or acute stress.

1. The Two Types of Stress

1.1. Good Stress 

The best example of good stress is the examination period; a healthy dose of stress keeps the level of adrenaline in students1 high and helps them to focus and work hard for their papers.

Whenever you challenge yourself in a good way, it can be either a promotional pitch of your ideas or an adrenaline-junky activity. In both cases, a healthy amount of stress helps you stay sharp and careful.

1.2. Bad Stress 

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Photo by Elisa Ventur on Unsplash

You experience bad stress when you undermine small responsibilities and ignore them or let small issues consume your maximum energy. Rather than solving those issues, you should focus on the HOW and WHY aspects of it.

For example, some students avoid studying till the last minute and end up stressed out, which could have been avoided.

The bad stress can be due to long ongoing family issues and work stress as well.

1.2.1. Symptoms of Bad Stress

  • Health issues like depression, anxiety, high blood pressure, and heart problems can develop stress in a person.
  • Less, or too much eating
  • Avoiding social gatherings
  • Short-tempered and impatient nature
  • Lack of concentration
  • Mood swings
  • Irregular sleeping hours or Amnesia

2. 4 A’s of Stress Management 

There are different ways to avoid bad stress to become optimistic during difficult situations. This can be done by applying the 4 A’s of stress management 2– Avoid, Alter, Accept, and Adapt.

2.1. Avoid – The 1st A of 4 A’s of Stress Management

You can avoid a lot of stressful situations by planning or ignoring them. You can use some of these ways:

How to Manage Stress as a Student
  • Take control of your situation – If you are stressed out in your work area, you can ignore the colleagues at the workplace who are stressing you out during working hours.
    If you are feeling stressed due to some familial issue then you can try being busy by spending more time at the office.

If you become stressed while being in traffic, then you can take a different route, and last but not least, if you get irritated or stressed due to the morning rush at home, then you can help your spouse and get it done. 

  • Learn to say NO – If you are charitable, some people can take advantage of you. Avoid such colleagues who always make excuses and ask you to do their share of the work.
  • Plan ahead – Always prepare a to-do list for the day; that way, you can plan ahead and not stress later.

2.2. Alter – The 2nd A in 4 A’s of Stress Management

4 A’s OF STRESS MANAGEMENT | Stress Management | Part - 4 | Power Class 10 | Dr Swati Tiwari (2020)

When you are unable to avoid a certain stressful situation, try to alter it. For example –

  • In your work area, even after you are avoiding any person or situation you are becoming a part of it, then ask them politely not to do that.
  • Learn to compromise – For instance, if any of your spouse’s habits is annoying you, rather than fighting over it every day, talk to him or her about it and try to resolve the issue. 
  • Multitasking – Multitasking involves the division of concentration among different situations. It helps you to avoid concentrating on one thing for long. For instance, if you are baking, which can take around 15 – 45 minutes to finish, you can do other errands during that period, like office work or laundry, or prepare your clothes for the office tomorrow.
  • Maintain open communication in any relationship to avoid stressful situations.

2.3. Adapt – The 3rd A in 4 A’s of Stress Management

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Photo by Tim Goedhart on Unsplash

When you cannot avoid or alter stressful situations, you need to mold yourself according to them. Let’s see how.

  • Adjust your expectations – Don’t always try to be a perfectionist; when the wind is blowing against you, try to lower your expectations and not be too hard on yourself.
  • Look situation from a new perspective – If you are stuck in a stressful situation for a while, try to solve it differently. Talk to whoever you think can guide or help you.
  • Practice pep-talk – Let’s assume someone is uncomfortable with public speaking, but it’s a part of his/her work life. So pep-talk yourself, and do whatever motivates you before going in front of the crowd. Better adapt yourself according to it as it’s part of your everyday work.
  • Stay focused on the result – Don’t forget, ‘NO PAIN, NO GAIN.’

2.4. Accept – The 4th A in 4 A’s of Stress Management

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Photo by Chela B. on Unsplash

Sometimes you can’t avoid or alter or adapt to stressful situations; then you just have to accept and make peace with them as they are. You can do it in many ways:

  • Forgiveness – Let’s assume, if there were heated arguments between you and your partner, and you both said pretty ugly words to each other in the heat of the moment, don’t let it fester or make your relationship bitter. Talk to one another and forgive each other.
  • Talk with someone you are comfortable with – For instance, if anyone in your family is chronically ill, spend as much time as possible with that person and cheer him or her up.
    Talk to someone you are close to if the situation gets too heavy and take care of yourself.
  • Stay motivated – For example, you made some mistakes during your presentation. Because of it, you lost your chance of promotion. You don’t need to start getting panic before every presentation or any such opportunity.
    Access what went wrong the first time and overcome it, practice it time and again.
    Remind yourself about the work you did to reach this far and make yourself constantly aware of the ultimate goal that you can get through the entire phase. 
  • Don’t forget the good time – Whenever life gets tough, either in a relationship or at work, don’t forget the good times you had with the person or why you choose the particular job in the first place.

3. Conclusion

Whatever kind of stressful situation you are in, you can handle it with these 4 A’s of stress management.

Meditation, Yoga, and regular exercise can also help to cope with the stress level. But don’t forget, stress is not always bad. Try to find positivity in hard situations; life will get easier.


1. What are the common sources of stress?

Common sources of stress include work-related pressures, personal relationships, financial issues, health concerns, major life changes, and time constraints.

2. What are some effective stress management techniques?

Effective stress management techniques include deep breathing exercises, mindfulness meditation, regular physical activity, time management, setting realistic goals, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, seeking social support, and practicing relaxation techniques.

3. How can mindfulness help with stress management?

Mindfulness involves being fully present in the moment without judgment. It can reduce stress by promoting relaxation, improving focus, and helping individuals develop a more balanced perspective on their thoughts and emotions.

4. What role does exercise play in managing stress?

Regular exercise helps release endorphins, which are natural mood elevators. Physical activity also reduces muscle tension, promotes better sleep, and improves overall cardiovascular health, contributing to stress reduction.

Read more

  1. Maduka, Ignatius C., Emeka E. Neboh, and Silas A. Ufelle. “The relationship between serum cortisol, adrenaline, blood glucose and lipid profile of undergraduate students under examination stress.” African health sciences 15.1 (2015): 131-136. ↩︎
  2. Greenberg, Jerrold S. “Comprehensive stress management.” (2002): 301-320. ↩︎

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