The 4 As of Mental Health

August 21, 2023 

The 4 As of mental health are there to help you with your stress management. They are the following: avoid, alter, accept, and adapt. When you are stressed, there is an emotional or physical tension that the body creates. Though short-term stress can help avoid danger, long-term danger can lead to health issues. When your stress exceeds the ability to cope, the balance in the mind and body needs to be restored. These four steps for stress management are a great tool to help manage your everyday stress.

Stress can sometimes be avoided by planning. You can approach this by:

Taking control of the task. For example, leaving earlier to work to avoid traffic.

Avoid people who cause you stress.

Say “no. If it does not benefit your mental health and your time, then create that boundary and say no.

Create a to-do list to keep you in order and know what tasks need to be done.

Sometimes stressful situations cannot be avoided, so that’s when you must alter your behaviors, the way you communicate and your time management. You can approach this by:

Asking others to change their behavior. It’s okay to ask others to change their bothersome behavior, but also listen to them when the tables have turned.

Communicate openly. Be honest. When sharing your feelings, use “I” statements rather than accusatory “you” statements.

Manage your time better. To help your time management, grouping similar tasks together can help you increase your efficiency.

State limits in advance. If you have a limited amount of time, space, or energy, make sure to communicate it with others prior.

Accepting what is, can help avoid stress. You can approach this by:

Talking with others. Discussing your feelings about a stressful situation to someone who actively listens and understands can be helpful.

Forgive others. Forgiveness takes practice and time. When you learn forgiveness, it can release negative energy from your mind and body.

Practice positive self-talk. When you have negative thoughts, they tend to feed off from one another. Positive self-talk can help maintain objectivity and reduce stress.

Continue to learn from your mistakes. We are all human and everyone makes mistakes. Use them as a lesson to build off for future reference.              

When it comes to adapting, it involves changing your expectations. You can approach this by:

Adjusting your standards. Nobody is perfect. Don’t strive for perfection because it could cause feelings of frustration and guilt. Adjust your personal expectations.

Practice stopping bad thoughts. Replace your negative thoughts with positive ones.

Reframe the issue. Look at the situation from a different perspective.

Adopt mantra sayings. Mentally repeat to yourself statements that would boost your confidence.

Create a list of happy resources. Make a list of experiences, situations and thoughts that are positive to you.

Look at the bigger picture. Figure out if it will matter to you in one year or five. If it doesn’t, let it go.