How to Manage Stress – The ABC Technique

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Many of us complained about how hard it is to manage stress, how difficult it is to maintain that stress free lifestyle that all programs talk about. We nag at what stress relieving techniques is not working. But what we don’t know is that we just lack the ABC strategy of how to manage stress. This ABC strategy is an adaptation of Albert Ellis, a psychologist, Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT) model that he calls the ABC step model.

This strategy has 3 steps, thus the name A-B-C that anyone can follow. The A here is the potentially stressful situation, while B is your beliefs, thoughts, or perceptions about that stressful situation, and C is the consequences, which results to your stress. An example of this is getting stressed from always waiting and sitting in traffic. You have this situation wherein you have to wait for a long time, then your thoughts and perceptions about waiting comes in like being late and all those negative things, then the potential stress you can get from it arises.

Now that you can identify the ABC of your stress, you can now start changing it. Start with changing your A, which means modifying your environment whether it is your work place or at home. You don’t like waiting and sitting in traffic? Go and leave earlier to avoid it. If you can’t modify your environment, change your B by altering how you perceive them. To properly manage stress, you must always focus on how you could change the way you view things. Think positive. You won’t get anywhere if you stuff yourself with negative thoughts that only result in aggravating the stress you are already feeling. If modifying your situation or thoughts about the situation can’t be done, change your C. Learn how to relax and quiet down your mind and body. Meditation and self-affirmation can be the simplest strategy.

Do remember also that feeling stressed is a two way process. You need something that would trigger your stress, and then you need to perceive that as something stressful. After both this steps you will feel stressed. You can empower these external events and situation by the way you want to view them. This means that most of our stress and self induced, and that means we have the control to change them. Stop all the what-if-ing that you always do, minimize those can’t stand it thoughts, stop jumping into conclusions without a reasonable amount of truth and facts, cut off all those unrealistic expectations and stop negatively comparing yourself to others.

Trying different techniques, enrolling in different stress management programs, and reading a bunch of health magazines can not entirely help you manage your stress if you don’t change your attitude. Stress will always be a part of life. You’ll need to start with taking a look at your life and finding out what stresses you, and how stressed out you really are. Then you can start the conversion process as simple as ABC.