During the hectic period of exams and midterms, feeling overwhelmed is common. This is especially the case when you’re battling yourself in an attempt to push away stress and keep calm. In order to help you all leap over these hurdles, here are the 4 A’s of stress management.

Once you identify the source of stress, you can begin to do the following things to change the situation (Avoid, Alter) and change your reaction (Adapt, Accept). 

Avoid unnecessary stress

Not all stress is bad, so don’t avoid every stressful situation that pops up since that can be unhealthy and also increase anxiety. Instead, assess to see how the situation affects you. This way, you can change the situation around you. Hence:

  • Say “No.” — If something’s out of your limits and you know it, say no. Not only that, but if you have something like your phone tempting you with distractions — say no. Avoid and say no to objects and situations (even friends) that prevent you from staying focused on your tasks.
  • Manage your tasks — If you have a lot of tasks on your to-do list, analyze them in terms of “must-do” and “should-do” tasks. That way you’ll be organized and able to focus on the items of greater importance. You’ll also start to see the bigger picture. 

Alter the situation

Sometimes the stressful situation can’t be avoided. In that case, try to alter it. With exams and how stressful they can be, bottling up your emotions and frustrations is an easy, but unhelpful strategy many resort to. However, don’t bottle them up, but rather talk to someone about it. Holding in these frustrations could lead to negative feelings and and mental health concerns. Therefore, express your feelings, whether it be by talking with a trusted person, or writing it in a diary.

Adapt to the stressor

At times, there’s nothing you can do to change the stressor. Instead, change yourself. Change the way you perceive the obstacles, the stress, around you and the approach you take. For instance, when you’re stressing about studying for a course, visualize that you’re climbing a ladder and that your goal of getting through that course is at the top. As you finish studying and understanding each concept, take a break and realize that you’ve just got one step higher to that top goal. Viewing stressors from a different lens will help with stress management.

Accept the unchangeable

Finally, some situations and stressors are unchangeable and nothing you do can change that. For us students, this means that no matter how much we want that assignment, midterm, or final exam to go away — it won’t. Accepting that and molding our schedule to, with, and around it will help keep stress under control. Creating planners, writing down important dates found on the course syllabus, and keeping to that calendar will also immensely help. 

So when you’re confronted with a stressful situation, remember the 4 A’s — Avoid, Alter, Adapt, and Accept.

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