Acceptance-Oriented Approaches to Stress Management


There are various approaches to stress management, or the practice of limiting stress and reducing its effects on the mind and body. One way to approach stress management is an acceptance-oriented approach. This type of approach is useful when a stressful situation cannot be changed. An acceptance-oriented approach centers on accepting thoughts and feelings, as well as taking care of the mind and body during stressful situations.

Here are some examples of acceptance-oriented approaches to stress management:

Practicing mindful meditation

Mindful meditation involves being in the present moment and paying attention to thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations, accepting them, and then letting them go. Researchers believe that mindfulness can lower the body’s stress response over time.

Eating a well-balanced diet

The stress hormone cortisol can cause fat and sugar cravings, but eating too much fat and sugar has a negative impact on physical health. Eating a diet with a variety of nutrients both protects physical health and provides mental energy to deal with challenges. Avoiding the use of caffeine and alcohol can also be beneficial.

Engaging in physical activity

Physical activity can reduce perceived stress and also lessen some negative effects of stress, such as its effect on the immune system.

Getting enough sleep

A lack of adequate sleep can negatively affect thinking and mood. Practicing good sleep hygiene can improve sleep quality, even during stressful situations.

Talking about it

Speaking with a friend or family member may not change a stressful situation, but it may help with processing thoughts and feelings. Receiving support from others can also increase resilience to stress.

Seeking help when needed

A counselor or therapist can help with acceptance-based stress management. Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) is a specific form of cognitive behavioral therapy centered on accepting difficult thoughts and feelings, clarifying personal values and life goals, and developing new and flexible ways to respond to challenges.

Acceptance-oriented approaches to manage stress not only help during a specific stressful situation but also build resilience to stress over time. An acceptance-oriented approach can also be combined with an action-oriented or emotion-oriented approach to further reduce stress.