Mental health and the 3 A’s

Name: Inna Sharsf | Program: Engineering Science | Graduation Year: 8T6 |


I wish I knew how to better manage stress and anxiety. One of the most powerful techniques I learned later in life is the 3 A’s: Acknowledge, Accept and Action.

Acknowledge: get into the habit of clearly acknowledging what is bothering you, what you are worried about, what you are afraid of. Say it out loud in a private space, write it out in your journal, think it out in your head. ‘I acknowledge that I am worried about …’ Do it as soon as you become aware of the anxiety or stress, even if it means getting up in the middle of the night and sitting in a quiet spot for a few minutes.

Accept: that’s all there is, simply take a breath and accept whatever is bothering you, whatever you are worried about or whatever you are afraid of. Say to yourself: I accept my situation, I accept my worry, I accept that I am afraid of ….

Action: this is where you make a conscious decision on what you are going to do about your situation. The choices are ‘infinite’ and have to make sense to you. They can be: writing an email, asking someone to help, delegating a task, having a talk with your partner, going to see a counselor, dropping some projects, or even simply sitting still and breathing for 10 minutes.

Over the years, I found this technique to be incredibly powerful for managing stress and anxiety. I wish I learned about it 35 years ago…



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