Tension is an inescapable part of living that can range from mole hills to mountains. Different circumstances can make you feel tense such as being late for an appointment, during a driving exam, when the computer breaks down or just trying to figure out how to use the computer. Aging in itself may bring on tension due to physical and life cycle changes, lost opportunities or regrets of actions not taken in the past. Feelings of tension can really intensify when you are living under ongoing difficult circumstances such as family conflict, health problems or illness in the family. If left on its own to escalate, it can lead to an inability to function, to burnout.

With tension, comes loss – a loss of calm, and few would dispute the belief that calm is the desired state of being. When you lose your cool and calm, you subsequently can lose your ability to think clearly or problem solve efficiently. In ongoing, challenging life circumstances, it is advantageous to be able to problem solve and make sound decisions, so learning how to relieve tension is helpful to function well and prevent burnout.

The 3-A “Selfie” Tool offers a means of addressing tension and loss by self-monitoring with self-awareness. Using the 3-A’s: Acknowledge,Assess,Assist is key in providing you with an empowering means to stay in touch with yourself, to act on your own behalf for optimum well-being.

The most simplistic way of using the 3-A’s is:

Acknowledge the situation, adversity, loss;

Assess the impact;

Assist with coping strategies.

You are also assisting by acknowledging and assessing so this is not a step by step process of stages. Acknowledge,Assess,Assist can be done on its own and simultaneously. Using the tool assures that you are going to help yourself. Since you are with yourself 24-7, who knows you better and who is the best person to help you – and reap the benefits.

Acknowledge,Assess,Assist that always living tension free is like living in a fairy tale world. It just does not exist. You may have heard of the saying from the Buddhist tradition “Life is Suffering”. This statement does not actually mean that life is all suffering but rather that suffering is part of life. This perspective helps in normalizing tension as part of everyday living and prevents us from fighting the tension. Consequently, we can work with it rather than against it. Working with the tension makes it easier to acknowledge,assess,assist towards getting relief that will calm you.

Does your means of coping work for or against in bringing you back to a state of calm? Are you aware of your means of coping? Do you have a tool box of strategies to draw from? In difficult circumstances of adversity and loss, getting sound answers to these questions can serve as a guide towards tension relief.


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