The 4 'C' Approach to Stress Management
Living Life Stress Free is recognised as a Centre of Excellence and is a Registered College of the Complementary Medical Association providing Stress Management courses and workshops to Corporates, Entrepreneurs and Professionals.
We teach a simple 4-C concept to Stress Management. They are Calm, Clarity, Choice and Change. It was founded by an experienced Consultant Psychiatrist in the UK who developed the unique 4C approach to Stress Management, with the goal of:
- Improving work-life balance
- Resolving Conflict
- Reducing Stress at work
- Improving Communication Skills
- Managing Stress in Difficult Relationships
- Improving Productivity and Goal Setting.
The 4C strategies are as follows:
CALM: In this approach, we teach how not to react to stressful situations and delay response if possible. The idea is to analyse the situation, take a step back, take deep breaths, distract yourself if possible. For e.g., Don't send off that 'angry email response'. This helps to take a measured response. Some of the tools one can use are meditation, mindfulness, affirmation meditation and so on. If you practice calm, you can also plan your response in an effective yet assertive way. Emotions play a big part in communication and when someone is stressed and is under pressure to make decisions, emotions can overshadow the response. So by tending to your emotions by taking sometime off just to calm yourself down, to collect your thoughts and preparing a response to the situation, goes a long way in resolving stressful situations.
CLARITY: This step is about getting a 360-degree perspective of the stressful situation, knowing your responsibility and expectations. We advice keeping a non-judgemental approach while gathering more information and keeping an open mind. This helps to analyse the stressful situation even better. For e.g., if you are in a difficult relationship with a work colleague, it is helpful to keep the lines of communication open, get the other person's view point and be flexible. Clarity over a situation helps one to plan the response better and you can make informed decisions. Having a good communication style, knowing how to resolve conflicts in difficult relationships are some of the key areas we teach in our courses and workshops. Clarity also helps you gather information that you didn't know existed such as a dedicated department or agency that may help resolve your problem. This is particularly relevant when someone is facing financial difficulties, and having an option to pay off debt could act as a lifeline.
CHOICE: In this step, we teach that one has a choice how he or she reacts to a stressful situation. One can choose to react with anger or with calm. Choice can also be applied to chronic stressors such poor working environment or a skill that one is unhappy with. You have a choice to change your work environment, move away from an unhealthy relationship or upskilling by doing relevant courses etc. This step teaches us 'empowerment', 'having a positive attitude' and 'self-motivation'. Knowing that we always have a choice is also liberating as we no longer need to feel helpless or hopeless. We also teach how the 'circle of expertise' around us can help us make better choices - such as friends, family or our colleagues who are experienced in their own fields and are experts by experience.
CHANGE: Over time, if you practise Calm, Clarity and Choice, you will notice new habits forming and this leads to Change in your life, as new responses get hard wired to your brain. Most people associate change with 'New Beginnings' and a 'New Era'. By practising the 4C steps, one can master the art of effective Stress Management.
Dr Sarmila Sinha
Dr Sarmila Sinha