We use acronyms to assist our memory, perhaps the most famous being E-G-B-D-F (Every Good Boy Does Fine), the mnemonic for the lines of the treble clef. The UK music version is Every Good Boy Deserves Favour and if you’re a fan of the English rock band, The Moody Blues, you’ll recognize this as the title of their seventh album, released in 1971. (I just wanted to plug my favorite band).

After thinking about subject matter for this week’s blog, I decided to create an acronym to help you to reduce stress by using the word S-T-R-E-S-S. Imagine—the same letters that spell out a negative-sounding word may also create positive solutions in your life!


  • S = Size-Up. Identify a stressful situation you’re facing. Do some serious thinking.  Decide what is real and what is only in your imagination. Now you have a baseline established to help you recognize the seriousness of your stressful situation.
  • T = Trust.  Trust yourself to have the talent to uncover alternative solutions to reduce your stress.
  • R = Research. Understand the alternative solutions you uncover may come from within yourself (logic or gut feelings—or both) or from external sources including educational resources and other people.
  • E = Employ.  Act on the simplest solution with the greatest number of positive results from those you received from your research. This is your optimal solution. Don’t procrastinate! Failure to act on a viable solution may actually intensify your stressful situation should feelings of guilt and self-loathing kick in. 
  • S = Strategize.  Consider actions you should have taken (or inactions) that would have prevented you from getting into your stressful situation in the first place. 
  • S = Systemize.  Develop an unwavering game plan to reduce (maybe even eliminate) the stress level of a similar situation in the future. 

Exercise  No. 1:  Identify a current stressful situation in your life. (Example:  A problem with a co-worker). Use the S-T-R-E-S-S acronym to reduce (maybe even eliminate) the stress level of your situation. 

Exercise No. 2:  Identify a stressful situation you anticipate occurring in your life because a similar event has proven stressful in the past. (Example:  Another family reunion taking place next summer). Use the S-T-R-E-S-S acronym to reduce (maybe even prevent from occurring) the stress in the anticipated stressful situation.

Exercise No. 3Think of a word that describes a negative emotion you are experiencing. (Examples:  F-E-A-R, P-A-I-N, W-O-R-R-Y, D-O-U-B-T). Use an acronym that includes a system to reduce (maybe even eliminate) the presence of that negative emotion in your life.

BOTTOM LINE:  Turn negative emotional words into powerful acronyms to combat stress.


One Response to “USING ACRONYMS TO REDUCE STRESS by Bill Knutson”

  1. DO YOU HAVE THE BRAIN OF AN ANT? by Bill Knutson « StressReduction123 Says:

    […] USING ACRONYMS TO REDUCE STRESS by Bill Knutson […]

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