F.A.C.E.D. – A simple model for dealing with stress

At Ford Health we provide to our clients a simple little acronym.


When confronted with a stressor, quickly reflect on is it real or imagined, and how big, cataclysmic, life event or hassle. Then as yourself the following quick questions.

F – Can I be Flexible in my interpretation and perception of this stressor. Can I alter my initial perceptions? Rigid people might find it hard to change their interpretations and as a result suffer when others around them can move and flex on a particular stressor.

A – Secondly is it a stressor which I need to Accept the interpretation of what it is and like the Nike slogan says “just do it” take it for what you think it is and respond constructively and get on with it. Alternatively, could the stressor be perceived as something that the distress is really coming from interpreting it as one that one needs to control and that distress comes from not being able to master it.

C – For the “control freaks” amongst us, sometimes a lack of control over a particular stressor causes us to feel that our whole life is reactively being pushed out of control. “We encourage such people to stop and look around for the things in the situation that appear to be orderly and have a recognisable pattern to them. An example here is when work is seemingly out of control we reflect all life is out of control, and yet things at home might have pattern and orderliness to them and vice versa.” Looking for pattern and order in the many aspects of one’s life can allow for the loss of control over one area to be somewhat contained and reduced to a smaller less threatening source of distress.

E – The special benefits of humour as a tool to reduce a stressor we initially see as a source of distress is why some of us impulsively

laugh in certain situations or others decide to Enjoy the lighter side of a stressor by making a joke or becoming less ego effected.

D – The last letter of this acronym is Detachment. Some executives come to our program at Ford Health, and they will often express their concern that their life is serious at present and why they are distressed is that they feel they are overwhelmed by the demands of autonomy, authority, accountability and responsibility of their job, marriage, family commitments and the like. This perception of stressors is overwhelming and so we encourage them to try to detach themselves from this general state of gravity.

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