Develop an insight into stress and how it affects a person’s mind and body.
- Learn different ways to manage that stress.
- This is useful for you or for helping people who are stressed.
The course requires approximately 100 hours of study.
You can start at any time - to suit you.
The course is divided into 8 lessons as follows (students complete one assignment per lesson):
1. Body Changes – The fight or flight response; the stress and immune system; long term problems; sources of stress
2. Easy Living – Anxiety; panic; fear; controlling stress; goal setting; relaxation
3. Pills and Alcohol – Drugs and alcohol; smoking; seeking help
4. Self Esteem – Self esteem; social support;
5. Managing Your Own Career – Career goals; career management
6. Security and Decision Making – Self assurance; decision making; problem solving
7. Relaxation and Nutrition – Relaxation; we are what we eat; nutrition, diet and weight loss
8. Personality and Stress – Type A and Type B personalities; personality types and stress; personal style inventory
- Identify changes that occur to the body as stress develops.
- Identify the relationship between lifestyle and stress.
- Discuss the impact of legal drugs on the psychology of a person.
- Discuss the importance of self esteem in minimizing stress.
- Determine options for career management that will minimize potential for stress.
- Identify and address security issues that impact on stress levels.
- Identify aspects of relaxation and nutrition in a person’s life that may impact upon stress levels.
- Identify the relationship between stress and personality type.
EFFECT OF STRESS ON HEALTH AND WELLBEING
It is crucial that people learn to effectively and not destructively cope with the everyday stresses around them. Chronic high levels of stress is linked to reduced immune system function, leaving you open to infections, bacterial, viruses etc, and there is increasing evidence that serious diseases such as cancer an heart disease occur more frequently in highly stressed people. Digestive problems can also occur, because when you are fighting or fleeing, the energy your body produces is diverted to the muscles that you will need, and withdrawn from the digestive tract. If you are constantly on edge, your digestion will suffer. Negative behaviours in response to stress, such as high alcohol consumption, prescription and illegal drug abuse and smoking all have their own obvious effects on a persons health and wellbeing. Inability to cope with stress can result in psychological illnesses, such as anxiety disorders, paranoia and most commonly, depression. A complete inability to deal with stressors any longer can result in a nervous breakdown, that is a state of complete mental exhaustion often accompanied by serious physical illness.
It is important to have coping mechanisms and a realistic attitude when it comes to stress. Low levels of stress appears to aid our immune system to respond better and become stronger. Acknowledging stress and being aware of our comfortable zone is an important step in dealing with stress and the affects of it. We can acknowledge that we are under stress, what it is from, and how to successfully deal with it. In doing so, each time we deal with a certain stress, we build our capacity and system to enhance it for the next time we need to undertake that task. Attempting to ignore a stressful situation will generally lead to an increasing build up of tension and anxiety and as stress levels rise, the ability to rationally cope with the issue will tend to diminish, fueling a further increase in stress; a vicious cycle. The results of unrelenting high stress can be catastrophic, life threatening diseases, family breakdowns, chronic illness and addiction.
Insecurity, boredom and frustration at work can erupt into "stress sickness" which can, in extreme situations lead to depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses, other chronic illnesses, family breakdowns, alcoholism and drug abuse. There is anecdotal evidence linking life-threatening conditions such as heart attack and some forms of cancer with high stress. Unrelenting high stress can seriously compromise a persons feeling of control in their life and work and can lead to a complete mental breakdown. It is always important to ensure a person has a time/space that is stress-free or as low stress as possible. If you are working in a professional setting, as a counsellor, life coach, fitness trainer or similar, stress management training and coaching for your client should be a top priority.
Stress, Distress and Eustress
We use the term ‘distress’ to indicate negative stress, which can lead to harmful effects, such as being fired from ones job. The term ‘eustress’ is used to refer to positive arousal which provides a healthy challenge, such as being promoted in one’s job.
The level of stress differs from one individual to another. Certain individuals experience a higher degree of stress than others (e.g. a job promotion may cause eustress for most people but for some it could cause distress). The level of stress also changes over time - you might be experiencing less stress now than you did a year ago.
With proper self awareness and management techniques stress levels can be lowered, perceptions altered and responses improved. In this course we deal with physical problems related to stress, how to achieve easy living, dealing with drugs, developing self esteem, relaxation, diet and much more. This course is equally relevant for self improvement, or professional development (for any allied health professionals such as counsellors, life coaches, fitness instructors or nutrition consultants).
How to Recognise Stress
It is important to recognize whether you or someone you know or a client is under stress. Often, even if we are under the influence of a stressful condition and our body reacts to it internally as well as externally, we fail to realize the symptoms of our stress. This also happens when the causes of stress are there long enough for us to get used to them. The body may try to tell us that it is stressed or that something is wrong, through symptoms such as:
- heart palpitations
- dizzy spells
- tight and sore muscles or
- various body pains and conditions
- blurry vision
- inability to eat or over-eating
- loss of interest in usual activities
- unexpected emotional reactions and more…
It is important to remain attentive to such symptoms and to have a stress management system in place to counter the adverse affects of stress. This course will give you a greater understanding of stress, how and why it occurs and how we can manage our stress.
Dealing With Stress
Understanding the cause of stress can be the first step toward dealing with it; however, understanding alone, or even eliminating the cause, is not necessarily going to eliminate stress.
Negative emotions can be hard to shake. If someone is seeking help to combat their negative feelings they may well be finding strategies which work for them. Sometimes they discover strategies in a book, or through advice from friends. On other occasions they may seek help from a practitioner (eg. a psychologist or counsellor), who may assign homework to a client, where they can put solutions into practice.
Not all strategies work for all people, and psychologists will only usually advocate those which have some scientific backing. There are different ways that are more appropriate to different issues: anger, Physical pain, shame, guilt, self-doubt and other negative emotions.
This course helps you understand what stress is, it's causes, ways of responding and coping, and more. It may help you to help others; and it may help you to help yourself as well.
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