Lesson 1- Physiology of Stress
Stress is at epidemic levels in the world today. Currently, as many as 90 percent of all visits to health-care providers in the United States are considered to be stress-related. Stress affects every aspect of the body, mind, and spirit, resulting in a wide range of symptoms from headaches or stomach ailments to heart disease or death. Stress is difficult to define because it varies from individual to individual. What one person finds stressful might not bother another person at all. There are many types of stress, and each can result in many different physiological effects on the body. The goal of this course is to provide an overview of the physiology of stress, the body's responses to stress, and how stress affects the central nervous, endocrine, and immune systems.
Lesson 2- Social Context of Stress
A strong social support network is important during difficult times. A social support network consists of friends, family, and peers. Developing and maintaining supportive relationships provides feelings of belonging, self-worth, and security. Without a strong social support network, individuals can experience a sense of isolation, disconnection, and stress. Despite their initial impression of fostering connectedness, technology and social networking often increase a person's feelings of isolation because relationships established online may not be deep and real. In addition, incivility and a lack of regular contact with nature also increase stress. The goal of this course is to provide an overview of the social context of stress, describe the impact of social support on health, identify the stressful effects of incivility, discuss how lack of contact with nature affects stress levels, and explain the stressful effects of technology, social networking, and multitasking.
Lesson 3- Psychology of Stress
Events, people, and circumstances fill our normal daily lives–along with a certain amount of stress. Some of us experience psychological effects from this stress, while others seem to be unaffected or even thrive when challenged. Why do we react differently to stressors? Despite much research on the topic, the answer is not clearly understood, but key elements include personality, emotional intelligence, and gender. The goal of this course is to describe stress and personality types; discuss stress appraisal, coping, and emotion; identify the elements of emotional intelligence; describe gender difference in exposure to stressors; and identify strategies for reducing psychological stress.
Lesson 4- The Effects of Stress on Health
Stress can dramatically affect the body and the mind to the detriment of physical and psychological health. Both acute and chronic stress, the timing and duration of stress, gender, and genetics play a role in the complex relationship between stress and health. The goal of this course is to examine the relationship between stress and health; describe the role of stress in the development of cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, drug use, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, irritable bowel syndrome, asthma, sleep disorders, and eating disorders.
Lesson 5- Stress and Nutrition
Most individuals enjoy sitting down and eating a delicious meal. Food provides an opportunity to socialize and, if the food is nutritious, it also supports a healthy body and mind. However, when individuals are stressed, they are not able to utilize the nutrients they eat as effectively as when they are relaxed. If stress causes an individual to eat food that is not nutritious, health issues can result. Nutrition, stress, and the immune system are closely related. The goals of this course are to describe the relationship between food and emotions; to explain the stress response; to discuss the effects of stress on nutrition and health; to define mindful eating and methods of eating mindfully; and to examine elements of nutrition that support a healthy immune system.
Lesson 6- Stress and Physical Activity
Physical activity is essential in a program for stress management and overall health. This can include activities such as walking, running, swimming, cycling, skiing, dancing, gardening, yoga, Qigong, Tai Chi Chuan, weight lifting, stretching, as well as many other practices. These activities provide an integrative, holistic, healthy way to connect mind, body, and spirit, which improves physical, mental, and emotional health. The goal of this course is to examine the types of physical activity, the physiological benefits of physical activity, and how various types of exercise can help manage stress and improve health and well-being.
Lesson 7- Workplace Stress
For most Americans, the workplace is ever-changing and a major source of daily stress. As a result, the economic and personal health effects of workplace stress are at epidemic levels, making it one of the most important health challenges of the 21st century. The goal of this course is to describe the extent of workplace stress; compare and contrast job stress and job burnout; identify the causes of job stress; discuss the extent of workplace violence and horizontal violence; identify health effects of workplace stress; and list ways to reduce job stress.
Lesson 8- Journaling: Healthy Living Through Self-Discovery
Writing has been an important part of the human experience for centuries but has only recently been recognized as a therapeutic tool for healing. Used to document personal and historical events, describe emotions and feelings, reduce stress, and explore creativity, journaling allows individuals to develop a deeply personal relationship with themselves. The goal of the course is to provide an overview of the healing aspects of journaling, explore journaling as a stress-reduction tool, examine the definition of journaling and the purpose of journal writing, explore how journaling is used for health and healing, describe specific journal writing styles and themes, and explain guidelines and tips for successful journal writing.
Week 5 - Lesson 9- Stress Reduction Techniques and Therapies
You may think you don't have a lot of control over the stress in your life, but you have more control than you might think. There are many ways to manage and reduce stress by using stress-relieving techniques and therapies. The goal of this course is to provide an overview of the techniques and therapies to reduce and manage stress, which include self-awareness, cognitive restructuring, sound healing and music therapy, meditation, nature, imagery, biofeedback, art, and dance.