Stress Management

Learn to be healthier by managing stress better. Understand how stress affects the body, how to deal with the symptoms, tools you can use to combat stress and develop self-esteem.

Course CodeVPS100
Fee CodeS1
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

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Stress can be Overcome

Learn how to relax and manage stress


Stress is modern man's constant enemy. As life becomes more and more hectic, people work longer hours under greater time constraints, with less recreation time. Consequently more and more people struggle to cope with their stress levels.
They need your help!
With proper self awareness and management techniques stress levels can be lowered, perceptions altered and responses improved.
Learn about:
  • Causes of stress - physical changes that occur in the body as a result of stress, short term and long term problems, cumulative affect of stressors.
  • Understanding relaxation - fostering an easy living attitude, putting stressors behind you -forgiving yourself.
  • Common drugs and their relationship with stress: short term and long term affects (Alcohol, cigarettes, cough mixtures, decongestants, headache tablets etc).
  • "Self Esteem" (how we feel about ourselves) is influenced by many factors. A person's upbringing, peer group pressure, current employment, physical appearance and so on, all interact to help determine how we feel about ourselves.
  • The effect of our career and our mindset around our career and its effect on stress.
  • Improving decision making - Problem Solving techniques, Self Assurance and Insecurities
  • The impact of diet and lifestyle factors on stress.
  • Relaxation techniques - which ones are most suitable for you or your client?
  • Understanding what type of person you are; and living with that knowledge - undertake an inventory of your own personality, and gain insights into yourself


This course prepares the graduate to manage their own stress, and support others to manage their stress.

Lesson Structure

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. Body Changes
  2. Easy Living
  3. Drugs and Alcohol
  4. Self Esteem
  5. Managing Your Own Career
  6. Security and Decision Making
  7. Relaxation & Nutrition
  8. Personal Style Inventory

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.


  • 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.

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Learn to recognise the signs of stress

While the understanding of the relationship between stress and disease is still in its infancy, there is increasing evidence of the physiological changes induced by prolonged high stress. Some of the more common symptoms of stress include:

  •  Dry mouth and throat
  •  Sweaty palms
  •  Yawning, feeling bloated
  •  Rapid heartbeat, increased blood pressure
  •  Headache or jaw pain when you wake up (clenching your jaw in your sleep!)
  •  Restlessness, fidgeting
  •  Stomach ache (butterflies)
  •  Anxiety, panic
  •  Inability to sleep
  •  Inability to concentrate
  •  Feeling generally ‘on edge’

The physiological effects of stress are varied and can include:

  •  Poor immune system function   ... Constantly catching colds and flus, feeling run-down
  •  Digestive disorders   ... Stomach ulcers, weight gain, bowel and intestinal diseases
  •  Psychological illnesses  ... Anxiety, paranoia, depression
  •  Chronic and serious diseases   ... Constant high stress levels appear to leave a person at increased risk of developing diseases such as cancer and heart disease, and to suffer heart attacks.

Learn to Respond to Problems of Stress and Minimise the Associated Problems

Stress is linked to a range of different physical conditions, such as diabetes, asthma, headaches, infectious diseases, gastric ulcers, and so on.  

But firstly, what do we mean by stress?  Our bodies are primed to protect themselves. If we perceive a threat, our body reacts. It gets our muscles ready, our heart rate up, our adrenaline up, and so on - we prepare to run away from the threat or to fight the threat. This is known as the 'fight-or-flight' response.  

The fight-or-flight response, also known as the acute stress response, was first described by Cannon in the 1920s. He was expressing how all animals react to stress. When animals first experience stress, there are specific physiological reactions in the sympathetic nervous system in response to the release of adrenaline and noradrenaline (epinephrine and norepinephrine) from the medulla of the adrenal glands.  This is triggered by acetylcholine released from the sympathetic nervous system.

This release leads to physical reactions such as:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased breathing rate
  • Constriction of blood vessels
  • Tightening muscles

These responses prepare us for action. But we may not be facing situations that we can run away from or fight. If we have had a bad day at the office, it’s probably not a good idea to punch your boss or hit your computer. And you can’t really run away from work and so this stress has nowhere to go. So people living stressful lives can experience chronic stress because their body is ready to run or fight most of the time, but is not able to do anything about it.

Our lifestyle impacts on both our physical and mental health.  Drugs, caffeine, alcohol, our diet, exercise levels, amount of sleep, age, gender and medication can also affect how we feel mentally and physically.  This can also influence our stress levels.  If we feel stressed we will often use coping mechanisms in order to deal with that stress. If these coping mechanisms are unhealthy, it can actually make our physical and mental health worse. For example, some people drink too much, take drugs, eat too much or smoke when they are stressed and these are poor choices.  If instead they were to exercise to relieve stress or use relaxation techniques they would be doing their body a favour. Positive coping mechanisms relieve symptoms of stress without causing detrimental effects.



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Lyn Quirk

M.Prof.Ed.; Adv.Dip.Compl.Med (Naturopathy); Adv.Dip.Sports Therapy Over 30 years as Health Club Manager, Fitness Professional, Teacher, Coach and Business manager in health, fitness and leisure industries. As business owner and former department head fo
Tracey Jones

Widely published author, Psychologist, Manager and Lecturer. Over 10 years working with ACS and 25 years of industry experience. Qualifications include: B.Sc. (Hons) (Psychology), M.Soc.Sc (social work), Dip. SW (social work), PGCE (Education), PGD (Lear
Jacinda Cole

Psychologist, Educator, Author, Psychotherapist. B.Sc., Psych.Cert., M. Psych. Cert.Garden Design, MACA Jacinda has over 25 years of experience in psychology, in both Australia and England. She holds a BSc (Hons) in Psychology and a Masters in Psycholo
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