Stress Management

Stress is the number one cause of physical and mental illness around the world. Find out how it impacts on the human body and learn management strategies and relaxation skills through studying this course.

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

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Stress is modern man's constant enemy. As life becomes more and more hectic, people work longer hours under greater time constraints over global time zones. With less recreation time, more and more people struggle to cope with their stress levels. However, 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.


  • Learn how to relax
  • Learn how to manage stress: find a way out of life's problems
  • Discover the links between physical and mental health problems and short or long term stress 
  • Apply your knowledge to help others

This course may be suitable for professional development or personal development - help others, or help yourself.

The course develops your ability to manage stress or help others to manage stress at work, at home and across the whole life spectrum. Whatever your purpose in studying stress management; there are benefits to be had for both yourself and others.

Reducing stress will undoubtedly improve your overall wellbeing; reduce your risk of ill health and improve your ability to deal with other people throughout your daily life.


Lesson Structure

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. Body Changes
    • Modern Day Stressors including Controls, Complexity, Competition and Computers.
    • Symptoms and Affects of Stress
    • Muscle Responses to stress
    • The Gastrointestinal Response to stress
    • The Cardiovascular Response to stress
    • The Skin Response to stress
    • The fight or flight response
    • Stress Effects on Wellbeing
    • Stress and the immune system
    • Developing a Stress Management Response Program
  2. Easy Living
    • Workaholics
    • Symptoms of Stress, including Confusion, Depression, Changes in sleeping, eating or sexual habits, Mood changes and drugs
    • Determining the Cause of Stress
    • Deciding How to Deal with Stresses
    • Stress Terminology
    • Understanding Self Image
    • Tips for Relaxation e.g. Massage, Aromatherapy, Relaxation, Hobbies, etc
    • Controlling Stress
    • Too Little Stress is bad too
  3. Pills and Alcohol
    • Understanding Alcohol
    • What is Too Much Alcohol
    • Over the Counter or Non Prescription Drugs
    • Drugs Prescribed by a Doctor
    • Illegal Drugs
    • Seeking help
  4. Self Esteem
    • What is Self esteem
    • Realistic Expectations
    • Altering Your Perception
    • Social Support
    • Building Self Esteem in Others
  5. Managing Your Own Career
    • Work Satisfaction
    • Managing a Career
    • Reviewing Your Career
    • Standing Out and Progressing
  6. Security and Decision Making
    • Self assurance
    • Developing Security and Self Assurance
    • Analyzing Ourselves
    • Decision making
    • Strategy
    • Problem solving
  7. Relaxation and Nutrition
    • Relaxation
    • Nutrition; we are what we eat
    • Dietary Fibre, Vitamins and Minerals, and a Balanced Diet
    • Problems of Nutrition and Diet
    • Weight loss
    • Tips for Healthy Eating
  8. Personality and Stress
    • Relationship between Personality and Stress
    • Personality Types -Type A and Type B personalities
    • Introvert
    • Extrovert
    • Personal style inventory -How to Determine Personality Type

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.


There are lots of different ways of dealing with stress. Methods that work for one person, don't always work for others.. Here are some techniques that might be used to deal with your stress:

Straight Thinking 

Sometimes our thinking can lead us into stress.  It has been found that when an event causes a stressful response in an individual, that it is often the belief system of that person that resulted in that response.  The way to combat this is to dispute and challenge those beliefs (the belief that I don’t have what it takes to keep running after one kilometre). 

Life Planning

A lack of planning for tasks that we must complete can result in anxiety.  By planning and structuring tasks we can get them out of the way before they lead us into a sense of anxiety and frustration.  We can learn to relax without having thoughts about a task we have not completed looming over us.

Goal Setting

Setting realistic goals is another way to avoid stress.  Some people do not set any goals at all, and yet others set goals which are far too high and unachievable.  Both these techniques can result in stress.  Goals can, and should be, broken down into short-term and long-term goals.  Short term goals generally being the progressive stepping stones to a final larger long term goal.  Breaking down long term goals in this way can make them seem much more achievable, which also boosts motivation. 


Another strategy of coping and stress management is communication.  It is really helpful to communicate and discuss what is causing the stress with someone – friend, partner, co-worker, or therapist.  In communicating and discussing the issue clarity to situation as well as an idea to create a healthy outcome can result. 
It can also be beneficial to hear feedback and advice from someone with a different perspective. 



Some people get a great deal of psychological as well as physical benefit from high intensity exercise such as aerobics, cycling, running, weight lifting and club sports. Other people find the thought of such exercise less than relaxing. However, exercise is an important component of healthy living. Try Pilates or yoga, walking or Latin/salsa dancing classes. Tai Chi is another excellent relaxing exercise option.

If you have trouble attending a gym, organise a walking group, if you live close to work try walking or cycling instead of driving. Join a mothers group and walk with your child in a pram. Family activities, such as throwing a Frisbee, playing soccer or playing at the park are all great social forms of exercise. If you have a lot of housework to do, it can also be a great work out!

Work at a more rapid pace to raise your heart rate and you will increase your cardiovascular fitness and release endorphins. Exercise will also help build up your stamina, relieving feelings of lethargy.

When primitive man came face to face with a dangerous animal, his body was at once prepared for action. His pulse raced, his blood pressure soared and a sudden outpouring of the stress hormones, adrenalin and noradrenalin, released into his blood stream a flow of sugar and fatty acids to fuel muscular activity.


Massage is one of the most effective ways of relaxing and relieving stress   particularly as muscular tension is a major manifestation of that stress. Techniques are many and varied, but it is not necessary to have any specialised training to give effective massage. After all, massage is effective if it makes the recipient feel good; so try to find those things which achieve this aim and you will be doing all that is required.

Some types of massage include:

  • Relaxation   Simple soothing massage, may use aromatherapy or other similar techniques
  • Sports/Deep Tissue   A firm massage, can sometimes be painful, but generally very effective
  • Lymphatic   A specialised massage helping to stimulate the lymphatic system, moving toxins out of the tissues, into the lymph system to be excreted.
  • Aromatherapy   Any form of massage can incorporate aromatherapy.  Aromatherapy itself can involve the use of scented herbs in massage oil, or to scent the massage room.  Different herbs can stimulate blood flow, calm the mind or promote a sense of wellbeing.
  • Polynesian   A particular massage style involving Hawaiian/Polynesian techniques, often with aromatherapy and sometimes music.
  • Remedial   Massage to relieve symptoms of an injury, or to assist in the repair of an injury

There are lots of other types of massage.  The most important thing is to find a qualified masseur using a technique that makes you feel relaxed, or to take a course in massage so that you can massage parts of your body, or massage others. Massaging others can often be a relaxing activity itself for some people.  While professional massage is very beneficial, massage can be a great way to treat your partner, particularly if they are stressed.  It can promote intimacy and is a great way to enhance your relationship, reducing relationship stresses and enjoy relaxation time together.



A stressor is any thing that causes a person stress. Each of us have different stressors, what one person considers stressful another may consider challenging, or unimportant.

Our goals, our lifestyle, our beliefs, perceptions, personality, family and friend supports and attitudes together determine what we individually find stressful. If a person believes that they must make a lot of money to be successful, then their bank account may be a stressor, however someone who places less value on money is less likely to be bothered by their account balance as readily.

The big C's of urban stress are: Controls, Complexity, Competition and Computers. For many of us the hours we work, how we perform tasks, how we organize our day even how we dress is controlled by an employer. The tasks we must perform at work, interacting with new technologies, different world regions, over increasingly diverse job requirements, along with the balancing of work and family life are all issues of great complexity that cause most people some degree of stress. The competitive nature of business, competition for a job, promotion, partner, for your car space, when purchasing a home, between family members and friends is another major source of stress for many people.

Finally there are computers. In the past 20 years they have come into their own, making many of our recreation and job tasks much less tedious, as well as quicker and easier to perform. However, as the components, software and peripherals go out of date so quickly, people are not only having to maintain their vocational skills, but also their computer literacy. Most computer users have at some stage been confronted by a computer that freezes in the middle of an important task, that for no apparent reason deletes their data and crashes, printers that wont print, instructions with so much jargon you have no idea how to turn a piece of equipment on, let alone use it and new software interfaces that take time and patience to comprehend. For all their benefits, computers bring with them a myriad of complex problems that invariably cause their owner/user stress.

The imbalance between work and private life is a modern dilemma. Parents must work to support their families, and either the father works enormous hours to allow the mother to stay at home to care for the children, or the mother returns to work to supplement the household income. Either way there is stress. People are becoming increasingly sedentary, with little time to exercise, play sports and socialize with friends. When people do have time, they are often so stressed and exhausted from work that they simply do not have the energy to pursue hobbies and recreation.

The pressure to find a partner and have children, especially for women can sometimes make socializing a stressful activity in itself. Many people have their lives, particularly their family life and relationships and their finances so delicately balanced that are constantly living in fear of failure, or simple changes in circumstance that would finally break them.

The result is mental breakdown or other mental illnesses, family breakdown, job loss, bankruptcy and in the most serious cases, suicide. Prolonged high stress levels are linked to the development of chronic diseases such as cancer, heart attacks and anxiety disorders, alcoholism and associated liver disease and chronic conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, digestive disorders, headaches and poor immune system function (repeatedly getting colds and flus and any other ‘bug’ that is going around).

How This Course Could Help You

Stress is probably the single most significant cause of ill-health, both physical and mental. It costs economies billions in lost productivity and revenue, and can ultimately cost people their lives. This course works through the physiological, emotional and psychological elements of stress and how they affect us. It reviews poor coping mechanisms and provides insights into adaptive strategies for combating stress.

This course is designed to be of value to people working in, or hoping to work in:

  • Counselling
  • Psychotherapy
  • Psychology
  • Social work
  • Nursing
  • Caring roles
  • Health professions
  • Alternative therapies

Whilst most people who study this course will do so to learn strategies to help others to cope with stressful situations and life events, others may choose to study it to find better ways to deal with their own stress levels.




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