Course outline

This page outlines the themes and activities covered in each of the eight E-Stress Management sessions. Each session will take you around 1 - 1 ½ hours to complete, and includes information, worksheets and summary handouts – as well as specific guidance, support and feedback on exercises and activities. We recommend that you work through the sessions in order, but it’s up to you how many activities you complete. If you just browse the learning and listen to the audio relaxation exercise, that’s fine – you can always come back to the activities later.

Session 1:

Growing awareness

Learning module

The nature of stress
About stress management training

Activity 1

‘Make it personal’
Get to know your individual ‘fight or flight’ response

Activity 2

Assess your life stress (questionnaire)

Activity 3

‘How are you?’
Identifying stress-related symptoms and difficulties

Activity 4

Breaking down the stress response
Understanding the stress-response chain

Over to you

Audio relaxation exercise: Passive-Progressive Relaxation

Summary and tasks

What to do before Session 2

Session 2:

Building strength

Activity 1

Monitoring stress and identifying stressors

Activity 2

Your marker of change – setting your training targets

Learning module

Muscular tension and relaxation training

Over to you

Audio relaxation exercise: Active-Progressive Relaxation

Activity 3

Your coping skills and strengths

Activity 4

Enjoyable activities

Activity 5

‘Stability zones’ and how to use them

Summary and tasks

What to do before Session 3

Session 3:

Adding resources

Learning module

Stress and faulty breathing
Hyperventilation

Activity 1

‘Just breathe’
Measuring your breathing rate

Over to you

Audio relaxation exercise: Introducing relaxed breathing

Activity 2

Dealing with feelings
Identifying and releasing emotions

Activity 3

‘What type are you?’
Stress and personality type: Balancing achievement & stress

Summary and tasks

What to do before Session 4

Session 4:

Uprooting habits

Learning module

Thinking habits

  • When is a thought ‘negative’?
  • Patterns of negative thinking

Activity 1

Stress-provoking thoughts
Keeping your ‘stress-thought’ log

Over to you

Audio relaxation exercise: Guided mental relaxation

Activity 2

Problem-solving

  • The problem
  • Your resources
  • The solutions
  • Goals and tasks

Summary and tasks

What to do before Session 5

Session 5:

Developing skill

Learning module

The theory and practice of better breathing

  • The Complete Breath & Square Breathing
  • Using ‘triggers’

Over to you

Audio relaxation exercise: Better breathing techniques

Activity 1

Befriending time

  • Planning time and activities
  • Time management worksheet
  • What matters most?
  • Setting priorities

Activity 2

Goal-setting

  • ‘Things I would like to have’
  • ‘Things I would like to do’

Summary and tasks

What to do before Session 6

Session 6:

Being resourceful

Learning module

Challenging negative thoughts

  • The problem with negative thinking
  • Who’s in charge?

Activity 1

Negative/positive mood log
Connecting thoughts, feelings, behaviours and outcomes

Over to you

Audio relaxation exercise: Autogenic training exercise

Activity 2

Building self-esteem
Identifying and updating messages received early in life
Your new self-description

Summary and tasks

What to do before Session 7


Session 7:

Becoming competent

Learning module

Resourceful thinking: theory and techniques

  • Fostering helpful habits
  • Shifting to the positive

Activity 1

Silencing the inner ‘chatterbox’

Activity 2

Assertiveness training
Definitions
Assertive behaviour: Obstacles & Consequences
Bill of Rights
Skills of assertiveness

Over to you

Audio relaxation exercise:  Anchoring to confidence

Summary and tasks

What to do before Session 8

Session 8:

Managing life

Learning module

Lifestyle

  • Nutrition & stress
  • The role of physical activity

Activity 1

Approaching change
What to change?
Action-planning your goals

Over to you

Audio relaxation exercise: Inner peace and health

Summary and tasks

What to do next

Review

Monitoring your stress-management achievements
Evaluating the training