A comprehensive trainer’s pack is included with the training. Some examples of the content of this pack, and video clips of the Stress Control course being presented, are provided here.

Session 1: What Is Stress?

An extract from the presentation.

Session 4: Problem Solving

An extract from the presentation.

Audio: Progressive Relaxation

A range of relaxation tracks are offered to provide choice – ‘horses for courses’. Here is an example of one of the tracks.

Handout Files

This sleep handout should be given out at the end of the preceding session.

Slideshow Presentations

Here is an example slideshow presentation featuring a few of the slides used in Sessions 1 and 2 in no particular order.

Slide Commentaries

As the slideshows try to minimise text, many slides may simply be an image or a few words. The Slide Commentaries files offer detailed comments on every slide, explaining what each means and offers advice on, e.g. anecdotes that can be used to get important points.

How can you tell if someone has stress?

Faces

You can’t. Stress is often an invisible condition – it’s not like having a broken leg – people can’t see it and as we are often very good at hiding stress by putting on a mask. You might be very surprised at how many people you know are feeling really stressed but look really confident. Also, at least with a broken leg, you can what the problem is, know how to deal with it and have confidence that it will heal in a certain time. You don’t have this with stress.

Be More Active

Car

Some basic behavioural activation can be suggested here. A good analogy to use is that of the broken-down car. Sometimes, if our car has broken down, we might get it going again if we push it. We have to put a lot of effort into doing this - we have to work very hard to get it moving and work hard to build up some speed. We probably feel we are getting nowhere; that it is a waste of time……then, suddenly, the engine catches and off we go. Our hard work has paid off. Same with our mood – sometimes we have to put in a lot of effort to get up and running again. The slide helps illustrates this.

Grasshopper Thinking

Grasshopper

Now while we are looking at the nervous speaker as a grasshopper, I want you to think if this is what you do when you are stressed.

Use extravagant gestures to show the ‘leaps’ So our nervous speaker spots the yawn (and due to the high vigilance, would have spotted it from five miles away). Then he starts the grasshopper thinking - his next thought is ‘he’s bored’. I want you to think about that – can you see where he is going wrong? But it doesn’t stop there – he grasshopper thinks again – this time ‘They are all bored’ (even although there is no evidence for this), he generalises from one small yawn. But our nervous speaker still doesn’t stop and the next thought might be ‘I am a boring person’. Think how damaging that thought is to his self-esteem; think how this grasshopper has fed his stress? And think back to what started it all off – someone yawned. And we think this is crucial in understanding why stress keeps a grip of you because:

  • someone will always yawn
  • you will always find your heart speeding up
  • you will never be 100% sure if you put the iron off or locked the door
  • you will never be exactly sure what that person meant when they said that to you

In other words, because things in life are rarely 100% obvious, it means you will usually have to ‘interpret’ what is going on. And the problem with stress is that, because off the grasshopper thinking, you generally jump to the wrong conclusion: the conclusion that is most linked to threat (and we all know what ‘threat’ does to our fight/flight system).