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Module 1 – Foundational Steps Toward Regaining Control

Learning to manage stress is important for our health, our happiness, our ability to succeed and be productive in life.  The entire focus of stress management can be summarized in a single graphic—the Stress Tank©—which also identifies the seven researched-based keys to successfully managing stress.  These seven keys have been configured into the Stress Pyramid© which distinguishes between the 4 Foundational Components and 3 Power Components of managing stress.  Module 1 explains why stress management is so important for anyone living in modern society, and explores the first 4, foundational components of the Stress Pyramid.©

Session 1.1:  The Concorde Factor and the Stress Tank

How is the Stress: Beyond Coping (SBC) eLearning course like the British Concorde?
 
The British Concorde, a turbojet-powered passenger plane, was designed to fly at supersonic speeds in order to cut transatlantic flight time by half or more.  Although the atmospheric conditions created by the Concorde’s flying altitude and supersonic speed created tremendous stress and strain on the outside of the aircraft, the passengers inside never felt it.  Its engineers had built the Concorde to endure a staggering amount of stress on the outside, while providing living-room comfort within.
 
Likewise, the Stress: Beyond Coping eLearning course will teach you how to endure – and even thrive – with tremendous pressures on the outside, while maintaining a sense of peace and calm within.  

This first session (1.1) will introduce you to several essential, key concepts about stress and stress management, which provide the foundation and conceptual framework for the entire SBC eLearning course.  These include:
  • The Stress Tank©, an SBC original concept that provides a comprehensive, bird’s eye view of the dangers of chronic stress and the best ways to manage it.
  • The biology behind the body’s stress response and why stress can actually be a good thing.
  • How the body’s healthy response to stress can turn harmful.
  • Why stress triggers diseases such as the common cold, ulcers, high blood pressure, and even heart disease and cancer. 
  • The 7 lifestyle factors that the most up-to-date medical research identifies as the most powerful stress management tools.

Session 1.2:  The Lighthouse Factor and the Stress Pyramid

The most advanced medical research has identified seven (7) vital keys to managing stress.

While most stress management seminars focus exclusively on perhaps one or two, or at the most, four or five of these keys, the Stress: Beyond Coping (SBC) eLearning course covers all seven.  Session 2.2 sets the stage for the rest of the course by organizing all seven keys into the Stress Pyramid.©

As the central concept of the entire SBC eLearning course, the Stress Pyramid© will:  
  • Introduce the seven, research-based keys for managing the pressures of life.
  • Prioritize these seven keys according to their stress-reducing potential.  
  • Identify the four (4) Foundational Components which form the basis of most stress management programs.  
  • Reveal the three (3) Power Components which stress researchers have discovered have the power to transform our worst stressors into sources of personal growth, accomplishment and fulfillment.  
  • Explain why the seven keys of the Stress Pyramid© are “lighthouses” in the storms of life, warning us of danger points and beaming the way to safety – lighthouses that we can ignore only at our own risk.

The remaining six sessions of Module 1 focus on the 4 Foundational Components of the Stress Pyramid© one by one.  This session (1.2) ends by introducing the most popular strategy for many stress management seminars:  Relaxation.


Session 1.3:  Islands of Peace

Session 1.3 continues the discussion of Relaxation, the first Foundational Component of the Stress Pyramid© and also the most popular topic of many stress management seminars.
 
One of the key concepts discussed is the value of creating what Dr. Kenneth Pelletier calls “Islands of Peace,” based on the close connection between mind and body.  When the body relaxes, the mind will follow.  Likewise, the converse is true—if the mind relaxes, by means of visualizing some peaceful scene, the body will follow.

Altogether, ten practical relaxation strategies for managing stress are presented, including:   
  • Deep Breathing. 
  • The personal relaxation strategy of choice for Dr. Meyer Friedman, co-discoverer of the health significance of Type A / Type B behaviors.
  • The health and longevity benefits of sleep, and the best rule of thumb for gauging your sleep need.
  •  A simple relaxation strategy that several former Stress: Beyond Coping seminar participants have called “life-changing.”


Session 1.4:  Inducing Healthy Stress to Achieve the “Cross-Stressing” Effect

Did you know that certain types of stress are good for you?  Drawing from the seminal work of stress researcher Dr. Hans Selye, this session (1.4) elucidates the difference between the bad stress (distress) that permeates the media today, and the good stress (eustress) that is the spice of life.  If practiced, this good stress can promote good health rather than prevent it.

Research shows that when engaged in properly, exercise, a self-induced form of healthy stress, can help us better manage harmful stress.  This session (1.4) explains the science behind this, and then outlines the steps we should all take to integrate this important stress management strategy into our lives.  This includes:  
  • The best types of exercise for stress management.
  • Guidelines for the right frequency, intensity and time to devote to exercise in order to best maximize its stress-reducing and health-promoting effects. 
  • Other activity raisers that produce similar effects.


Session 1.5:  Inducing Healthy Stress to Better Manage Harmful Stress (part II)

Time Management is a second lifestyle factor that can create good stress (eustress) in order to help us better manage bad stress (distress).

Altogether, this session (1.5) discusses eight methods to prevent stress overload through organization and good time management. Each method is illustrated with practical tips that you can use to immediately gain greater control over your life.  The methods include:
  • Avoiding decisional overload.
  • Regulating the rate and intensity of life’s activities.
  • Avoiding clutter. 
  • Regulating the rate of change taking place in your life.
  • Avoiding overbooking your schedule.
  • Eliminating personal debt.
  • Managing your time to achieve challenging, rewarding, high-priority goals.


Session 1.6:   Nutrition and Stress: The Quandary of Dietary Fats

"Nutrition is the foundation of a good stress plan" (Emmanuel Cheraskin, University of Alabama Medical School).  For this reason, the Stress: Beyond Coping eLearning course devotes three sessions (1.6, 1.7, and 1.8) to how to eat to minimize stress caused by illness and to maximize health and longevity.

There’s a lot of confusion about nutrition these days.  Every kind of diet imaginable is being promoted.  Are you supposed to eat no carbs, low carbs, or high carbs?  No fat, low fat, or a generous amount of fat?  What kinds of fats are good and which are harmful?  Is the U. S. Food Pyramid guide we relied on for so many years really responsible for the spike in obesity in America as some are claiming today?  How’s a person to know who to rely on today for the best information?

The Stress: Beyond Coping eLearning course cuts through the maze of nutritional confusion by focusing on a benchmark publication first printed by the U.S. Surgeon General and validated by some of the world’s top nutritionists. This benchmark publication contains 5 simple recommendations for optimal nutrition – the first of which is discussed in this session (1:6), where you will learn:   
  • How our nutritional goal can be likened to a rocket carrying a payload into space.
  • Why we should avoid cholesterol, saturated fat, and trans fats.
  • Why we should eat healthy fats and in what proportions. 
  • Why we should especially eat the “omega” fats, in what proportions, and the best sources of these beneficial fats.


Session 1.7:  Nutrition and Stress: The Carbohydrate Conundrum

"The single most influential dietary change one can make to lower the risk of [heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, etc.] is to reduce intake of foods high in fats and to increase the intake of foods high in complex carbohydrates and fiber."  (The Surgeon General’s Report on Nutrition and Health)

This session (1.7) focuses on the second half of this powerful equation for optimal nutrition:  complex carbohydrates.  In this session, you will learn:  
  • The 3 best reasons for eating complex carbs.
  • The 4 best reasons to eat foods high in fiber.
  • The best sources for both complex carbohydrates and fiber.
  • How NOT to sabotage your nutritional goals with refined foods.
  • Why salt is a stress-inducing chemical that should be avoided.
  • Why alcohol and tobacco, both commonly used to alleviate feelings of worry and stress, can be a “wolf in sheep’s clothing.”


Session 1.8:  Nutrition and Stress: Let the Nutrition Rocket Be Your Guide

This last session on nutrition condenses the published recommendations by the U.S. Surgeon General, and the best guidance of the many food pyramids that are in use today, into one comprehensive guide that is completely unique to Stress: Beyond Coping seminars:  the Nutrition Rocket.©   This daily food guide has the potential to lower your body’s stress from disease and premature aging.  In this session, you will learn:
  • What nutrient-dense foods you should be eating every day, and in what proportions.
  • What foods you should avoid completely for managing stress and protecting your health.
  • Guidance from top nutritionists regarding supplements.
  • How to determine if you are drinking enough pure water.
  • A simple, three-step formula for eating to produce less stress and promote optimal health.