How to Make Stress Work for You
Dr. Kimberlee Bethany Bonura is a fitness and wellness consultant with decades of experience teaching the benefits of physical and mental health to elite athletes, higher education institutions, nonprofit community organizations, and corporations. She earned her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology, with a research emphasis in sport and exercise psychology, from Florida State University. Her doctoral dissertation won national awards from the American Psychological Association (Division 47) and the Association for Applied Sport Psychology. Dr. Bonura is a triple-certified yoga instructor, registered with the Yoga Alliance and a member of the International Association of Yoga Therapists. She also holds certifications as a personal trainer, group fitness instructor, kickboxing instructor, tai chi and qigong instructor, senior fitness specialist, weight management instructor, and prenatal and youth fitness specialist-all issued by the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America and the International Fitness Professionals Association. She has developed specialized programs in seated/chair yoga for older adults; yoga for empowerment to encourage self-esteem; partner yoga for family and marital enhancement; and more. Featured widely in national and international publications, Dr. Bonura is a peer reviewer for journals including the Journal of Aging and Physical Activity, and the Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology.
01: A New Mindset about Stress
Start the course with a reversal of common perspective: that stress is actually correlated with having a sense of meaning in your life. Along the way, learn a more holistic definition of stress, explore the idea of a stress continuum, and learn the difference between major traumas and everyday irritants.
02: Happiness: A Fickle Queen
We place so much emphasis on pursuing happiness that it often makes us less likely to be happy. Here, examine the relationship between happiness and play, why gratitude lists make you more resilient to stress, and how to train your mind to pay attention to the right kind of happiness.
03: Anger: A Tyrannical King
Expressing anger is the best way to overcome it, right? Wrong. Learn how the cognitive neoassociation theory explains why acting out on anger actually makes you angrier and that there is no proof for the common myth of anger management via catharsis. Then, learn how to let go of anger through helpful counting exercises and detachment.
04: Swimming in an Ocean of Sorrow
Suffering, pain, grief-how do we recover and rebuild in the wake of major trauma? Find out in this lecture on sorrow-related stress that explores our ever-shifting perceptions of trauma, the ways we make meaning out of trauma, and why simply acknowledging your vulnerability can be a vital aid.
05: Why You Stress: Arousal and Value Judgment
Arousal plus your value judgment equals your stress level. And what you respond to in life isn't the raw stimuli you experience (like a traffic jam) but your perceptions of these stimuli. Explore this idea in a lecture that recasts the stress continuum as a positive-negative curve instead of a line.
06: Choose Your Adventure: Choose Your Stress
Choice and stress are fundamentally intertwined. What does learned helplessness tell us about our sense of control? Is too much choice more stressful than fewer choices? Is someone obsessed with making the best possible choice happier than someone who's not? How can you make better decisions under stress?
07: Heaven and Hell Can Be Other People
For many people, social situations are stressful. But our social relationships can also promote physical and psychological health. Here, learn what role social media plays in how we view relationships, understand the idea of universal irrationality, and appreciate the healing power of experiencing awe and the importance of physical touch.
08: Our Overstressed, Overscheduled Kids
It's not just adults who are overstressed. A hectic modern lifestyle can create a negatively stressful impact on a child's psychological well-being as well. Learn strategies for helping kids overcome stress, including scheduling down time, appreciating the importance of hugs, and cultivating authentic relationships.
09: Change Your Mind to Change Your Stress
Changing your perception of stressful situations isn't easy. Dr. Bonura teaches you the nuances of cognitive restructuring, including how to reframe your thoughts of self-punishment (and avoid self-punishing behaviors) and how to productively face and manage your fears (including setting aside a specific time each day to worry).
10: Emergency Stress Management
Get a powerful toolkit for dealing with the stress of life-and-death situations while you're still cultivating a long-term approach to stress management. Exercises you'll learn including breathing strategies to stay centered, staying happy in order to regain a sense of self-control, and avoiding the dangerous cognitive distortion of catastrophizing.
11: Good Stress Helps You Handle All Stress
Can stress be good for you? How does stress help us become healthier, happier, and more resilient? Why should we seek out mild discomfort? How does one researcher's "toughness model" explain how good stress works? Learn to use stress to strengthen your resilience.
12: The Stress of Learning and Mastery
Over half of Americans are stressed about their performance at work. Here, learn the importance of deliberate practice: perhaps the most effective strategy for cultivating competence at work. Then, ponder the idea of the "imposter syndrome," learn how to receive feedback, dispel the myth of "magical transformation," and more.
13: Alternative Approaches to Stress
Dr. Bonura introduces you to a range of alternative care strategies that have proven benefits for stress management. These include spending time outside in nature, the mind-body technique of self-hypnosis, a fatigue-combatting diet, acupuncture, and massage.
14: Mindfulness: Heart Healing to Manage Stress
There's a lot of misunderstanding about meditation out there. Learn how to leverage mindfulness as a tool and a practice. From mindful breathing to mindful eating to loving-kindness meditation, find out why being mindful can help you build a more positive relationship with stress.
15: Channeling Stress for a Competitive Edge
Performance stress can help you perform at a higher level-if you know how to control it. First, learn how to repurpose this kind of stress as excitement. Then, discover what research says about how posture and "flow" (immersion in the moment) can help you perform better in stressful situations.
16: Emerging Stress Management Technology
Explore emerging techniques for stress management based upon up-to-date scientific understanding of how stress works. These include biofeedback to better understand and control your physiological response to stress), art therapy (for emotional healing), visualization of desired outcomes, and eye movement desensitization (to work through trauma).
17: Rest, Restore, Recover Your Resilience
Relaxing is a mindset you carry with you. First, consider the physical and mental health benefits of taking a vacation. Then, better appreciate the smaller stress-reduction strategies of hot showers, and occasionally sleeping in. Finally, explore the idea of work sabbaticals and unstructured time.
18: Learning from Your Stress
Dr. Bonura leaves you with skills to learn from the stress in your life. Discover why it's important to feel a sense of purpose; how the frequency of positive experiences you have is more important than their intensity; and why it truly is important to appreciate the small things.