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Success Over Stress


ISBN: 978-1-913014-16-2

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CogBooks partners with the Rothenberger Institute from the University of Minnesota’s top-ranked School of Public Health for this curriculum. Course content was developed by the Rothenberger Institute team, which includes instructors, health educators, wellness coaches, instructional designers, media specialists, evaluators, and peer educators.

Success Over Stress equips students with the knowledge and skills to recognize the signs and symptoms of stress, identify triggers, distinguish adaptive and maladaptive coping techniques, and implement proactive stress prevention and management strategies.

Topics cover the stress process, the physical signs and symptoms of stress, and long-term outcomes of chronic stress, as well as various strategies to cope with stress associated with college life and beyond.

CogBooks partners with the University of Minnesota’s Rothenberger Institute for the curriculum for these courses. Please visit The Rothenberger Institute’s website or download more information here.

Explore the topics covered in Success Over Stress

Whether proactive or reactive, your reasons for enhancing your stress management skills will no doubt benefit you. We introduce you to the concepts of wellbeing and resilience and discuss the complexities of making changes to health behaviors. We’ll also bust some myths surrounding stress so you can start with an open mind.

What exactly happens in the body when we encounter a stressor? This module will walk through the stress process. More general sources of stress are also discussed. This module is intended to help learners identify opportunities to interrupt the stress process and and mitigate its impacts.

When stress becomes chronic or goes unaddressed, the toll it takes on the body can be detrimental. Think of the body as an engine: the longer it goes without an oil change or maintenance, the more problems it is bound to have. Similarly, without effective stress prevention and management strategies, an individual’s health could suffer as result of chronic or ongoing stress.

When it comes to coping with stress, there is no magic pill that works for everyone. Coping is defined and several coping styles and families are described. Any coping strategy can be adaptive, even if it doesn’t work all of the time. Each person may be more comfortable relying on certain strategies, but people can change how they respond to, prevent, or relieve stress.

College brings with it some unique sources of stress, some of which students have never experienced before and some that are only temporary, but still require addressing. We’ll review some common sources of stress for students to give you an opportunity to reflect on your own experiences.

With each new term and schedule, students need to adjust. Learning skills to manage time and money can mitigate associated stress in the long-term. Not every strategy works for every student in every situation; we encourage you to remain open-minded. If you try a few out, you will get a better idea of your own preferences and what is most effective for you.

Many strategies exist to help mitigate and ideally prevent stress associated with studying, working with others, and maintaining effective relationships. Chances are most people will always have deadlines, projects, and changing and challenging relationships with peers or coworkers, so taking the time to learn effective strategies to use in these situations can help you turn them into lifelong habits

Loss and grief are universal experiences, but many don’t like to think about loss. Loss can come in many forms–including loss of life of a loved one or pet, divorce, separation, or termination of a personal relationship, diagnosis with a serious physical or mental illness, or loss of a job by being fired or laid off. Preparing to cope with these issues can help us navigate these significant sources of stress.

In this topic, we’ll review common maladaptive coping strategies and their challenges. Most people use a combination of maladaptive and adaptive coping strategies to deal with stress. While maladaptive strategies sometimes work in the short term, they don’t work for the long term.

Less-than-positive attitudes, perceptions, and thought-processes can often be maladaptive. These strategies often fail to solve problems and can lead to more stress. In this module, we share several types of maladaptive cognitive coping and provide strategies for combating them.

Our personal outlook on life, as well as the people we surround ourselves with, have the ability to positively or negatively impact our stress management. In this module, you’ll learn strategies for identifying, reflecting, and acting on emotions, in addition to best utilizing your social network.

Relaxation strategies are designed to help an individual release tension, redirect thinking toward specific thoughts or activities, and feel more positive as a result. We highlight several examples of relaxation strategies, many of which can be done almost anywhere.

Some you may have heard of and some will be completely new. Keep an open mind; it could be that preconceived notions, automatic assumptions, and unwillingness to practice are the only things keeping you from discovering a strategy that works for you.

In some cases—like with severe anxiety—the strategies described in this module are best paired with psychotherapy or other treatments and should be facilitated by trained professionals. Further, these relaxation strategies should not substitute medical care if a more serious concern exists.

How are health behaviors like sleep, eating habits, and physical activity related to stress prevention? Think about the last time you didn’t get enough sleep, for instance. Were you able to function at your highest level? Did you perhaps have a lower than usual tolerance for frustrations and interruptions?
Health behaviors—eating, physical activity, sleep habits, and others—can have a significant impact on our health both short-term and long-term. So, for another angle on the quest for less stress and overall better health, consider some of the research, guidelines, and strategies offered in this module.

13.1  Stress and Health Behaviors Introduction: How do you keep yourself healthy and integrate self-care into your life? What types of information do you consider when making decisions about health behaviors? Reflect on your own behaviors and how you make decisions.

13.2  Stress and Nutrition: Nutrition is closely tied to stress, both because stress can impact eating habits and eating habits can directly or indirectly cause stress. Recommendations are provided, as well as everyday, practical ways to apply these recommendations.

13.3  Stress and Sleep: Sleep can impact not only physical health, but also mood and perceived stress. Learn about the connections between sleep, stress and health and gain some tips for ensuring this part of self-care is a priority.

13.4  Stress and Physical Activity: Research consistently shows that physical activity can positive impact perceived stress. Learn about the benefits of physical activity, the recommendations, and simple ways to fit activity into your day.


Consider the insights you’ve gained regarding your styles, preferred strategies, and areas of opportunity for stress management. To assist you with creating a plan for stress management, we’ll discuss the stages of behavior change, goal-setting best practices, and several approaches to addressing or coping with different sources of stress.

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