MODULE 4: Understanding Why We Get Stressed

What is stress? What causes it?  What impacts does it have on the body and mind?  How does it help and/or harm us?  What are the specific stressors of quarantine, and how do we recognize, reduce, and meet them?  These questions and more are discussed in module 4. In this module, you will:

  • Evaluate your perceived stress level
  • Define stress and stress response; recall tools of measurement and core theories
  • Contemplate and discuss psychology-based insights and recommendations related to technology and pace, anticipating stress, the function of emotions, impacts of quarantine, and physical health.
  • Reflect on deliberate experiences of slowing down and engaging your choice of a novel pursuit
  • DISCOVER: Where You Are on the Perceived Stress Scale. Take the questionnaire by joining our Free Canvas course
  • ACT: Try something NEW to Cope: 

    There are a number of activities that we either do not have the time for, or have never thought of trying.  For this assignment, go outside your normal routines and find something brand new to try out.  You can try a new form of physical activity (watch a YouTube on Tai Chi, or Zumba, etc.); try a new hobby (start a moss garden, color in an intricate pattern), bake, cook a dish from a genre you have never tried before, or something you have always wondered about.

    The key is to pick something novel and brand new and focus on it exclusively (no technology distractions while you do it), just give in to it. After engaging this new activity, contemplate how it made you feel and how you would modify it if you did it again. 

  • PRACTICE: Slowing Down 

    Kathryn Bouskill's TED talk from this week touted the benefits of slowing down.  Here are two activities in which you can experiment and practice this skill.  Try each activity at least once this week and reflect on the experience. Note that boredom and impatience can be part of the process of slowing down and reducing cognitive load; see if you can apply the mindfulness tenet of "non-judgment" to yourself and the activity if you experience these - typically - benign forms of discomfort. Perhaps you reframe them as temporary side effects of reducing cognitive load, which ultimately supports stress reduction and mental efficacy!

    Mindful Walking 9:49 (A) - It is recommended to do this without the dogs :)

    Mindful Eating Practice 14:30 (A) - You'll need a snack prepared for this activity. 

  • REFLECT: 

  1. How did the mindful eating and walking practices this week go for you?  What did you notice?  What did you find challenging and/or helpful?
  2. What life activities do you think would better support you at a slower pace, generally speaking? 
  3. What life activities do you think best support you at a quicker pace? How does context and circumstance impact these assessments of speed?