‘Stress Control’ is a six session class. Each session lasts for 90 minutes (including a break). ‘Stress Control’ was devised by Dr Jim White, a Fellow of the British Psychological Society and a consultant clinical psychologist in Glasgow. It aims to help the large number of people who want to learn some great ways to prevent stress from becoming a problem or stopping it being a problem. Through published research, we know that the class works for people who already feel that stress is a problem and for those who feel they are coping at the moment and want to stay on top of stress in the future. ‘Stress Control’ is now used across the world. Classes are very popular so expect to find a lot of people at yours. Stress Control combines cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), Positive Psychology and Mindfulness.
Each session deals with a separate aspect of stress. But as they all link together, it is recommended that you attend all six sessions but if you miss 1 session it is possible to catch up and still get a lot from the course. Each session provides one piece of the jigsaw. Only by putting all the steps together will you get the full picture. You can see what happens in each session later in this booklet.
A fighting spirit
The class (and all the information you have been given) will teach you about stress and will give you the weapons to fight it. Like anything else in life that is worth having, you have to work hard and practice the skills you will learn. If you are looking for the miracle cure, you will be wasting your time - it doesn’t exist. ‘Stress Control’ will show you how to go about tackling stress but, at the end of the day, practice makes perfect. It will be well worth it in the end.
The aim of the class is twofold. Firstly, to teach you new skills that can fight, or even prevent, stress and, secondly, to help boost your sense of wellbeing. To stay on top of stress, it can be helpful to keep coming back to these booklets. Keep the booklets safe so that, in the future, you can use them to stay on top of your stress.
Will I have to talk in front of other people?
No, you will not be asked to do so. ‘Stress Control’ is not a group therapy. Most of us would not feel happy talking about our problems in front of others.
‘Stress Control’ is a class - all the seats face the front. The Trainer(s) will stand at the front and teach you about stress (and how to tackle it) and wellbeing (and how to boost it). Your job is to pick up the new skills and go off and work at what you have learned. You come back the next week, learn the next step until, after the six weeks, you will be in a good position to tackle your stress. Here is a photo of a typical Stress Control class.
Will I have to write things in the class?
No. Although you are welcome to take notes if you feel that’s helpful remembering some of the tips and strategies we teach.
What if I’m not clever enough to understand it?
‘Stress Control’ is straight-forward but if stress is a problem just now, there can be a problem with concentration. That is why you get these booklets. Read through them at your own pace. It can help to read through the booklet in the week before that topic is taught at the class. This ‘belt and braces’ approach will then help you pick up more at the session.
What you will cover over the 6 sessions...
Session 1: What Is Stress?
INFORMATION: How Stress Control works. Detailed information about stress: anxiety, depression, insomnia, panic feelings, low self-esteem and confidence, etc. How common is stress? The 14 most common signs. Anxiety and depression tests. What keeps stress going? The Vicious Circle. Important statements.
SKILLS: Getting started: Stress Control in nine words: face your fears, be more active, boost your wellbeing.
Session 2: Controlling Your Body
INFORMATION: The vicious circle: how the body feeds stressed feelings. Anxiety: fight/flight/faint/freeze. Depression: being overwhelmed and withdrawing. ‘I had a black dog’.
SKILLS: Caffeine, breathing retraining, exercise, progressive relaxation.
Session 3: Controlling Your Thoughts
INFORMATION: The vicious circle: how thoughts feed stressed feelings and the body. The role of vigilance and threat; 'grasshopper thinking' and 'the Blinkers'.
SKILLS: Thinking your way out of stress: 'Wait a minute', the Big 5 Challenges', Breaking stress up.
Session 4: Controlling Your Actions
INFORMATION: The vicious circle: how actions feed stressed feelings, body symptoms and thoughts. Building the positive circle – seeing the big picture. Effects of avoidance and behaviour.
SKILLS: Face your fears; breaking out of the safety zone; problem solving.
Session 5a: Controlling Panicky Feelings
INFORMATION: Dealing with feeling overwhelmed with a focus on the role of faulty breathing in keeping stress going. We will look at ways to control your breathing along with combining the skills already learned on the course.
SKILLS: Breathing retraining, preventative CBT approaches.
Session 5b: Getting A Good Night’s Sleep
INFORMATION: Looks at the importance in getting a good night’s sleep and the problems lack of sleep or poor quality sleep cause.
SKILLS: Relaxation, ‘Sleeping tips’ and ‘Retraining your sleep’.
Session 6: Wellbeing
INFORMATION: The importance of boosting wellbeing in combination with removing stress
SKILLS: ‘Five a day’: Connect, Be Active, Keep learning, Give, Gratitude, Healthy Eating, SMART goals. Take notice and Mindfulness. We finish with ‘Controlling the future’ and ‘Becoming your own therapist’.
At the end of each session there will be tasks to do at home.
Due to the size of the groups, facilitators may not always be able to speak with you at the end of the session due to time and venue. If you need further support and are at risk please attend your local A&E or contact your GP.
If you wish to have further support after attending the six sessions of the Stress Control then either speak to one of the facilitators to discuss or contact us on 0300 0030 130.
Two of our Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners
Health in Mind (Delivered in partnership by Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and Turning Point.)