Certificate in Stress Management

Stress is at epidemic levels in the world today. In this certificate program, you will explore the physiological, social and psychological impacts of stress and study modalities to get stress under control.  You will examine the relationship between stress and health, nutrition, and physical activity, and discover how stress can develop in the workplace. You will also learn about the different therapies that can help reduce stress, including how healthy living habits---such as exercise and diet---can help counteract the negative impact of stress.

At the end of this course, you will appreciate the importance of recognizing the impact of stress, and you will have gained knowledge of strategies and therapies to reduce and manage stress. (14 contact hours)

Learning Type:
Instructor-Led Course

Hours: 14.00

Duration: 6 Weeks

Session Start Dates:
Jun 12
Jul 17
Aug 14
Sep 11

About the Instructor

Cyndie Koopsen is a nurse who has cared for patients in acute care settings, community clinics, and the home. Her professional nursing career has involved nursing executive leadership and administration, staff development and education, community education and wellness, and holistic care. She has designed, developed, and presented numerous educational programs for audiences covering integrative health, promotion and wellness, and chronic disease management and prevention. She is the co-author of “Spirituality, Health, and Healing and Integrative Health: A Holistic Approach for Health Professionals.”

Caroline Young, M.P.H., has an extensive public health background that includes research experience, workshop presentations, and instruction. She has designed, developed, and instructed numerous integrative health programs for diverse populations, senior populations, and faith communities. Young is the co-author of “Spirituality, Health, and Healing and Integrative Health: A Holistic Approach for Health Professionals.”

A new session of each course opens each month, allowing you to enroll whenever your busy schedule permits!

How does it work? Once a session starts, two lessons will be released each week, for the six-week duration of your course. You will have access to all previously released lessons until the course ends.

Keep in mind that the interactive discussion area for each lesson automatically closes 2 weeks after each lesson is released, so you’re encouraged to complete each lesson within two weeks of its release.

The Final Exam will be released on the same day as the last lesson. Once the Final Exam has been released, you will have 2 weeks plus 10 days to complete the Final and finish any remaining lessons in your course. No further extensions can be provided beyond these 10 days.

Physiology of Stress

Stress is at epidemic levels in the world today. Currently, as many as 90 percent of all visits to health-care providers in the United States are considered to be stress-related. Stress affects every aspect of the body, mind, and spirit, resulting in a wide range of symptoms from headaches or stomach ailments to heart disease or death. Stress is difficult to define because it varies from individual to individual. What one person finds stressful might not bother another person at all. There are many types of stress, and each can result in many different physiological effects on the body. The goal of this course is to provide an overview of the physiology of stress, the body's responses to stress, and how stress affects the central nervous, endocrine, and immune systems.

Social Context of Stress

A strong social support network is important during difficult times. A social support network consists of friends, family, and peers. Developing and maintaining supportive relationships provides feelings of belonging, self-worth, and security. Without a strong social support network, individuals can experience a sense of isolation, disconnection, and stress. Despite their initial impression of fostering connectedness, technology and social networking often increase a person's feelings of isolation because relationships established online may not be deep and real. In addition, incivility and a lack of regular contact with nature also increase stress. The goal of this course is to provide an overview of the social context of stress, describe the impact of social support on health, identify the stressful effects of incivility, discuss how lack of contact with nature affects stress levels, and explain the stressful effects of technology, social networking, and multitasking.

Psychology of Stress

Events, people, and circumstances fill our normal daily lives–along with a certain amount of stress. Some of us experience psychological effects from this stress, while others seem to be unaffected or even thrive when challenged. Why do we react differently to stressors? Despite much research on the topic, the answer is not clearly understood, but key elements include personality, emotional intelligence, and gender. The goal of this course is to describe stress and personality types; discuss stress appraisal, coping, and emotion; identify the elements of emotional intelligence; describe gender difference in exposure to stressors; and identify strategies for reducing psychological stress.

The Effects of Stress on Health

Stress can dramatically affect the body and the mind to the detriment of physical and psychological health. Both acute and chronic stress, the timing and duration of stress, gender, and genetics play a role in the complex relationship between stress and health. The goal of this course is to examine the relationship between stress and health; describe the role of stress in the development of cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, drug use, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, irritable bowel syndrome, asthma, sleep disorders, and eating disorders.

Stress and Nutrition

Most individuals enjoy sitting down and eating a delicious meal. Food provides an opportunity to socialize and, if the food is nutritious, it also supports a healthy body and mind. However, when individuals are stressed, they are not able to utilize the nutrients they eat as effectively as when they are relaxed. If stress causes an individual to eat food that is not nutritious, health issues can result. Nutrition, stress, and the immune system are closely related. The goals of this course are to describe the relationship between food and emotions; to explain the stress response; to discuss the effects of stress on nutrition and health; to define mindful eating and methods of eating mindfully; and to examine elements of nutrition that support a healthy immune system.

Stress and Physical Activity

Physical activity is essential in a program for stress management and overall health. This can include activities such as walking, running, swimming, cycling, skiing, dancing, gardening, yoga, Qigong, Tai Chi Chuan, weight lifting, stretching, as well as many other practices. These activities provide an integrative, holistic, healthy way to connect mind, body, and spirit, which improves physical, mental, and emotional health. The goal of this course is to examine the types of physical activity, the physiological benefits of physical activity, and how various types of exercise can help manage stress and improve health and well-being.

Workplace Stress

For most Americans, the workplace is ever-changing and a major source of daily stress. As a result, the economic and personal health effects of workplace stress are at epidemic levels, making it one of the most important health challenges of the 21st century. The goal of this course is to describe the extent of workplace stress; compare and contrast job stress and job burnout; identify the causes of job stress; discuss the extent of workplace violence and horizontal violence; identify health effects of workplace stress; and list ways to reduce job stress.

Journaling: Healthy Living Through Self-Discovery

Writing has been an important part of the human experience for centuries but has only recently been recognized as a therapeutic tool for healing. Used to document personal and historical events, describe emotions and feelings, reduce stress, and explore creativity, journaling allows individuals to develop a deeply personal relationship with themselves. The goal of the course is to provide an overview of the healing aspects of journaling, explore journaling as a stress-reduction tool, examine the definition of journaling and the purpose of journal writing, explore how journaling is used for health and healing, describe specific journal writing styles and themes, and explain guidelines and tips for successful journal writing.

Stress Reduction Techniques and Therapies

You may think you don't have a lot of control over the stress in your life, but you have more control than you might think. There are many ways to manage and reduce stress by using stress-relieving techniques and therapies. The goal of this course is to provide an overview of the techniques and therapies to reduce and manage stress, which include self-awareness, cognitive restructuring, sound healing and music therapy, meditation, nature, imagery, biofeedback, art, and dance.

  • Internet access
  • Email
  • One of the following browsers:
    • Mozilla Firefox
    • Microsoft Internet Explorer (9.0 or above)
    • Google Chrome
    • Safari
  • Adobe PDF  plug-in (a free download obtained at Adobe.com .)


Hardware Requirements: 

  • This course can be taken on either a PC or Mac device.

Software Requirements: 

  • PC: Windows XP or later.
  • Mac: OS X Snow Leopard 10.6 or later.
  • Browser: The latest version of Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox are preferred. Microsoft Edge and Safari are also compatible.
  • Adobe Flash Player. Click here to download the Flash Player.
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader. Click here to download the Acrobat Reader.
  • Java. Click here to download Java.
  • Software must be installed and fully operational before the course begins.


  • Email capabilities and access to a personal email account.


There are no prerequisites to take this course.

Instructional Material Requirements:

The instructional materials required for this course are included in enrollment and will be available online.

I am looking forward to using all the stress relief methods in this course to help me increase resilience to work-related stress. I believe it will help me have a more positive attitude especially when the pressure and stress levels are high and improve the quality of my nursing care.

I have acquired more knowledge of the physical components of stress and will apply it in the coaching of my clients in their quest to manage their stress better.

Just having a better understanding of how stress can influence all parts of a person's life will help me to have better interactions with fellow employees and students that I work with.

As a volunteer in a Senior Assisted Community, the course content will provide me with additional tools to use in handling interpersonal verbal attacks amongst the clients.

I know that I need to make changes in my life to reduce stress. The course further brought home the connection between stress and disease, both physical and mental. This course gave me new insights into different avenues to explore and in some cases continue to explore. It is interesting to note that it was this course that helped me make the connection to some of the things I do directly to a form of stress management technique. Who knew? More specifically, I want to explore journaling. I've been doing additional reading on 'morning pages'. I also want to explore the connection between my learning style (writing notes to solidify concepts) with that of writing to release the stress.

I took this course mainly for myself. Not for the care of a patient or for a profession. I personally wanted to have a more detailed knowledge of how stress and the body function together. Everyone knows too much stress is bad for a person inside and out, but I was looking for a more detailed knowledge of it and I got it. I also wanted to know ways to remove stress from my own person and I found that as well. There was quite a bit I didn't know about stress and the effects it has but now I do. Me personally, I will (and have already) be slowing down and enjoying life. Not worry about things I can’t change at the moment. I will also be picking up my journal and writing again and doing some of the things such as dancing that I used to do. This made me think about past places in my life where stress was present, it just wasn't physically harming me the way it has recently.

I now have additional techniques to use as a Stress Management Health and Wellness Coach. Great course, and thank you.

It gave me new sources of information on the practice of stress management and I am better able to suggest or use different modalities with my clients.

This was a great course and I really enjoyed taking it. The instructors were knowledgeable and provided a lot of references for future study and information. Thank you for a job well done.

This was an excellent course with current information. Thank you.