How to Make Stress Work for You

Course No. 9190
Kimberlee Bethany Bonura, Ph.D.
Fitness and Wellness Consultant
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29 Reviews
89% of reviewers would recommend this product
Course No. 9190
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What Will You Learn?

  • Explore why stress comes not from raw stimuli but rather from how your brain perceives them using memory and analysis.
  • Learn how to differentiate between the different types (and degrees) of stress in everyday life.
  • Unpack popular myths about the relationship between stress and emotions like happiness, anger, and sadness.
  • Discover how to effectively employ stress management skills like detachment, visualization, meditation, and physical affection.
  • Consider why a life completely free of stress is an unhealthy (and impossible) goal.

Course Overview

Life is stressful. There’s just no getting around it. But while everyday stressors are a fact of life, that doesn’t mean they have to control you. Rather, with the right scientific understanding, you can actually make stress work for you instead of against you.

According to fitness and wellness consultant Dr. Kimberlee Bethany Bonura, trying to live a completely stress-free life is a zero-sum game. Life without stress is an apathetic life in which nothing matters. The true goal of your relationship with stress is to figure out how to manage it effectively; how to use it to build and support a meaningful, resilient life.

Recent years have seen a wealth of new insights into the science of stress and its effects on our physiological and psychological health. These insights, the product of fascinating research and studies, are more than simply interesting to learn about. They’re vital, powerful tools you can use to transform how you think about (and react to) stress, whether everyday stressors like traffic jams or unexpected traumas like a death in the family.

The bottom line, according to Dr. Bonura: “You can still find joy in this moment, in this chaos, in this life, by learning to be your own ultimate master of stress.”

With the 18 enriching and inspiring lectures of How to Make Stress Work for You, Dr. Bonura shows you how to manage and minimize the stress in your life. You’ll learn how to identify the types of stress you’re most vulnerable to, what your current stress responses are, ways to manage your response to stress (including key behavior modifications and mental exercises), and a plethora of other relevant, practical, and even essential information on integrating stress into a healthy lifestyle. Rooted in scientific findings from experiments, research papers, case studies, and first-hand experiences from Dr. Bonura’s life and career, this course offers you nothing less than a bold new way of facing (and appreciating) daily life.


Think of stress management as a toll road, with an initial cost to get on but with long-term savings. The strategies and techniques required to master the stress in your life take some initial work to learn—and ongoing practice to hone and strengthen. But the investment, in the long run, will end up saving you time, energy, money, and preserve your mental health.

Designed to be your helpful companion in this process, How to Make Stress Work for You elucidates the realities of stress: how it works, why it affects us the way it does, and the importance of managing it.

Throughout these lectures, you’ll explore the nuances of stress in ways you may never have considered.

  • Types of stress: One important thing to understand about stress is that different stressors have different positions on what Dr. Bonura calls your personal “stress continuum.” There are traumas (for example, major illness) which are deeply stressful and often outside your control; moderate stressors (like work deadlines) that are more contained and manageable; and activities of daily living (such as laundry or getting dinner on the table) that can be stressful depending on your personality.
  • A matter of perception: New approaches to stress management take into account the fact that you never directly experience any stimuli. Instead, what you’re experiencing is the brain’s interpretation of raw input (sights, sounds) using memory, analysis, and reasoning. That’s why one important step in stress management is understanding that what you’re responding to in life are your perceptions—not the stimuli itself.
  • Busting emotional myths: Throughout these lectures, Dr. Bonura busts common misperceptions about our emotions and their relationship to stress. It turns out, for example, that the continued pursuit of happiness is, in and of itself, stressful. And if you think expressing your rage through punching a pillow is helpful, think again; it could actually be making you angrier.
  • The power of meditation: Meditation can dramatically improve your relationship with the stress in your life. You may have already practiced this essential skill without having gone to a meditation class. How can that be? At its core, meditation is the skill of keeping your mind and your awareness in the present moment.


Each of us responds to stress in our own way. That’s why Dr. Bonura fills How to Make Stress Work for You with scientifically-backed techniques, behavior modifications, and simple exercises you can use to build a personalized toolkit for managing your stress response. You will explore tools like:

  • Detachment: Research shows that by detaching yourself from certain provocations and taking a “fly-on-the-wall” perspective you may more effectively let go of stressful emotions like anger.
  • Affection: At the University of Notre Dame, researchers found that adults who received more hugs in childhood had less anxiety as adults.
  • Rumination: If you ruminate right after a traumatic moment, you may better process the event neurologically and avoid getting stuck in that neural path in the future.
  • Creativity: Outlets like art therapy offer a unique opportunity for healing and restoration through the creative process.


With the insights of a health expert and the compassion of a helpful friend, Dr. Bonura makes How to Make Stress Work for You a supportive outlet to turn to whenever you’re feeling overwhelmed by stress. A realist, her goal is not to cure you of harmful stress but to put you in better control of it.

“Fundamentally, we’re not looking for stress-free lives or stress freedom” she says. “We just want to feel like the stress that we experience leads to something we truly care about. That is when we are champions of our own stress.”

Warm and encouraging, her experience giving one-on-one help to individuals gives these lectures the feel of a private, personal conversation. Dr. Bonura walks you step-by-step through the course’s cognitive exercises, demonstrating just how easy it is to finally take charge of your stress.

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18 lectures
 |  Average 32 minutes each
  • 1
    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. x
  • 2
    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. x
  • 3
    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. x
  • 4
    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. x
  • 5
    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. x
  • 6
    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? x
  • 7
    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. x
  • 8
    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. x
  • 9
    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). x
  • 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. x
  • 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." x
  • 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." x
  • 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. x
  • 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. x
  • 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." x
  • 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). x
  • 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. x
  • 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. x

Lecture Titles

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What's Included

What Does Each Format Include?

Video DVD
Instant Video Includes:
  • Download 18 video lectures to your computer or mobile app
  • Downloadable PDF of the course guidebook
  • FREE video streaming of the course from our website and mobile apps
Video DVD
Instant Audio Includes:
  • Download 18 audio lectures to your computer or mobile app
  • Downloadable PDF of the course guidebook
  • FREE audio streaming of the course from our website and mobile apps
Video DVD
DVD Includes:
  • 18 lectures on 3 DVDs
  • 392-page printed course guidebook
  • Downloadable PDF of the course guidebook
  • FREE video streaming of the course from our website and mobile apps
  • Closed captioning available

What Does The Course Guidebook Include?

Video DVD
Course Guidebook Details:
  • 392-page printed course guidebook
  • Illustrations and photographs
  • Activities and questions
  • Suggested reading

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Your professor

Kimberlee Bethany Bonura

About Your Professor

Kimberlee Bethany Bonura, Ph.D.
Fitness and Wellness Consultant
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...
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How to Make Stress Work for You is rated 4.6 out of 5 by 29.
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Useful information The info is really useful and easy to understand. I have already begun making changes in my thinking and my behavior. Strongly recommend it.
Date published: 2018-01-31
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Would not Recommend The Professor does not appear to have an original thought of her own, the entire course is heavily riddled with her referencing others on their writings, which she is repeating. Plucking “bits and pieces” from others to create a lecture is a horrible way to teach. I challenge you to see how much time she spends referencing others verse teaching the student. I also came across a few places that she repeated her lecture. Ironically it was almost word for word what she presented in an earlier lecture. Not at all happy with my purchase.
Date published: 2018-01-31
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Stress-Inducing! In this nondescript series of 18 lectures, Kimberlee Bethany Bonura discusses stress management. Sadly, many with a more rational frame of mind may find the whole endeavour extremely aggravating. The text read by Ms. Bethany Bonura is obviously very carefully written not to offend anyone … except those who value straightforwardness. Congruently, her tone of voice is so phoney that it is at times simply hilarious. Very little hard content is presented and, for instance, stress is defined no more as the opposite of non-involvement. The lectures are punctuated with invitations to count to 10 or with breathing exercises where with each exhalation one is asked to utter: “I am grateful for …”. Much time is spent on long, detailed, descriptions of pointless “scientific” experiments based on ridiculously small samples. For a much more substantial treatment of the same topic, potential buyers would certainly find it worthwhile to consider another Great Course: “Stress and Your Body” by Robert Sapolsky.
Date published: 2018-01-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Eye-opening insights! I‘m a teacher, and student stress is in plentiful supply at the end of the semester. The new attitudes I‘ve learned about stress (it‘s what happens when something you care about is at stake, etc.) have helped me and my students immensely!
Date published: 2017-12-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very Helpful for just about everyone! I bought this before leaving on an extended vacation in hopes of coming back with better coping skills to my stressful life and was so impressed with this course that I want everyone I love to listen to it as well. It can benefit so many different people/situations. Can't say enough good things about it. Highly recommended! Helps that I got it on sale too.
Date published: 2017-08-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A positive approach of stress This course is the complement of Dr Sapolsky's courses such as stress and your body where damages from stress are depicted. Here, it is the opposite: you need some level of stress to perform, to bring the best out of you. How to manage it is spoken from scientific and practical perspectives. This positive approach on stress is similar to positive psychology approach.
Date published: 2017-08-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Informative Program I've been working on managing my stress for awhile now so I wasn't sure I would learn anything new from this program. It provided both a review of what I already knew and new ways to manage my perception of stress so challenging events don't feel so overwhelming. If you're like me and don't want to spend your money on something you already know, you should be okay purchasing this course. I liked that the lessons are only 30 minutes long because life is busy and I don't think I could squeeze in anything longer. I also read the chapter review before I watched the lesson and that helped me to stay focused on the lecture when I watched it. If I watched the lesson first, I think my thoughts would have gone off on my own situation instead of paying attention to the lecture and I would have missed what was being said. By reading first I was able to make those connections ahead of time, get my thoughts out of the way and focus better when I watched the lecture.
Date published: 2017-08-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very insightful and helpful This series is packed with practical information that if applied will make your life better. It looks at the good and the bad associated with stress. It helps you to understand what stress does psychologically and physiologically. Each lecture gives you a number of simple things that you can do to better manage stress. It was engaging to listen to, educational, and uplifting.
Date published: 2017-07-28
Rated 2 out of 5 by from TOO THEATRICAL This yoga-like set seems to be oriented toward women. The theatrical presentation of the instructor/lecturer had a negative impact on me personally. I have taken a number of your courses. This one disappoints. Waste of money.
Date published: 2017-07-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love using the app! I bought a terrific course about the science of mindfulness and downloaded the app. Very much enjoyed listening at my leisure. The app is easy to navigate. I did not get the subscription app, just the regular one and very much recommend buying your courses on line and then listening either on line, ear buds, or via bluetooth (my iphone bluetooths to my hearing aids which makes the whole thing even better for me).
Date published: 2017-06-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Channeling energy and prioritizing I just finished this excellent course - its 18 lectures went too fast! I picked up this course because, well, who doesn't have stress, and why not make it work for you (instead of you working for it!) I was not disappointed. I would say the best part of this series, by far, was the last lecture, which I feel could be watched in isolation, or even to begin the course and then to review at the end. To me, the revelation in this course was first, that stress means that about something. Stress at the end of the day is...good. It means you are alive and well and care about something or someone. What Dr. Bonura does is to delve into "stress" and make you take a look at your life, and really to assess what is going on and to prioritize in some instances, as in the example in the last lecture about finding the career that works for you, or how to channel your energy and let go of harmful stress or to take the opportunity to be more mindful and observant of the moment. Most of the lectures have five or so minutes of relaxing techniques that can either be observed and done later, or where you may want to take a break and follow along. For that reason, it would not be something I would listen to on the drive home (although I think the audio version would be fine for this course), but rather, it's a good course to do at the end of the evening, or maybe first thing in the morning. I found that I liked streaming this course on my tablet when I got home from work and was preparing for the next day, and pausing to take a "time out" to do a breathing or meditation exercise. If you are not a meditation or yoga type of person, then you may not embrace this approach, so just be aware that these are some of the techniques that she discusses and demonstrates. Also, some people might find it annoying that she constantly cites individual references and studies to support her research. I was fine with this, but some reviewers have noted this as a pet peeve in reviewing some of her other courses and yes, she does it in this one too. For those of you who like to see a well dressed professor that changes it up frequently, then you should be pleased. Her manner is clear, articulate and she has a very comforting voice. Her outfits are nice, muted colors (like mauve) that make one feel relaxed, as does the Asian/bamboo theme of the set. One final recommendation, as I noted in my review of Dr Sadava's course on Cancer (What Science Knows about Cancer), I think this is a great course for patients and families dealing with cancer and for other individuals dealing with chronic stress, as the helpful exercises and meditations are really useful and helping one to calm down. If this course had an additional version, I would suggest that Dr. Bonura include a couple of bonus lectures that are just the exercises that can be done in isolation. Overall, well done TGC and Dr. Bonura!
Date published: 2017-05-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from insightful and practical Dr. Bonura discusses many subjects that are relevant in our fast-paced, high-demand world. Not only does she give the theoretical background for the material, she also demonstrates useful techniques for stress management. She presents herself in a knowledgable and caring manner.
Date published: 2017-05-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I Learned So Much! I bought the video version, as I wanted to simulate the experience of being at a lecture and watching the lecturer as I listened. It was wonderful! Kimberlee Bethany Bonura presents such a thorough exploration of the subject of managing stress, and cites many authors and research studies to enrich what she says. There are some brief exercises you do during the lectures, and many helpful tools that can help with stress management in daily life. Fantastic!
Date published: 2017-04-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Money well spent I thoroughly loved this course and found the information so practical and informative I'm going to listen to it again. Professor Bonura is outstanding and engaging as a presenter--easy to listen to and really knows her material.
Date published: 2017-03-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This is an excellent course! The instructor has a gift of making complicated things interesting and understandable. By far the best class I have taken from the great courses.
Date published: 2017-03-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Stress Busting tools and techniques are first clas After one session and following the recommendation the programs allow one to escape the stress and be in a better place. Stress is all,in the brain and how we think
Date published: 2017-03-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very Helpful I received this about one week ago and it has already helped me deal with a difficult situation. I'm an 85 year old guy with a wife who was evaluated and said to have Alzheimer's about three years ago. I mention this to let you know my need and interest in the lectures. The individual topics are well chosen and presented in a way that is very easy to follow. I haven't finished them but the exercises so far have been most helpful.
Date published: 2017-03-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Unexamined lives and stress Video download. Do you like stress? Do you seek out stressful situations for their own sake? Probably not, unless they serve wider personal goals that make it worthwhile. "Good stress", in other words, is a consequence of the lifestyle, work and relationships we value. Otherwise, it makes no sense. __________________ In a nutshell, this is what Dr Bonura's HOW TO MAKE STRESS WORK FOR YOU is all about. Socrates once said that "the unexamined life is not worth living". Bonura feel that unexamined lives compound the many stresses inherent in life. What would "examined" mean? List your stresses. Rank them from "trauma" to "irritants." Then see in what way they relate to your values, also defined and ranked. Stresses closely associated with your values can be lessened, but are part of a healthy, purpose-driven life. Stresses unrelated to these values are self-defeating. Soothing gimmicks in such situations will likely fail, and thus add more pain. To quote her in Lecture 6: "The people who succeed in losing weight and keeping it off are the people who give up on diets and commit to a new lifestyle..... The same is true of stress. You won’t lose your stress by picking one tactic or even a group of tactics. You will lose stress by living as if you have a healthy relationship with it." _____________________ PROS • Dr Bonura's lectures are clear and well-designed. • They include specific exercises for short-term relief. • Overall, the course is a simplified introduction to positive psychology, cognitive behavior therapy, sleep, alternative treatments and mindfulness as they relate to stress relief. And yet, her approach is also concrete and practical. • Her emphasis is proactive stress-reducing habits. This course is therefore a good introduction to TGC's health-related course library. CONS • Those of you primarily interested in narrowly-defined stresses — children, finances, work, relationships, etc. — will find pointers in this course. But you may be turned off by her top-down emphasis on examining your life and values as a whole. • Her approach requires that you first define and rank your values, then see in what way they relate to the many stresses you face regularly. Skip this work, and her course has little to offer. _____________________ The course guidebook is a good summary. The bibliography is not annotated. Audio versions should be sufficient, although I did appreciate seeing her performing her short relaxation routines. An above-average, practical course.
Date published: 2017-03-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great information The subject matter almost boggles the mind. Stress is something we have all complained about as soon as we knew what the word meant. This course puts things into perspective for worriers like me.
Date published: 2017-02-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Such an incredible resource! Great investment. I got more than I expected. Dr. Bonura is a virtual fount of knowledge and wisdom. I have studied this material, and still... I learned a lot.
Date published: 2017-02-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wow! I could tell after just the first lecture of this course that it would be amazing! It has such great info that's so very helpful. Dr. Bonura is authoritative, yet so calm and pleasantly reassuring.
Date published: 2017-02-02
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