Cortisol and the Importance of Stress Management

During fight or flight, the body enters into an evolutionary mode of survival.  The body produces various hormones to help one stay alive.  These hormones increase blood pressure, elevate awareness, tense muscles and lower digestive functions.   Since humanity’s early ancestors, the amygdala in the brain responds to threats or perceived threats.  The sense of danger is later translated in the hypothalamus to order the Pituitary gland direct the adrenal glands above the kidneys to release various hormones.  Adrenaline is released.  In the process, cortisol helps one’s body react to danger by giving the body the energy to flee or fight.

Cortisol is released in the stress response. Please also review AIHCP’s Stress Management Consulting Program


Chronic stress can however lead to higher levels of cortisol which is not good for the body.  The article, “How To Lower Your Cortisol Levels Safely, According To Experts” by Dylan Bailey takes a closer look at what high and low levels of cortisol can do to the body overtime and how to find ways to keep it in check.  He states,

“Having high cortisol levels in short bursts is helpful, but long-term elevation of this steroid hormone can be damaging, says Nicole Golden, a National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) master trainer and owner of FWF Wellness in Sayre, Pennsylvania. In response to a stressor, cortisol levels are meant to rise in the short term as part of the “fight or flight” response to give you the energy needed to better deal with a temporary stressor or crisis, and even recover from an injury or illness. But, if this happens constantly, serious health complications could occur.”

“How To Lower Your Cortisol Levels Safely, According To Experts”. Baily, D. (2023). Forbes Health

To read the entire article, please click here


Cortisol, often referred to as the “stress hormone,” is a vital hormone produced by the adrenal glands. It plays a crucial role in various bodily functions and is essential for our overall well-being. Understanding cortisol is key to managing stress and maintaining optimal mental and physical health.

Cortisol is released in response to stress, and its primary function is to help the body cope with challenging situations. It regulates various processes, including metabolism, immune response, and blood pressure. In times of stress, cortisol mobilizes energy by increasing blood sugar levels, providing a burst of energy to deal with the perceived threat.

The importance of cortisol cannot be understated. It helps regulate the sleep-wake cycle, enhances memory and cognitive function, and even influences mood and emotions. However, when cortisol levels become imbalanced due to chronic stress, it can have detrimental effects on our mental and physical well-being.

The role of cortisol in the body: Understanding its functions

Cortisol is involved in a wide range of physiological processes that are essential for our overall health. One of its primary functions is to regulate our body’s response to stress. When we encounter a stressful situation, cortisol is released to increase our alertness and prepare us for fight or flight.

From the perceived threat to the amygdala to the hypothalamus to the pituitary glands to the adrenal glands, arrives cortisol which for better or worst does not understand true threat or chronic stress


In addition to its stress response role, cortisol also plays a crucial role in regulating our metabolism. It helps break down carbohydrates, proteins, and fats to provide energy for the body. Cortisol also influences blood sugar levels, ensuring a steady supply of glucose to the brain and muscles.

Cortisol has a significant impact on our immune system as well. It helps to suppress inflammation and regulate the immune response. However, chronic elevation of cortisol can weaken the immune system, making us more susceptible to infections and diseases.

The connection between cortisol and stress: How stress affects cortisol levels

Stress is a natural part of life, and our bodies are equipped with a stress response system to help us cope with it. When we encounter a stressful situation, whether physical or psychological, our bodies release cortisol to help us adapt and respond effectively. However, prolonged or chronic stress can disrupt this delicate balance and lead to elevated cortisol levels.

Chronic stress can arise from various sources, such as work pressure, relationship problems, financial difficulties, or traumatic events. When stress becomes chronic, cortisol levels remain elevated for extended periods, which can have adverse effects on our mental and physical health.

Research has shown that high cortisol levels due to chronic stress can contribute to anxiety and depression. Cortisol interacts with neurotransmitters in the brain, influencing our mood and emotions. Excessive cortisol can disrupt the balance of these neurotransmitters, leading to mood disorders.

The impact of cortisol on mental health: Exploring the link between cortisol and anxiety/depression

Cortisol levels play a significant role in mental health, particularly anxiety and depression. Studies have shown that individuals with anxiety disorders tend to have higher cortisol levels, especially in situations that trigger anxiety. This suggests a potential link between cortisol and the development or exacerbation of anxiety disorders.

Similarly, depression has also been associated with cortisol dysregulation. People with depression often exhibit abnormal cortisol patterns, such as elevated levels in the evening or flattened diurnal rhythms. This disruption in cortisol secretion can contribute to the persistence and severity of depressive symptoms.

It is important to note that while cortisol dysregulation may contribute to anxiety and depression, it is not the sole cause. Mental health disorders are complex, and various factors, including genetics, environment, and neurotransmitter imbalances, also play a role.

Cortisol and physical health: Examining the effects of cortisol on the immune system, metabolism, and weight gain/loss

Cortisol’s impact extends beyond mental health and affects various aspects of our physical well-being. One crucial area is the immune system. Cortisol regulates the immune response and helps prevent excessive inflammation. However, chronic elevation of cortisol can impair immune function, making us more susceptible to illnesses and infections.

Metabolism is another vital area influenced by cortisol. In times of stress, cortisol promotes the breakdown of stored energy sources, such as glycogen and fat, to provide the body with the necessary fuel. However, prolonged elevation of cortisol can lead to increased appetite, particularly for high-calorie foods, leading to weight gain.

On the other hand, chronic stress and high cortisol levels can also lead to weight loss in some individuals. Cortisol can accelerate muscle breakdown and inhibit muscle growth, leading to decreased muscle mass and overall weight loss.

Understanding the effects of cortisol on our physical health is crucial for maintaining a balanced lifestyle and preventing long-term health complications.

Chronic cortisol elevation: The dangers of prolonged high cortisol levels

While cortisol is essential for our survival and well-being, chronic elevation of cortisol can have severe consequences. Prolonged exposure to high cortisol levels can lead to a range of health issues, both physical and mental.

One of the primary concerns is the impact on cardiovascular health. Elevated cortisol levels can increase blood pressure and promote the deposition of cholesterol in the arteries, increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke. Chronic stress and cortisol dysregulation have also been linked to conditions such as diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

Stress Management is key in reducing unneeded cortisol in the blood system. Please review AIHCP’s Stress Management Consulting Program


Furthermore, chronic cortisol elevation can have detrimental effects on cognition and memory. Excessive cortisol can impair memory retrieval and cognitive function, leading to difficulties with concentration, decision-making, and problem-solving.

It is important to recognize the signs of chronic cortisol elevation, such as persistent fatigue, weight gain, mood swings, and sleep disturbances. Seeking professional help and implementing strategies to manage stress and regulate cortisol levels are crucial for preventing long-term health complications.

Managing cortisol levels: Tips for reducing stress and regulating cortisol production

Managing stress effectively is key to maintaining balanced cortisol levels and promoting optimal well-being. Here are some practical tips for reducing stress and regulating cortisol production:

  1. Practice stress-reducing techniques: Engage in activities such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, yoga, or mindfulness to help calm the mind and relax the body.
  2. Prioritize self-care: Take time for yourself and engage in activities that bring you joy and relaxation. This can include hobbies, spending time in nature, or engaging in creative outlets.
  3. Maintain a healthy lifestyle: Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and adequate sleep play a crucial role in managing stress and regulating cortisol production.
  4. Seek social support: Surround yourself with a supportive network of friends and family who can provide emotional support during challenging times.
  5. Set boundaries: Learn to say no and prioritize your well-being. Establishing healthy boundaries can help reduce stress and prevent overload.

Implementing these strategies can help reduce stress and promote a healthier balance of cortisol in the body.

Testing cortisol levels: How to measure and monitor cortisol in the body

If you suspect that your cortisol levels may be imbalanced, it is essential to consult with a healthcare professional. They can perform tests to measure and monitor cortisol levels in your body.

The most common method of testing cortisol is through a saliva or blood test. Saliva tests are non-invasive and can be done at home. They measure cortisol levels at specific times of the day to assess the diurnal rhythm. Blood tests provide a more comprehensive picture of cortisol levels but require a visit to a healthcare facility.

Interpreting cortisol test results should be done in consultation with a healthcare professional, as they can provide insights into your specific situation and guide you towards appropriate interventions if necessary.

Natural ways to balance cortisol: Lifestyle changes, diet, and supplements that can help regulate cortisol levels

In addition to stress management techniques, certain lifestyle changes, dietary choices, and supplements can help regulate cortisol levels naturally. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Get regular exercise: Engaging in regular physical activity can help reduce stress and regulate cortisol production. Aim for a mix of aerobic exercises, strength training, and mind-body practices like yoga or tai chi.
  2. Adopt a balanced diet: Consume a diet rich in whole foods, including fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Avoid excessive caffeine and refined sugars, as they can contribute to cortisol dysregulation.
  3. Prioritize sleep: Establish a consistent sleep routine and aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night. Poor sleep can disrupt cortisol rhythms and contribute to stress.
  4. Consider adaptogenic herbs: Adaptogens like ashwagandha, rhodiola, and holy basil have been traditionally used to support the body’s stress response and regulate cortisol levels. Consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplements.
  5. Practice relaxation techniques: Incorporate techniques such as progressive muscle relaxation, guided imagery, or aromatherapy to promote relaxation and reduce stress.

Remember, it is essential to consult with a healthcare professional before making any significant changes to your lifestyle or starting new supplements.

Conclusion: Understanding the importance of cortisol in maintaining overall well-being

Cortisol plays a vital role in our mental and physical well-being. It helps regulate our stress response, metabolism, immune function, and various other physiological processes. However, chronic stress and elevated cortisol levels can have adverse effects on our health, leading to mental health disorders, compromised immune function, weight gain or loss, and other complications.

Learn to better manage stress and help others manage it through AIHCP’s Stress Management Consulting Certification


By understanding the science behind cortisol and implementing strategies to manage stress effectively, we can maintain a healthier balance of cortisol in our bodies. Prioritizing self-care, engaging in stress-reducing activities, and adopting a balanced lifestyle can go a long way in promoting optimal mental and physical well-being.

Remember, if you suspect any imbalances in cortisol levels, it is crucial to consult with a healthcare professional who can provide personalized guidance and support. Take control of your stress levels and nurture your overall well-being.

Please also review AIHCP’s Stress Management Consulting Program.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification in Stress Management.


Additional Readings

“What Are the Symptoms and Causes of High Cortisol Levels?”. Santos-Longhurst, A. (2023). Healthline. Access here

“Cortisol”. (2021). Cleveland Clinic.  Access here

“What Is Cortisol?”. WebMed Editorial Contributors. (2022). Access here

“Cortisol and stress: What is the connection?”. Tee-Melegrito, R. (2023)  Medical News Today.  Access here



Making Workplaces Less Toxic and Less Stressful.

Employee wellness is key to a productive business.  The biggest challenge to employee wellness is a toxic work environment.  Long hours and unattainable goals can quickly burn out employees.  In addition, an unfit workplace without the appropriate tools, equipment, guidance and cleanliness can also lead to lower worker morale.  Many employers invest into making work less toxic and aiding employees physically emotionally and mentally in fulfilling their duties.   Stress Management Professionals can help reduce stress.

Toxic work environments reduce productivity and can be harmful to employee health. Please review AIHCP’s Stress Management Program


The article, “Top 10 Employee Wellness Programs for a Healthier and Happier Workplace” from Corporate Wellness Magazine looks at ways employers can create a healthier and less toxic work environment.  Not just merely through a management perspective but also with various programs that aid in the development of employees and help them better fulfill their job duties.  Reducing stress is the key proponent in all of these programs.  Workplace stress can reduce morale and productivity.  Workplace stress and workplace toxicity go hand and hand.  The article states,

“Employee wellness programs are gaining traction in the corporate space in recent years as companies recognize the benefits of promoting a healthy lifestyle for their employees. These programs aim to improve employee health, reduce healthcare costs, increase productivity, and boost morale.  However, when curating programs to help employees achieve better health and wellness results, it is important to know what should top the list. Here are some of the most important wellness initiatives for a healthier organization.”

“Top 10 Employee Wellness Programs for a Healthier and Happier Workplace”. Corporate Wellness Magazine.

To read the entire article, please click here


Workplace stress and workplace toxicity are major problems for employers.  These issues can arise from multiple sources. It is important for owners to identify toxicity and stress as not to lower employee morale and employee productivity.

Obviously management and its interaction with employees are some of the first spots where stress and toxicity can emerge.  An overbearing or too lax of a manager can play key problems in the workplace.  An overbearing manager can cause anger and resentment and stifle productivity and creativity, while too lax of a manager can create toxicity without direction and needed resources to complete tasks.

In addition, employers can ensure that deadlines are in advance and deadlines are realistic.  Employees without guidance, the tools they need and the time required will incur unneeded stress and toxicity.  Excessive overtime can also create toxicity and high levels of stress in the work place.  It is important to schedule hours that not just meet the needs of the company but also identify the health and wellbeing of the employees.

Good management to reduce toxicity also involves team building.  Different personalities can conflict in the workplace and create serious issues.  Good management identifies issues early and corrects them, as well as creates team building and pride in fellow employees.

Creating healthy work environments reduces stress and improves employee productivity.  The health and well being of an employee is key to the success of the business.

Wellness for Employees

Overworked and stressed employees benefit from less toxicity in the office and from various wellness programs to promote a healthier and better workplace


Employee wellness programs are initiatives designed to promote and maintain the physical and mental health of employees. These programs can include a range of activities, such as fitness classes, health education workshops, mental health resources, and healthy eating campaigns. The primary goal of an employee wellness program is to help employees adopt healthy lifestyle habits that can improve their overall health and well-being.

Moreover, employee wellness programs can have a positive impact on the company’s bottom line by reducing healthcare costs, improving employee productivity and retention, and reducing absenteeism. Therefore, it is essential to consider implementing an employee wellness program in your organization.

The Benefits of Employee Wellness Programs

There are numerous benefits of implementing an employee wellness program in your organization. One significant advantage is that such programs can help reduce healthcare costs. A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that employers can save $3.27 for every $1 spent on employee wellness programs. Such savings can result from a reduction in healthcare claims and absenteeism.

Secondly, employee wellness programs can improve employee productivity and retention. When employees are healthy and happy, they are more likely to be engaged and motivated in their work. Moreover, wellness programs can help reduce stress levels, which can lead to increased productivity and job satisfaction.

Finally, employee wellness programs can help reduce absenteeism. When employees are healthy and well, they are less likely to take sick days or miss work due to health-related issues. This can help reduce the workload on other employees and improve overall team productivity.

The Impact of Employee Wellness on Workplace Productivity

Wellness programs can help employees be better equipped mentally to complete tasks and deadlines


Employee wellness programs can have a significant impact on workplace productivity. Studies have shown that when employees are healthy and happy, they are more engaged in their work and are more productive. Moreover, wellness programs can help reduce stress levels, which can lead to increased productivity and job satisfaction.

Another way that employee wellness programs can impact workplace productivity is by reducing absenteeism. When employees are healthy and well, they are less likely to take sick days or miss work due to health-related issues. This can help reduce the workload on other employees and improve overall team productivity.

Finally, employee wellness programs can improve employee retention rates. When employees are happy and engaged in their work, they are more likely to stay with the company long-term. This can help reduce turnover rates and ensure a stable workforce.

Components of an Effective Employee Wellness Program

An effective employee wellness program should include a range of components designed to improve the overall health and well-being of employees. These components can include:

Health Assessments

Health assessments are a critical component of any employee wellness program. Such assessments can help identify health risks and provide employees with personalized recommendations for improving their health.

Wellness Education

Wellness education can include workshops, seminars, and other educational resources designed to help employees adopt healthy lifestyle habits. Such education can cover topics like nutrition, exercise, stress management, and disease prevention.

Fitness Classes

Fitness classes can be an effective way to encourage employees to engage in physical activity. Such classes can include yoga, Pilates, Zumba, and other group exercise programs.

Mental Health Resources

Mental health resources can be an essential component of any employee wellness program. These resources can include counseling services, stress management workshops, and other resources designed to support employee mental health.

Types of Employee Wellness Programs

There are several types of employee wellness programs that companies can implement, depending on their budget and employee needs. Some common types of employee wellness programs include:

Onsite Wellness Programs

Onsite wellness programs are programs that are offered at the workplace. Such programs can include fitness classes, health assessments, and other resources designed to improve employee health and well-being.

Online Wellness Programs

Online wellness programs are programs that are offered online. Such programs can include health assessments, wellness education, and other resources designed to improve employee health and well-being.

Wellness Challenges

Wellness challenges are programs designed to encourage employees to engage in healthy lifestyle habits. Such challenges can include fitness challenges, healthy eating challenges, and other challenges designed to promote healthy behavior.

Implementing an Employee Wellness Program

Implementing an employee wellness program can be a daunting task, but it is essential to do so to promote a healthy and productive workplace.  Stress Management Professionals can play a key role in helping implement programs. Some tips for implementing an employee wellness program include:

Assess Employee Needs

Before implementing an employee wellness program, it is essential to assess employee needs. This can include conducting employee surveys or focus groups to determine what types of wellness programs would be most beneficial to employees.

Set Realistic Goals

When implementing an employee wellness program, it is essential to set realistic goals. Such goals can include reducing healthcare costs, improving employee productivity and retention, and reducing absenteeism.

Promote Employee Participation

Employees benefit greatly from wellness programs


To ensure the success of an employee wellness program, it is essential to promote employee participation. This can include offering incentives, such as gift cards or prizes, for participation in wellness activities.

Measuring the Success of Your Employee Wellness Program

Measuring the success of an employee wellness program is essential to determine its effectiveness and make improvements where necessary. Some metrics that can be used to measure the success of an employee wellness program include:

Healthcare Costs

Reduced healthcare costs can be an indicator of the success of an employee wellness program.

Employee Engagement

Increased employee engagement can be a sign of the success of an employee wellness program.

Absenteeism Rates

Reduced absenteeism rates can be an indicator of the success of an employee wellness program.

The ROI of Employee Wellness Programs

Investing in employee wellness programs can have a significant return on investment. As previously mentioned, employers can save $3.27 for every $1 spent on employee wellness programs. Such savings can result from a reduction in healthcare claims, improved employee productivity and retention, and reduced absenteeism.

Moreover, investing in employee wellness programs can help improve the company’s reputation as a desirable employer. Such reputation can help attract and retain top talent, resulting in a more productive and engaged workforce.

Conclusion – The Importance of Investing in Employee Wellness Programs

Please also review AIHCP’s Stress Management Consulting Program. Stress Management professionals can play key roles in implementing wellness programs that reduce stress and work place toxicity


Employee wellness programs can have a significant impact on the health and well-being of employees and the overall productivity of the company. Investing in such programs can help reduce healthcare costs, improve employee productivity and retention, and reduce absenteeism.

Moreover, employee wellness programs can help improve the company’s reputation as a desirable employer, resulting in a more engaged and productive workforce. Therefore, it is essential to consider implementing an employee wellness program in your organization and promoting a healthy and productive workplace.

Stress Management is key to any wellness in the workplace.  Reducing toxicity and implementing programs and strategies that promote health and productivity.  Stress Management Consultants can help companies find ways to better reduce stress in their operation as well as help implement various programs.  AIHCP offers for those interested in Stress Management in becoming certified in Stress Management Consulting.  The program is online and self paced and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification in Stress Management Consulting.


Additional Resources

“How to Deal With a Toxic Work Environment”. Traci Pedersen. January 3rd, 2023.  HeallthLine. Click here

“These are the signs that you’re in a toxic work environment”. Sarah Molano.  July 20th, 2022. CNN.  Access here

“8 Signs of a Toxic Work Environment”. HealthEssentials.  January 12th, 2022. Cleveland Clinic. Access here

“13 Wellness Program Features To Support Your Employees”. Council Post.  January 25th, 2021.  Forbes.  Access here

Finding Balance Between Work Stress and Home Life

Overworking and the stress associated with it can shorten lives.  Many individuals become slaves to their work.  They bring their work home and wherever they go.  When the stressors of work are constantly on one’s mind, one’s overall health is risked especially with higher risks of high blood pressure and heart attack.   It is important to set boundaries and properly utilize stress management and meditation skills to lessen stress.  In addition, those who have a difficulty balancing work and play enjoy less of what life has to offer.  This is why it is so important to establish a healthy balance and utilize Stress Management.

Many business professionals are tied to their work and the stress that goes with it. They have no balance in their lives.


The article, “5 Tips for Achieving Work-Life Harmony During Busy Seasons” by Amy Vetter looks closely at how to balance work and home life and how to counter the negative effects of stress. Her target audience is for tax accountants during the busy tax season but applies to anyone dealing with deadlines.  She encourages utilizing the numerous stress management techniques and tools available as well as meditation.  She also emphasizes the importance of hobbies or other activities that allow the mind to find other things to reflect on.  In addition she points out that boundaries are essential.  She states that it is OK to say no to non vital work related requests and to prioritize tasks.  Time management is also emphasized to maximize work efficiency.   Overall, in regards to work stress and finding balance, she remarks

“Whether it’s on the intensive four-month audit, or the upcoming tax season, we all have busy seasons. The key to a healthy work-life is maintaining balance and not letting the work creep into other areas of your life. Work to eliminate those distractions so you can focus on what matters—you and your loved ones.”

“5 Tips for Achieving Work-Life Harmony During Busy Seasons”. Amy Vetter. March 3rd, 2023.  CPA Practice Advisor.

To read the entire article, please click here


Learning how to balance work stress and home life is key. Please also review AIHCP’s Stress Management Consulting Program


Stress is a natural part of life but when it becomes chronic it can wear down the body.  The body produces certain hormones to deal with stress in life.  Usually these hormones are for fight or flight situations but when they are utilized for office and work settings, this constant red alert state can damage the body.  It is hence important to utilize stress management in dealing with work stress by establishing boundaries, utilizing time management and finding time to give to family and friends.  This may involve saying no from time to time to work requests or taking a day off or prioritizing but overall it is essential for long term health.

The Negative Effects of Job Stress on Mental Wellness

Job stress can have a severe impact on mental wellness. It can interfere with personal relationships, disrupt sleep patterns, cause anxiety, and lead to overall poor mental health. When individuals are stressed at work, they often bring that stress home with them, causing additional tension and strain on personal relationships. Additionally, stress can cause sleep disturbances, which can further exacerbate mental health issues. Over time, chronic stress can lead to anxiety disorders and depression, making it essential to take steps to prevent and manage job stress.

The Benefits of Work-Life Balance on Mental Wellness and Productivity

Achieving a proper work-life balance can have a significant impact on mental wellness and productivity. By prioritizing personal needs and time, individuals can reduce job stress and maintain a healthy mental state. When individuals have a well-rounded life outside of work, they can return to their job with a clearer mind and increased focus, leading to higher productivity levels. Additionally, work-life balance can lead to improved physical health, including better sleep patterns, increased physical activity, and decreased risk for chronic illnesses.

Tips for Achieving Work-Life Balance

Achieving work-life balance can be challenging, but there are several tips individuals can follow to help achieve it. One tip is to prioritize personal time and set boundaries around work responsibilities. This can include limiting the number of hours worked per week or designating specific days for personal activities. Additionally, individuals can utilize time-management techniques to maximize productivity during work hours, allowing for more leisure time outside of work. It is also crucial to maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating well, exercising regularly, and getting adequate sleep.

Strategies for Managing Job Stress and Stress Management

Managing job stress is essential for maintaining mental wellness. One strategy is to practice mindfulness techniques, such as meditation or deep breathing exercises, to help manage stress in the moment. Additionally, individuals can prioritize self-care activities outside of work, such as hobbies or spending time with loved ones, to help alleviate job stress. It is also important to communicate with colleagues and supervisors about job stressors and potential solutions to reduce stress levels.  Ultimately Stress Management is key.

Techniques for Maintaining Mental Wellness

Establishing boundaries is key in preventing work from coming home


In addition to managing job stress, there are several techniques individuals can use to maintain mental wellness. One technique is to prioritize self-care activities, including exercise, healthy eating, and adequate sleep. Additionally, individuals can utilize therapy or counseling services to manage mental health concerns or issues related to job stress. It is also essential to maintain social connections and engage in activities that bring joy and fulfillment.

The Role of Employers in Promoting Work-Life Balance

Employers play a crucial role in promoting work-life balance for their employees. Employers can offer flexible work schedules, such as remote work or flexible hours, to allow employees to prioritize personal needs. Additionally, employers can offer mental health resources, such as counseling services or stress-management workshops, to support employees’ mental wellness. It is also crucial for employers to foster a healthy work culture that values work-life balance and encourages employees to prioritize personal time.

The Impact of Technology on Work-Life Balance

Technology has become a significant factor in work-life balance, often blurring the lines between personal and professional time. While technology has allowed for increased productivity and flexible work arrangements, it has also led to increased job stress and decreased personal time. It is essential for individuals to set boundaries around technology use, such as limiting work-related emails or notifications outside of work hours. Additionally, employers can encourage healthy technology habits and offer resources to support employees’ technology use.


Learn to prioritize what job needs done first and when. Please also review AIHCP’s Stress Management Consulting program


Achieving a healthy work-life balance is crucial for maintaining mental wellness and overall productivity. By prioritizing personal needs and managing job stress, individuals can reduce the negative effects of job stress on mental health. Employers also play a vital role in promoting work-life balance by offering flexible work arrangements and mental health resources. Additionally, it is important to be mindful of technology use and set boundaries to promote personal time outside of work. Overall, prioritizing work-life balance is essential for maintaining a healthy and fulfilling life, both personally and professionally.

If you’re struggling to achieve a healthy work-life balance or manage job stress, consider seeking support from a mental health professional or reaching out to your employer for resources. Remember, prioritizing personal time and mental wellness is essential for overall happiness and productivity.  Stress Management Consultants can also help teach important stress reducing techniques

Please review AIHCP’s Stress Management Consulting Certification and see if it meets your academic and professional goals.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification in Stress Management Consulting.

Additional  Resources

“Coping with stress: Workplace tips”. Mayo Clinic Staff. January 16th, 2021. Mayo Clinic. Access here

“How to Keep Work Stress from Taking Over Your Life”. Cindy Lamothe. October 30th, 2019. Healthline.  Access here

“Balancing Work and Family”. WebMed Editorial Contributors. October 25th, 2021. WebMD.  Access here

“8 Tips for Work-Life Balance”. April 27th, 2022. Health Essentials. Cleveland Clinic. Access here

Stress and Managing Cortisol Levels

Cortisol is an important stress hormone that aids the body during fight or flight.  It helps the body prepare to flee from a stressor or prepare for struggle.  When the stress response of the body is activated, the body is given the ability to have more energy and strength to survive.  This increases blood pressure, heart rate and muscle tension.  Cortisol plays a big role in helping prepare the body.  Stress Management is a key way to regulate cortisol levels.

When non lethal situations activate the stress response in the modern world, long term high cortisol levels can be dangerous to the body.  They can cause high blood pressure and cause damage to the heart.  Furthermore, it can cause sugar increase and weight gain.   Cortisol also can lower energy levels overtime and affect mental health.  It is hence important to regulate stress through good stress management.  There are however other ways to also help regulate cortisol.

Learning to regulate and manage cortisol levels is a key element of stress management.


The article, “Cortisol Management: How to Regulate and Balance Stress Hormone?” by Disheeta Maheshwari looks at ways to regulate cortisol.  She mentions a variety of ways to help control higher levels from occurring.  Managing stress is one of the key elements.  Proper sleep, better diet, hobbies, healthy relations and regular exercise are all excellent ways to keep daily stress lower without even realizing it.  Those who deal with more stress and poor health because of it will face higher cortisol levels.  She states,

“Cortisol management comprises following specific ways that can help you lower the levels of cortisol within your body. It usually requires you to lead a healthy lifestyle with a nutritious diet, sufficient sleep, and regular exercise. If cortisol levels remain high for a longer time frame, they can cause certain problems such as difficulty sleeping, low energy levels, mood irregularities, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and more. That is why cortisol management is necessary.”

“Cortisol Management: How to Regulate and Balance Stress Hormone?”. Disheeta Maheshwari. February 16th, 2023. Sportskeeda

To read the full article, please click here


Cortisol is a steroid hormone that is produced by the adrenal cortex, a part of the endocrine system. It is one of the major hormones involved in the body’s stress response and plays a role in controlling how energy is used in the body. Cortisol interacts with many other hormones to regulate blood glucose, fat and protein metabolism, suppress inflammation, regulate blood pressure, and increase alertness.  It functions as an adaptogenic, allowing the body to adjust to stressors while maintaining homeostasis. Cortisol levels may increase during periods of acute stress, helping to regulate energy balance by increasing glucose availability and providing energy for a fight-or-flight response.  Furthermore, Cortisol secretion serves as an adaptive response to environmental challenges, such as physical or psychological stressors, and is mediated by the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. It has been found to modulate the activity of certain brain regions involved in emotional processing, thereby impacting behaviour.

Negative Effects of Cortisol

While cortisol has been shown to play an important role in physiological processes and homeostasis, its excessive production can be detrimental to health and well-being. Specifically, research has demonstrated that chronic cortisol exposure can have deleterious effects on cognitive function, immune system functioning, metabolism, and emotional regulation.  Exposing an individual to prolonged or intense levels of cortisol can result in an array of detrimental impacts, including dysregulation of glucose metabolism, suppression of the immune system, cognitive impairment, depression, and metabolic syndrome. Furthermore, chronically elevated cortisol levels are thought to be associated with increased risk for hypertension and coronary artery disease.

Stress Management and Cortisol

This is not good news for individuals who are chronically stressed through relationship, work, or family issues.  This results in more cortisol manufacturing within the body, negatively affecting the body’s arteries and heart, sugar levels, weight, and mental issues.  It is imperative to find ways to reduce stress to control the output of Cortisol.

Cortisol, a hormone that is produced by the adrenal glands, plays a key role in regulating physiological processes within the body. As such, controlling Cortisol production is essential for maintaining homeostasis and successfully mitigating the deleterious effects of long-term stress on health. This can be achieved through pharmacological interventions as well as lifestyle modifications such as aerobic exercise or mindfulness techniques. Additionally, manipulating dietary intake of macronutrients can also yield beneficial influences on Cortisol production.

Stress Management and good living can help reduce stress and hence reduce Cortisol in the body.  This is why hobbies, relaxation, meditation and exercise are so important to regulating its production.  It is imperative to reduce stress and learn how to remain more calm and collective in everyday life.


In conclusion, Cortisol is an essential part of the body’s functioning, but too much of it can be detrimental to one’s health. Learning how to control Cortisol levels through lifestyle changes, such as exercise and relaxation activities, is a great way to reduce stress and its associated symptoms. Additionally, a balanced diet with adequate nutrient intake helps ensure that cortisol remains well-regulated. Finally, seeking professional help if needed is recommended for those who experience severe or chronic stress.

Managing stress is key to regulating Cortisol. Please also review AIHCP’s Stress Management Consulting Program


Stress Management techniques are key to regulating Cortisol.  Stress Management Consultants can help others learn better ways to manage stress and stay calm.  Individuals looking to become certified in Stress Management can utilize their knowledge in helping others.  AIHCP offers a certification in Stress Management Consulting.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification in Stress Management.

Additional Resources

“Cortisol”. Health Essentials.  Cleveland Clinic.  Access here

“11 Natural Ways to Lower Your Cortisol Levels”. Katey Davidson.  September 14th, 2021. Healtline. Access here

“What Is a Cortisol Test?”. WebMD Editorial Contributors. December 13th, 2022. Access here

“What Is Cortisol?”. Elizabeth Scott. August 12th, 2022. VeryWellMind. Access here

“Chronic stress puts your health at risk”. Mayo Clinic Staff.  July 8th, 2021.  Mayo Clinic.  Access here

Good and Bad Stress

Stress can be good and bad.  Stress that overwhelms and ferments within the soul is bad.   It builds up within the body and releases the fight or flight response which in the moment may be good but over time can become detrimental to health.  Stress however that pushes one forward to meet challenges in the moment can be a benefit.  It ultimately depends how the body responds to certain stress and how long the stressors remain.  Learning to identify good and bad stress is very important in all aspects of life.


There are many forms of good and bad stress. Please also review AIHCP’s Stress Management Consulting Program

The article, “Why Stress Is Like Debt And How To Harness Its Productive Power” by Noah Mishkin takes an interesting approach at viewing stress and how one can better distinguish between good and bad stress.   In many ways stressors can help one identify issues that need resolved immediately while other stressors can anchor and bog one down in one’s daily work.  Bad stress is what needs to be limited and contained.  He states,

“The onset of stress can happen in an instant, leaving entrepreneurs figuratively paralyzed and unable to function adequately or cope heartily. Stress can also creep up in small, unnoticeable doses, accumulating over time, until the moment you realize how completely overwhelmed you’ve become, making it harder to take control.”

“Why Stress Is Like Debt And How To Harness Its Productive Power”. Noah Mishkin. Forbes. September 27th, 2022.   To read the entire article, please click here


Reacting and coping with stress is an important part of business and life itself.  It is critical to face stressors but when one cannot it is best to try to let things go so the body does not remain in a state of unresolved energy.  How one faces stress is key.

Stress Itself

Stress is a normal physical and mental response to the demands of life. A small amount of stress can be good, motivating us to meet deadlines and achieve goals. However, too much stress can have negative effects on our health, including high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and anxiety. Stress can also lead to poor decision-making, decreased productivity and absenteeism from work or school. Managing stress is important for our overall well-being.

Stressors are any type of demand placed on an individual. The body reacts to stressors by releasing hormones, such as cortisol, which help the individual cope with the demand. If the demand is chronic, or long-lasting, it can lead to health problems, such as high blood pressure and heart disease.

Good Stress

There are two types of stress: good stress and bad stress. Good stress, also known as eustress, is the type of stress that motivates you to accomplish a task. It’s the kind of stress that keeps you alert and focused. Bad stress, on the other hand, is the type of stress that impedes your ability to think clearly and function properly. It’s the kind of stress that leads to anxiety and depression.

There is a growing body of research that suggests that certain types of stress can actually be beneficial for individuals. These are typically referred to as “good” stressors or “positive” stressors. Good stressors generally involve some type of challenge or opportunity for growth, and they often lead to increased levels of motivation and productivity. While too much stress can obviously be detrimental, a moderate amount of good stress can actually help people reach their full potential.

Some stress in business is actually good and can lead to healthy outcomes. Good stress, or eustress, can stimulate people and help them be more productive. It can also help motivate employees and make them feel more invested in their work. In some cases, a little bit of stress can actually be beneficial.

Bad Stress

The term “bad stress” is typically used to describe a negative psychological state brought on by exposure to a stressful situation. This can include feeling overwhelmed, anxious, hopeless, or even panicked. Bad stress can lead to physical health problems like high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. It can also make it difficult to concentrate, make decisions, or even think clearly.

Bad stress in business refers to the negative impacts that stress can have on businesses, such as decreased productivity, employee absenteeism, and increased health care costs. Stress can also lead to more serious problems such as employee turnover, legal issues, and financial problems. While some stress is inevitable in any business, it is important to try to minimize bad stress by creating a positive work environment, providing adequate resources and support, and communicating effectively with employees.


In conclusion, stress is not all bad. A certain amount of stress can be helpful in getting us motivated to meet a deadline or achieve a goal. The key is to manage our stress levels so that we don’t become overwhelmed. When we are able to do this, we can harness the power of stress to help us reach our potential.  Also in doing, so especially in the business sphere, one can better deal with challenges and problems in a productive way instead of allowing stress to derail company work.  Stress is a big problem in business and through better stress management skills can be lowered among employees.  It is hence important to identify good and bad stressors in life and deal accordingly with them.


Please also review AIHCP’s Stress Management Consulting Program and see if it meets your academic and professional goals  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification in Stress Management Consulting.  The program consists of online CE courses that lead to the four year certification.


Additional Resources

“Good stress, bad stress”.  Firdaus Dhabhar, PhD.  Stanford Medicine News Center. December 21st, 2012. Access here

“Why Stress Is Both Good and Bad”. Angela Grippo Ph.D. Psychology Today. January 20th, 2016.  Access here

“Good Stress, Bad Stress—The Delicate Balance in the Vasculature”. Kirstin Wingler and Harald H. H. W. Schmidt. Dtsch Arztebl Int Oct 2009. Access here

“The History of Stress” Mariana Bockarova, Ph.D. Psychology Today. December 29th, 2021. Access here


Grief Counseling Program Blog on Trauma and Restoring Intimacy

Sexuality and intimacy are crucial aspects of human life.  It allows two to bond and share the deepest feelings with a wholesome sexual experience.  An experience that is pure and filled with love as opposed as corrupt and full of hate.  During trauma, individuals can lose intimacy and a healthy understanding of love and sex.  This can create obstacles to fully reacclimating into society because one is not able to form a new bond or attachment with another human being.  The act of intimacy and the act of sex in themselves can also become triggers and reminders of past abuse and push the person away from these normal and healthy bonds.  Please also review AIHCP’s Grief Counseling Program

One who has experienced trauma must eventually face intimacy, trust and friendship and if desired, a more deeper friendship in the contract of a sexual relationship.  Unfortunately, trauma makes this difficult and can prevent the person from an important fountain of healing that can bring the person closer to becoming one again.  In this article, we will look at a few issues of intimacy and sexuality that someone who has faced trauma will deal with and how that someone can learn to trust and love again.  Please also review AIHCP’s Grief Counseling Courses

In intimacy, one opens oneself to another.  This can mean many things to a survivor of sexual trauma or betrayal.  One feels the loss of a control.  In isolation, one feels one has the power to control what occurs and the fear of opening oneself, puts oneself partly at the power of another.  It is exactly this power that a trauma survivor fears.  In addition, trauma survivors fear abandonment.  If one opens up, then one risks the chance of being hurt and betrayed again.  Hence many experience abandonment issues.   Intimacy also opens up the chance of rejection.  Trauma survivors fear the thought of being rejected for who they are and may very well reject someone before they can be rejected.

It is important with intimacy to accept fears.  This is the hardest part, but only until one dismisses the fears, can one again learn to have a trusting relationship.   The fear may be in the other person, or in one’s own tendencies but one cannot have the healing powers of intimacy without trust and letting fears go.  One also needs to reject ideas and notions that can block intimacy with others.  Many who have been traumatized universally label everyone.  All men/women are bad is a common over generalization.  The perpetrator was not good but not all people are bad.  This central concept can take time to finally become a reality again. Other false narratives include assuming no one has every experienced what one has experienced, or that one cannot ever burden another with one’s issues.  In addition, others feel unloved and if anyone ever knew what occurred, then that person would no longer be lovable.  Flaws are seen as more prominent and as a sign of weakness, when in reality everyone has flaws.

It can be difficult after trauma to again show intimacy and open oneself up. Please also review AIHCP’s Grief Counseling Program


Learning how to discuss the past and discuss the future are critical communication skills.  Individuals who fear intimacy need to be better able to express to another and share how to handle issues and conflicts.  Without releasing the fear, false notions and opening up communication, then a person suffering from trauma will not be able to open again and find the value and healing within a friendship or a deeper relationship.

One of the biggest blocks to a deeper relationship is again seeing sexuality as wholesome and natural.  Sex in its very nature promotes union, trust, and love but the trauma has distorted the true value of intimacy and sexuality.  Following an assault, sex itself can become a trigger to a PSTD response.  A certain touch can remind one of the trauma and turn something of love into something of abuse.  The person has a hard time viewing sex as holy and the person as sacred.  The rape or assault has stripped sexuality and intimacy of its dignity and the person has difficult times again experiencing these feelings and senses in a positive way.

Sex can also be seen as a way to control others, or it may be a device to fix what went wrong before.  Unhealthy expressions and sexual behavior can result in different directions from fear of sex to promiscuity later in life.  It is hence important to remove these past negative images.  One image that is especially unhealthy is seeing all sexual behavior and correlating it with a sense of disgust.  It is important to learn skills to neutralize this feeling of disgust and help re-evaluate these past negative experiences with positive experiences.

In rebuilding oneself for intimacy and sexual relations, the traumatized need to overcome many hurdles of trust and intimacy but certain steps can help to start the healing process.  Disgust and association with trauma can be overcame with patience and time and understanding from one’s new partner.

It is hence important to again see certain parts of the body as holy and good.  They cannot be seen or associated as evil in themselves.  The action must be separated from the part of the body itself.  Second, one needs to learn neutralize disgust.  Ideas that the body is an object to be used must be dismissed and replaced with ideals that the body is a temple and a gift.  This not only deals with the other person, but also how one views oneself.  One can further separate the feeling of disgust with sex itself and shame.   The shame with trauma needs to be separated from the act itself.  By learning to separate negative feelings and events from the body and act itself, one can better open up to others.  One can then create a new narrative where the event with a different person is not hateful or abusive but instead filled with love and respect.

Unfortunately, while rebuilding each other, partners should be conscious of others past.  Certain boundaries may initially needed and a slow crawl until mutual comfort is met.  Flashbacks can occur and it is important to recreate intimacy and the sexual experience together to form new wholesome memories.  This requires patience, counseling as well as awareness.

Healthy sexuality is the ultimate key.  While intimacy does not necessarily involve sexuality, nor the necessity of entering into a sexual relationship, one must still restore a sense of the sacred to the sexual act.  Sex is not about control, secretive, shameful, wrong, abusive, dis-connective, controlling, superficial, or selfish but instead is a spiritual, emotional and physical act that binds.  It builds self esteem and gives proper pleasures associated with that.  It is celebrated and gives deeper meaning to life.  It does not abuse, but promotes a feeling of unity and safety.  It honors and loves and builds two instead of breaking down another. Finally, it does not reject, but it also accepts the imperfect and celebrates the two.

For some, sex is more than naturally just beautiful but also sacred from a religious view.  Sex in this regard binds two as one before God and calls forward a vocation that goes beyond the symbolic act of sex, but carries itself in all matters of life itself.  Spiritually, the destruction of sex to anything less is not of God and is a misuse of this divine gift to not only bring forth new life but also unify two into one.

Restoring intimacy with a victim of abuse can take time and patience but it can again reveal the goodness of intimacy and love


One can restore intimacy, and if desired, a healthy sexuality after assault, but naturally, the traumatized must learn to reprogram one’s mind to not only not fear but to open up and let go past narratives that prevent the leap of love and faith.  The traumatized must also learn differentiate the corruption of the perpetrator from the holiness and goodness of the action itself and how it can be experienced with a good person.

It is a most disgusting sin to harm another through sex because it injures the person not only physically but also emotionally.  It affects one’s ability to feel intimacy again and feel trust.  It is more than a theft of virginity or physical freedom, but is a theft of self, but fortunately, through healing, counseling and prayer, one can again heal.

Please also review AIHCP’s Crisis Intervention Certification, Stress Management Consulting Program as well as AIHCP’s Grief Counseling Certification Program.  The programs are online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification in these disciplines.



Source: “The Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Sourcebook: A Guide to Healing, Recovery and Growth” by Glenn R Schiraldi, PhD

PTSD from the Mayo Clinic

PTSD from the National Institute of Mental Health

When PTSD and Intimacy Collide: What Really Happens? By Tia Hollowood

Understanding Intimacy Avoidance in PTSD by Annie Tanasugarn Ph.D., CCTSA

Stress Management Consulting Blog on Happiness, Meaning and Self Esteem

During recover from severe trauma, the person must be able to reconnect the dreadful event with his or her life story.  The injured person must understand the event as a chapter that has meaning to one’s life and connect it to the present and how to cultivate the future.

As one progresses in their treatment of processing the traumatic memories, one will need to create future chapters that are not defined by the evil of the trauma, but are defined by growth from it.  The present and future need to find happiness, meaning and self esteem in order to self sustain any recovery and help the person integrate back into society.

Individuals suffering from trauma and PTSD have a difficult time finding happiness, meaning and self esteem in their lives. Please also review AIHCP’s Stress Management Consulting Program and Grief Counseling Program


Happiness can be subjective in regards to what makes one smile, but at the most inner most level, it is universal.  Happiness when misplaced in material things can never lead to true happiness, but values and beliefs and love and family can all have more long lasting meaning to sustaining happiness and leading one to it.   One who has suffered severe trauma may have difficulty defining oneself or finding love and connection with the world, so it is important to understand how again to be happy.  Obviously placing one’s faith in the most elements of happiness is critical.  Far too many who even suffer no trauma, still choose false idols of happiness.  They place their love in things over people, self over family, and in ideas that die with time instead of live eternally.

Some common traits of those who experience some relevance of true happiness can be found in those who possess a healthy self esteem and peace of mind.  These individuals cultivate virtue and love within themselves and with others.  They have healthier experiences with social interactions and bonds that form from these interactions.  Most hold a belief in something greater than than themselves.  Most find this in faith and religion, but any type of objective code that binds one beyond oneself, gives a person purpose and meaning.

Happy individuals usually also possess a mastery of their life.  They have believable goals, moderate ambitions, and mastery of their schedule and how things are accomplished.  They are not in chaos but order.  Furthermore, they possess an optimistic outlook on life that is not always defined by success but by self and self worth.   Unfortunately, like a thief in the night, grief and loss can occur.  Even the happiest person can be robbed of everything, even beyond family, virtue and love.  Grief is the price of love in this temporal world.  With that truly happy individuals will deal with pain and sorrow and trauma but they will ultimately have the meaning and self esteem to guide themselves through the journey of grief and adapt and adjust to the loss.

Happy individuals are not always happy or content but they are not constantly dragged down with hate, blame, bitterness and helplessness.  They may deal with trauma but eventually again find the light at the end of the tunnel.  Some may require help but ultimately, their spirit may be hurt, but never killed.

Individuals who experience trauma or PTSD may not be able to find happiness in their life.  They may not have the skills or the trauma was so great, it paralyzed their spirit.  As those who experienced trauma reawaken, they need to work towards re-involvement into society and hobbies.  They need to form and organize a plan.  They need to stop worrying as much and become more optimistic and find value in life itself.

This centers around having meaning.  Without meaning, something is useless.  So it is imperative for those recovering from trauma to again find meaning to life.  What meaning or direction can they decipher from the horrific event they witnessed or were apart of?  How can this event give them meaning forward?  How can the person move forward from it and do new things?  Victor Frankyl during his days in the Nazi concentration camp found meaning in survival and a deeper sense of justice that would one day come.  He found meaning in the smaller things that reflected goodness that existed among the evil.

A deep core to meaning usually involves having a commitment to something higher than oneself.  Whether it be a philosophy, or a faith, one can anchor oneself despite any waves of the ocean of life.  No matter what occurs, even it temporarily numbs, one is able to find course due to meaning.  This moral compass can find true north in the most terrific storms.  Many individuals are stripped of meaning at a young age because of trauma.  They are unable to again find meaning.

It is important then to create self esteem.  This may be difficult for someone who has been stripped of all dignity, but through therapy and work on self, one again can start to find value in oneself and separate oneself from the trauma.  In finding self esteem, one can find meaning and happiness again.

Self esteem looks at value in self.  It correlates with the numerous qualities that happy people experience.  At its core, one sees intrinsic value in self, unconditional worth, the experience of love and growth in life.

Self esteem is realistic in self.  It is based in truth, even in imperfections.   It is appreciative of one’s good qualities and ignites positivity in oneself.  It does not create a false arrogance or deception but sees all as equally beautiful in different ways.

Furthermore, self esteem is able to separate the value of one’s core from externals.  Bad things that happen or mistakes are not the core of one’s soul.  One may have had bad things accidentally occur, but that does not make oneself a bad person.  Instead of “BECAUSE” of that, I am “THEREFORE ” this or that, the mind sees that  “EVEN THOUGH” this occurred, “NEVERTHELESS” I am still me.  The EVEN THOUGH/NEVERTHELESS logic separates someone from the incident.  It does not make the person a product of the incident.  This slight change of words creates an entirely different person.

Trauma victims need to cultivate self esteem. Please also review AIHCP’s Stress Management Consulting Program


Individuals with good self esteem are able to see their core self absent of bad events.  They are able to truthfully see the bad and good, but not define oneself by any bad, but only work on the good.  They are able to put this optimistic energy into change.

Again, when things go astray, they do not see these things as permanent but temporary.  They do not define lack of success as themselves.  They do not look to be better or less than anyone and they are more likely to see someone different due to position not necessarily more or less innate worth.

Trauma can destroy self worth.  It can make one feel horrible one self and equate oneself to the trauma.  One cannot differentiate between core and accidentals.  One hence is always feeling less and inadequate.  This can lead to competition with others, or fear of being in the open due to fear of failure.  It can cause mistrust and bitterness and envy.  It can force one to deny any meaning in life but trauma and the product of that trauma.

Happiness, meaning and self esteem are key to functioning individuals.  Trauma can take it temporarily or permanently for some.  It is important to anchor oneself to something more than the event.  To anchor oneself even to something more than this world can ever take.  We live in a valley of tears and bad things happen to good people, but there is good too and light that can be found.  Those who are able to find meaning and self esteem and value in something greater are better able to navigate and cope with trauma during life.

Counselors can help others learn these skills and cultivate these values.

Please also review AIHCP’s Grief Counseling Program, as well as AIHCP’s Stress Management Consulting Program and Crisis Intervention Program.  The programs are online and self paced and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification in Stress Management Consulting, Grief Counseling or Crisis Counseling.



The Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Sourcebook: A Guide to Healing, Recovery and Growth by Glenn R. Schiraldi, PhD

Stress Management Consulting Blog on Dream Management in PTSD

Dreams are the subconscious mind actively sorting out things while the conscious mind sleeps.  Dreams cover a wide variety of issues that the person deals with on a daily basis and helps resolve those issues.  From a religious standpoint, some contend dreams can also be of a supernatural origin, but even within this theology, these would be rare circumstances.  Science and psychology see dreams only as an internal response to external events while one sleeps.

Nightmares can have many symbolic monsters to interpret. Please also review AIHCP’s Stress Management Training


How one dreams and the symbols within those dreams can be confusing.  Some dreams are less important in processing, while other dreams can become more persistent in regards to unresolved issues.  The more trauma and intense, the more intense the pushback within the dream.  In this intensity, sometimes dreams can take a darker path and become nightmares.  Those who experience PTSD usually also experience intense nightmares regarding the event and at more common rate that the regular population.  The more recent the event, the more detailed, while the more processed the trauma, the more symbolic the dream may become.

Unprocessed and walled off trauma that is dissociated manifests in dreams.  Sometimes, these dreams will create a different outcome or they will push a certain theme.  Various symbols in the dream can haunt a person.  Monsters, shadows,  danger, being chased, being punished, re-threatened, trapped, abused or other physical injuries can occur in these types of intense nightmares.  Most nightmares occur in the rapid eye movement of sleep which is later in the night.  They are created through the anxiety and fear associated with the trauma.

Until trauma is faced, these dreams will continue to haunt someone.  It is hence very important to try to understand what the mind is trying to tell someone regarding the trauma.   Counselors suggest confiding to others about one’s dreams.  Relate the setting, what happened, how one felt and the various symbols within the dream.    It is important to ask how one felt, if one felt helpless or felt fear or shame to better understand what the mind is trying to communicate.  Analyze the dream and attempt to see what one’s mind is trying to sort out.  Does it relate to the past trauma?  Does it relate to how one acted?  Does it relate to how one feels about the event?  Various symbols within dreams usually have deeper meanings.  The monsters themselves have meaning if one looks to analyze the dream.

For example, monsters or being chased or attacked, usually indicates one is running away from something in life itself or is afraid to face something.  This is why it is common in PTSD.  Individuals are terrified to face or confront the “monster”.  It is important to understand who the monster is before oneself in the dream

Injuries, or wounds in a dream indicate a feeling of weakness or powerlessness in one’s life.  This again is common for victims who feel they have lost all power in their lives due to the attacker.

Falling is closely associated with those who feel they have no control in their lives.    They do not feel like they are in command within their personal or work life.

Being trapped is another common symbol that expresses the need to escape from a bad situation.

Whatever the type of dream and its symbol, it is important to access what it means to you

Some counselors suggest in addition to confiding to another about the dream to imagine the dream at its most intense moment and relate, “It is just a dream”.  Understand that it has no power over oneself.  It is good to remind oneself before bed in this regard.

Those suffering PTSD experience more nightmares. Please also review AIHCP’s Stress Management Program and see if it meets your academic and professional goals


Also consider confronting the monsters in one’s dream.  While awake, ask what do these monsters want?  You can also confront the dream by creating an alter ending.  Write or draw and discuss  the new ending and see if it has any result.  Dreams change as one better copes.  Coping and facing trauma will indirectly affect one’s subconscious mind and help one process dissociated material that may be haunting one while one sleeps.

Before sleep, also practice deeper breathing and meditation, as well as Progressive Deep Muscle Relaxation strategies.

Dreams are what dominate one’s mind during sleep.  When one is experiencing PTSD, the trauma will find a way to be expressed and sometimes dreams are the only outlet until one chooses to cope and deal with the issue itself.  Learning to cope with PTSD, especially through dream management is critical to overcoming PTSD and helping the subconscious mind properly store the memory.

If you would like to learn more about Stress Management Training, then please review AIHCP’s Stress Management Consulting Program and see if it matches your academic and professional goals.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification in Stress Management.



Some sources

“What Do Our Nightmares Mean?” Please click here

“10 Horrible but Common Nightmares and Their Meanings”  Please click here

The Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Source Book : A Guide to Healing, Recovery and Growth by Glenn R. Shiraldi, PhD

Self Care and Managing Stress

Self care is extremely important for individuals who care for others or those who undergo large amounts of stress.  It is important to care for one’s mental health the same way one gives rest to one’s physical health.  Taking the time for self care and giving the mind the time it needs to rest or recovery are critical to long term success in life.  Unfortunately, many feel guilt if they walk away from a loved one for a short period.  They do not partake in a short visit away, or find time to care for themselves.

Many suffer from poor hygiene.  Others can become over stressed and open to medical conditions.  Others can become resentful overtime that life is not rewarding.  It is important to care for oneself in order to care for others and it is not selfish to take a little time each day, each week and month to find that one’s physical, mental and emotional needs are met.  This does not mean one abandons care of another, but it does allow one to recharge enabling them to give the best care.

For others self care is sometimes not time away from a sick person but is time away from constant work.  It permits the person to focus on other things than deadlines or assignments.  Again, this does not mean one is to disregard tasks or responsibilities, but means one is to find time to help each other.  Balance is key like anything in life. Self care is part of balance.

There are many examples of self care. Please also review AIHCP’ Stress Management Consulting Program


The article, “How To Start a Self-Care Routine” from Cleveland Clinic “healthessentials” takes a closer look at forming a self care routine.   The article discusses how diet, exercise and rest are important aspects of self care that become neglected by busier people.  The article discusses how one can learn to insert into one’s schedule a self care schedule that will not infringe upon daily duty but grant the needed balance for overall mental and physical health.  The article states,

“You’ve probably heard a lot of chatter over the past few years about self-care and the importance of having a self-care routine. The idea — a holistic (whole body) approach to taking care of one’s physical and emotional health — is a great one but it can be a bit intimidating.  For those who’ve never done one, a self-care routine may feel like an uphill climb, something that seems impossible to do in a very busy (and chaotic) world. Others may have tried and fallen out of the routine, leaving them feeling like they just don’t have the knack for it.”

“How To Start a Self-Care Routine”. HeAlthessentials. Cleveland Clinic.

To review the entire article, please click here


Self care is important for managing stress. When we are stressed, our bodies go into fight or flight mode and release stress hormones like cortisol. These hormones can have negative effects on our bodies if we are constantly in a state of stress. That is why it is important to take care of ourselves and do things that help reduce our stress levels. Some self care activities that can help reduce stress are exercise, relaxation techniques like yoga or meditation, spending time in nature, and getting enough sleep.  Other times, it is important to find time away, even if for half a day or so to do something one finds relaxing or fun.

There are a number of reasons why people might ignore self-care. One reason is that they may not be aware of the importance of self-care. Another reason is that they may not have the time or resources to devote to self-care. Additionally, people may not believe that self-care is necessary or effective. Finally, some people may simply be unwilling to change their habits or routines to accommodate self-care.  In addition, guilt from walking away from a person or a task can prevent one from working on oneself.

As stress adds up though, the importance of self care is a critical skill.  The skill is in knowing when enough is enough and finding a safe and healthy outlet to recharge one’s mind.  When one does not permit this and give the time needed for better diet, sleep and exercise, or even a amusing event, the person begins to become more and more stressed and open to mental break down or sickness.  One must learn to insert balance in life in everything.  Self care is understanding the balance that one must have in order to operate in other areas.  When self care boundaries are not protected and defended, then the person can become over stressed and strained.


In conclusion, self care is important for our mental and physical wellbeing. It can help us to cope with stress, anxiety and depression. It can also improve our sleep, energy levels and immunity.  Many times, self care is put to the side and neglected.  It is important to find balance in work, school and play.  It is important to give oneself time to recharge from helping others or performing tasks or meeting deadlines.  It does not involve neglecting duty but balancing everything.  By making time for self care, we can improve our overall health and wellbeing.

Please also review AIHCP’s Stress Management Consulting Program and see if it meets your academic and professional goals.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification in Stress Management.

Additional Resources

“U.S. medical students who engage in self-care report less stress and higher quality of life”. Erin E. Ayala, etc. al. BMC Medical Education volume 18, Article number: 189 (2018). Access here

“Why Self Care Can Help You Manage Stress”. Elizabeth Scott, PhD. November 24th, 2020. Verywellmind. Access here

“What You Need to Know About Stress and Self-Care”. Dan Mager, MSW. August 29th, 2017. Psychology Today.  Access here

“Ways to Manage Stress”. Lauren Ragland. September 14th, 2021. WebMD. Access here

“Caregiver stress: Tips for taking care of yourself”. March 22nd, 2022. Mayo Clinic.  Access here

Stress Management Consulting Video on Work Stress

One of the most common sources of stress is work.  The workplace can be a very stressful place due to interactions, the nature of the job and deadlines.  It is important to be able to handle stress and cope for not only maximum productivity but also overall health.

AIHCP offers a four certification in Stress Management Consulting.  The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking to become a Stress Management Consultant


Please review the video below