Exercise 1 – Part 1

A. Listen to Part 1 of the interview. Why does he think it’s important to reduce stress?

B. Now listen again. Complete sentences 1-5.

1   The biggest causes of stress are…

2   Compared with 20 years ago, life today is more stressful because…

3   Nowadays we don’t have time to…

4   If our immune systems are weakened by stress…

5   If we don’t sleep well,…



Because it has a negative impact on the body and makes people sick / ill.


 … having too much to do, too little time, money problems, and commuting.

 … there are more opportunities to be stressed. / there are many more distractions, especially related to technology.

3   … just relax / turn off.

4   … we are more likely to become sick / ill.

5   … then we are tired the next day, which makes us more stressed.


I = Interviewer, J = Jordan Friedman

Interview with a stress management coach – Part 1

 In your experience, what are the main causes of stress?

 My clients and audiences tell me that their big stressors are, uh, too much to do, too little time, uh, money stressors, commuting is a big stressor. I think that the opportunities to be stressed are everywhere.

 Do you think life is more stressful now than it was, say, 20 years ago?

 I think that today there are many more opportunities to be stressed, there are many more distractions, especially ones that are technology-driven. And I’m a big fan of technology, we can use technology to help us reduce stress, but when you have emails coming in and text messages left and right, and Twitter feeds and Facebook messages, and, uh, TV, and the kids and a job, and maybe school, it really divides our attention and it produces a stress response that is often ongoing, continuous within us.

And all of that stuff can take away the time to just relax, uh, take a walk, not think about who’s trying to communicate with us, and not needing to be on all of the time. So, er, so I think there are just more chances to be stressed today, uh, and therefore we need to really pay more attention to reducing stress.

 Can you tell us something about the effects of stress on the body and mind?

 Stress impacts the body because it produces wear and tear, and when we are constantly stressed, our organs, our immune system, become the punching bags of our stress response. Stress is really important, and, in fact, it can be a lifesaver, but when it kicks into action all the time, it has a corrosive effect on us. So, for example, our immune systems are weakened when we are under a lot of stress, and especially for a long period of time. When our immune systems are weaker, it opens us up to be more susceptible to illnesses in the environment. Uh, stress contributes to high blood pressure, which contributes to heart problems and stroke. Stress impacts our sleep, so when we get stressed during the day it often makes it more difficult for us to fall asleep at night or to stay asleep or to have a quality night’s sleep, and if we don’t get a good night’s sleep, then we are tired the next day, which makes us more stressed in many cases, so it becomes a stress–poor-sleep cycle that is stressful and tiring. So these are all reasons to really pay attention to our stress levels and to take action to reduce the stress.

Part 2

A. Now listen to Part 2. Mark the sentences T (true) or F (false).

1   Different people should choose different ways of dealing with stress.

2   The stress management techniques Jordan Friedman mention all take a minute or less.

3   The most important thing about stress management techniques is to make them a habit.

4   Friedman worked with a student who felt very stressed when he had to drive.

5   The student’s classmates suggested that he should travel at a different time of day.

6   The solution to the student’s problem was difficult for him to see for himself.

B. Listen again. Say why the F sentences are false.



 F (He mentions exercising, walking for ten minutes, and meditating.)


 F (He felt very stressed about going on the subway.)

 F (They suggested he should travel in the first or last car of the train because it is less crowded.)



Interview with a stress management coach – Part 2

 How can you help people deal with stress and how long does it take to find a solution?

 The great thing about stress management is that it’s like a salad bar. There are 30 different choices on a salad bar and some of us like most of the things that are offered, but some of us don’t like everything, but we get to choose what works for us and what we enjoy. Same thing with stress management, there are more than 30 different ways you can manage stress, there are probably, uh, 30 million and counting, and we should pick the techniques, many of them easy and simple and fun, that we like, and therefore we’ll be more likely to use them on an ongoing basis. So stress management can take as little as ten seconds. You can look at a beautiful picture that you took on your last vacation, you can put it on your computer screen, you can put it next to your bed, you can put it on your desk, and just focusing on that photo of the ocean or a mountain or a beach can alleviate stressed feelings immediately. We can do one-minute breathing exercises, we can exercise, we can take a ten minute walk around the block, we can meditate each day. So there are many different ways to prevent and reduce the stress that we’re experiencing, the key is to do it on a regular basis.

 Are the solutions to stress physical, mental, or both?

J   Stress management involves both the mind and the body, they make great partners when we’re trying to feel better and to cut down on the stress that we’re experiencing. I once worked in a school where a student identified his stressor as riding on the subway. He felt very stressed going to school every day and very stressed when it was time to go home, because the subway made him feel very closed in and like he wanted to escape, he couldn’t stand the, the crowds. And then we opened up to the rest of the group and we asked them for different ways that this student might think about this stressor and different ways that he might act to try and reduce it. And the group came up with all sorts of great possibilities, including that he ride in a different car, in the first car or the last car, because it’s often less crowded compared to the center car, which is where he always used to ride. And he liked that idea, and I heard from the principal of the school a few weeks later that he in fact had started riding in the first car, and for the first time in his subway-taking life, he didn’t feel stressed, he didn’t feel anxious, because the car was less crowded and he felt so much better. And you might think, “Well, that’s such an easy answer, why didn’t he think of that himself?” The truth is, and I think we all identify with this, we get into very fixed ways, habits almost, of thinking and acting, because we, we deal with our stressors and have dealt with them in similar ways for a long, long time, so we lose the perspective, we don’t take as much time to think about how we could deal with our stressors in different ways. So this is an example of how the mind and body and actions and thoughts can work together to really make a big difference in the way we feel.

Part 3

A. Now listen to Part 3. Do students in your country suffer from similar stress?

B. Listen again and answer the questions.

 At what age do people tend to be most stressed?

 What main reasons does Jordan Friedman give for student stress?

 How does stress affect memory? How might this affect students?

 What two things does the Stressbusters program give students?

 What feedback have students given about Stressbusters?


 There is no particular age at which people are most stressed.

 Studying, feeling pressure to do well on exams, so you can get a good job, socializing, financial stress.

 Stress can make it very difficult to focus and remember information. Stressed students might be unable to remember information in an exam.

4   It teaches students how to give (five-minute free) back rubs and about other stress reduction and wellness resources.

5   Students have said that they feel less stressed and they are able to cope with their stressors and complete their tasks.


Interview with a stress management coach – Part 3

 Are some age groups more susceptible to stress than others?

 Stress is a very democratic occurrence, so older people are stressed, college students are stressed, babies get stressed, 30-somethings get stressed, men are stressed, women are stressed, so, uh, it’s hard to say if one group is more stressed than another.

I   What makes students stressed? How does stress affect their lives or their studies, and what are the most stressful times in a typical student’s life?

J   College, and being a student can be really fun and exciting and rewarding. There are also a lot of stressors associated with it: there’s the studying, there’s the pressure to do well on exams so that you can get a better job and perhaps make more money. You are in a different environment that doesn’t have the same support that you used to have, especially if you were back home. Uh, there is the social stress of needing to meet new people, and also for a lot of young people, especially those in their teens and twenties, we see a lot of mental, uh, health issues arise and there’s a greater need to get help for, uh, them while in school, but if you’re not with your usual support network it’s even more challenging sometimes to do so. Stress makes it difficult to study, to focus, to concentrate. When you’re sitting down to take an exam and you studied really hard for the exam, and then all of a sudden you’re having trouble remembering what you studied, stress can play a big role in making it more difficult for us to recall information. If you’re doing a presentation, public speaking, that can be very stressful for a lot of students as well as professionals. In fact, still, public speaking is feared more than death by most people. Then there’s the financial stress of being in school, not only, uh, not having a lot of money to spend on things that you want to do, fun activities, but what awaits you when you graduate, which for many, uh, students is a lot of financial, uh, stress and loans to repay. So being a student – great fun, and also can provide a lot of – great stress.

I   You set up Stressbusters as an anti-stress program for students. Can you tell us something about it and how it works?

J   We train teams of students to provide five-minute free back rubs at events all over campus, all year long, and people on campus come to the events, and not only do they get an amazing stress-relieving back rub, but they also learn about other stress reduction and wellness resources on campus that we train our students to provide. And we have seen incredible reductions in feelings of stress, tension, anxiety, lowering of feelings of being overwhelmed, from before someone has the Stressbusters experience to after. We also find students telling us that they’re better able to cope with their stressors and they’re better able to complete the tasks that they have at hand after they have one of our Stressbusters experiences.

Exercise 2

A. Listen to five people talking about stress. Who do you think is the most / least stressed? Why?

B. Listen again. Match the people (Si, A, J, B, or Se) to something they do to de-stress.

___ focuses on a certain part of their body

___ blocks out a particular sound

___ likes to exercise

___ tries to accept the situation

___ tries not to think about anything



Possible answers

Most stressed: Anne, Simon

Least stressed: Jim


Sean: focuses on a certain part of their body

Simon: blocks out a particular sound

Billy: likes to exercise

Anne: tries to accept the situation

Jim: tries not to think about anything


I = Interviewer, Si = Simon, A = Anne, J = Jim, B = Billy, Se = Sean


 Are you currently more stressed at work or at home?

Si   Am I more stressed– uh, I’m more stressed at home at the moment because my wife, um, has just had, or, I say my wife has had, we have just had twin little girls. Eight months old or eight and half months old now, so it is far more stressful being at home than being at work. I found work easy compared to being at home at the moment.

I   When things are stressful, what do you do to try to de-stress?

Si   I put my earphones on and listen to music, to drown out the sound of the babies.


 Are you currently more stressed at work or at home?

A   I’m stressed at both work and home. Um, my mom is really sick right now, work is busy, and, um, we’re going through all sorts of changes with the project. Um, and I just got married! So there’s been a lot going on.

 When things are stressful, what do you do to try to de-stress?

A   This is my problem. I try to plan ahead, and, so that I won’t be stressed at some point. But, after a while, there’s nothing you can do so then you just have to practice letting go and relaxing and being in the moment, being happy with what is.


 Are you currently more stressed at work or at home?

 Uh, well, I work at home, uh, I’m a self-employed writer and, uh, I experience very little stress, except those rare periods when I’m up against a deadline. So, uh, I have no commute, I– my commute is walking from one room to the other, and I have a cozy little office and I’m very happy, uh, and unstressed in work, which I think is very unlike most New Yorkers and I’m very fortunate.

I   When things are stressful, what do you do to try to de-stress?

J   Ah, I de-stress by, uh, sitting er down and breathing calmly and thinking about nothing, or sometimes thinking about the cosmos and thinking about, uh, the illusory nature of time. And, um, that usually works, uh, but as I say, I experience very low levels of stress, uh, because I actually spend a lot of time thinking about cosmological matters and that has a very calming effect, I think, and, uh, I commend it to my fellow New Yorkers.


 Are you currently more stressed at work or at home?

B   More at home. I just recently moved from one place to another and, um, getting used to the new neighborhood, um, you know, where to shop, where to eat, um, how to get to work, um, a little stressful trying to navigate whereas, where I lived before I knew exactly what to do.

 When things are stressful, what do you do to try to de-stress?

B   Work out. Um, I work out, I read, um, I listen to music, I meditate. Um, yeah.


 Are you currently more stressed at work or at home?

S   I would say definitely more stressed at work. Um, I think stress is quite contagious. I think I spend a lot of my time around stressed people, um, either in a room with them, or on the phone to them, or, or just having emails from them, so I think that that builds a lot of stress, um, just from the environment, really.

I   When things are stressful, what do you do to try to de-stress?

 I’ve realized quite recently that when I am stressed, I build a lot of tension in my shoulders, um, and I think it’s not just a metaphor when we say we have things, we carry the weight of things on our shoulders. So I think it really helps just to be conscious of that and every half an hour or so, just if I concentrate on relaxing my shoulders, everything seems to be a little bit more bearable.

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