This free online course teaches you how to manage emotions in times of stress

  • COVID-19 and the economic recession are fueling anxieties at home, work and school.
  • Helping teachers and students identify and manage their emotions has never been more important.
  • The Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence has responded by launching a massive new open online course on managing emotions in times of uncertainty and stress.

Emotions can help and hinder attention, decision-making, relationships, health, and performance.

Learning to manage them is therefore vital – especially for teachers and their students – and especially now, with the global pandemic fuels anxiety.

A third of people in the United States have reported feeling unmanageable stress, anxiety or sadness since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

To help manage these feelings, a new free 10-hour online course called Managing emotions in times of uncertainty and stress is launched by Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence.

COVID-19 has had a significant impact on mental health.

Image: Statista

The course is a “Massive Open Online Course” (MOOC) – meaning an unlimited number of people can enroll via the internet – and hosted at Courseraan American MOOC platform launched in 2012.

Designed for school staff, this is a non-credit course focusing on strategies for dealing with uncertainty, stress, and other emotions relevant to today’s times, as well as strategies to help students manage their emotions.

This is part of a growing trend, which has seen MOOCs gain in popularity over the past decade. Last year, they attracted over 110 million learners, with over 900 universities worldwide offering over 13,000 courses. Providers include Coursera and edXa joint venture of Harvard and MIT.

And, of course, the pandemic has pushed online learning around the world, with classes interrupted by restrictions and social distancing measures. The UN estimates that around 1.6 billion learners have been affected by the pandemicwith more than 90% affected by school closures.

With COVID-19 believed to be the cause of a mental health “second pandemic”, global agencies are also helping to support the public.

While International Stress Awareness Week In 2020, the World Health Organization launched an illustrated guide to stress management, including audio exercises.

Doing What Matters in Times of Stress: An Illustrated Guide outlines some strategies for managing feelings of anxiety and stress. These include ways to ground yourself, to focus on your surroundings and what you are doing rather than getting caught up in negative thoughts.

The guide also recognizes that coping and grounding techniques do not get to the root of stress and negative thoughts. As such, it delves into ways to identify underlying thoughts and feelings.

Dévora Kestel, Director of the WHO Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, says: “This guide is for anyone under stress, from parents and other carers to healthcare professionals working in dangerous situations. It is aimed both at people fleeing war, losing everything they have, and at well-protected people living in communities at peace. Anyone living anywhere can experience high levels of stress.