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Stress Management for Living, Teaching, & Parenting

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How to Reduce Anxiety

Image of a cartoon man running from an over-sized and ominous shadow figure chasing him.

When you eliminate your assumptions, you greatly reduce anxiety. Although assumptions are necessary, they are often the cause of needless stress and anxiety. When you understand how assumptions influence your feelings, you will enter a new stage of stress management.

For example, let’s say that you learn that you will have a meeting with your supervisor later in the day. You can assume the meeting will be discouraging, or you can assume it will be encouraging. If you assume you will be discouraged after the meeting, and you are not, you will have fretted for nothing. With the opposite assumption, if you believe the meeting will bring you good news and it does not, you will be disappointed. No matter … >>>

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Relieve Stress in the Midst of Failure

Image of a highway sign that reads "Stress Free Zone."

People often ask me how to relieve stress, especially when they are facing a failure of some sort. I usually ask them some basic questions to determine their attitude toward stress. Some common questions are: Does the phrase “Failure is NOT an option” stress you out? Is failure really a bad thing? Does failing at something reflect negatively on you? Can failure actually be a good thing? These are just a few of the many questions.

Fortunately, this stress management tip won’t fail you, and you really will learn how to relieve stress during failure!

First, realize that failure is NOT a negative. In fact, it is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that … >>>

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A Time Management Strategy to Reduce Stress

Image of a person holding a clock in each hand. There is a checklist of tasks behind each clock.

When it comes to time management, knowing the difference between what is urgent versus what is important is essential. Why? Because there is a marked difference between what is urgent and what is important. If you focus on the wrong one, or if you are continually diverting your attention between the two, chances are that your stress level will rise.

Think of it this way: An urgent task may not be very important in the long run; however, an urgent task may demand immediate attention. In contrast to something urgent, an important task is something that moves you toward your goal. Where do you think you should focus your attention for optimal time management and lower stress?

Before you answer … >>>

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Stop Teenage Rebellion Before It Begins

Image of a teen daughter ignoring her father.

We’ve all seen or been on the receiving end of teenage rebellion. If you are a teacher, parent, or guardian of a teen, then you know these teenage years can be stressful. The good news is, it doesn’t have to be!

Most theories dealing with teens and teenage rebellion have focused on factors such as physical changes, emerging sexuality, new social pressures, and struggles between being a child and becoming an adult. As young people grow, conflicts arise. A prime reason is that the teen wants to become independent, but adults continue to exert authority with coercion and expect obedience.

Attempts to control often lead to counterwill—the natural human tendency to resist being controlled. This leads to a power struggle, … >>>

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Enhance Your Life to Manage Stress

Image of man standing at the ocean's edge looking out into the sea.

How did Viktor Frankl, a psychiatrist who survived Nazi death camps, manage stress?

Viktor Frankl, psychiatrist and holocaust survivor, explained managing his stress while in a Nazi death camp in “Man’s Search for Meaning,” one of the most influential books of all time. In it he emphasized the importance of making meaning for one’s life.

Here is an example from a classic tale about having meaning in your life, which has a direct effect on how you manage stress.

A man was walking down the street when he came upon three workers at a construction site. All of them were doing the same job. He asked the first worker what he was doing. The worker replied, “Breaking up these rocks.” … >>>

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Collaboration Reduces Stress

Image of people sharing ideas and collaborating.

If you want to reduce stress in relationships, focus on collaboration rather than domination.

Dominating another person may feel good, but think of the effect it has on the other person—as well as on yourself. Just as no one likes to be told what to do, no one likes to be dominated. In addition, domination is a close cousin of stress because it raises a flood of stress hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol.

In contrast to dominating someone, when you aim at collaboration, stress is reduced and relationships improve. A simple approach to begin the collaboration process is by asking the other person’s opinion. The technique is amazingly simple and so effective.

Another simple approach is to ask for the … >>>

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Student Awards and Rewards: What Works and What Doesn’t

Image of a gold trophy.

I often say that doling out student awards and rewards is counterproductive. However, I must also say that I don’t condemn ALL student awards and rewards. Allow me to explain.

As a former instructional coordinator, I have come to the conclusion that awards ceremonies are counterproductive for LEARNING—especially when so many young people never find themselves in the winner’s circle and would therefore prefer to drop out rather than compete.

When it comes to learning, collaboration is much more effective. When people collaborate, they do not compete.

However, as a former high school athletic coordinator, I do believe in award ceremonies for athletics and other competitive activities such as spelling bees, high school band competitions, and academic decathlons THAT ARE … >>>

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Driving License Renewal and Stress

Image of a crowded DMV office

Renewing a driver’s license can be stressful! When you need to renew your driving license, it’s smart to make an appointment ahead of time with your Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). At least this is the case in California, where I reside. Having an appointment will reduce your stress. But this is only the beginning of my experience, which I share with you for your benefit.

California and other states in the USA now offer two types of driver’s licenses: one for the state only and one that qualifies for federal identification—including airline security. Before you apply for a new driver’s license or for a license renewal, review this information to reduce your stress and frustration.

Assumptions Lead to Stress

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What Influence Are You Spreading?

Image of a mother working on a computer and her daughter imitating her.

You are influencing others every day, whether you realize it or not. Some of the most important people you influence are children. Your children and students see and hear everything you do, and it shapes their outlook on the world. What influence are you spreading to the youth of today?

Consider this true story:

Charles Adams was the U.S. Ambassador to Great Britain during the Lincoln Administration. He always kept a journal and taught his son, Brooks, to keep a daily journal as well.

When Brooks Adams was eight years old, he wrote in his diary: “Went fishing with my father, the most glorious day of my life.” During the next 40 years, Brooks referred to that day in his … >>>

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Reduce Classroom Stress by Empowering Students

Image of female student standing in front of a chalkboard. There are images of four light bulbs over her head, from small to big, showing her ideas growing.

When implementing the DISCIPLINE WITHOUT STRESS system, some teachers initially struggle. They are so used to using a rewards- or consequences-based system that trying something new feels awkward. Even though they know deep down that rewards and punishments don’t work, they have little experience with other options, and as such, they revert to their past ineffective ways.

Making matters more difficult is the fact that many teachers are mandated to implement Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS). The question then is, “How can you use DISCIPLINE WITHOUT STRESS while at the same time implementing PBIS?”

Here is my advice.

First, there is nothing in PBIS that mandates the teacher must give the rewards. Have the students perform the task. When … >>>

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An Easy Way to Reduce Conflict and Stress in Relationships

Image of a brown teddy bear and a beige teddy beat sitting back-to-back, as if in conflict against each other.

As you’ve undoubtedly noticed, no two children (or adults for that matter) are the same. Each individual, young or old, views the world differently, interacts with others in a distinctive way, and processes information uniquely.

Differences are good. It would be boring if everyone acted, behaved, and thought the same way. But sometimes, interacting with people who are vastly different from you (as with many parent/child relationships) can be stressful.

Noticing behavioral styles among people is nothing new. The Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung was the first to categorize behavioral styles. Jung postulated that every individual develops a primacy in one of four major behavioral functions: intuiting, thinking, feeling, and sensing. If you and your child operate from different behavioral styles, … >>>

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The Secret to Stress-Free Relationships

Image of a question mark made up of question words like "who,'" "what'" "when," "how," and "why."

A number of experts in sales emphasize the importance of building relationships for achieving success. Such an approach also makes interactions with others less stressful.

Here is a classic from Ed Oakley’s “Enlightened Leadership.”

There is a famous story about a life insurance company. The salespeople went through the training program and were very successful for about 18 months. After 18 months, their sales dropped off.

The company made quite an intensive investigation as to the reason. They found that the people followed the training approach of the company, which was to ask questions. Using this approach, the salespeople not only got to know financial problems and concerns, but also something about the people themselves. The questioning approach led to … >>>

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Let Children Solve their Own Problems

Image of a child in front of a chalkboard with a light bulb drawn on it. The light bulb symbolizes the child having an idea.

Always encourage children and students to look to themselves to solve problems, rather than relying on others. This is critical because many well-meaning parents and teachers too often do things for children that they could and should be doing themselves.

Never take on a young person’s problems if he or she is capable of meeting the challenge. The reason is that every time you solve a problem for someone who is capable of solving the problem without you, you are depriving the person of an opportunity to become more responsible. In addition, the person misses the satisfaction that arises from success.

As it has been aptly said, “If you want children to keep their feet on the ground, put some … >>>

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Feeling Stressed? Change Your Perception

Image of a dark gray background with a door in the middle. The door is opening to a peaceful sunny day to illustrate a change in perception.

How many times have you blamed an event or person for your negative reaction? If you’re like most people, it has happened often. Everything from traffic jams, to comments made by others, to sudden changes of plans can make people upset. But what if I told you that these events, no matter how bad you think they are, are not the cause of your stress?

Epictetus (A.D. 55-135) wrote: “It is not the event itself that is the problem; it is the perception of that event.” In other words, the things that happen to us aren’t problems; rather, it is our reaction to the events that determine whether we feel stress or not. This bit of information has made one … >>>

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Ask Reflective Questions

Image of a question mark looking at itself in a mirror

If you’re tired of continually lecturing your students or children, or if you’re finding that rewards and punishments rarely change behavior long-term, it’s time to start asking reflective questions.

When you use reflective questions, you are directing the other person’s thinking. It is this questioning process that starts the thinking process, both for you and for the other person. This kind of questioning is a gift to the person being asked because it induces clarity of thought. Similarly, the answer can be a gift to the person asking because it is a quick way to obtain and understand the other person’s viewpoint.

Asking reflective questions increases your awareness of a child’s perceptions, thereby significantly increasing your understanding of the child. … >>>

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How to Relax During Stressful Situations

Image of a brain wearing sunglasses sitting in a beach chair on a beach relaxing

Trying to relax during a stressful situation can be a challenge. After all, it’s hard to relax when your mind is racing and when events are stressing you out. If you find taking a break to relax difficult when the pressure is on, consider the following approach.

During the last days of World War II, someone commented to President Harry Truman that he appeared to bear up under the stress and strain of the presidency better than any previous president, that the job did not appear to have aged him or sap his vitality, and that this was remarkable—especially in view of the many problems which he faced as a wartime president.

His response was, “I have a foxhole in … >>>

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Child Discipline Done Right

positive discipline

Every parent and teacher struggles with child discipline from time to time. They want to use authority in their approach, but not necessarily be labeled as authoritarian. The keys to the success of using authority without being punitive are in using positive communications, empowering by offering choices, and by prompting reflection. These practices instill the mindset that the objective is to raise responsibility, rather than to punish. I talk about each of these in detail in my books Discipline Without Stress and Parenting Without Stress.

Punishment fosters evasion of responsibility and also has the disadvantage of increasing the distance between parents and children. A far more effective approach than punishment is to treat any situation as a teaching and … >>>

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Your Mindset and Stress

mindset and stress

If you feel that your life is stressful, you may need to alter your mindset.

The fact is that we all perceive life through filters developed from our temperament and experiences. Your mental set functions all the time, consciously or nonconsciously. Having a limited mental set hampers solutions to challenges, thus causing increased stress.

Therefore, a critical key to problem solving and stress reduction is expanding your mindset by cultivating an open questioning approach. Questions that engage your thoughts influence the quality of your life. By cultivating an open questioning state of mind, you broaden your universe and improve your ability to travel through it.

It’s easy to talk about having an open mind, but frequently mindsets are constrained by … >>>

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Dr. Marvin Marshall
Phone: 714.220.1882
Marv@MarvinMarshall.com
Piper Press
Phone: 559.329.5232
order@piperpress.com