Stress Management for Living, Teaching, & Parenting


Does Helping Others Lead to Stress?

helping others

Helping others is a natural human instinct. And while most of us want to be kind and help others, sometimes we go too far and take on other people’s problems. This is a recipe for stress. Chances are your life is busy and stressful enough. The last thing you need is other people’s stressors resting on your shoulders.

Of course, this does not mean we shouldn’t help others. Quite the contrary. Helping others is vital to the success of our society. No one is an island. We all need help from time to time. The key is knowing how much help to give.

I’ve found that sometimes the best way to help people is to stop helping them.

The Right

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Make High Grades Meaningful for Students

high grades

For some students, earning high grades is an incentive. These students are very much interested in receiving good grades. However, some students are not interested in achieving high grades. Here is an example of how grades serve as an incentive:


My name is George H. Orfe, and I am the principal who told you the story of the boy and the $5 his father gave him for each “A” grade. You asked that I relate the story to you. Here it is.

I had a father of a fifth grader who gave his son $5 for each A on his report card. The first marking period the child received eight A’s and $40 from his father. The second marking

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Strong-Willed Child? Try This Discipline Approach

strong willed child

If you have a strong-willed child, you know that discipline can be tough. Traditional techniques of rewarding desired behaviors, of prompting fear by threatening, by imposing punishments, and by “telling” simply don’t work on a strong-willed child, because these approaches all aim at obedience. When the focus is on obedience, the result is often reluctance, resistance, resentment, and even rebellion.

These approaches set up stress for both adult and youth. As young people grow, the more we try to force obedience the more they resist. However, when the focus is on promoting responsibility in a noncoercive (but not permissive) approach, obedience follows as a natural by-product. That’s why the Discipline Without Stress methodology is so effective with a strong-willed child.… >>>


An Easy Way to Reduce Emotional Stress

reduce emotional stress

Although we all encounter experiences that prompt feelings that lead to emotional stress, these feelings need not control us. Realize that I’m not talking about stopping emotions you feel about a situation. You cannot stop an emotion directly!

You may have heard someone say, “You shouldn’t feel that way.” But the person cannot help it. I repeat to emphasize the point: No human can directly stop an emotion. That’s why emotional stress occurs. However, there is a way—a rock solid way—to control emotions, as shared by my experience below. I suggest that you visualize the scenario so it will go into long-term memory.

One day when I was an elementary school principal, a kindergarten teacher contacted the office for assistance … >>>


Positive Thoughts are the Key to Stress Management

positive thoughts

Did you know that positive thoughts are the key to stress management? It’s true! Your mindset affects your stress level. In other words, what you think—whether positive or negative—will trigger certain emotions, which will then either invoke stress or reduce it. Your mind is a powerful tool in your stress management arsenal.

I was brought up on the principle my mother instilled in me: “If you can’t say anything nice about a person, then don’t say anything at all.” She knew the value of positive thoughts!

I extended this admonition to refer to my own self-talk. As such, I continually said to myself, “If I can’t say something nice to myself about myself, then don’t say anything at all—unless I … >>>


Information Overload and Stress Management

information overload

In today’s world of social media and 24/7 news, information overload is real and potentially doing more harm than good—causing many to make poor decisions and feel an overwhelming amount of stress.

How is this possible? Science tells us that with too much information (aka – information overload) people’s decisions make less and less sense and their stress level rises. This may seem counter-intuitive at first. After all, isn’t getting all the facts in the best interest of everyone? And if some information is good, then more information is even better, right? Wrong!

Here’s a fact to consider: Decisions requiring creativity benefit from letting the problem incubate below the level of awareness, something that becomes ever-more difficult when information never … >>>


Let Go to Reduce Stress

let go

Sometimes you need to let go of old thinking to reduce your stress levels. Unfortunately, most people have a hard time letting go of outdated thinking and old techniques.

Consider the following story. An expedition of scientists went on a mission to capture a Tonkin snub-nosed monkey. Only an estimated 100-200 of this particular species exists, and they reside only in the jungles of Vietnam. The objective was to capture one of the monkeys alive and unharmed.

Using their knowledge of monkeys, the scientists devised a trap consisting of a small bottle with a long narrow neck. A handful of nuts was placed in it, and the bottle was staked out and secured by thin wires attached to a tree. … >>>


Make a Paradigm Shift to Reduce Stress

paradigm shift

Sometimes, making a big change in your life requires a paradigm shift. Stephen Covey, in his classic book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, refers to his now famously used term, “paradigm.” He writes: “A paradigm is like a new pair of glasses; it affects the way you see everything in your life.”

For many people, the three practices that I teach to reduce stress are a paradigm shift in how they think.

Three Practices Lead to a Paradigm Shift

  1. The first of the three practices is positivity—in other words being positive with oneself and others. We know that we do better when we feel good, as contrasted to doing good when feeling bad. With this in mind,
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Promote Student Responsibility

student responsibility

When I returned to the classroom after 24 years in counseling and administration, the lack of responsibility on the part of some students glared out at me. That’s when I asked myself, “How can I promote responsible behavior?”

The outcome was the Raise Responsibility System, which you can find a plethora of information about on my website. In developing the program, I decided to be PROACTIVE, rather than always reacting after an inappropriate behavior. That’s when I developed the Hierarchy of Social Development.

Terms that Promote Responsibility

Every so often someone writes me about the problems the person has with using the vocabulary with young people. Here is my response about two of the terms.

Regarding the term “democracy”:… >>>


Language and Thought Shape Your Reality

Language and Thoughts

Did you know that language and thought shape your reality? In other words, change your words and you can change your life. Sound too simple to be true? It’s not. Studies have shown that changing how you talk changes how you think, and what you think becomes your reality.

The power and importance of language and thought and how it shapes your reality was reinforced to me years ago when I read George Orwell’s book 1984, which was written in 1949 at the beginning of the cold war. The book is about how the world of the future could be with Big Brother watching you.

In this classic book, George Orwell demonstrated the power of words, using the example … >>>


How to Combat Student Stress

student stress

These days we can see an unprecedented level of student stress. Between school expectations, numerous extracurricular activities, peer pressure, and social stress, students of all ages are feeling anxious, overwhelmed, and just all-out stressed. And just as stress is hard on adults, causing both physical and emotional symptoms, it’s equally as hard on children who may not have yet developed any positive coping mechanisms. If you notice your child exhibiting signs of student stress, try these three quick tips.

1. Practice Positivity

Positive communications elevate the spirit; they offer encouragement and support. They send the message that the other person is capable of handling challenges. Positivity creates hope and prompts feelings of being valued, supported, and respected. Because being positive … >>>


Overwhelmed and Stressed? Try This

What to Do When You Feel Overwhelmed

Have you ever felt overwhelmed and stressed but didn’t know exactly why? Of course you have. We all have at one time or another. Unfortunately, when these situations occur, most people attempt to treat the symptoms of their feelings rather than address the situation itself. It’s important, though, to uncover what’s causing you to feel overwhelmed and stressed, rather than just treating the symptoms.

Here is a short story to illustrate my point: A teacher walked into her classroom after a rainy weekend and discovered a puddle of water in the middle of the floor. She called the custodian and told him what was wrong. He came and mopped up the puddle. The next morning, the scenario was repeated.

When … >>>


Are You Yearning for an Easy Life?

easy life

Have you ever wished for an easy life? One where you have no stress and no struggles? One where everything just seems to go your way? Of course! We all have. But an easy life isn’t as great as it may seem.

Chances are you’ve seen people’s lives unfold on social media. And at times their lives may seem easier, better, or more charmed than yours. But realize that the grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence. Fences have nothing to do with it. The grass is greenest where it is watered. So, if you want a better life, don’t expect it to just happen. You must tend to it.

What are the secrets to … >>>


The Mind Body Connection

mind body connection

Science repeatedly tells us that the mind body connection is real. Yet we often do things in our everyday life and routines that don’t exemplify this connection. As a result, we experience undo stress and life feels hard.

To better understand how this works, try this little exercise.

While sitting, let you shoulders slump and look down. How do you feel? If you’re like most people, you probably feel a little weak and lacking in energy.

Now pull your shoulders up and put your chest out. How do you feel now? Did you demeanor change for the positive? That’s the mind body connection at work! The next time you feel bad, change your posture and notice the effect it has … >>>


Body Posture Affects Emotions

Body Posture

Your body posture can greatly impact how you feel. Striking the correct body posture can also help you reduce the amount of stress you feel. Researchers at both Columbia and Harvard Universities have found that you can manifest your personal power simply by focusing on your body posture. They found that certain postures make people feel more commanding while other postures invoke feelings of stress or sadness.

The researchers found that cortisol and testosterone levels significantly change for most people after they stand in high power positions. In other words, when you stand firmly on both legs with your shoulders back and chest out (think Superhero pose), you’ll feel better and more positive about yourself and your situation.

Conversely, testosterone … >>>


Choose Your Response During Stressful Situations

stressful situations

Stressful situations are bound to happen. But no matter what occurs, you can always choose your response. Consider this true story.

I was comfortably seated in an airplane ready for take-off on a flight to California. I had just started reading my book when the pilot announced a two-hour delay. Los Angeles International Airport was fogged in.

After a few minutes of additional reading, I looked up from my book. I was one of the few passengers who had not deplaned. Even with a good read, adding two hours to the flight seemed a little long to remain seated. I left my materials in the overhead storage compartment and returned to the airport terminal.

After a half-hour of strolling and … >>>

Dr. Marvin Marshall
P.O. Box 2227
Los Alamitos, CA 90720
Phone: 714.220.1882
Piper Press
P.O. Box 2227
Los Alamitos, CA 90720
Phone: 559.805.1389