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Conquering Fear Reduces Stress

Image of a pencil eraser erasing the word "fear"

Conquering fear is indeed possible. Doing so is important, because fear and negativity go hand-in-hand. In fact, fear is often a by-product of negative thoughts. Unfortunately, we have an innate capacity for fear.

Well, fear not. This tip will enable you to face your fears head-on. And this is the best way for conquering fear once and for all!

In 1919 psychologist John B. Watson conducted a controversial experiment to see whether fear could be learned.

A young boy he named “Little Albert” was shown different creatures, including a rat. At first, Albert showed no fear of the rat.

Then Watson paired the exposure with a harsh sound that scared the little boy. Soon, Little Albert would react with fear … >>>

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How to Overcome Anxiety

Image of a man being chased by a looming shadow figure

Do you suffer from an anxiety disorder? If you do, you’re not alone. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S. They affect 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year.

You may not know exactly why you feel anxiety, but when you do, you probably think something bad is about to happen. Today’s tip will help put your anxiety at ease and reduce your stress greatly!

Since anxiety is not a healthy emotion and is difficult to ignore, the trick is to manage it and put it to your use, rather than trying to ignore it.

The first step is to acknowledge anxiety—since you cannot initially … >>>

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The Art of Happiness

Image of a child drawing a big happy face on a wall.

Most people strive for a state of happiness, but the fact is that staying unhappy is all too easy. It even comes naturally to some people. Here is a tip that is sure to turn your frown upside-down and invite happiness into your life.

If you are in a funk, it is natural to be unhappy. Abraham Lincoln proclaimed, “People are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”

But when you are in this state and do nothing about it, you are taking the easy way out. Is this in your own best interest? Of course not. When you’re unhappy or feeling sad, it is a shame to take the easy way out.

You can take … >>>

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Are You a Good Listener?

Image of a hand cupping an ear to listen.

Being a good listener is one of the keys to having strong relationships. If you’re not a good listener, chances are that many of the relationships in your life are strained.

Think about this: If you ask yourself how you know someone cares for you, one of your responses is likely to be that you know because the person listens to you. Ask a husband about a good wife, and he is likely to say that he knows his wife cares for him because she listens to what he has to say. Ask a wife about a good husband, and she’ll respond that he listens to her.

Even if we are saying something that is not really worth listening to, … >>>

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Anger Management 101

Image of a man and a woman verbally fighting

Anger management is an important skill to master these days. Have you ever tried to have a conversation with an emotional person? If you have, you probably realized it was an act of futility. This stress management tip will help you take the sting out of such future conflicts and be a master at anger management.

Regardless of the person’s age or why they are upset, when an emotionally charged person is seeing red, is angry, or is overly obstinate, trying to reason with them is fruitless.

The smart approach to diffuse the situation is to take a break. Therefore, suggest it. Set a time to return. It can be as short as two minutes. It’s as simple as saying, … >>>

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What Motivates You?

How successful you are at handling stress often comes down to one thing: Knowing what motivates you.

Do you know what motivates you? Most people have never given this question a second thought. But when you know what motivates you, you can thrive in any stressful situation.

Internal vs External Motivation

Autonomy is a key driver of human behavior in traditional American culture. The most successful people are autonomous. As a result, they are able to handle stress successfully.

Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs referred to autonomy as the level of “self-actualization.” My Hierarchy of Social Development refers to this as Level D, Democracy. People operating at Level D take the initiative to do the right thing regardless of social … >>>

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Fill Your Mind with Positive Thoughts

Image of a human head made with positive words

To keep your stress level down, it’s important to fill your brain with positive thoughts. Why? Because the brain is like a sponge. It soaks up whatever is near. If positive thoughts dominate your day, your brain will soak that up. Likewise, if negativity dominates your thoughts, your brain will soak that up too.

Getting rid of the negativity isn’t always easy. Think about this: The ghosts of what we erase on a computer remain deep within the system, electronically etched into the hard drive. Similarly, what goes into the human mind can remain to contaminate it or to enrich it.

Let’s go back to the sponge analogy. If you soak a sponge in dirty water and squeeze it, dirty … >>>

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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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Dr. Marvin (Marv) Marshall
Phone: 714.220.1882
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Marv@MarvinMarshall.com
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