Stress Management for Living, Teaching, & Parenting

Stress Management

Stress and Student Performance

stress and student performance

Schools and teachers are under a lot of pressure to meet standards. The pressure of taking standardized tests gets passed on to students.

Standardized tests can create crippling anxiety in students, and anxious kids perform below their true abilities. Students with test anxiety manage to get something down on paper, but their capacity to think clearly and solve problems accurately is reduced by their nervousness. This anxiety can expand to college admissions exams and lead to reduced motivation.

Even little kids aren’t immune to test anxiety. Researchers have seen evidence of it in students as young as first and second graders. Their worries tend to manifest in nonverbal signs such as stomach aces, difficulty sleeping, and a persistent urge to … >>>

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Know the Opportunity Costs to Reduce Stress

stress and opportunity costs

One way to reduce stress is to realize that everything in life has a price. The key to reducing stress is knowing the price beforehand and being willing to pay the price.

I’m not talking about actual dollars and cents here. I’m talking about the emotional, mental, or physical costs for every action you take.

For example, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, one of the world’s great technology universities, new students are asked to choose two from the following: friends, grades, or sleep.

The point, of course, is that one cannot have all three.

The concept that “everything has a price” is similar to “opportunity costs” that economists use. For example, if you watch a television program, rather than … >>>

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Take a Break from Your Stress

take a break from stress

We can all benefit from taking an occasional break from our daily stress. Think about how much stress you are carrying around every day. While stress is inevitable in today’s world, how much you carry with you, and for how long, can have significant negative effects on your health.

I once heard the following analogy, which really put this topic in perspective.

A young lady confidently walked around the room while leading and explaining stress management to an audience with a raised glass of water. Everyone knew she was going to ask the ultimate question: “Half empty or half full?”

She fooled them all. “How heavy is this glass of water?” she inquired with a smile. Answers ranged from 8 … >>>

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Self-Acceptance Reduces Stress

Piece of paper stating "your are good enough" to show that self-acceptance can help reduce stress and anxiety.

Many people struggle with self-acceptance. In other words, too many people are searching for acceptance outside of themselves when they haven’t yet learned to accept themselves. Self-acceptance means being okay with WHO you are. It means being kind to yourself even when you make mistakes, fail, or do something that you later regret. When you practice self-acceptance, you reduce your stress level greatly.

Self-acceptance is a close relative to self-esteem. It is difficult to have one without the other, and, if you have one, you will tend to have the other. There may be many reasons why people have low self-acceptance, but most fall into one or more the following areas:

  • A desire to be perfect
  • A focus on imperfections
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Happiness Should Be a High Priority

Happiness

Happiness should be a high priority in your life. You even have a responsibility to yourself to participate in those activities that bring you satisfaction leading to your own happiness.

Robert Louis Stevenson wrote, “There is no duty we so much underrate as the duty of being happy.” Some authors on the subject of happiness even go so far as asserting that people have a moral obligation to be happy. The reason is rather obvious. Happy people do far more good than unhappy people. When you are happy, you have a positive effect on people. When you are unhappy, you also influence—but in a negative way.

Reflect on what life has given you. You will soon start to be grateful—and … >>>

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Creativity Reduces Stress

Creativity Reduces Stress

I’ve long believed that creativity reduces stress. Turns out that I’m not the only one. Researchers have long been studying the connection between health and personality traits. Openness—which links to creativity and measures flexibility and willingness to entertain novel ideas—has emerged as a life-long protective factor. It seems that creativity reduces stress and keeps the brain healthy.

Of the personality traits, only creativity decreased mortality risk. One possible reason creativity is a protective of health is because it draws on a variety of neural networks within the brain.

Because the brain is the command center for all bodily functions, exercising it helps all systems to continue running smoothly. Keeping the brain healthy may be one of the most important aspects … >>>

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Stress and Social Media

stress and social media

Many people experience stress while on social media sites. Part of the reason for the stress relates to the comments and interactions that take place. What often starts as an innocent post often takes a turn for the worse, as commenters virtually “duke it out” regarding who is right and who is wrong. Heated arguments ensue, often filled with name calling and downright meanness. Even people who would never dream of being mean to others in face-to-face interactions take part.

Stress, Social Media, and Eye Contact

Often, mean comments online arise more from a lack of eye contact than from anonymity.

The fact is that people are meaner online than in real life. Many have blamed this on anonymity and … >>>

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Having a Strategy Reduces Stress

strategy reduces stress

For many people, having a strategy reduces stress. In fact, people of all ages can operate more responsibly and reduce their stress level if they have a strategy.

Ask young people the following question: “If you wanted to be fully responsible right now, what would you be doing?” (This is a great question to ask yourself, too!)

In most cases, the answer will be readily apparent. This question prompts you to think in self-empowering ways. As a result, you’ll be motivated to act on the response.

Another strategy is to use sentence-completion exercises.

For example, just for a week begin the day by thinking of endings to each of the following sentences:

If I operate 5% more responsibly at home … >>>

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Student Stress and Hitting “the Wall”

Student stress

A reader asked me a question about student stress, referring to it as hitting “a wall” in learning. The person said: “On the surface, and without the benefit of knowing the author’s definition of this ‘wall,’ would you agree with this situation, especially regarding high school students today?”

Here is how I responded about student stress and “the wall”:

Yes. I have witnessed this from my experiences as a high school teacher, high school counselor, high school assistant principal, and high school principal.

As youngsters move up to higher grades, less emphasis is placed on learning skills and collaboration and more is placed on competition. We can see this in how teachers ask questions and the emphasis on grades. For … >>>

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Multitasking Causes Stress

multitasking causes stress

I’ve long asserted that multitasking causes stress. In fact, studies prove that effective multitasking is a myth. This is the reason that I continually refer to this activity as “switch-tasking,” rather than “multitasking.” The belief that engaging in multiple activities at once, such as texting while driving or conversing while typing, somehow allows us to concentrate on several things at once is simply not valid.

Today it is well accepted that attention is limited in capacity. The findings are clear: Our performance deteriorates drastically when we attempt to focus on more than one task at a time. And in the process, our stress level increases.

Traffic intersection violations are potentially hazardous events. There are a number of cases where a … >>>

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Personality and Stress Management

Personality and Stress Management

One of the best stress management tips for parents and teachers is to understand how personality affects behavior. When you know this, you can better manage your relationships with your children and students, and thus reduce your stress.

In my all three of my books (available here), I lay out the personality styles of thinker, feeler, doer, and relater. An image of a directional scale will help you picture and remember the styles. Visualize a thinker in the north, a feeler in the south, a doer in the west, and a relater in the east. In short, a thinker (north) analyzes and can be described as someone who processes information using a great deal of thought. A feeler (south) … >>>

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A Stress Reduction Tip for Teachers

Stress Reduction for Teachers

Teaching is one of the most satisfying yet stressful professions, which is why teachers often yearn for some solid stress reduction tips. A common classroom problem (and thus stressor) is when a student continually blurts out/or and argues with the teacher.

For any kind of impulsive behavior, the first course of action is always to try helping the impulsive student (such as one who keeps blurting out) by establishing a procedure that will help the student control impulses. Here is a real-life example of how this works.

Procedures Aid in Stress Reduction

A teacher I know helped a grade four student who continually disrupted the class by blurting out. Obviously having a student continually interrupt class is stressful. The teacher … >>>

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An Easy Way to End Stressful Relationships

stressful relationships

Are you tired of stressful relationships where you feel you are always nagging, threatening, or bribing the other person to do what needs to be done?

Social scientists have determined that people accept inner responsibility for their behavior and actions when they think they have CHOSEN to perform it in the absence of outside pressure, such as a large reward. In other words, while the incentive may get people to perform a certain action, it won’t get them to accept inner responsibility for the act. Consequently, they won’t feel COMMITTED to it.

The same is true of a strong threat; it may motivate immediate compliance, but it is unlikely to produce long-term commitment.

What Stressful Relationships Look Like

You may … >>>

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Live Without Stress Wins 2017 Eric Hoffer Award

Eric-Hoffer-Award-Seal

I am thrilled to announce that my new book, Live Without Stress: How to Enjoy the Journey, has won a 2017 Eric Hoffer Award.

The Eric Hoffer Award honors the memory of the great American philosopher Eric Hoffer by highlighting salient writing, as well as the independent spirit of small publishers. Since its inception, the Hoffer has become one of the largest international book awards for small, academic, and independent presses. 

Following is the write-up, as published in the 2017 US Review of Books. Please note that the Eric Hoffer Award is judged by a separate panel, under direction of the Eric Hoffer Project, and is not influenced by The US Review of Books. They simply post … >>>

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Stress and Setbacks

stress and setbacks

How do you respond to stress and setbacks? Do you dwell in the negative feelings for a while? Or do you bounce back to a positive state of mind relatively quickly?

Just as each person has a unique fingerprint and a unique face, each of us also has a unique emotional profile. And that emotional profile dictates how we handle stress and setbacks.

Even people who share similar backgrounds respond in dramatically different ways to the same stressful or negative experience. The coping responses differ in kind, intensity, and duration.

Emotions Play a Role in Stress and Setbacks

Neuroscientists are beginning to place human emotions on a par with cognition. In other words, as we change our thoughts, we can … >>>

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Stop the Stress of Being a Helicopter Parent

helicopter parents and stress

Can being a helicopter parent cause stress for the children being hovered over? According to researchers, the answer is yes. Helicopter parenting can cause anxiety and stress for both the parents and the children.

To help alleviate this stress, implement the following tips on how NOT to be a helicopter parent:

  1. Have the mindset of raising young people to be secure yet empowered to have wings.
  1. Realize that every time you do something that a young person can do, you are depriving that person of taking responsibility and developing positive self-esteem.
  1. Understand that if you want a young person to be mature, you must ask yourself if what you are doing is in the young person’s best interest or is
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Dr. Marvin Marshall
P.O. Box 2227
Los Alamitos, CA 90720
Phone: 714.220.1882
marv@marvinmarshall.com
Piper Press
P.O. Box 2227
Los Alamitos, CA 90720
Phone: 559.805.1389
order@piperpress.com

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