Stress Management Monthly Newsletter

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1. Quote of the Month

2. Stress Management Video

"The Calf Path"

This tip on stress management uses a poem to make a point. This stress management tips shares one of Sam Walter Foss’ poems, “The Calf Path.” Enjoy!

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3. Parenting Without Stress

As with any skill, asking reflective questions improves with practice.

Following are some reflective questions that prompt behavior change:

  • Can you say that what you are doing is helping get what you want?
  • What can you do to improve the situation?
  • What are you doing that is working?
  • What were you able to do today better than in the past?
  • To what do you attribute your doing better today?
  • What did you learn about doing it that you can apply to other areas?
  • What would you like to look forward to for tomorrow?
  • What is the biggest problem you currently face?
  • What are you doing to deal with it?
  • What do you see as your next step?
  • What do you think an extraordinary person would do in this situation?

4. Discipline Without Stress


I’ve heard people mention that consequences can be set up with students ahead of time in the Raise Responsibility System (RRS). I find this confusing because I remember reading in Dr. Marshall’s book that he thinks it’s counterproductive to tell students about consequences ahead of time.  Can you explain?

My Response:

The answer to your question highlights an important difference between the Raise Responsibility System (RRS) and other more traditional approaches to discipline. In the RRS, if consequences are used, they are ELICITED from the student—rather than imposed by the adult. In the RRS, the student would have chosen the consequence and therefore owns it.  People don't feel punished with a choice they have made.

Many other approaches to discipline recommend that a teacher clearly outline to the class, at the beginning of the school year, the consequences that students can expect if they misbehave in certain ways. Statements such as, “Late homework assignments will result in a lunch detention,” or “Hitting will result in a phone call to parents and 10 minutes of missed recess,” clearly spelling out the consequences for certain behavioral infractions. (Note: The first example above is an instructional challenge, not a classroom management or discipline challenge.)

Most importantly, when a consequence is elicited, the student owns the decision. People do not argue with their own decisions.

5. Living Without Stress Tip

Here are two thoughts from the opening paragraph of the Summary and Conclusion of Part I from "LIVE WITHOUT STRESS: How to Enjoy the Journey."

  1. Assumptions impact thinking, which in turn impacts both emotions and stress levels.
  2. Being mindful of assumptions and the relationship between thinking and feelings can assist in reducing stress. Understanding the difference between internal and external motivation empowers people to make more responsible decisions, which in turn can reduce stress. The Hierarchy of Social Development explains the difference.

6. Improving Relationships

Here is an important concept to remember regarding relationships: Not losing is more important than winning.

No one likes being cornered, literally or figuratively. The belief of not having a choice encourages resistance because it prompts a feeling of being trapped. Offering choices ensures that a person's power and dignity are retained.

If you choose to talk about what a person did wrong—what that other person should have done—the person will only resent it because the situation cannot be undone. Choosing to focus on the past will only result in your criticizing, blaming, complaining, threatening, or punishing. These will result in stress and negative feelings for all involved.

By contrast, you will promote better relationships if you choose to communicate in terms of, “So, let’s talk about how to do it better next time.” When you do, you will immediately become a coach instead of a critic or cop creating an adversarial relationship.

7. Increasing Effectiveness

Making a positive first impression will have you become more effective.

Here are some of the techniques for opening a conversation with a stranger:

  • Use a leading question to get the person to talk about the person’s place of birth, vocation, or hobby.
  • Create and give a compliment.
  • Use the person’s name that the person wishes to be called. For example, if a person's name is Oswald but prefers to be called "Ozzie," that is how you should address him.

Dale Carnegie, in his classic book, "How to Win Friends and Influence People," states, "A person’s name is to that person the most beautiful sound in any language." Of course, that assumes you use the name that the person WANTS to be called.

  • Make a comment so that the person feels proud in some way. All you need is to ask for advice, an opinion, or assistance.

                       Can you help me out with this?

                       Could I ask you for your advice?

                       What’s your opinion on this?

                       Could you please show me how to do this?

                       Can you give me a few tips?

In human relations, like attracts like. Be kind to others, and they will likely be kind to you. Be mean to others, and they will have a tendency to be mean to you. Be courteous to others and they will more often than not be courteous to you.

You can influence another’s emotions by how you exhibit your own emotions. It's like a mirror: Smile and the person in the mirror smiles; frown and you will see a frown. Smiles and frowns are both contagious. It’s up to you as to how you want to affect the other person.

8. Promoting Responsibility

A little creativity can easily prompt people to do what you would like them to do.

A friend was visiting us with his wife and four-year-old son. As they were about to leave, the four-year-old jumped onto the driver’s seat of the van. His mother mentioned what a challenge young Adam was becoming and said that trying to get him out of the driver’s seat would be a real chore.

I suggested to her that every time she tried to make him do something or stop doing something, he would resist and that her most successful approach would be one that does not involve coercion.

I mentioned that every time she TELLS him to do something, he will interpret it as an attempt to control him and that she will be creating a challenge for herself. Sharing (rather than telling), asking a reflective question, or challenging him are options that are more effective.

To demonstrate the third alternative, as my wife was standing next to us, I leaned toward Adam who was by then playing with the steering wheel and said, “My wife and I have just made a bet. She said it would take you two minutes to get into the back seat and buckle your seat belt. I told her that I bet you could do it in one minute.”

Little Adam jumped out of the driver’s seat and almost knocked my wife over as he ran around the van, climbed into his seat, and buckled his seat belt.

I told him how surprised and amazed I was that he could do it—and even in less time than I thought he could.

The youngster knew where to sit. Having him demonstrate responsible behavior merely took some creativity on my part, namely, “What could I say or do to prompt him— something that he would not interpret as being coercive?”

Another such experience occurred a few years ago when the back seats of airplanes had telephones. I was seated next to a four-year-old. During the flight, he reached for the phone and started to play with it. His mother was sitting by the window and she had shared with me some of the challenges she was having with her son.

After the youngster had the phone in hand and started playing with it, I asked myself, "What could I say that would be positive (or at least not negative), would offer him a choice, and would prompt him to reflect?"

I turned to him and said, "What would happen if you break that?" He immediately replaced the phone in its holder.

There was no doubt in my mind that if his mother had TOLD him to put the phone back where it belonged, she would have had a challenge.

Using some creativity is not difficult when you start asking yourself how you can communicate so that the other person does not feel coerced.

9. Promoting Learning

Fun is how you feel during an activity.

Happiness is how you feel after the activity.

If you do not watch TV for one hour and learn how to play a musical instrument in that hour, you will find yourself happier.

The reason is simple. TV is a passive activity whereas learning requires effort. Effort brings satisfaction, a prime ingredient for happiness.

10. Resources

Learn that you ALWAYS stay in authority WITHOUT using bribes to control, threats, imposing punishments, or any other coercive or EXTERNAL motivational approach at

11. What People Say

"Using your system has not only improved my lifestyle and that of my family’s, but also that of my students. They have learned life-long lessons about making choices, responsibility, and internal motivation.

On behalf of myself, my family, and over 1000 students who have been in my classes over the years, thank you!"

—Eli Kashman, M.Ed. – Los Angeles, California

Speaking and Presenting

If you are interested in hiring a speaker to reduce stress in living, parenting, or teaching, visit

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For personal COACHING or STAFF DEVELOPMENT, send email to with "Info" in the subject line. If you want a group Internet session at no charge, just let me know your date and time preference using Pacific time zone.

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Dr. Marvin Marshall

PO Box 11
Cypress, CA


Phone: 1.714.220.1882