Stress Management Monthly Newsletter

1. Quote of the Month

2. Stress Management Video

"Obedience & Stress"

Are you aware of the advantages and disadvantages of conformity and the importance of obedience? Obedience and stress are perhaps best illustrated in the Stanley Milgram experiment of understanding and obedience to authority. Conformity and obedience are natural and necessary in any society. This is how cultures perpetuate their values and traditions. However, obedience can promote stress on the part of all concerned.

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3. Parenting Without Stress

One of the keys to effective parenting is to know the difference between IMPLICIT and EXPLICIT modeling and how you do both each day. The fact is that parents are the first teachers. Parents are always modeling how to behave.

The following examples from the book Parenting Without Stress demonstrate the difference between explicit and implicit modeling.
1. Tickets for a movie theater are more expensive for a thirteen-year-old than for a twelve-year-old. The parent wants to save money, so the parent tells the thirteen-year-old daughter to state her age as twelve. The EXPLICIT message is that saving money is desirable; however, the IMPLICIT message is that being dishonest is acceptable.
2. The teenager tells the parent, “I’m going out tonight; I may be late and I may drink at the party.” The parent says, “You’re grounded! I’m not going to let you go if you do that.” The EXPLICIT message to the teen was very clear; yet, so was the reaction to the message: “I’m not going to tell my parents anything anymore. Being candid and open doesn’t work.”
3. Here is another instance of the parent sending one message, but the interpretation or implicit message is quite different than what the parent intended: The eighteen-year-old calls her parent and says that she drank a little too much at the party and that she wants to be picked up. This is the responsible thing to do. However, the parent becomes angry with the daughter. On the drive home the parent relentlessly chastises her daughter whose self-talk quickly becomes, “I’m not going to tell my mother next time.”
Here is the point of all these examples: Effective parenting involves reflecting on the IMPLICIT message the statement prompts.

4. Discipline Without Stress

"The recent concerns brought to our administration have been from a team of teachers who have not read your book, but claim to believe in the philosophy of DWS (Discipline Without Stress). Their concerns are that we are teaching our students incorrectly about the meaning and definition of Democracy as it relates to the historical and political world.

It’s still amazing to me how smart people can be confused. EVERYTHING needs to be taken in context. When do you use "to", "two" or "too"? Of course it depends on the context. Democracy as used in the Hierarchy of Social Development Poem uses “Democracy” as the highest level because that is the motivational level that is required for a democratic society to perpetuate itself.

5. Living Without Stress Tip

In order to have some understanding of major physiological points about the connection between body and brain, here is a simple explanation of how the body creates stress (something that scientists refer to as “noxious stimuli”). Stress begins deep in the brain, where a structure referred to as the hypothalamus sounds an alert to the adrenal glands. There is clear evidence that adrenaline is a stress hormone that prompts fear, panic, or perceived threat.

Another hormone, cortisol, solidifies not only fear but also the place where the emotion first erupted. Cortisol works on the amygdala, which plays a prominent role in forming long-term memories associated with fearful or traumatic events. The amygdala stores the emotional content of memory—chiefly fear. The amygdala is also involved in what we might call anticipatory angst, the fears and anxieties that we harbor regardless of whether there is legitimate reason to worry. So, increased stress hormone levels in the amygdala can make us fret even more, augmenting the stress we are already under.

The pulse begins to race as the adrenaline steps up the heart rate, sending extra blood to the muscles and organs. Oxygen rushes in as the bronchial tubes in the lungs dilate; extra oxygen also reaches the brain. The hair stands on end because adrenaline constricts the blood vessels that supply the skin. The adrenaline also mobilizes the body to release glucose providing a ready source of energy. This process creating stress invariably creates negative emotions.

Frustration, anxiety, depression, hostility, perception of lack of control, and unpredictability are major driving forces for the release of hormones into the bloodstream.

The brain is plastic in the sense that it is malleable, resilient, and responsive. Not only our experiences but also our thoughts develop new connections that rewire the brain. The connections grow new cells throughout our lives—a process referred to as neurogenesis—and is closely linked to learning and memory.

In sum, stress is learned and remembered. Our repeated thoughts and actions alter the neural connections and the functioning of our brains.

6. Improving Relationships

Avoid the “7 Deadly Habits” of Relationships

Dr. William Glasser, the originator of "Reality Therapy" and "Choice Theory," believed that attempts to change others by using "external control psychology" (including the common discipline approaches of threatening, imposing punishments, and using rewards to control) are counterproductive.

He referred to such "external approaches" as the "seven deadly habits." He lists them as: criticizing, blaming, complaining, nagging, threatening, punishing, and rewarding to control.

To prove his point, just respond to the following:

  • How do you feel when someone criticizes you?
  • How do you feel when someone blames you?
  • How do you feel when someone complains to you?
  • How do you feel when someone nags you?
  • How do you feel when someone threatens to do something to you?
  • How do you feel when someone punishes you?
  • How do you feel when someone offers you a bribe to do something?

Remember that a change is more emotional than intellectual. We know we should or should not do things, but it is only when emotions kick in that we are prompted to act.

Rarely will we want to do something when we feel bad about doing it. People do better when they feel better.

In short, using any of the "seven deadly habits" destroys relationships and results in resistance, which leads to disconnection.

7. Increasing Effectiveness

Lee Iacocca was a former chief executive officer of both the Ford and Chrysler motor car companies. In his biography, the story is told about his address to the Chrysler dealers at the company’s annual convention in August of 1986 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Iacocca’s message was to sell his dealers on how they could increase their business in the next year. To succeed, he said, “All you have to do is memorize four words. Here they are: Make someone like you.”

8. Promoting Responsibility

As much as we would like to mandate responsibility, in real life situations this wish is not realistic. I don't mean to be tricky in my use of words but the fact is that responsibility can only be TAKEN. Assign all you wish, but if the responsibility is not accepted, the assignment will not be very effective. The way to accomplish this is to have the person WANT to accept the responsibility. Using coercion in any of its forms is counterproductive to this end. Empowerment through encouragement is much more successful.

9. Promoting Learning

Current school systems are founded on a series of expectations that certain learning goals should be achieved by a certain age. Yet there is no reason to suspect that the brain pays attention to those expectations. Young people of the same age show a great deal of intellectual variability.

These differences can profoundly influence classroom performance. For example, about 10 percent of students do NOT have brains sufficiently wired to read at the age at which we expect them to read. Lockstep models based simply on age are guaranteed to create a counterproductive mismatch to brain biology. This is especially true with young boys learning how to read. As an elementary school principal for seven (7) years, I frequently suggested to hold young boys back in the early grades if they could not read well. Schools in many countries do not teach reading until boys are eight years old—when their brains are developed enough to handle cognitive skills required for reading.

10. Resources

Learn how to 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

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Dr. Marvin Marshall

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