8 Simple Ways to Manage Stress & Anxiety in the Moment

It's inevitable that feelings of stress and anxiety come in moments that we can't predict or control. Whether you are scrambling to meet a deadline at work and it's only 8:30 AM on Monday, or you're in a personal crisis ... or an all-consuming anxious feeling of dread comes over you "randomly" ... it's difficult to deal with these emotions when they surprise us at very inconvenient times.

The fact is that no feeling is final, and you are physically and mentally equipped to handle it with finesse. 

Okay, great...but HOW?   

Life is busy. Responsibilities and challenges mount naturally as we get older. 

Even if you have good self-care outlets in place, you won't always have the luxury of dropping everything and heading to yoga or therapy when stress hits.

It's easier to respond mindfully in the present, than to recover from self-destructive reactions later.

So here are 8 easy ways to manage, cope, and decrease feelings of stress and anxiety in the moment.

1. Breathe. It's really simple. Don't forget to breathe! Breathe calmly with intentionality behind it. There is hard science behind this...breathing=oxygen to your brain=brings you out of fight or flight mode--back to your prefrontal cortex=rational, logical consciousness. Even taking 3 long deep breaths can make a huge difference. Click here for a useful guide to calm breathing.

2. Name it. Naming and acknowledging emotional experiences reduces the sting from raw feelings of stress and panic on the body. And now that you're breathing and back to true consciousness, you can think clearly. When you're stuck in emotion and your brain is lacking oxygen, your perception about what is really going on is cloudy.  This is paramount, because oftentimes in stressful, unexpected situations, we need to be able to respond accordingly, make positive decisions, and think with rationale (bonus: this applies to communication and conflict resolution too).

3. Talk to yourselfIf you find yourself naturally catastrophizing and sinking into negative thinking ["this is so bad", "I can't handle this", "I suck", "I'm gonna lose it", etc.], it's important to teach your brain how to reframe the negative thinking into positive self-talk. Talk yourself through the situation like you would a good friend. 

4. Endorphins! - Endorphins are neurotransmitters that act as natural analgesics and calming defenses to both stress and pain responses in the bodyPhysical activity is the most effective way to release endorphins. That doesn't mean you have to hit the gym or go run 5 miles...even a short walk or squeezing a stress ball can be helpful. 

5. Phone a friend. Or text, snapchat, ping.... choose an appropriate person from your support system. Sometimes just the security that someone else knows you're having a rough day and has your back is a great comfort and reminder that you're not alone. 

6. Get outside.  When possible, it's important to step away from a stressful situation, even for a couple of minutes. Going outside takes positive redirection a step further. Feel your feet on the ground, gain a broader perspective, breathe in the fresh air and allow yourself the time and space to re-group.

7. Take a shower. If you're home or somewhere else you can jump in the shower...this can work wonders. Water is a natural calming agent. Add in some essential oils, deep breathing, and positive self-affirmations...you've got a refreshing recipe for recovery and re-set.

8. Last but not least - make the time to schedule a thorough self-care activity.

When you do find yourself in one of those inconvenient, unsuspecting, all-consuming moments of stress, anxiety, or panic, and you don't have the time or luxury to drop everything and go to -- schedule it instead. as soon as you can. Most of the things listed above are quick and simple for in the moment...but "your happy place"  taking care of yourself and allowing your mind and body to recover in the long term is imperative for ongoing mental and physical health.

© 2016 Rachel Cord

Pacific Marriage and Family Therapy Network

We provide teen, couples, and family therapy, and have therapists who are skilled in working with kids, teens, and adults experiencing difficult transitions, relationships, or emotions.

Pacific MFT Network is a professional network of highly skilled licensed Marriage & Family Therapists and Interns that are committed to empowering a sense of self in our clients and helping them live the life they want. We do so by creating a relationship that is based on genuine care and concern, non-judgment, and support. Our mission is to help you help yourself live a happier and more satisfying life. 


Manhattan Beach, CA


South Bay Heart and Soul: Beauty Beyond Boundaries

South Bay Womens Body Acceptance and Soul-Survival Movement

This is a group for women of all ages (18+) in the LA Area, who wish to take their self-esteem beyond the body-image.

I am gathering a group of women together to share, support, and love one another through a journey of learning to love and honor thyself...and being OK with that.

The South Bay / LA area is full of resources for us to improve our images and to “feel better” about ourselves — juice bars, over-priced boutiques, salons and spas, cycling studios, gyms….yes, these things can be incredible self-care tools for a fulfilled and healthy lifestyle…but health = balance. 

I 100% support fitness and wellness of all kinds, but I believe there is a need for increased focus on exercising our hearts and minds too, from the inside out.

We were designed to be something other than beautiful, fit, thin, wealthy, successful…& all those other “shoulds” you may tell yourself. And we are more than just what we do. 

Let’s discover what that is together.

Come experience open, loving, and nonjudgmental conversation about things like: media, cultural and societal pressures, parenting, being positive role models for young girls, community change, marriage, relationships, friendships, raising healthy kids, fitness, holistic health, wellness resources…etc.

Please contact me for details, questions, comments. I would love to hear from you and work with you on this amazing journey of self-loving and soul-survival!


Rachel Cord, MFTI 89397, under supervision of Tracy Bevington, LMFT 53455

© 2016 Rachel Cord, Pacific MFT Network

We provide teen, couples, and family therapy, and have therapists who are skilled in working kids, teens, and adults experiencing difficult transitions, relationships, or emotions.

Pacific MFT Network is a professional network of highly skilled licensed Marriage & Family Therapists and Interns that are committed to empowering a sense of self in our clients and helping them live the life they want. We do so by creating a relationship that is based on genuine care and concern, non-judgment, and support. Our mission is to help you help yourself live a happier and more satisfying life. 


Manhattan Beach and West LA, CA

(310) 226 - 2826

How to Help Prepare your Teen for College

It's officially August, and as summer starts to wind down, many new high school grads are beginning to feel the excitement/nervousness/anticipation of heading off to college in the next month or so. They can taste the sweet, sweet freedom and adventure ahead...as they should!

This can be an incredible phase of life full of new experiences, identity building, new friends, new romances, new passions, great education, and a whole new perspective on life.

College is wonderful...but it is also an extremely difficult adjustment, not only for the kids, but for parents.

Many college students experience some form of depression, anxiety, or loneliness at some point during this whirlwind adjustment.

And it is certainly no surprise that there is a slew of other mental and physical health risk factors they will be exposed to... (ahem....drugs and alcohol!). It's tough for some parents to think about that reality, but sugar coating it won't do anyone any good.

The point here is definitely not to scare anyone or deter or inhibit you from sending your teen to college. In fact, it is an incredibly healthy and developmentally appropriate decision and step in their life, and in yours. We do, however, want to encourage you to talk to your kids about all of this. 

Do you have specific concerns or worries about a path they may go down? Are you aware that they tend to isolate and withdraw in new situations? Do you have ideas of how they can gain support and stay on track on campus? Talk to them about it!

At the end of this page, I have included a link to a very useful article from Clear Recovery Center in Hermosa Beach, regarding preparing your kids for the social aspects of college.

Remember, this is a completely new experience for them too, and while their new sense of independence and self-determination should be encouraged, you are still, and will always be, their parent...it's imperative to still offer support and help them prepare for success.

If you need help having this conversation with your teen, are concerned about already existing issues with your teen, or find that you need help adjusting to sending them off to college, please contact me!

The clinicians at Pacific MFT, including myself, provide teen, couples, and family therapy, and are skilled in working with adolescents, young adults, and parents experiencing difficult transitions.


Manhattan Beach and West LA, CA

(805) 231 - 7361

HOWARD BARKER | JULY 20, 2016 | Clear Recovery Center

click to here view original post with full detailed content


From the time a baby enters the world, parents have high hopes for their child. Parents often begin planning for college long before applications are submitted. Once a teen has accepted admission to the college of their choice, parents are faced with the harsh reality that their child is leaving the nest. If your child has been accepted into a 4-year university, it is safe to assume that they have been adequately prepared academically. What about socially? How can parents prepare their child for the social aspects of college? Here is a list of 5 things you need to do this summer to prepare your teen for college.







Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world - Nelson Mandela

© 2016 Rachel Cord, Pacific MFT Network

Dealing with World Crises in the Age of Social Media

Pacific MFT | LA Parent

Pacific MFT | LA Parent

In an age where it is impossible to avoid world news, it can be difficult to protect ourselves from mass media coverage of the violence and tragedy rampant in our world. While there are many pros to social media and globalization, it can be a slippery slope if we don't set healthy boundaries for ourselves, our families, and our children. 

We found a great article on LA Parent, specifically speaking to the trickiness of balancing exposure and education, versus constant bombardment of negativity, hate, and loss...oftentimes instilling to anger and fear.

LA Parent offers some great advice as to how to handle this with children. This is particularly important as kids are highly impressionable - they internalize everything they see and hear in the media, as well as messages they receive from their caregivers (even subliminal or indirect ones). Kids are fragile in many ways, but they are incredibly resilient - so we mustn't allow their hopeful, innocent hearts and minds to become jaded, judgmental, and tarnished. 

Even within the tragic state of our world, a child's most significant world is their home -- it is important that their immediate context is their safe place, the place where they are encouraged to explore, learn, and develop, but also where they are loved, supported, reassured, and secure.

Click here or see below to read full article from LA Parent... 

Dealing With Tragic News

Published June 20, 2016

By Christina Elston


"Whether it’s happening in Nice, Dallas, Louisiana, Orlando, Brussels or Paris, it can sometimes feel like tragedy is also taking place right in the palm of your hand – or your child’s – via social media and smartphones.

“It’s just a constant bombardment of input. I was shocked to hear that kids are getting news information from Instagram,” says Caroline Knorr, parenting editor of Common Sense Media, a California-based nonprofit dedicated to helping kids thrive in a world of technology.

Even if you don’t allow your child to use social media, you can’t be sure he or she won’t see things on a friend’s account. That means policing your child’s sources of information shouldn’t be your top priority. “The most important thing is to help kids learn how to view media critically,” Knorr says. Teach your older child:

  • which news sources (i.e. public radio, newspapers) are more reliable,

  • what sensationalism is, and

  • that there are other perspectives out there besides the one that shows up in their social media feed.

When you hear about tragic news, start by asking what your child has seen or heard about it before diving in with your perspective. Knorr hadn’t wanted to tell her teenage son about the Orlando shootings in June, but he heard about them before she did.

Whatever your child’s age, react calmly. “They need to be reassured that they are safe and stable,” says Knorr. Point out that even though we are flooded with information about these events, they are isolated incidents. Minimize your younger child’s exposure to information about these events if you can.

Teens and tweens, meanwhile, might benefit from the chance to express feelings with their peers on social media. They can see other kids’ reactions, and respond. “That’s super powerful for kids,” Knorr says.

You can also offer your child a chance to get involved. “It’s super important for kids, especially now, to feel like they can do something,” says Knorr. That might mean showing support for a related charity or participating in a peaceful demonstration.

Responding positively will help your child feel more empowered and less afraid. Learn more about kids and media at www.commonsensemedia.org."

Adult, child, and family therapy in Manhattan Beach and West LA. Please visit www.pacificmft.com

© 2016 Rachel Cord, Pacific MFT Network

How Self-Love Can Save Your Marriage

via Huffington Post | Pacific MFT

via Huffington Post | Pacific MFT

{How Self Love Saved My Marriage - Melody Godfred, Huffington Post}

We resonate so much with the real-ness of this personal story of self-recovery from Melody Godfred, co-creator of the Self Love Pinky Ring.

From both a clinical and personal perspective, her story is so relate-able and so important. 

As wives, husbands, partners, parents, friends -- as people with the fundamental need for healthy attachments -- we must start understanding the value of {balanced} self-love and self-care as part of our relational health. We just can't stress this enough. 


"Self-love for so long was associated solely with narcissism. You would think self loves makes it harder for you to love others. But it doesn’t. Exactly the opposite.When you are full, you have a well to pull from in service to others" (Godfred, 2016). 

Life usually doesn't get easier as it continues ... certain things may ... but it's nature that our responsibilities grow continuously - especially when marriage, family, and raising kids kicks in on top of managing life in general.

Unfortunately, it's all too easy to get lost in the madness and lose yourself.

"As I grew older and responsibilities mounted, two things started to happen: I became a perfectionist (which means I was not only hard on myself, I was extremely hard on everyone else), and I became a self-sacrificer. Now neither of these things was a stretch: I am the latest in a long line of superwomen who are adept at martyring themselves in service to others" (Godfred, 2016). 

...and as you may have experienced already, perfect parenting certainly doesn't exist, perfect marriages are just not a thing, and self-sacrificing really only hurts yourself and everyone around you. 

So, I encourage you to take a coffee break from your busy day, check out the full article, and really think about what comes up...

...are you on your life train?? Or did you forget yourself at the station?

Please click here to view full article on Huffington Post, and I'd love to hear your thoughts on FacebookInstagram, Linkedin, or via email!

If you'd like to talk to someone about how you can "re-find your you" and redefine your life and your relationships, please contact us! We offer therapeutic services for children, adolescents, adults, couples, families, and groups...helping people work through their pastlive in the present, and look toward a hopeful future. 

South Bay, Los Angeles - Manhattan Beach

West Los Angeles

© 2016 Rachel Cord, Pacific MFT Network

Oh yes, the past can hurt, but there is purpose in the pain...don't run from it

As humans (yep, that includes you), we all experience pain ... trauma history, abuse, loss, rejection, mental illness, tragedy, broken hearts...the list is infinite. No matter what makes up our past, there is pain there. And oftentimes, we are told to "never look back", to "keep what's passed, past", and to "be strong and move on" ....

- why? -

because it's uncomfortable. it hurts. and we often adapt to that by avoiding, running,and suppressing the painful yesterdays.  

It's natural to do so, and maybe you were taught or modeled that as a child. But the truth is, we can never really, successfully, run and hide from our past...because our past is part of our story, not the end of our story, but the painful parts are a big chunk of it....and where the most growth is! 


Yup, your past...even the most painful chapters that you've "forgotten" about, are parts of you -- and while the past does not have to define you, it has helped to shape and form your path to right now.


I believe in the importance of owning and honoring every single part of yourself ... even the parts you hate...mistakes you've made, wrong-doings done to you, shame, regret, anger... 
Disowning those parts of yourself impede on the ability to truly move forward, and to ultimately feel and be whole. 


By running away, you give more power to the past that hurts you, and take power away from your ability to grow.  


I would love to hear your thoughts and experience with this ... please go to our Facebook page, Instagram or Linkedin profile and drop me a note!


If you'd like to talk to someone about how you can face, process, and set free from a painful history, please contact us! We offer therapeutic services for children, adolescents, adults, couples, families, and groups...helping people work through their pastlive in the present, and look toward a hopeful future. 

 © 2016 Rachel Cord, Pacific MFT Network

Recovery means trusting that stifled, yet healthy, part of you that knows you are actually not OK

cross post - Pacific MFT Network

cross post - Pacific MFT Network

In the pre-stages and early stages of eating disorder recovery, your world can feel like it's turning upside down. Like everyone around you who "cares" about you and your "health" is just trying to take away the one thing you can always count on...the one thing you are successful at...or that no one else can really control, but you can. 

It's infuriating... terrifying...and you won't want to let go.

You'll want to fight, you'll want to deny, justify, and hide, even more than you already have been.

But there will be a seemingly silent part of you, a part of you that has likely been significantly stifled by your eating disorder running rampant in your mind and body...this small part of you will know that you need help, and that no, you are actually not OK, really. 

We came across this beautifully personal piece from The Mighty, giving advice to those in early recovery, and were compelled to share it. Click on the following link to see full post, titled

"What I Wish I Could Tell Someone in the Early Stages of Eating Disorder Recovery"


If any of it strikes a chord for you, we encourage you to seek support. 

If you're in L.A., we offer outpatient services for those struggling with eating disorders and other mental and emotional illnesses. Please visit our website for more info on our Eating Disorder Recovery Group, and resources for individuals and families. www.pacificmft.com

Click here or scroll to the bottom of this article for details on my ED Group in Manhattan Beach.

If you or someone who know may be struggling with an eating disorder, please consult your physician, or visit the following websites for help finding resources: 



Share your Light, Spread the Love

via Pacific MFT Network (cross-post) 

Given the horrific amount of tragedies, violence, and hate polluting our world in present day, we have been thinking a lot about how we can possibly combat this as individuals in our own communities. 

Following the Orlando tragedy [#prayfororlando #prayforhumanity] just a week and a half ago, we posted this moving quote by Martin Luther King Jr...

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that".

Sometimes, it's easy to get caught up in all the darkness around us, only to slowly, tragically, experience the fading light that comes from within ourselves. 

In face of the very real, very scary existence of travesty, terror, and pain - we remind you of the power of that glimmering light inside of you.

Don't let it fade. Spread it!

Tell the person next to you why they are wonderful and worthy of love. Serve in your community. Give to the needy. Help that elderly woman to her car. Help promote a healthier environment. Save a stray and starving dog. Build a loving, humble, safe home for your family...Whatever it means to you, give your time to what's good in our world...and keep loving others...

...because "a candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - James Keller. 

Rachel Cord, Registered Marriage and Family Therapist Intern #89397. Pacific MFT Network, © 2016.

Strong Body-Strong Mind | Eating Disorder Support Group | Fall Schedule

Sliding fee scale available if needed.

See Fall schedule below.

Please contact Pacific MFT Network directly for information on joining!


Fall ED Tribe Schedule

Fall Session I

Tuesdays 430-6PM

Sep 6th

Sep 13th

Sep 20th

2 week break

Fall Session II

Tuesdays 430-6 PM

Oct 11th

Oct 18th

Oct 25th

Nov 1st

Nov 8th

Nov 15th

1 week break

Fall Session III / Holiday Session

Tuesday 430-6PM

Nov 29th

Dec 6th

Dec 13th

Dec 20th