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Kathy Marshack News

Entrepreneurs – How Mindfulness Is Good for Business

Monday, January 22, 2018


Practice mindfulness, a simple form of meditation that helps you stay focused, less stressed, and more positive, as part of your self-care regimen, to benefit yourself and your business.As an entrepreneur, you probably work long hours. Between building your business and caring for your family, self-care can quickly take a backseat.

But with what result? A lot of built up stress with no relief in sight. This is bad for you, and for your business. To combat the personal and professional consequences of the entrepreneurial lifestyle, I encourage many of clients to employ the practice of mindfulness.

What is mindfulness? Simply put, mindfulness is a form of meditation that helps you get control of your thoughts and behaviors. It is the act of focusing all of your attention on the present. You focus on what you are doing or feeling without thinking about why you’re doing it or feeling that way, what you should do next, or what you think you should be doing. Mindfulness requires that you objectively consider your thoughts and feelings, thus helping you be truly present, living in the moment.

Before you dismiss mindfulness as some sort of hippie nonsense, there is solid, scientific evidence supporting the benefits of meditation. The latest research in neuroscience suggests that mindfulness causes real, observable changes in the brain. There is decreased activity areas of the brain associated with mind-wandering combined with increased activity in the areas associated with focus and cognitive control. There is also decreased activity in the amygdala, the area of the brain associated with stress and anxiety. Finally, they have noticed an increase in activity in the left frontal cortex which is associated with positivity.

So mindfulness changes your brain to be more focused and controlled, less stressed, and more positive. How do these changes then benefit your business? Mindfulness helps you to:

  • Discover your true motivation and drive. Entrepreneurs burn out when they do things for the wrong reasons, such as fame, fortune, or notoriety. Of course everyone needs to make money, and it’s not wrong to want recognition, but if these are your only motives behind your business, you will get pulled off track quickly. Mindfulness guides you back to the greater reasons you started your business. It helps you gain satisfaction from doing things for yourself and for the right reasons. Because of this, you and your business can continue on and grow.

  • Develop resilience. You will see how every failure, every bump in the road, is a chance to learn. Instead of becoming frustrated and giving up, you will develop the resilience needed to keep going in spite of problems. You will have an easier time standing back up and dusting yourself off. It helps you continue to get things done, even under very challenging circumstances.

  • Make needed changes. Mindfulness helps you challenge your approach to life and business when you reach a roadblock or experience failure. It helps you analyze your problem and determine objectively why you are not obtaining the results you want. The process of mindfulness helps you try different things, even when you are naturally opposed to change.

  • Trust your instincts. Entrepreneurs often use their instincts and intuition to make some of the best decisions for their life and business. You need to train yourself to trust your gut. So often entrepreneurs are stressed, pulled at from all directions, get advice and input from numerous sources, to the point that they lose confidence in their own instincts. Practices like mindfulness help you tune into your inner voice and reconnect with your intuition.

  • Enjoy the success you have right now. Entrepreneurs set goals and work toward them like no one else, and that’s part of why you are successful! But many entrepreneurs fail to slow down and rejoice in their present successes. Mindfulness helps you to focus on the things that make you feel successful now. This, in turn, will help you create more success.

Entrepreneurs face many challenges. What challenges are you dealing with? Could you use help achieving a more balanced and satisfying lifestyle? If so, contact my office and schedule an appointment. My office is located in Jantzen Beach, and I also offer online therapy if that is a better fit for your busy schedule.

8 Easy Ways to Take Care of Your Brain

Wednesday, January 17, 2018


Your brain is the center and leader of your body, so take time to improve the health of your brain which will, in turn, help your whole body function at an optimal level.What are your resolutions for 2018? Popular New Year’s resolutions tend to focus on improving physical health by living a more active lifestyle. While this is important, there is a part of a person’s overall health that is often overlooked – brain health.

Why is it important to maintain a healthy brain? The brain is the center and leader of the body. When it’s not functioning at an optimal level, the whole body experiences stress. Of concern, too, is that without proper care your brain loses an average of 85,000 cells a day. This loss of brain cells contributes to the aging process.

The good news is that you can slow your brain’s aging process and increase your mental agility by thinking ahead and making brain health a priority.

How can you make brain a health a priority this year? Try some of these simple suggestions:

  • Exercise regularly. Exercise is known to literally change the size of your brain. Regular exercise has been found to boost the size of the hippocampus, the area of the brain that plays an important role in memory and learning. Exercise can double or triple the number of new cells in the hippocampus. These new cells translate to a significantly better ability to learn new things and remember experiences.

  • Eat a variety of healthful foods. What you put in your body has a direct effect on its ability to perform, starting with how your brain functions. Lean protein, whole grains, green leafy veggies, and healthy fats that contain Omega 3 fatty acids are great for your brain.

  • Stay hydrated. Your brain is 85% water, so don’t let yourself get dehydrated. Drink plenty of water. Add a little lemon or some cucumber slices if that will help motivate you to drink more water. Also steer clear of anything that dehydrates you. Alcohol, caffeine, and salt should be consumed in moderation.

  • Get more sleep. Depression, memory issues and poor decision-making skills are directly linked to lack of sleep. While you are sleeping, your brain is working hard to consolidate your memories, link them up with old memories, create new neural pathways that help you retrieve memories, and form connections between thoughts and ideas. It also uses that time to flush toxins out of your brain. So make sure you are getting 7-9 hours of sleep a night, even if you think you are functioning just fine on less.

  • Reduce stress. Easier said than done, I know. But regardless of how difficult it may be to cut stressors out of your life, it is necessary for the health of your brain. Chronic stress kills cells in the memory centers of your brain. Exercise, healthy eating, and sleep all help reduce stress levels. The practice of mindfulness can also help you refocus and recharge. Even just a few minutes of meditation can quiet your mind and reduce stress.

  • Exercise your brain. Learn a new language, learn how to dance, or just try brushing your teeth with your less dominant hand. Learning new things helps develop new neural pathways in your brain. 

  • Consider brain-training activities. The idea is that by performing certain tasks like crossword puzzles and memory games, you can improve your cognitive abilities such as memory and attention. While researchers in the field have mixed feelings about the benefits of brain-training, studies indicate that learning and thinking of any type can improve the survival and function of young brain cells.

  • Be positive. Studies have found that focusing on negative thoughts changes the brain – when thinking negatively, creativity, learning and imagination all go down. Focusing on positive, hopeful thoughts, on the other hand, changes the brain in a good way. If you struggle with positive thinking, try this: keep a gratitude journal. Write down the good things you have in your life, from big to small.

Every brain is different, though, and needs different things to stay healthy. According to Dr. Daniel Amen, a leading psychiatrist, there are 16 different brain types. Take the Aman Assessment quiz to find out what type of brain you have. Knowing your brain type can help you make decisions and lifestyle changes that will optimize your brain function, sharpen your focus, raise your energy levels, and get the right tools to conquer your day.

Still need helping achieving balance and staying healthy in all areas of your life? I can help you identify the areas that are out of balance so you can make the needed changes. Please contact my office in Jantzen Beach to schedule an appointment. I also offer online therapy if that works best for you.

Preparing the Next Generation to Take a Stand Against Corruption

Monday, January 15, 2018


Young people are upset and confused by how deep corruption, greed and abuse of power runs in our society so we need to help this next generation create a world where there is no #MeToo.Have you had a conversation with a young person about what we see going on in the news today? Are they concerned or bewildered when they see how deep corruption, greed, and abuse of power runs in our society? If you’re a parent, a teacher, a grandparent, or mentor to the next generation, you want to give careful thought about the message you’re passing on to them.

Isn’t it true that we tend to think of ethics, and a sense of justice, as inbred qualities every person has from birth? And yes, we are born with a conscience and a sense of fairness. But ethics and justice go deeper than that. For one thing, true ethics and social justice go beyond standing up for your own self. Ideally, they lead to standing up in defense of others. A deep sense of justice should motivate you to defend those who don’t have the ability or the opportunity to defend themselves. It takes real courage to stand up against a flawed institution.

Think about the #MeToo movement. There are many brave women who have stood up and come forward to reveal their experiences with abuse of power. But an equal number, if not more, of men and women who have not personally experienced abuse, have chosen to stand up right alongside them, helping lend strength to their voice. There are situations where one woman has become the public face amidst a sea of anonymous accusers, giving more credibility to the accusations.

Why is this culture of abuse and sexual harassment so prevalent in the first place? Because for years, sexual harassment was viewed as “normal.” Almost every woman has experienced some sort of unwanted sexual advances. It has gotten to the point where many women consider it a part of starting and advancing in their career. And many men come up in universities and corporations being led to believe that with power and prestige come the freedom to do whatever they want.

The issue of ethics and social justice are taught skills and qualities. Most young people haven’t yet been exposed to the corruption that is possible with unlimited power, money, and other resources. They have no experience dealing with these issues. It is our job as parents, educators and mentors to prepare them for what lies ahead in their careers and lives.

How can we help the next generation to create a world where there is no #MeToo? 
  • Create and enforce boundaries. It is absolutely vital that children learn to establish and enforce personal boundaries. They must learn that no matter how much power or influence the person asking has, they have the right to control what they do and allow others to do to them. Children must learn to stand up for themselves, even in the face of powerful people. Also teach them to respect other people’s physical and emotional boundaries.
  • Discuss and deconstruct gender roles and biases. There is nothing wrong with boys playing with trucks and girls dressing up like a princess. But make sure your kids know that they don’t have to fit into a certain box based on their gender. They can’t expect other kids to act a certain way or prefer certain things based on their gender, either.
  • Engage young people in meaningful discussions. Sexual harassment sadly begins early. Students experience it, and those who don’t, will hear about it on the news and through social media. Educators should engage their classes in conversations on the topic. Ask students questions, let them express themselves. This helps young people see that sexual harassment is not a taboo subject. It is something that can and should be discussed openly.
  • Teach young people to be each other’s allies, not just bystanders. Help the children in your life learn how to act as allies and support their peers when they see something. Teach them “ally behavior” – supporting the victim by saying something in the moment to try to stop the situation or telling a trusted adult about what happened.
  • Show them they are not alone. It is well known that someone is more willing to report a crime or challenge authority, if at least one other person joins her. So communicate with your children and make sure they know they have someone in their corner. School administrators and counsellors can create a culture in which students feel comfortable reporting problems by being approachable and showing empathy when students come forward. 
Could you use some help engaging your children in discussions about sexual harassment and helping them navigate through this tumultuous world? Or perhaps you’re coming to terms with experience that in hindsight feels like abuse? Contact my office in Jantzen Beach to schedule an appointment. With the pressures and time constraints of work and school, you may want to advantage of my online therapy option.

Make sure to sign-up for my newsletter to kept updated on the release of my newest book, “WHEN EMPATHY FAILS: How to stop those hell-bent on destroying you.” If you’ve felt powerless in the face of abuse by someone with severe Empathy Dysfunction and are ready to take back your power, please grab a copy as soon as it’s available.

Explore New Things – It Will Enrich Your Life!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018


Do you like trying new things or does it create too much anxiety? Maybe you jog the same path, drive the same route, eat the same breakfast, lunch at the same restaurant, or buy the same brand, until you’re forced to change for some reason.

It’s a brand New Year! Why not be bold and try something new for a change?

It’s good to periodically think about the daily decisions we make. Of course, habits are good in that they save us a lot of time and mental effort. But we can get into a rut that makes life seem dull and stale. Trying something new will expand your world.

True, it may be painful and may cost you something if you don’t like it. On the other hand, it may turn out to be your new favorite thing. If you never experiment, you’ll never know.

Overconfidence and preconceived ideas may be holding you back from trying something new. You might imagine it’s one way, but that presumption is nothing more than a guess. It takes humility to acknowledge that there’s no way of knowing every outcome.

Whether you apply this in your personal life or in business, remember that staying with the same old same old is going to stifle innovation, creativity and joy. Of course, if your decision involves another person’s life, you would want to exercise prudence and caution that you aren’t causing any lasting damage to yourself and others.

Are you ready to shake up the status quo?

Try something generic instead of name brand. Drive to work via a different route or use a different mode of transportation, like taking the bus. Pick out one new thing to do every day (it doesn’t have to be big) and see how much it adds to your enjoyment of life, personal growth, and connection with others.

Does the thought of change fill you with dread? If undue anxiety is keeping your from living fully, it’s time to enlist the help of a mental health professional. There are numerous ways to cope with and overcome this type of paralyzing stress and anxiety. Work with a trusted psychologist and find the option that works best for you. If you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA please contact my Jantzen Beach office and schedule an appointment. I also offer online therapy if that works best for you.

There’s Something Special Going on at Dr. Kathy’s ASD Meetup this Month

Monday, January 08, 2018


It’s been nine years since I began hosting the Asperger Syndrome: Partners & Family of Adults with ASD Meetup. When I started this group back in 2009, I intended it to be a place for those in the Portland, Oregon area to meet for lunch and find supportive friends who understood the often frustrating and isolating life of loving an adult with Asperger Syndrome.

I was ever so surprised when people from other states and then other countries started joining, just for the opportunity to share in the online discussions. We have grown to having members all over the world, on every continent. Whatever the language or the culture, we can all relate to the common theme of life with an adult with Asperger Syndrome. Currently we have 2,259 members. But there’s room for more!

What is the mission of this Meetup?

If you’re a Neurotypical Adult with a spouse, partner, sibling, parent or grown child who has Asperger Syndrome (Autism Spectrum Disorder or ASD), you will soon learn that you’re not alone. We meet in small face-to-face group meetings, and hold international teleconferences, and have intimate video conferences for those who live abroad but want the small group feel.

If you need daily support you can join one of dozens of private, online discussions. You are safe here. Only members can access the discussion boards. You can ask questions and share stories of your day. Not everyone agrees on everything, but our diversity is what creates opportunity to grow and change, and perhaps even take back your life from these very tough ASD relationships.

I hope you’ll join us as we form a community for those of us who have this unique life of being in relationship with an adult on the Autism Spectrum.

Since beginning this group I’ve also written three books, "Going Over the Edge?" "Out of Mind - Out of Sight" and soon to be released "WHEN EMPATHY FAILS: How to stop those hell-bent on destroying you."

So I have lots to talk about. However, this month I have something special planned for our free international teleconference on January 18th at 2:30PM PT. It’s entitled: Ask Dr. Marshack Anything! I'd like to "share the floor" with those among you who have lots of wisdom because you have lived this life with Aspies. Certainly you can come to the teleconference with your questions, concerns and anecdotes for me, but I also hope to hear from our many members who have been in the trenches a long time.

The reason this group thrives, is that we are there for each other. To know that you are understood and supported and not alone, is incredibly powerful isn't it?

If you’re not a member yet and you’re a NT living with an Aspie, please feel free to join this Meetup. It’s free to join, and you’ll gain a lot of supportive friends and helpful resources.

Want to Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions? Forget Willpower! Focus on Love Instead

Wednesday, January 03, 2018


If you want to keep your New Year’s Resolutions, forget about willpower for lasting and positive change starts with and remains fueled by love and gratitudeWhen you Google the phrase, “how to keep New Year’s resolutions” you’ll get 4,880,000 results to page through. If you read one of these articles per day, it would take you 13,369 days to go through them all or around 36 years. Obviously, there’s a lot of interest in learning how to keep New Year’s resolutions.

However, the success rate is appalling. A recent New York Times article said, “By Jan. 8, some 25 percent of resolutions have fallen by the wayside. And by the time the year ends, fewer than 10 percent have been fully kept.”

Why do people have so much trouble keeping their resolutions?

If you’re busy, tired or stressed, it’s hard to resist temptation. And that describes the American population, doesn’t it? We also have the tendency to be shortsighted and seek instant gratification instead of exercising self-control and willpower.

Many of today’s gurus teach that willpower is the answer. Yet when you rely on willpower, your mind is fighting against itself. That’s not good. Of note, a recent study by the Northwestern University psychologist Greg Miller, found that those using self-control had more success in resisting temptations, but it damaged their health. Stress responses increased and immune cells aged prematurely.


Instead of approaching change from the negative point of view of depriving yourself, a much healthier and more effective tool is tapping into the power of your social emotions.

Emotions like gratitude and compassion support positive aspects of life. These emotions increase the value you place on the future and for others, which naturally helps you show more patience and perseverance.

By putting something else ahead of your own immediate desires and interests, you sacrifice some resources in the moment. However, in exchange, you’ll gain stronger relationships that, in turn, give you support when you need it. And these emotions are healing. They slow your heart rate, lower your blood pressure and reduce feelings of anxiety and depression.

It’s our gratitude and compassion for others that spurs us on to keep our New Year’s Resolutions, NOT willpower. According to the research, in the long run we’re motivated by love because love keeps us focused and enjoying our goals. In spite of the short sightedness of those who rise quickly to the top because of rapacious greed, they are always outdone by our love for others. We are stronger together.

If you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA and you would like help choosing worthwhile, loving goals for the next year, please contact my Jantzen Beach office and schedule an appointment. I also offer online therapy if that works best for your busy schedule.

Time to Talk Openly on #MeToo Stress Effects of Having a Family Member with ASD

Monday, January 01, 2018


ASD meetoo stressAmid all of the stories of stress illness caused by sexual harassment and racism, shouldn't we also be looking at the stress effects on those who are caring for Aspies (those with high-functioning autism)? The research has been there for years, but now it’s surfacing in a new way. And people are finally paying attention.

While it’s more acceptable to discuss the stress of racism and now sexual harassment (thank goodness) it has been "politically incorrect" to discuss the deleterious effects of autism on the caregivers, especially when it comes to high-functioning autism. Sadly many NTs have to suffer in silence or be accused of being uncaring or even discriminatory, making us feel crazy. But it’s time to talk about it, isn't it?

Parents of children with autism especially experience depression and anxiety. They have to struggle with obtaining crucial support services, deal with the crushing financial strain, and relentless worry about their child’s future. It’s overwhelming! And if your mate is an Aspie, then it’s even worse, because the one you should be able to turn to for love and support can’t give you what you need.

That’s why I host video conferences so you can openly talk about how you can take back your health and lives from the incredible stress of living with family members with autism. If you’re a member of Asperger Syndrome: Partners & Family of Adults with ASD Meetup, please join our next low-cost video conference entitled: #MeToo Stress Effects of ASD. It will be held on January 4, 2018 at 2:30PM or January 24, 2018 at 3PM. Please come prepared to open up about the stress you live with. You’ll get support from those who know and care because they are survivors and chose to be healers, too. We’ll also be talking about tools for healing.

Another great resource is my book, Out of Mind - Out of Sight. It gives great insight into how you navigate through the crazy-making, NT/AS world. You’ll find real stories from real people who will both inspire and instruct you. If you haven’t already done so, please download a free chapter by clicking on the image below. Or you can purchase your own copy from Amazon. It’s available in paperback or Kindle edition.



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