CONTACT MY OFFICE:
(503) 222-6678 - Portland, Oregon
(360) 256-0448 Vancouver, Washington
   info@kmarshack.com

Therapy

ADD & ADHD
ADOPTIVE FAMILIES
ASPERGER & MARRIAGE
COUPLES IN BUSINESS
DEPRESSION & STRESS
ENTREPRENEURIAL LIFE
EXPAT ONLINE THERAPY
HIGH CONFLICT DIVORCE
MARRIAGE COUNSELING
MIND & BODY HEALTH
PARENTING
PERSONAL GROWTH
RECOMMENDED LINKS
NEWS CENTER
ONLINE STORE
Overview
ADD in Adults
Parenting a Child with ADD
Overview
Articles
Overview
Coping with Anxiety Disorders
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Overcoming Depression
Managing Stress
Conquering Fears & Phobias
Overcoming Social Phobia
Overview
Couples at Work & Home
Dual Career Couples
Families in Business
Overview
Recognizing High Conflict Divorce
Overview
Conflict & Communication
Infidelity
Couples at Work & Home
Love, Sex & Intimacy
Maintaining Strong Marriage
Dual Career Couples
Codependence
Advice for Singles Only
Overview
Alcoholism Recovery
Stop Smoking
Weight Control
Headache Relief
Holistic Health
Managing Blood Pressure
Releasing Unresolved Stress
Overview
Am I a Good Parent
Blended Families
Gifted Child
Coping with ADD/ADHD
Adoptive Families
Overview
Gifted Adults
When to Seek Help
Psychotherapy Options
Laid-Off from Work
Overview
Calendar of Events
Media Coverage
Newsletter
Press Center
Seminars
Related New Stories
Subscribe
Sample
Enriching Your Live Archive
Entrepreneurial Couples Archive

Enriching Your Life!

Sign up for my FREE newsletter! Get practical tips for you and your family.

Kathy Marshack News

The Odd Couple – Why Aspies and Nurturers Attract Each Other

Wednesday, February 21, 2018


Someone with Asperger Syndrome is characterized by their lack of communication skills, social skills, and reciprocity of feelings. The Aspie knows what they think and feel but are often unaware of what others think or feel. With a deficiency in these critical areas, some have wondered how someone with Asperger's develops an intimate relationship or even gets married. The answer is simple, Aspies do love. They just love in a different way.

We tend to unconsciously seek mates who have qualities we lack. It's not so surprising really that Aspies seem to attract the ultimate nurturers. You know, the kind of person who is kind, self-effacing, open-minded, understanding, willing to carry a heavy load for their loved ones. It shouldn't be a bad thing, should it? To be a loving light to others is absolutely the perfect gift.

The NT (neurotypical – the one not on the spectrum) may be attracted to the unconventional nature and child-like charm of the AS adult. They may sense that the Aspie will allow the NT his or her independence. It’s only later that they learn their AS partner isn’t supporting independence. He or she is just not aware of – and may even be disinterested in – the NT’s interests.

So the trick is to remain this loving light even under the pressures of living with Aspies who don’t acknowledge the support you’re offering. My belief is that self-care is in order if you’re going to accomplish this task. Dig deeply into your insecurities and purge them. Accept yourself for the amazing, beautiful Soul that you are.

It's also possible to help our Aspies do better by us. They need instructions in what I call the Rules of Engagement (ROE). They can certainly learn to be more polite and attentive, just not empathic.

The next the Asperger Syndrome: Partners & Family of Adults with ASD video conference is entitled, “Odd Couples – Aspies and Nurturers.” It will be held at three different times for your convenience: Thursday, March 8th at 9:00 AM PT; Wednesday, March 14th at 11:00 AM PT; and Wednesday, March 28th at 3:00 PM PT.

If you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA, and desire in-person counseling, please contact my Jantzen Beach office and schedule an appointment. I also offer online therapy if that works best for your busy schedule.

Is This Normal Anxiety... or an Anxiety Disorder?

Monday, February 19, 2018


Find out how you can tell if your anxiety has gone beyond the normal range and your feelings of nervousness, fearfulness, and apprehension could be classified as an anxiety disorder.As unwelcome as anxiety is, it is a very normal reaction to stress. There are times when we all feel nervous, fearful, or apprehensive. New experiences where you can’t anticipate the outcome, high-pressure situations and stressful events will often cause a measure of anxiety.

Anxiety is often felt physically as much as it is emotionally. It results in physical symptoms like fatigue, headaches, muscle tension, muscle aches, trembling, breathlessness, and nausea. Anxiety can also affect your mood, making you irritable or unable to relax.

The good news is that for many people, anxiety goes as quickly as it comes. Once the stressful event that induced the anxiety in the first place is over, their feelings normalize. They are able to handle the discomfort and uncertainty of anxiety without outside intervention.

But what if your feelings don’t normalize after some time passes? What if feelings of anxiety nag at you on a daily basis? You may suffer from an anxiety disorder. How can you tell?

Anxiety disorders disrupt your day-to-day life. Persons who deal with an anxiety disorder struggle with concentration, focus, and sleep. Their feelings are so severe that they begin to affect their work, relationships, and health. Anxiety becomes controlling, debilitating, and inescapable.

Anxiety disorders are persistent. Like I mentioned, normal feelings of anxiety pass relatively quickly. Persons suffering from an anxiety disorder experience severe anxiety for months. The general standard is that if you have more anxious days than not in a six-month period, you may be dealing with an anxiety disorder.

Anxiety disorders defy reason. You’ve thoroughly examined the situation causing you stress and anxiety. You’ve determined that your anxiety is more intense than the situation warrants. You know you have good reason to move on and let go of these feelings. But you still can’t seem to shake your concerns and anxiety? Something more than “normal” anxiety may be going on.

It must be noted that anxiety disorders are not “personality flaws.” They are actually physical brain disorders. People with an anxiety disorder associate a new experience with an old emotional response that lingers in their brain. The previous anxious feelings are now attached to the new, and often unrelated, experience. So even though there’s no true reason for anxiety, their brain tells you that there is.

Functional magnetic resonance images (fMRIs) of an anxious brain vs. a healthy brain shows a fundamental brain difference. They show response differences in the amygdale and in the primary sensory regions of the brain, thus supporting the theory that emotional experiences cause changes in sensory representations in anxious brains. This reaction is not something that an anxious person can control. Their brain is literally wired differently.

Do you think you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder? Contact a qualified therapist. They can perform a careful diagnostic evaluation and recommend a course of treatment. Together, you and your therapist can find the treatment and approach that is best for you.

There are measures you can take to relieve some of your anxiety outside of the treatment you are receiving from your doctor. Here are some things that have worked for my clients in the past:

  • Eat a well-balanced diet. Avoid sugar, caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco.

  • Get enough sleep.

  • Practice deep breathing techniques.

  • Exercise regularly.


  • Find time to relax and spend time with the people you love.

Remember that you can treat your anxiety disorder. Research is yielding new, improved therapies to help those with anxiety disorders to lead productive, fulfilling lives. If you think you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder, please call for an appointment. My office is located in Jantzen Beach, and I also offer convenient online therapy.

Work with Toxic People? Here's How to Cope

Wednesday, February 14, 2018


If you work with a toxic person, someone who is abusive, controlling, or try to cause you harm, find out how to cope with their behavior and what steps you can take to minimize their bullying.Do you have any toxic people in your life? People who are abusive, controlling, or try to cause you harm? Generally, you can get rid of this negativity by cutting toxic friends, family members, and acquaintances out of your life or at least drastically reducing contact with them.

But when you work with toxic people, the solution to your problem isn’t that easy. You have to work with them whether you want to or not. So how can you cope?

Here are some ways to protect yourself from a toxic workmate:

  • Assess if the person truly is toxic. Are they abusive or just difficult? Are they absorbed in themselves to the detriment of others, or are they just overcompensating? It’s worth considering because sometimes people who are not truly toxic can be won over by kindness and compassion and become less difficult. Behind their annoying behaviors, there may be feelings of inadequacy, vulnerability, or a longing for attention and personal connections.

  • Don’t take to heart what toxic people say to you or about you. Words can hurt, especially when we’re barraged with subtle digs all day long. It's easy to withdraw into yourself, feeling hurt and rejected. Then you replay, rehash, and relive the experience over and over again. Don’t do that. Don’t absorb what toxic people say and let it reach you emotionally. Stay calm and rational. Doing so will help you diffuse the situation, rather than providing the bully with the reaction they hoped for.

  • Improve your emotional intelligence (EQ). This may sound counterintuitive because the toxic person should be the one working on their EQ! But really, people with a high EQ can neutralize the effect of toxic people. They stay aware of their emotions and remain calm and objective. They establish clear boundaries and decide when they have to put up with a toxic person and when they don’t. They can keep an emotional distance from the person without becoming cold and uncaring. People with a high EQ also understand that holding a grudge doesn’t do them any good, so they have an easier time letting things go that bring them stress.

  • Continue to do your best work. Rudeness in the workplace is known to stifle creativity, problem-solving, and efficiency. Counteract the inclination to lay low at work by continuing to put your best foot forward. In addition to helping you be your best self, this also casts doubt on any negative things your toxic workmate says about you.

  • Keep your interactions with the toxic person to a minimum. Engage with them as little as possible, and they may move on to someone or something else. Speak in a neutral voice. Keep your responses short and unemotional. Stay on topics that are boring or inconsequential. Don’t engage when they taunt you or make eye contact. Avoid sharing personal information with them and don’t ask them anything personal. Make yourself seem as uninterested in them and as uninteresting to them as possible.

  • Document everything.
    Make sure to keep a record of toxic behavior. Write down what happened, when it happened, who witnessed it, etc. Keep emails, notes, and even voicemails. If things reach a point a point where you need to bring the problem to the attention of your employer, Human Resources, or beyond, this ensures you have the necessary information to make your case.

  • Focus on yourself. You can be happy if you keep your focus on what you can control, not what you can’t. You can’t control your workmate or make them change their personality. But you can continue to work becoming the best possible version of yourself. And remember, sometimes they healthiest choice is to walk away. You can work elsewhere!

Toxic people in the workplace often have severe Empathy Dysfunction (EmD). This is characterized by an “all-about-me” attitude and is manifested in thoughtless, self-absorbed behavior. The result is contemptible harm to those around them. My upcoming book, “When Empathy Fails – How to stop those hell-bent on destroying you,” delves into Empathy Disorders and offers advice on how you can protect yourself from people who can’t or won’t demonstrate empathy. You can read the first chapter here.

Are you in a position of leadership and see signs of toxic behavior in your business? Or are you on the receiving end of this type of demoralizing behavior and want it to stop? Many have found that consulting with a trained therapist and business coach has helped them find positive solutions. Please contact my office in Jantzen Beach to schedule an appointment or take advantage of online therapy.

My New Book Introduces You to the Empathy Scale (EmD Scale)

Monday, February 12, 2018


Over a decade ago, it felt like my life turned into a nightmare of intrigue not unlike a Hollywood crime mystery script. I felt like Julia Roberts in the movie “The Pelican Brief,” wondering how she’d gotten herself into such a mess, being forced to learn on the fly how to protect herself from a group of unscrupulous conspirators.

In my case, it wasn’t a fictional plot. It is a true crime story about a suburban mom in the eye of a perfect storm of greedy neighborhood bullies wrongfully enlisting the aid of pawns — several of them elected — in judicial, legal, and law enforcement systems.

My decade from hell began with a sad, but not uncommon, divorce story. My scorned husband used parental alienation to harm me. His efforts were effective. Neither of my daughters has spoken to me for years. Following the divorce, I was besieged by a host of unethical and absolutely selfish power brokers, who stirred up a hateful and destructive mob.

Sadly, my daughters are also among those who were victimized by the perfect storm of dangerous players in our lives. In turn, my two girls victimized me. That’s why the first chapter of my new book is entitled: “No One Calls Me Mom Anymore.” You can read chapter one for free by downloading a copy here.

For years, I’ve puzzled over what toxic people have in common. It finally occurred to me that all of them have one thing in common: deficiency in empathy to some degree or another. This was my “Eureka” moment! It made everything clear.

Next, I had the revelation that I could categorize empathy dysfunction into various levels of empathy (or non-empathy). My hunches and hard work had begun to take shape and culminated in my designing the Empathy Dysfunction Scale (EmD).

I’ve already introduced you to EmD-5 Radiant Empathy, in an earlier blog post that described it as “the ability to care for the feelings and thoughts of others without any need for reciprocity. It takes a lifetime to develop Radiant Empathy because it’s the combination of a healthy brain and life experience.”

My new book, When Empathy Fails – How to stop those hell-bent on destroying you clearly defines the six levels of empathy, from EmD-0 to EmD-5. (It will soon be available in Kindle and print editions on Amazon. Sign up for my newsletter, so you’re notified right away.)

The most important thing I want you to take away from reading Chapter One “No One Calls MeMom Anymore,” is how to spot people with Empathy Dysfunction, and then stop them dead in their tracks, using the tools that worked for me — before they damage you or your loved ones.

Eventually, I came out on the other side of it all, triumphant and at peace. So can you. Be sure to download your free chapter today. After you read it, please visit my Facebook page and tell me what you think.

“I, Tonya” Reminds Us That We Can’t Afford to Ignore Child Abuse

Wednesday, February 07, 2018


“I, Tonya” Reminds Us – We Can’t Afford to Ignore Child AbuseWhy do people do what they do? What makes them tick? As a psychologist, these are questions I often ponder. An award winning movie I saw recently sparked these questions again. It was “I, Tonya,” a true story of a downtrodden girl and woman who had no idea how to handle abuse and it ended tragically.

If you watched the news in 1994, you couldn’t miss the scandal that rocked the Olympic skating world. You may remember how Tonya Harding’s ex-husband Jeff Gillooly hired a friend to crush the knee of her rival, Nancy Kerrigan. Sentiment was pretty hot in Oregon at the time, since Tonya was an Oregonian and the disappointment was fierce. So you might not agree with the way everything is portrayed in this movie.


However, I’m looking at this movie as a reminder to show insight and look beyond behaviors and see why people act as they do.

When children are abused and grow up feeling insecure, unloved and unwanted it will change the way they live. Here’s an excerpt from Tonya’s New York Times interview:

“People don’t understand that what you guys see in the movie is nothing,” she said. “That was the smallest little bits and pieces. I mean, my face was bruised. My face was put through a mirror, not just broken onto it. Through it. I was shot. That was true.” Mr. Gillooly shot at the ground, she said, and it ricocheted onto her face. (He has denied this and other abuse.) She said her mother threw a knife at her. (Her mother has also denied allegations made by Ms. Harding.) But “that’s all true,” she said.

Whether her entire story is true or not, what is true is that child abuse is all too common. According to Child Welfare League of America 2016 Oregon State Fact Sheet during October 2015-September 2016:

  • “76,668 reports of abuse and neglect were received. 
  • 38,086 of these reports were referred for investigation.
  • 37,320 investigations were completed, which includes reports that were referred in the previous year.
  • Of all completed investigations, 7,677 were founded for abuse or neglect and involved 11,843 victims. 
  • Of all victims, 46.3 percent were younger than 6 years old.
  • Of all types of maltreatment incidences, neglect was the most frequently identified type of maltreatment (42.9 percent), followed by threat of harm (40.7 percent).”

I’m not advocating that victims of abuse should be excused from their bad or criminal behavior. However, if we want to stop the behavior, we must break the cycle of abuse. If we see evidence of abuse we must speak up.

In January, we saw the shocking account of the Californian couple who beat, shackled and severely malnourished their children to the point that the 29-year-old daughter weighs just 82 pounds. When asked, neighbors reported that they thought something odd was going on, but they did nothing about it.

A man who attended third grade with one of the girls wrote on Facebook: “I can’t help but feel an overwhelming sense of guilt and shame. Of course, none of us are responsible for the events that ensued, but you can’t help but feel rotten when the classmate your peers made fun of for ‘smelling like poop’ quite literally had to sit in her own waste because she was chained to her bed, It is nothing but sobering to know that the person who sat across from you at the lunch table went home to squalor and filth while you went home to a warm meal and a bedtime story.”

Rather than passing judgment on people you meet, take the time to get to know them better and gain insight into why they behave as they do. It may be the first time anyone has every bothered, and your kindness could be a turning point for the better. In fact stepping up to confront child abuse isn’t always so difficult, even though it requires courage. Don’t blame; offer help.

It sickens me when the ones who are out to get you are the ones who should care the most about you. That’s one of the reasons I wrote my book, When Empathy Fails – How to stop those hell-bent on destroying you. The first chapter, “No One Calls Me Mom Anymore” is now available for free download. After you read it, I’d love it if you’d visit my Facebook page and tell me what you think.

Choose Your Empathy Perspective Wisely – It’s the Difference Between Mental Health and Anguish

Tuesday, February 06, 2018


Empathy is what binds all humans. It’s in the act of relating and connecting to others that we become more human and develop our identity within the human family.

On the other hand, Empathy Dysfunction can divide us from that human family. Attempting to engage with someone with Empathy Dysfunction can leave us feeling unheard and unimportant. This disconnect brings us down emotionally and creates chaos in our lives in no time flat!

Empathy is multidimensional – it’s a dynamic, evolving process, not a human trait. From empathy comes the ability to hold dear the feelings and thoughts of others. And if your empathy skills are highly-evolved you won’t confuse the psychological boundaries. You won’t be taking responsibility for another person’s intentions or feelings. This distinction is critical. Empathy is respectfully allowing the other person to take responsibility for his or her own life. (In AA or other 12-step programs, the ability to do this is called detachment.)

Because most people register EmD-4 on the scale, (more about the Empathy Dysfunction Scale in an upcoming blog post) they can often confuse these boundaries and take on too much for themselves. They energetically internalize the feelings and pain of others — and often have trouble distinguishing someone else’s discomfort from our own.

A new study shows that how we arrive at the empathy – our perspective – is as important as being empathetic. Researchers found that there are two routes we take to achieving empathy.

One approach observes and infers how someone feels – the imagine-other perspective-taking (IOPT).
The second approach is putting yourself in someone’s shoes – the imagine-self perspective-taking (ISPT).

How do these empathy perspectives differ?

You can acknowledge another person’s feelings without it affecting you deeply. That’s the IOPT perspective.

The ISPT ups the ante by actually taking on the emotions you see in the other person. They’re sad and you feel sad. The researchers in this study found that:

“When we are feeling threatened or anxious, some peripheral blood vessels constrict, making it harder for the heart to pump blood through the body, and people who engaged in ISPT had greater levels of this threat response compared to people who engaged in IOPT.”

It’s important to learn how to continue to be empathetic without that empathy creating a burden. If you don’t, you’ll burn out or at the least shy away from helping others, because it’s just too painful.

Dr. Poulin, one of the co-authors of the above study, suggests, “Rather than saying to a child, ‘How would you feel if that were done to you?’ maybe we should be saying, ‘Think about how that person is feeling,’”

My new book, When Empathy Fails – How to stop those hell-bent on destroying you sheds a great deal of light on how you can protect yourself and still be a highly empathetic person. My readers get a sneak preview…download a free chapter even before it’s available for sale. After reading it, I’d love to hear feedback over on my Facebook page.

How Can You Tell if You’re Codependent of Your Aspie?

Monday, January 29, 2018


Merriam-Webster defines codependence as “a psychological condition or a relationship in which a person is controlled or manipulated by another who is affected with a pathological condition (such as an addiction to alcohol or heroin); broadly: dependence on the needs of or control by another.”

What are some signs of codependency? If you answer “yes” to the following questions, you’re codependent…

  • Does your sense of purpose involve making extraordinary sacrifices to satisfy your partner's needs?
  • Is it difficult to say “no” when your partner makes demands on your time and energy?
  • Do you cover for your partner’s social faux pas, substance abuse, or problems with the law?
  • Do you constantly worry about others’ opinions of you?
  • Do you feel trapped in your relationship?
  • Do you keep quiet to avoid arguments?

Healthy relationships take a lot of work, and they begin with knowing who you are, what you want, what your higher purpose is. If those things get overshadowed, neglected, or stifled because of your partner, you’re suffering from codependency.

So what is the likelihood that you’re codependent of your Aspie? Extremely high. You can't help it. The moment your Aspie leaves something undone, you take over; that's codependency. The moment your Aspie walks away before you've finished your sentence, and you let it go or follow him/her around trying to be heard; that's codependency. The moment you make excuses to others for your Aspie's rude or thoughtless conduct; that's codependency. The moment you warn your children to avoid annoying their Aspie parent or sibling; that's codependency.

The worst part about codependency is waking up one day to realize that you've become so codependent that you're not sure who you are anymore. You have fully become the structure underpinning the life of another. Your own sense of self and your self-worth are nonexistent. Evidence of you still exists in the form of memories when you used to laugh and be creative, and you could sleep peacefully instead of fitfully. Shall I go on?

Our next Asperger Syndrome: Partners & Family of Adults with ASD Meetup is going host the free, international teleconference entitled: Am I Codependent? It will be held on Thursday, February 15th at 2:30 PM PT. It will set the tone for getting the New Year off to a good start by taking back your own life! I'm looking forward to meeting the real you and you and you.

If you prefer to work with me one-on-one and 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 your busy schedule.

Empathy Dysfunction (EmD) Is More Common Than You Think

Wednesday, January 24, 2018


You’d think that everyone has at least a little bit of empathy, right? Contrary to this popular belief, I’ve discovered that this is not so. Some people have no empathy at all, while others display a limited measure of empathy. That’s why Empathy Dysfunction (EmD), although it isn’t a household term, is so important to understand. It explains so much about the state we’re in these days.

I’ve spent over 40 years observing and treating people with a variety of problems, such as narcissists, sociopaths, autistics, alcoholics, and the brain-injured. What do they all have in common? Empathy Dysfunction (EmD). The one constant I’ve discovered among all of these is that their problem with empathy causes the greatest damage to their relationships.

These are a few examples of Empathy Dysfunction (EmD):

  • Your wallet is stolen by someone who looked you in the eye.
  • Your good friend lies to you repeatedly.
  • Your loved ones accuses you of interfering when you try to rescue them from their harmful choices
  • Your heart breaks when your children turn against you.

Empathy Dysfunction (EmD) also explains most of the problems we experience in our NT/AS relationships. As far as I am concerned it’s the most important factor. Once you have mastered the mysteries of your Aspie loved ones Empathy Dysfunction (EmD), you stand a much better chance of surviving and even enlivening your relationship.

It's not that I have a cure for Autism Spectrum Disorder. Far from it. But I do get it. I get that they don't get us. They don't think like us. They don't think about us. They don't plan their lives around their relationships. They don't know themselves in relation to us.

It’s such a conundrum, isn't it? We spend every waking moment considering others. It’s not that we’re self-serving martyrs. Rather it's just natural to think about the thoughts of others, to consider how they may feel about our actions, and to get why others think the way they do even if we disagree. That's empathy. We have it. They don't.

It’s freeing to have this realization, so that you’re never again stuck in the despair of wondering what's going on, or if you’re loved, or if you’re wasting your time seeking to be understood from an Aspie who doesn’t seek understanding at all.

In my upcoming Asperger Syndrome: Partners & Family of Adults with ASD video conference entitled When Empathy Fails, I'll share with you the highlights of I’ve learned about Empathy Dysfunction or what I call EmD. It will be held on Wednesday, January 31st, at 11:00 AM PT (FULL), Tuesday, February 6th at 9:00 AM PT (a few spots open) or Wednesday, February 21st at 3:00 PM PT (a few spots open). Make sure you register today and put it on your calendar. You’re not going to want to miss this one!

I have a lot to say about Empathy Dysfunction (EmD), because I’ve just finished writing a book about it. It’s entitled "WHEN EMPATHY FAILS: How to stop those hell-bent on destroying you." Download your free copy of the first chapter, "No One Calls Me Mom". Of course not all of our Aspies are hell-bent on destroying us, but it feels like it some days, doesn't it?


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.


Recent Posts RSS


Tags


Archive