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Kathy Marshack News

Guidelines to Help Your Children Adapt to Change

Monday, August 21, 2017


Mother talking to her daughterOne of the best parts of life is change. One of the worst parts of life is change. How is that? As exciting as change can be, it can also be daunting, even frightening. Even a person who generally adapts well to change will experience apprehension about some of life’s changes at some point.

If we experience fear of change sometimes, what about our children?

Their lives are in a constant state of change. Just think about the physical changes they go through from infancy to adulthood. They’re also processing enormous amounts of new information and learning at a rapid pace. As a parent, you no doubt work hard to build in your children the resilience they will need to cope with these changes.

There are bigger changes that our children must adapt to. What about the loss of a parent or grandparent? Divorce? A parent remarrying? How can you help your children adapt to changes of this magnitude?

As a child, your son or daughter depends on you to help them make sense of major changes in their life. You must take the time to help them understand what is going on and adjust. The guiding principle here is to slow down and communicate.

Here are some key communication guidelines for parents:

Like all people, children need to know they are loved and cared for. It is also important for them to believe that someone needs and relies on them. They want to know their existence and presence makes a difference to other people. Listen to your children and support them. As kids navigate new situations and inevitable disappointments, they need to know that they’re not alone. Cultivate a warm, strong relationship.


Talk to them openly about what is happening, and give them opportunities to tell you how they feel, without criticism. Regardless of how you feel about the changes and how you are ready to proceed, you need to know what your child is thinking and feeling.


Be in tune with how each child is dealing with the changes in their life. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to children. Each child is unique and has different strengths and weaknesses. Some can handle more than others. This means spending time with each of your children individually and allowing them to share their own feelings on the matter, separate from the rest of the family.


A key part of developing resilience and dealing with change is emotional management. Teach your kids that emotions are okay! It’s okay to feel. And it’s okay to feel differently than their parents about a situation. They need to know that what they share will be respected and safe.


Answer your child’s questions. Some of them may be painful. You may think your child isn’t old enough to understand. But honesty is vital when helping your children adapt to big changes in their lives. If they can’t get a straight answer from you, who can they turn to?


Be honest about your mistakes. Some big changes come because of mistakes made. Making mistakes is a part of life. Life is about learning something new every day. Sometimes those lessons cause pain, or even permanent scars. It is natural to not want your children to see those mistakes or experience any of the pain associated with them. But know this: whatever stress you are feeling as a parent, your children are feeling it as well.


Use the situation as a teaching tool. Demonstrate to your children that failure is not the end of the world. Show them that it is absolutely possible to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and move on. Be honest with them about what is happening and why. If you are honest, it not only teaches your children a lesson, but it also helps them forgive and start to heal.


Even if you are doing the best you can to communicate with your child, there are times when he or she may need professional help to deal with big changes and stress in their life. Or perhaps you could use some support as you lead your family through life’s ups and downs. Please contact my office to set up an appointment. I have an office in Jantzen Beach where we could talk in person. I also offer online therapy if it is more convenient for you.

Avoid a Crisis – How Entrepreneurs Can Be Proactive About Mental Health

Monday, August 14, 2017


Man in suit holding happy face signWhat kinds of qualities come to mind when you think of a successful entrepreneur? Are they creative, tenacious, self-sacrificing? What about depressed, anxious, or obsessive?

The same qualities that make a person a successful entrepreneur can also make them vulnerable to a host of mental health issues. Some issues like Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) can, in the beginning, propel an entrepreneur to success. But there is a fine line between healthy and harmful.

Depression, anxiety, feelings of worthlessness, and a lack of motivation can arise and develop when entrepreneurs are overly focused on their business. Because entrepreneurs are driven to succeed, it is easy for them to push through tough times without pausing to evaluate if their negative feelings are part of a bigger issue that needs attention.

Do you find yourself paying little attention to the effect your schedule and lifestyle may be having on your mental health?

When you put your mental health on the back burner, you set yourself up for a mental health crisis later. If you neglect your physical health, you run the risk of disease, injury, or a traumatic event like a heart attack. Similarly, if you neglect your mental health, your brain and body will force you to slow down and take a break, but not in a manner that feels good for you or helps your business.

Wouldn’t it be better to be proactive about your mental health, caring for it before you experience a crisis? They key is to not wait until you’re broken. By waiting too long to take care of yourself, you’ll make it much harder to get back to where you want to be.

The good news is that you don’t have to be sick to get better. Here are four things you can do now to maintain good mental health and avoid a crisis later on:

  1. Care for your basic needs. As an entrepreneur, you work long hours. That’s a given. But prioritize sleep, healthy eating, exercise, and time with friends and family. Adequate sleep is absolutely vital to function at optimum levels. Eating good food gives your mind the nutrients it needs to make brilliant business decisions. Exercise relieves stress. Time spent with those you love keeps you balanced
  2. Simplify your life. The life of an entrepreneur is full of activity and decisions. Don’t make things harder than they need to be. Where you can simplify, do it. For you that may mean using a grocery delivery service or having limited wardrobe options to sort through each morning. Simplify as many things in your life as you can so that you can focus on the areas that will benefit most from your attention and creativity.
  3. Get help with the details. To make your vision succeed, there are a lot of teeny-tiny details to work out. Hire someone to help you. You have skills, but you are not skilled at everything. So outsource the things you need to. Let other people care for the details while you continue focusing on what you are best at.
  4. Hire a psychologist. People who regularly attend to their psychological health are not only stronger emotionally, but they are less prone to illness and experience a better sense of personal well-being. Engaging in psychotherapy enhances your analytical and intuitive abilities by utilizing the full range of your conscious and unconscious talents. It helps you take charge of your life.

If you’re ready to take a proactive stance, I can help you achieve strong mental health so you can grow your business and succeed as an entrepreneur. Please contact my office. I have an office in Jantzen Beach, and I also offer online therapy if that works best for your lifestyle

What Scientists Are Learning About Exercise and Your Brain

Monday, July 17, 2017


Older couple riding bikesDo you exercise regularly? No doubt you’ve heard of all the benefits. Exercise is good for all kinds of things like lowering your risk of heart disease, helping you lose weight, and maintaining your overall health. It also helps you emotionally by releasing endorphins that help regulate your mood.
 
Exercise also helps protect your memory and thinking ability. How? By literally changing your brain!
 
Researchers have found that exercise can 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. It does this via a process called neurogenesis, or the birth of new brain cells. 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.
 
A better memory and learning ability is beneficial for your life now, but it is also helpful over the long-term. In Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, the hippocampus is one of the first parts of the brain to suffer damage. A larger hippocampus can help delay the symptoms of these diseases as you get older.
 
It is of note that research finds aerobic exercise to be the most beneficial form of exercise to boost the size of the hippocampus. This is exercise that gets your heart pumping, your blood flowing, and the sweat running. Resistance training and balance exercises did not produce the same results.
 
Exercise also helps you sleep better. A number of chronic physical and mental health problems are caused by insufficient sleep, one of which is poor memory. Your brain cleans up while you sleep. There are studies that show that during sleep, the space between brain cells enlarge, allowing toxins to flush out. This research suggests that not sleeping allows toxins to build up, possibly ultimately triggering brain diseases like Alzheimer’s.
 
Have you noticed that your thinking ability is negatively affected when you are feeling stressed or anxious? Exercise is a huge help in improving your mood, and reducing stress and anxiety. When your stress levels are under control, your cognitive abilities greatly improve.
 
Hopefully you already have a healthy routine that incorporates regular exercise. The recommendation for exercise is 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. That is just 30 minutes, 5 days a week. Moderate exercise includes walking, swimming, biking, or a sport like tennis.
 
If you are having trouble motivating yourself to keep up an exercise routine, or even start one, then try getting your spouse or a friend involved. Ask them to go with you. It will hold you accountable and make the experience fun! Also, start small. Try a 20-minute walk around the neighborhood at first. Then add more time and distance.
 
Schedule exercise like you would a business meeting. You don’t cancel on your colleagues or clients, so don’t cancel on yourself. Make it a priority, and your brain will benefit!
 
Exercise is only one part of staying healthy and balanced. Make sure to sign-up for my newsletter, Enriching Your Life, to stay up-to-date on new findings that impact your health and wellness. Simply enter your information in the box on the left to start receiving your copy.

Read more on my website: Holistic Health.

Take a Deep Breath – You’ll Feel Better

Monday, July 10, 2017


Woman sitting on park bench relaxingWhen you were a kid, did your parents tell you to take long, deep breaths to help calm you down when you were upset?  As an adult, you may have noticed that popular practices like meditation, yoga and mindfulness, incorporate deep breathing. Even if you’ve never consciously thought about it, do you find yourself controlling your breathing when trying to combat anger or anxiety?

Why is concentrated deep breathing such a big deal? Our breathing patterns do much more than simply keep us alive. Here are just a few of the things deep breathing can do for you:

  • Strengthen the immune system and detoxify the body

  • Relieve pain

  • Reduce stress and blood pressure

  • Strengthen abdominal and intestinal muscles

  • Aid in healthy sleep patterns

  • Increase energy levels

It is fascinating to see how the different systems in our minds and bodies are so intertwined. Deep breathing releases endorphins, those feel-good, natural painkillers created by your own body. When practicing deep breathing, the movement of the diaphragm helps remove toxins from the organs, promoting better blood flow. Better blood flow and deeper breaths mean more oxygen coursing through the body. Oxygen provides energy, so that increase in oxygen in your body equates to a higher energy level for you!

Why is it that taking a deep breath is so effective in relieving stress and anxiety? Researchers recently conducted a study on mice (check out the New York Times write-up on the research study) that showed taking deep breaths is calming because it doesn’t activate the neurons that communicate with the brain’s arousal center. In contrast, shorter, shallower breaths activate neurons that throw the brain into a state of anxiety.

Breathing slowly and mindfully, activates the hypothalamus, connected to the pituitary gland in the brain, to send out chemicals that inhibit stress-producing hormones and trigger a relaxation response in the body. Hormones are also secreted that decrease blood pressure and heart rate.

Are you ready to start breathing deeply now? As simple as it sounds, breathing mindfully takes practice. When under stress, we often take shallow breaths, not using our full lung capacity.

You want to breathe from your diaphragm. Try this exercise:

Sit up straight and place your hands on your belly, just above your belly button. Let your fingertips touch lightly. Exhale fully through your mouth. Breath in deeply through your nose and into your belly, so your fingertips start to spread apart. Hold your breath for two to five seconds. Exhale slowly through your mouth. Match the length of the inhale with the length of the exhale. Continue breathing in this manner for five to ten minutes.


Try to practice your breathing technique daily. The secret is simply to breathe, deeply and often. In addition, focusing on your breathing during physical activities, such as exercise, can help you become more mindful of your body.

Sometimes you need more than deep breathing to combat your anxiety. I can work with you to reduce your anxiety and get the most out of your life! Please contact my office to set up an appointment.  I have an office in Jantzen Beach where we can meet in person or I offer online therapy for those residing in Oregon or Washington states if that is more convenient for you.

Look on the Bright Side - You Can Do It Even If You're a Natural Pessimist

Monday, June 19, 2017


Arrow and sign saying positive thinkingDoesn’t it seem like most people fall into one of two groups? There are the upbeat optimists who see the good in situations and then there are negative pessimists who tend to expect the worst. Which group are you in? If you tend toward the negative, then this article is for you!
 
There are certainly times and situations that bring negative emotions. Processing those negative feelings is a necessary part of the healing process. What I’m talking about here, doesn’t apply to a fairly short-lived sad, angry, or negative period in your life. I’m referring to overall perspective on life – the way you view your life, your future, even the people in your life.
 
Chronic pessimism inhibits your ability to bounce back from disappointments and life’s inevitable stresses. It can also strain relationships at home and at the workplace. But your perspective on life affects more than just how other people relate to you – it actually influences your health.
 
Recent studies are finding that optimistic people have better heart health than their pessimistic counterparts. (Read more about these studies in this NY Times article.) Optimists are more likely to eat a healthy diet, avoid smoking and overdrinking, and prioritize regular exercise than pessimists. As a result, they maintain healthier blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels. Optimism helps patients heal faster from illness or injury and boosts the immune system to prevent colds and flu.
 
The good news is that, with a little practice, you can become more positive. This isn’t a fake optimism. “Putting on a show” to look like you are feeling upbeat about life isn’t going to help. But you really can train yourself to feel optimistic from the inside out.
 
This is done by re-training your brain to think positively. There are neural pathways in your brain that control emotion. If you tend toward negative thinking, the neural pathways for negativity become stronger, kind of like a beaten down path through the forest. A lifetime of pessimistic thinking can produce some beaten down negative pathways! Negativity becomes your brain’s go-to emotion.
 
On the up side, your brain is capable of generating new pathways, and it’s possible to train the circuitry in your brain to promote positive responses. When you look for the good, you activate different neural circuits in your brain. Dopamine and serotonin production is increased, soothing and calming you. The more you stimulate these circuits in your brain, the stronger they become. Positivity will become a more automatic response.
 
It’s not a matter of making one, huge change. There are small things you can do every day to progressively strengthen your positive neural pathways. Here are four suggestions:
 
  1. Begin each day with a positive thought. It will help you set the tone for how you will choose to think for the day.
  2. Live one moment at a time. Stop worrying about the past and the future. Focus on the present and making that day the best it can be. The practice of mindfulness helps many of my clients to focus and see the good in their day.
  3. Practice gratitude. Having a grateful attitude is linked to everything from better mental and physical health to greater satisfaction in life and relationships. Look for the moments, big and small, that you are thankful for.
  4. Do good for others. If you focus on thinking about other people and working to make their life better, you think about your own problems and worries less. This, in turn, keeps you from dwelling on the negative and moves you to focus on the positive.

If your negative feelings run too deep, there may be something else in your life that needs attention. Stress comes when the different aspects of your life fall out alignment. I can help you identify where you are out of balance and guide you back into a healthy, productive alignment. Please contact my office to set up an appointment.  I have an office in Jantzen Beach where we can meet in person or I offer online therapy if that’s a better fit for you.

Don’t Be Afraid to Seek Solitude to Refresh Yourself

Monday, May 01, 2017


Don’t be afraid to be alone with your thoughts, because only through productive solitude and introspection can you know yourself and find peace.Do you make time to be alone with your thoughts? Many people are actually afraid to allow such solitude. Any lull in a conversation and they have to jump in and say something. And when they’re alone, they’re always plugged in…to their phone, to music, to noise in the background. Quiet makes them nervous.

The Altlantic ran a recent article that said that embracing solitude can have huge psychological benefits as it helps you confront who you are and how you can “out-maneuver some of the toxicity surrounding you”. Yet it also reported on a study that a quarter of the woman participants and two-thirds of the men chose experiencing electric shock over being alone with their thoughts. That’s severe!

Clearly, many people are suppressing unresolved issues rather than facing them. While it can be uncomfortable or even painful to confront these issues, in the long run, your mental and physical health will improve if you allow yourself the time to process them. Many people find that enlisting the help of a trained mental health professional gives them the support they need to effectively resolve these stresses. (I’ve had wonderful success using NET – Neuro Emotional Technique to help my clients let go and move on.)

While it’s true that solitary confinement has been used as a punishment that can drive some people crazy, intentionally seeking solitude can be a rejuvenating experience if you know how to regulate your emotions effectively. Productive introspection let’s you get acquainted with yourself, one of the most important relationships you can have. Without such times of solitude you can develop a group mentality. Instead of thinking for yourself, you may let the group define who you are more than you think possible.

How can you find solitude in your busy life?

  • Rise before others and go for a walk outside as the sun rises.
  • Leave the radio off when you drive.
  • Start a practice of meditation.
  • Take solitary walks at lunchtime.
  • Make a day trip by yourself to wander around a contemplative place like the Portland Japanese Garden.
  • Turn off devices and journal about your thoughts in the evening.

The more you seek times of productive solitude the more pleasurable it will become. Some of the long-lasting benefits are that you’ll gain clarity on your priorities, desires, and needs. You’ll know who you are and what you stand for. You’ll reinforce your convictions and beliefs.

If the silence is too painful because you’re plagued by something that you can’t resolve, please seek the help of a trained professional. You deserve to enjoy life more fully. If you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA please contact my office and schedule an appointment. Or if you’re an American living in a foreign land, please feel free to request remote counseling.

Why Expatriates Can Benefit from Remote Counseling

Monday, April 17, 2017


Woman smiling and looking at computer screenAre you an expat? Are you living and/or working in a country other than your native one? Your reasons for moving abroad may have included secular work, volunteer work, retirement, or a quest to immerse yourself in a new culture for an extended period of time. It is an amazing privilege and experience to live in a new place and learn new things.

To be a successful expat, you know that you cannot simply recreate your old home and environment. So you’re probably working hard to learn the language. Maybe you’re experimenting with new ingredients and cooking techniques. You’re finding your new favorite market, coffee shop, breakfast nook, and bookstore. And you’re getting to know your new community and seek to become a contributing part of it.

These exciting changes and adjustments, though, are part of why some expats struggle emotionally. Take, for instance, suddenly living in an environment where few people speak your language. The people at work may speak it, but those in the community, on public transportation, at the market, and behind the counter at a restaurant may not. To be constrained by language barriers is isolating. Even when you have some grasp of your new language, fluency takes time and the process can be frustrating.

As an expat, you also have to adjust to your new environment. Your new area may not be as safe as your previous neighborhood, limiting mobility and walks alone. Or maybe your spouse is working, leaving you to fend for yourself during the day. And if you do want to grab lunch with a friend while your spouse is at work? They are all back in your native country, and phone calls can be expensive!

This can all lead to feelings of isolation, frustration, or depression. You realize that you could really use the help of a therapist to navigate your transition to a new life in a new country. But how do you find a therapist when you live abroad?

It can be a challenge. There may not be that many qualified therapists in your area. And finding them isn’t always easy. When you do find a good therapist, they may not speak your language. If you are living in a small community, there is also a chance you know the therapist. It can be uncomfortable to open up to someone who has connections to your outside life.

What is an expat to do? To fill this void in mental health care, I am starting a new service designed specifically for expatriates. Remote Counselling Services for Expats utilizes a HIPPA compliant, online video program to connect us, no matter where you are in the world. Via video conferences, I can help you navigate the unique situations that you face.

I have over thirty years of counseling experience, and I am so excited to offer my services to those living abroad! If you are an expatriate and are experiencing trouble adjusting to your new life, please take advantage of this unique, new service so you can get the most of your international experience and your life!

How to Use Mindfulness to De-Stress at Your Desk

Monday, April 03, 2017


Here are some practical ways to use mindfulness to de-stress at your desk so you can mindfully choose mental and emotional states that most benefit you.Is work getting you down? Do you carry the job stresses home to your family, inflicting them with your bad mood? That just creates more stress, doesn’t it? If you’re ready to try something new that stops this cycle, I’ve got a recommendation for you…try mindfulness.

What is mindfulness? Basically it means you’ve developed a focused mental state based on your awareness of the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting your feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations.

If you have a daily practice of mindfulness at your desk, you can release the tension as it begins rather than letting it build like a pressure cooker ready to explode. Try these simple mindfulness ideas and see if they don’t work for you…

  • Focus on one thing at a time. Mindfulness helps you hone in on the one thing you need to accomplish at this moment in time. This helps you avoid the temptation to multitask.
  • Be aware of what your body needs. You know how sitting for hours staring at a computer screen makes you feel. It’s not pleasant. Don’t just sit there and take it. Move your body until it’s relieved. Stand up, stretch and move at least once an hour to relieve any tightening and to remind yourself to keep good posture.
  • Keep yourself centered. You know how stress can make you feel off kilter and out of sorts. Take time to collect yourself. Find a quiet place and relax through meditation or going for a walk.
  • Clear out the clutter to stay in the moment. When all those nagging, little tasks pile up, it’s amazing how much stress they exert on you. If they can be done in 5 minutes or less, clear them out of the way.
  • Breathe. When you get up to stretch, do a few breathing exercises too. Draw air deeply into your lungs and feel yourself relax. Too often people breathe shallowly, which adds to your feelings of anxiety.
  • Remember your purpose. The job isn’t everything. Work is a means to make a living so you and your family are happy and healthy. This puts things in perspective and helps you create boundaries so work stays at work, so you’re no longer taking it home with you.

Sometimes stress builds up and becomes a chronic problem that detrimentally affects all areas of your life. If this has happened to you, please seek the help of a mental health professional. If you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA please feel free to contact my office and schedule an appointment so we can get it resolved and you can move on.


Read more on my website: Managing Stress and Releasing Unresolved Stress.

Parents – Are Your Financially Dependent Adult Children Draining You?

Wednesday, March 29, 2017


Financially helping your adult children get established on their own may seem harmless, yet there’s danger in giving them money without skills to use it wisely.As a parent, you want the best for your children. So when they’re trying to get established on their own, giving them money seems so simple, so harmless. But what if it goes on year after year? When and where do you draw the line?

If you’re providing financial assistance for your adult children, it may get to the point that you feel like you’re not helping them any longer, that you’re actually hindering their progress toward standing on their own two feet. It’s important to consider these things, since ongoing financial help is a growing trend that will have long-term consequences for your child’s well-being and happiness. Well-meaning help can become an ongoing handout that destroys your joy and your child’s initiative and self-confidence.

A recent New York Times article reports on a survey of more than 2,000 young adults from 2007 to 2013. The findings show that today almost half of them receive financial assistance from their parents. Although two-thirds of high school students go to college, only half end up graduating. And they’re taking longer to get it done.

There are many factors involved such as the high price in rent in urban area, the cost of college tuition, the low payoff for the types of jobs they acquire. Whatever the reason, how long is “long enough”? When is it no longer a kindness? When should parents “cut the apron strings”?

When you provide financial assistance, it’s vital to require that your child learns financial and emotional self-management skills. Help them understand what credit really is, how to balance a checkbook, why it’s important to budget and live within one’s means, and that instant gratification or impulse buying doesn’t result in happiness. This can be started at an early age. Otherwise, they can lose whatever motivation and discipline they may have had. You may unwittingly be sending the message that ‘you’re not capable or competent’.

At times, financially dependent adult children may also have mental health issues including anxiety, depression and substance abuse. Anything that feeds the sense of powerlessness will worsen these problems.

It’s never too late to instill financial independence in your adult children. It may, however, involve a series of painful conversations and decisions. Taking control of the situation may feel less daunting when a trained mental health professional guides you through the process. It is possible to help your adult child to become independent of your financial purse strings, without alienating him or her. If you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA please contact my office and schedule an appointment, so we can get your family back on track.

Read more on my website: Am I a Good Parent?

Are You Managing Your Anxiety or Is Your Anxiety Managing You?

Monday, March 27, 2017


Woman feeling anxiousAnxiety, despite being an unwelcome feeling, is a part of life. It is a feeling of nervousness, fear, or apprehension. Typical situations that cause anxiety are new experiences where you can’t for-see the outcome, high-pressure situations, or stressful events. Anxious feelings are often manifested physically through an upset stomach, headaches, or a racing heart.

For many people, anxiety goes as quickly as it comes. Once the anxiety-inducing event is over, their feelings normalize. They are able to handle the discomfort and uncertainty of anxiety without outside intervention.

This isn’t the situation for everyone though. There are many people who on a daily basis deal with nagging feelings of anxiety. Sometimes they can push these feelings down and go about their day without being too affected. Other times the feelings are so severe that they begin to affect a person’s work, relationships, and health. Anxiety becomes controlling, debilitating, and inescapable. In this case, help is needed to manage the mental and physical discomfort and learn how to cope.

Whichever group you fall into, it is necessary to manage your anxiety more effectively. Pushing your feelings to the back of your mind is not “managing” your anxiety; it is just procrastinating dealing with it.

What can you do if it feels like anxiety is gaining the upper hand in your life? Take a look at these suggestions:

Accept your feelings. Don’t dismiss how you are feeling. Accept your thoughts and feelings, and spend time examining them. By taking ownership of your feelings, you take back your power and control, making the problem feel much smaller. Practice mindfulness. This form of meditation helps you regain control of your thoughts. Consider your thoughts and feelings without judgement.

Challenge anxious thoughts. A lot of anxious thinking is not only negative; it is irrational. Ask yourself: Is there real evidence for your frightening thoughts and predictions? What are the pros and cons of worrying about it? You may think the worst will happen, when in reality there is no basis to think that. Challenge what you believe to be true about what you fear. Retrain your mind to process things in a way that does not feed your anxiety.

Replace anxious thoughts with realistic thoughts. Once you’ve identified the irrational distortions behind your anxious thoughts, replace them with realistic and positive thoughts. Give attention to things that are good and beneficial. Make a choice to be optimistic. Actively look on the bright side. It takes time and practice, but it can be done!

Practice gratitude every day. Looking for reasons to be grateful has a powerful effect on your mental health and emotional wellbeing. What you choose to remember and focus on become the pathway the brain will automatically take. If you constantly dwell on negative things that cause anxiety, your thoughts and feelings become dark and worrisome automatically. You’ve worn that pathway in your brain. But the good news it that those pathways can be shifted. Choosing to practice gratitude shifts your brain to see constructive, positive themes in your life instead of destructive ones.

Do you feel like your anxiety is too severe for these suggestions to help? Do you experience excessive anxiety and worry about daily activities? Does it interfere with your normal routine, job performance, or relationships? Are your everyday worries accompanied by physical symptoms like fatigue, headaches, trembling, and stomachaches?

If so, you may one of the millions of American adults suffering from an anxiety disorder. These chronic conditions fill people’s lives with exaggerated worry and tension. Simply the thought of getting through the day can provoke anxiety. Anxiety disorders are relentless and can grow progressively worse if not treated.

The good news is 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 suffer from an anxiety disorder, and you live in the Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA area, please contact my office for information and treatment.


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