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Kathy Marshack News

Parents: Help Your Child Fight Obesity

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 12.5 million children between the ages 2-19 are obese. If you are a parent, these number are frightening. Childhood obesity is linked to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and emotional pain  


How can a parent help a child ward off obesity? Here are a few simple tips:


Make it a family affair. Even if the rest of the family is healthy, all family members must be on board. If the child feels isolated and is the only one who has to exercise or eat differently, it will only add to their low self-esteem. Talk about "family goals" and how to implement them. This includes diet and exercise.    
  
Associate food with fuel. Teach your child that food is fuel for their body. The better they eat, the better their bodies will work and they will be able to do more fun things. 

Make if fun! Changing a lifestyle into a healthier one isn't always easy or fun to say the least, but in order for it to resonate with children, it must be fun. Can you make exercise into a game? 

Give choices. It's easy to start patrolling your child's food or exercise choices. Give your child some measure of freedom. You can do this by giving them choices. For example, they need to exercise. Ask them if they would like to go for a walk or ride their bike. Exercise is not an option, but what they do for exercise can be. 
 

CNN.com had an inspiring story about a young girl who lost 65 pounds. I highly recommend the article! The parents set a fine example in helping their daughter and I also appreciated the suggestions from Dr. Denise Wilfley, director of the Weight Management & Eating Disorders Program at Washington University School of Medicine.   


For more information, visit Mind and Body Health - Healthy Weight Control

Remedy for Holiday Stress

Monday, December 10, 2012


Do you feel stress this time of year? If you do, you are far from alone. Often times people do not acknowledge that this time of year is stressful. Financial strain, family tension, poor diet, darker days, and missing loved ones are all factors that contribute to stress.

What causes you stress? The first step to resolving or lessening of stress is identifying the triggers. For example, are you anxious about seeing a relative that you have had conflict with? Are you worried about racking up credit card debt?

When you have identified what is causing you added stress, ask yourself: What can I do to resolve it? Ignoring the problem is not the solution. Tackle the issue. If it involves another person, then do what is in your power to fix it. Even if nothing changes, you can change your attitude and the way you look at things.

Remember to also take time for yourself. Self-care is not selfish. It is vital for your well-being. Whether it is taking a bath, reading a good book, going for a walk, or even making an appointment to see a mental health care professional, do whatever you need to do to get back on track and handle your stress. By taking care of yourself, you will enjoy your time with family and friends and they will enjoy your company as well.

For more information, visit Managing Stress.

Parents: Are You Aware of the Dangers of Social Media to Generation M2?

Friday, November 30, 2012


Is your child highly tech-savvy and between the age of 8 – 18? According to a new article on CNN.com this makes him/her a member of "Generation M2". A 2010 Neilsen survey estimates that the average teenager sends an astonishing 3,400 texts a month – or more than 100 a day!   


Concerned parents want to know if all this time using technology, especially on social media, is healthy. The American Academy of Pediatrics' has the same concerns. Their council on communications and media led a panel called "Social Media: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly," at their last annual conference. Chairman-elect, Dr. David Hill, stated, "As pediatricians who are trying to help children behave in ways that keep them healthy and safe, we have to pay a lot of attention to what's happening in social media."   


 There are two main concerns that parents need to monitor when it comes to their child’s behavior on social media.   


The first concern is too much time being drained away from other activities. 

Statistics from the Kaiser Family Foundation show youth spending close to eight hours daily in front of various electronic screens. This can take time away from more important activities like sleeping, homework, exercise and family time. Parents need to set limits on the amount of time their kids spend online, on their phones and playing video games.

 

The second concern is inappropriate behavior such as bullying, sexting and revealing private information.  

The American Academy of Pediatrics encourages parents to monitor their children closely, especially during early adolescence. According to Dr. Hill, ”It's fair to say at any given moment, 'I can look at your computer; I can look at your phone’."  Older adolescents need regular communication about what is acceptable and what isn’t. They also need to be made aware of the long-term negative consequences of posting something inappropriate online.  


Parents, talk to your children about the positive and negative impact technology and social media can have on their lives. Explain to them the dangers that are involved. If your teen seems withdrawn or depressed, seek the assistance of a mental health care professional. Visit Am I a Good Parent for five key areas to master to be a good parent. These steps will help you deal with many challenges that may arise when you’re a parent.

Stressed? New Research on How to Retrain Your Brain

Thursday, November 22, 2012


"The way we live our lives now is like running marathons. ... In some ways, that's great, but you can't run marathons all the time." - Dr. Leslie Sherlin, neuroscientist and chief science officer of Neurotopia.   


I'm sure you would agree with the statement above. Life is increasingly stressful. That stress leads to a weakened immune system with an increased risk for serious health problems. How can this problem be combated? Brain retraining. To learn how this is being done, take note of athletes and soldiers.    


Sports psychologists are using brain mapping and neurofeedback when working with athletes to help train for peak athletic performance. Once they find out an athlete’s optimal brain wave pattern, they then teach them to techniques to control their thinking especially when under stress or as recovery. 


Virtual reality is being used to help soldiers prepare for the stress for combat. Some of these therapies are done before the fact, but others focus on after, taking the soldier back to the scenario, helping them to deal with what happened. (Read CNN.com Training the Brain to Stress Less)   


These stress "tools" are not available for the public, but hopefully will be in the future. Even though they are not now, the core principles are there. Work now to train your brain to deal with stress. There are many methods that are being used with the help of a trained mental health care professionalSeek out their assistance today to learn how to cope with stress!   


Visit Managing Stress for more information. 

New Addition to Recommended Links

Sunday, November 04, 2012


As a convenience for visitors on my website, I have a feature called "Recommended Links." I have compiled links that I recommend for additional information outside of what I provide for my clients. ADHD, Asperger Syndrome, Depression & Anxiety, and Alcohol & Drug Abuse are all topics that I have included.    


I have added a new topic in Recommended Links - Smartphone Apps. I recently blogged about Smartphone Apps being used as supplemental psychotherapy. I do not recommend that these Apps replace psychotherapy, but I believe they can be used in addition to psychotherapy. I will be adding Apps to this area of my website. Please check periodically for new additions.     


If you have found any Apps to be effective mental health tools, please contact me or add a comment. 

Fish Oil and the Brain

Thursday, October 25, 2012


What makes fish oil unique? Fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids which is also found in the brain. Research shows fish oil can have a powerful affect on the brain especially after brain trauma. 

 

What are some of the benefits of fish oil? According to Dr. Nicolas Bazan, director of the Neuroscience Center of Excellence at LSU Health in New Orleans, "We have strong data that suggest omega-3 will activate good proteins to cope with brain damage and turn off proteins that cause neuroinflammation,"

 

The article, Fish Oil Helped Save our Son, contains an amazing story of 17 year old Bobby, who was in a coma after a tragic car accident and had experienced severe brain trauma. The doctors administered large amounts of fish oil and two weeks after the treatment, he came out of the coma. His recovery has been slow, but steady and his doctors and parents attribute his recovery to fish oil. Dr. Michael Lewis, founder of the Brain Health Education and Research Institute, commented by saying, "In my opinion, and this is pure speculation, he never would have come out of a coma if it hadn't been for the use of omega-3s to allow that natural healing process to occur. In the end, the brain has to heal itself. There are no magic cures for brain injury."

 

I look forward to hearing more about the healing power of fish oil. Talk to your doctor about how to effectively add fish oil into your life. 

Can You Adjust to Life's Big Changes?

Monday, October 22, 2012


Change is a natural part of life. Nothing ever stays the same. Getting married, getting divorced, moving, kids graduating, getting promoted, getting laid off, retiring – the list of life changes goes on and on. For some individuals, adjusting to change comes easily, but for others it can cause an inordinate amount of stress. 

 

How can you effectively adjust to change? Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

 

  • Let go of the idea that life has to be a certain way. 

 

  • View each change as an opportunity to grow. 

 

  • Identify the different strengths and different weakness that the change brings out in you. Maximize the positive.

 

  • Don't ignore the emotions that change cause. Feel the emotion, but learn to let it go. 

 

  • When you decide to accept the change, the process to moving past it will feel much quicker. 

 

  • Avoid placing blame on yourself or others. 

 

If you find that you are not able to move with the change in your life, you might be dealing with Adjustment Disorder. This is a short-term disorder that occurs after a major change. The individual is unable to cope with that change. If this sounds like you, seek out the help of amental health care professional. They will be able to guide you through this adjustment process. 

 

For more information, visit Depression and Stress


Smartphone Apps for Supplemental Psychotherapy

Thursday, October 11, 2012


Millions around the globe use a smartphone. Smartphones offer a variety of applications, but there is a new wave of apps that caught my attention – apps to help with mental illness. CNN.com posted an article - Smartphone Apps Become 'Surrogate Therapist' - which spoke about this supplemental psychotherapy. 

 

There is a wide array of apps for different mental health illnesses and disorders. Some apps offer mood tracking, positive reinforcement, depression and anxiety screening, goal strategies and much, much more. The cost for many of these applications are either free or just a few dollars. 

 

It is important to remember that if you suffer from any type of mental illness, these applications should never replace psychotherapy. They should only be used in addition to psychotherapy with a trained mental health care professional


I am interested in learning more about these applications. If you have tried any apps and have found them helpful, I would like to hear about them. Please leave a comment with your favorite smartphone app or send an email to info@kmarshack.com

 


Childhood Trauma Linked to a Troubled Future

Tuesday, October 09, 2012


"What do you want to be when you grow up?" Children are asked this question from a young age. Would you ever imagine a child telling you they would like to be an alcoholic, obese, suicidal, or cancer victim? Hardly! It sounds preposterous. Sadly, many children might have these issues looming in their future. 

 

In the past, the blame for these issues was placed on the material or physical background of a child. For example, maybe they grew up in the ghetto or had a poor diet. There has now been a shift in understanding. Childhood trauma, including psychological trauma, has a major impact on the future success of a child. Divorced parents, a parent in prison, a mentally ill parent, or abuse are all factors that can cause emotional stress and trauma. (Read NYTimes.com article - The Psych Approach)

 

This doesn't mean that if you were a child who experienced these types of traumatic events, you will automatically have the serious issues I mentioned above. The risk is just greater. What does this mean then for these children? They must get the assistance of a mental health care professional immediately. If help is sought out promptly, the child will be in a better position to gain the coping skills that are necessary for a successful future. Parents, there is no need to be ashamed if you need to get help for your child. Taking this step is showing love for your child and it will help them now and in the future. 

 

For more information, visit Parenting - Am I a Good Parent?


Retrain Your Brain to Cope with Stress

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


It's an understatement to say that Americans are stressed out. The reasons why people are so stressed today are almost too numerous to count. Stress is a serious danger to our society. Chronic stress leads to weight gain, heart problems, insomnia, depression, and strokes. 

 

Do not despair though! Stress can be controlled. Research is pointing to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) as a powerful tool to control stress. The first step in CBT is to note activities that put a strain on energy and time, trigger anger or anxiety, or precipitate a negative physical response such as a sour stomach or headache. Also note positive experiences, such as those that are mentally or physically refreshing or produce a sense of accomplishment. The next step is to attempt to shift the balance from stress producing to stress-reducing activities. 

 

In a nut shell, CBT works to identify the sources of stress, restructuring priorities, changing one's response to stress, and finding methods for managing and reducing stress. By implementing this process, the goal is change the way you deal and respond to stress because stress is inevitable. After time, it becomes your new and automatic way of thinking!

 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is most effective when you work with a specialist. Set up an appointment with a mental health care professional who uses CBT. Until then, visit Managing Stress to read about 8 specific methods to reducing stress. 




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