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Kathy Marshack News

Feeling Blue During the Holiday Season? Don't Give Up When Fighting Depression

Friday, December 23, 2011


This time of year can be a happy time for most, but for those with depression, it can be difficult. Loss of a loved one, financial struggles, divorce, or a job loss are all possible situations that could cause someone to feel down while the rest are joyful. If you feel this way, you are not alone in this battle. Many are fighting the same fight to overcome depression and sorrow.

If you are feeling depressed, take time to rest. That could include sleeping, deep breathing, or other relaxation methodology. Dealing with depression is exhausting, so you need time to recharge your mind and your body. This will help to give you strength to keep fighting.

It is easy to isolate yourself when you are depressed, but being around those who you love will remind you that there is more to life. Their support is what you need to not feel alone in your struggle. It can also distract you from only thinking about yourself. Sometimes what happens is that you didn't realize that the people around you are also going through difficulties. Recognizing that can give some necessary perspective.

Self-worth is usually lost when depression strikes. It is important to believe in yourself. You are only human. When you are feeling quite down, find something that will make you feel good about yourself and do it. You will find that your self-worth will rise. I recently wrote about cultivating a grateful attitude. What are you grateful about you? Think about that. Loving yourself is an important step to overcoming depression.

If your depression does not improve, speak to your doctor or a therapist. They will be able to provide you with the right tools to get you back on your feet. For more information, visit Overcoming Depression.

Why Successful Entrepreneurs Are Often Alienated From Their Family

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Strong, driven, successful, untrusting, perfectionist, reliable, intolerant, a loner . . . These are some of the traits that belong to the authoritarian entrepreneur type and often times they are incredibly successful in business. While many of these traits are positive and lead to success, there is one major flaw of the authoritarian entrepreneur.

An authoritarian entrepreneur believes that he or she is doing a good job for family and employees, regardless of their protests. He can only see his point of view and assumes that others agree with it or otherwise are too immature to understand. Because he believes he is doing what is best for everyone, he pushes ahead with his plans, often ignoring the challenges, complaints and cries of those he is pushing aside. Once his family or employees fight back, he feels betrayed and hurt.

The authoritarian entrepreneur has no awareness that he has any problems, which makes it exceedingly difficult to get help. He is an example of a good quality gone awry. That is, he travels on the notion that "the end justifies the means." This end-justifies-the-means drive comes from an insecurity deep inside the authoritarian entrepreneur. The source of this insecurity depends upon the individual. It may come from a childhood experience of being abused or threatened by a critical, distant, or aloof parent, whom the entrepreneur could never please. It may come from the lessons of a traumatic experience, such as war combat, wherein the entrepreneur learned to stay alive by doing whatever it took. It may come from an actual organic disability, such as dyslexia, making schooling difficult, and the entrepreneur all the more determined to prove he is smart or smarter-than. Whatever, the reason, the authoritarian entrepreneur has a fear of failure, tucked away deep inside that drives him to succeed at whatever the cost.

If you are an authoritarian entrepreneur, use stubbornness or personal strength to attack the problem and solve it. You have intelligence and drive. You have already proven that you can succeed. Now admit your flaws and rebalance your life. Grieve your losses. Learn to love. Break the pattern of insecurity in your family that began with an abusive parent, or a thoughtless teacher, or a war that shaped a vulnerable teenager. By keeping those fears buried, you are perpetuating the insecurity into the next generation. As much as that negative energy (i.e., fear, anger and depression) has served you to create wealth, it has also alienated your family. Is this really the legacy you wish to pass onto your children? Seek help. It will be worth your while.

For more information, read my article - Living With an Authoritarian Entrepreneur.

Degree of Separation? Only 4.74 Degrees

Sunday, December 04, 2011


I am sure you have heard of the phrase, "Six degrees of separation." Back in 1967, a psychologist by the name of Stanley Milgram, conducted a study to see how many acquaintances separated one person from another. He concluded that the number was six. Fast forward to 2011 and the era of Facebook, studies now show that the number has changed from six degrees to 4.74 degrees.

In one month, scientists at Facebook and the University of Milan used a set of algorithms to calculate the distance between the 721 million Facebook users around the world. Their conclusion was 4.74 degrees. I guess we can truly say that it is a small world. To read more about this fascinating study, read the New York Times article - Separating You and Me? 4.74 Degrees.

After reading this, it did make me think about the people we choose to refer to as our "friends." When it comes to making friends on social networking sites, many choose to friend just about anyone. While it can be both interesting to see and monitor the people we come in contact with, nothing will ever or should ever replace the value of cultivating deep and meaningful friends. These types of friends do not number into the hundreds, but rather just a small handful. Even though you may only have a few in your lifetime, it is a beautiful thing to take the time to maintain the real fulfilling friendships. Maybe take a moment today and tell one of those special people how much you appreciate them. I guarantee it will brighten their day and yours.

Stay Safe While Shopping This Holiday Season

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


To all my readers, I want to make you aware of a situation that I found a bit disturbing during this busy shopping season. CnnMoney.com released an article about how this year, two malls are tracking the movements of shoppers cells phones from Black Friday through New Year’s Day. The reason given was to track the movements of shoppers throughout the mall and collect data to learn about their shoppers, what they do, where they go etc. This is the first time that this type of data has been collected by cell phones. The data is apparently anonymous and no specific shopper is targeted. Stores hung signs notifying customers of the tracking and said if they prefer not to be tracked, then their cell phone should be turned off.

Some of you may have mixed emotions about this type of tracking. Some may view it as "market research" while others may feel an invasion of privacy. I wanted to share my concerns with you, possibly giving you something to think about especially if you haven't before. One of my concerns is safety. The management company behind this tracking claims that it is safe and there is no personal data collected. Granted that may be true, but just because someone says it, doesn't mean it is true. It raises the question, how safe is you personal information? Are you taking precautions to protect yourself?

My other main concern is for children and teens. Most have cell phones nowadays. Parents, are you discussing with your children the possible dangers that are out there? Are you teaching them to also take the necessary precautions? This can also branch over to the Internet and social networking. Are they using the privacy settings correctly? Parents, educate yourselves so you can educate your children.

Of course, this information is not to frighten you, but to make you more aware. If you’d like even more food for thought take a look at the book, "Unplug the Christmas Machine" where the authors examine the impact of the American way of life on a peaceful holiday season.

Reasons Why You Should Cultivate a Grateful Attitude

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Many people only think about being thankful around Thanksgiving but once a year isn’t enough. Gratitude may have a greater affect on your emotions than you realize. Having a grateful attitude is now linked to less stress and anxiety, sleeping more soundly, better physical health, greater satisfaction in life and relationships. Those are some pretty powerful reasons. You may be thinking that this type of attitude just does not come naturally for you. Do not despair. You can learn to cultivate it.

A few tips to help cultivate a grateful attitude:

Write down what you are grateful for everyday. Years ago, Oprah encouraged her viewers to start a "gratitude journal." Everyday write down a few things that you are grateful for. This simple, daily task really works. Over the course of a few months, you will be surprised how you will be more inclined to take note of the little things that are positive versus getting sucked into the negative. You will be focused on looking for the good. By noticing what others are doing for you, you will be drawn to do more for others because you recognize how it feels to be the recipient.

Express it. Once you are noticing the good things that others are doing in your behalf, thank them. If it came from a random person, stop and sincerely thank them. People do not get thanked enough in this world. If it is someone you know well, consider writing them a letter or an email expressing how much you appreciate them. Try this especially if you are having a bad day. I guarantee that it will lift your spirits.

Put a positive spin on a negative situation. When a frustrating scenario arises, instead of focusing on your frustration, realize that it could be worse. If you think of how the situation could be worse, the situation you are in will naturally look more appealing. This may seem silly, but it's really all about perspective.

If you just seem to not be able to get out of your negative funk, then you might need to seek some professional guidance. Click on the links for information on Managing Stress and Overcoming Depression.

What’s the Harm in Being a Perfectionist?

Thursday, November 17, 2011


Are you a perfectionist? A perfectionist is a person obsessed with being perfect and anything less is a failure. They expect perfection from themselves and of others. This type of behavior is not only harmful for yourself, but it also harms those around you. Perfectionists usually suffer from depression, guilt, low self-esteem, and a lack of motivation to try new things.

Here are a few tips to help overcoming perfectionism:

Redefine real success. Real success comes not from doing it perfectly the first time, but trying, falling, and picking yourself up again. Doing something perfectly the first time is impossible. So, if you feel like you have failed, try again. That's true success.


Recognize your strengths and weaknesses. Honestly evaluate what your strengths and weaknesses are and trust me . . . everyone has both! By realizing who you really are will help you to see what you would like to work on. When you can recognize an unhealthy pattern developing, you will be more equipped to stop and change your "perfectionist thinking."

Look for the positive. Human tendency is to look at the negative rather than the positive. Make a conscious effort to look for the good in others and yourself. Over time, you will be more inclined to think positively instead of negatively.

Being a perfectionist doesn't necessarily always have to be negative. If you learn to harness your tendencies in the proper way, you can be very successful because the core of perfectionist is the desire to succeed. If you need assistance in this regard, consider psychotherapy. A therapist can assist you to emphasize your strengths and minimize your weaknesses. For more information, visit Psychotherapy Options.

Depression in Fathers Impacts the Whole Family

Wednesday, November 09, 2011


Millions of men are affected every year by depression. Many men like to keep their emotions tucked away which can make it difficult to recognize the signs and symptoms. Unlike the "typical" sadness, depression in men comes across aggressive and irritable. It may be hard for a man to admit to being depressed, but pushing aside the stereotypes and seeking help is necessary – especially if there are children involved.

A study performed at the New York University School of Medicine noted a serious issue for children with depressed fathers. After analyzing 22,000 children in two-parent homes, noted that children with depressed dads are more likely to have behavioral and emotional problems. Researcher Michael Weitzman, M.D. stated the seriousness of depression in the family by stating, "There is a doubling of the risk if the father alone is depressed, a tripling of the risk if the mother alone is depressed, and the risk increases fourfold if kids have a depressed mom and dad." For more information on this study, read Dad's Depression May Raise Kids' Risk of Emotional Problems.

Many times depression is something that can’t be avoided, but it can be treated. If a mother or a father is depressed, then seek help immediately. You will feel better and your children will benefit in a big way. For more information, read - How to Help Children with Depressed Parents and Overcoming Depression.

Addressing the Challenges of Adoptive Families

Thursday, October 20, 2011


Thousands of children are adopted every year in the United States. Raising an adopted child and growing up adopted only applies to a specific group of people. Because of that, it does make them different, creating a unique set of challenges. Adoptive families can create a successful family unit, but the key to doing so is knowledge and application of such knowledge.

If you are thinking about adopting a child or have done so already, it is vital that you educate yourself about the effects that adoption can have on you and your child. You are both involved in a completely new experience and you must be prepared. Where can you go to educate yourself on parenting an adopted child? Fortunately the resources are endless!

Books and seminars are a wonderful place to start. You can also consider joining a support group with other parents that have adopted. Finding a group of people that can relate to the blessings and the challenges can be a real source of comfort.

Being an adoptive parent myself, I have found that one of the most valuable resources would be to regularly speak to an adoption professional who is also a mental health care professional. Since each adoptive family is different, this type of professional can specifically address the needs of your family. Books and seminars are for the masses, but a one to one discussion will be completely focused on your needs and the needs of your child. If you live in the Portland, Oregon/Vancouver, Washington area, I would be happy to assist you. Contact my office to set up an appointment. If you live elsewhere, speak to your doctor or pediatrician for a referral.

The blessing of raising an adopted child are plenty. Take the time to be prepared to meet the challenges. You'll be happy you did! For more information, visit Adoptive Families.

Family of People with Asperger Syndrome: How to Combat Chronic Stress

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Chronic stress is a serious health concern. Many do not realize that if stress is not managed, the side effects can be severe. Chronic stress increases the risk of heart problems, strokes, susceptibility to infections and gastrointestinal problems. Stress can also affect weight. Some people suffer a loss of appetite and lose weight while others develop cravings for salt, fat, and sugar to counteract tension and end up gaining weight. Tension-type headache episodes are highly associated with stress. The tensions of unresolved stress can also frequently cause insomnia, generally keeping the stressed person awake or causing awakening in the middle of the night or early morning. Stress also has significant effects on the brain, particularly on memory. The typical victim of severe stress suffers loss of concentration at work and at home and may become inefficient and accident-prone.

If you have a loved one with Asperger Syndrome, you may be suffering from chronic stress. My advice to you is to take some time for "self-care." It's difficult to sometimes take time for ourselves, but it is necessary. Think about it this way, if you do not take care of yourself, it will be impossible to take care of others especially for your Aspie loved one. Self-care is different for every individual. For some it may be a trip to a massage therapist or a chiropractor. For others it may be reading a good book, taking a hot bath, or going for a run. Whatever it is, do it! Do not delay.

If taking a little "me" time is not lowering your stress level, you may need a more aggressive approach. I highly recommend therapy which will help you to learn valuable coping mechanisms. For more information, visit Managing Stress and Asperger Syndrome Support.

If you live in the Portland, Oregon area, I invite you to join the Asperger Syndrome: Partners and Family of Adults with ASD. On November 19, 2011 at 1:00 PM, we will be discussing "Adrenal Failure." Come prepared with your self-care tips.


Click here to learn more about my book Life with a Partner or Spouse with Asperger Syndrome: Going Over the Edge?

Stressed about Job Security? How to Still Make Time for the More Important Things

Monday, October 10, 2011


Finding balance between work-life and home-life is an ongoing battle. What can cause a lack of balance? It may be different depending on the person, but it seems that with the economic downturn, many are concerned about job security. This added pressure causes many to work overtime to prove to their employer that they are worth keeping on. Long work hours means added stress, lack of balance, and no time for the things in life that can bring true joy and happiness.

You may be thinking that there is really nothing you can do about your work situation and that may be true, but what do you have control over? Are there things that can be adjusted? Chances are there are – take a look at the following recommendations:

Cut out non-essentials. While electronics has their place in the world, they can also be a big time waster. Evaluate how much time you are using social media sites, surfing the Internet, or using other electronic devices. They could be depriving you of much valuable time on things that are more important such as your family or your health.

Stick to a schedule. You schedule in your work, so why not schedule in family time or recreation. Putting it down in writing will ensure a greater chance that it will happen. If you choose not to schedule it in, then those opportunities may disappear.

Multi-task. Maybe you only have an hour and you want to squeeze in some exercise, but your 5 year old wants to play with you? They are both important to you. Instead of choosing one over the other, could you merge the two together? Perhaps go on a walk together or a bike ride. You get your exercise in and get to spend quality time with those that you love.

If you feel like you are unable to get a grasp on your responsibilities and your stress is becoming unmanageable, you may need to speak to a professional. Often times short-term therapy can resolve stress-related problems. If you are entrepreneur, you may experience the work-life balance to an even greater degree. Speaking to a therapist who is also versed in business counseling can be highly beneficial.

For more information visit, Managing Stress and/or Entrepreneurial Life.


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