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Kathy Marshack News

Keep Active This Winter for Your Mental and Physical Health

Friday, November 12, 2010

Need another reason to stay physically active? A new study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine shows that staying physically active is a great way to prevent catching a cold this winter. People who are physically active actually get sick less and if they do get sick, the cold is not as severe. What great news! The problem for many is that  it’s harder to stay physically active in the winter months. Especially in the Pacific Northwest with cold weather, less sunshine and a lot more rain, getting out and moving can be a real challenge.

Here are some suggestions to help you get moving this winter: 

Brave the outdoors. I know many people enjoy exercising outside regardless of the weather. If that is the case for you, invest in the proper gear. Select shoes with good traction and choose clothing with synthetic material which will keep you warmer than cotton. Winter sports like skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating, and snowboarding are also great options for exercise that’s fun.

Take a look at inside exercise options.
Join a gym or invest in some exercise equipment for your home. You can also purchase workout DVD's. The range and variety of exercise routines are endless. Find something that you will enjoy. If you enjoy it, you will do it!

Stick to a reasonable schedule and reasonable goals. If it’s too ambitious you probably won’t stick to it so start off slow.

Stay hydrated. Sometimes it harder to drink water when it is cold, but keeping hydrated is a must. It will help you when you are exercising as well as help you ward off those colds.

Find a workout partner
. Enlist a friend to be your workout buddy or better yet, make it a family affair.
It may be a challenge to keep an active lifestyle, but the benefits are well worth the effort. You will feel better physically, mentally and emotionally. For information on exercise and weight-loss, visit Mind and Body - Weight Control on my website.

Give Your Autistic Child Positive Reinforcement

Sunday, October 31, 2010

In a recent blog, I wrote about the value of learning the early signs of Autism Spectrum Disorders. The benefit of early recognition is that specific training can begin immediately. One type of training is to instill positive reinforcement when working with your child. When you reinforce their good behavior, it will help them to understand what is the right way to act.

This actually works whether or not your child has ASD. However, as parents it’s so easy to fall into only commenting on bad behavior. In order to give positive reinforcement, you have to be looking for the good behavior and good qualities that they are exhibiting and be quick to commend them. When giving commendation, be specific. Explain what they did that you liked and why you liked it. Did they do a good job making eye contact? Did they use the right language? Even a little thing can be a good thing to reinforce.

Another way to do this is to offer rewards when they have done something positive. Make sure that the reward fits the child otherwise it will not mean anything to them. The reward can be verbal or something tangible. The goal is to help them to make the connection that their good behavior equals positive reinforcement.

Each child is different, so different things work for different children. So be patient and focus on the positive. For more information on positive reinforcement, read Being Proactive in Therapy and Research.

If you are parenting with a spouse with Asperger Syndrome, download a free sample chapter from my newest project Parenting with a Spouse or Partner with Asperger Syndrome: Out of Sight, Out of Mind.



How to Make Your Therapy Sessions Count

Sunday, October 24, 2010

A therapy or counseling session may be necessary for a variety of reasons. Regardless of what those reasons may be, the ultimate goal is to understand yourself better so that you can deal with your situation(s) in a healthy way. You might think that all the responsibility falls on the therapist or counselor, but really for therapy to be most effective is largely up to you as a client. 


Are you willing to put the work in to make the most out of your therapy sessions?

Here are a few tips to make your therapy session count:

1. Find a therapist you trust. To find a therapist you can trust, first consult with a close friend or relative. You may also want to ask advice of your minister, priest or rabbi. A respected professional such as your family doctor could refer you to a mental health professional. If you cannot trust you therapist, you won't get very far in personal progress.

2. Come to each session prepared. Think in advance about the issues or concerns that you would like to discuss. Some have found it helpful to write these things down. If your therapist has given you "homework", do it! Remember that this is your therapy and to make it count, you have to put in the work. Even though you may come prepared, it is still important to let the therapist guide you through the session.

3. Speak openly and honestly. Withholding information or your real emotions is of no value to you or to your therapist. How can you work through your issues if you are not willing to share them? A therapist is someone you can confide in. They value confidentiality and are not there to judge you or your emotions. Like any good relationship, it takes time to develop. The same goes with your relationship with your therapist.

4. Be regular. Stick with the schedule your therapist recommends for you. If you are sporadic with your sessions, it will be difficult to make progress in an effective manner.

Visit Therapy Frequently Asked Questions for more information. You can also visit Psychotherapy Options to learn more about the treatment options that I utilize.

Type D Personalities May Be at Risk for Heart Disease

Friday, October 01, 2010

If you are a Type D personality, you may have a higher risk for heart disease, according to a summary article published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes. Most of us are familiar with Type A and B personalities but maybe you’ve never heard of Type D. This personality  is characterized by a tendency towards worry, irritability and gloom, social inhibition and a lack of self-assurance.

Forty-nine studies with some 6,000 patients were analyzed during this research. Viola Spek, Ph.D., senior author of the study and a researcher at Tiburg University in the Netherlands stated, "Type D patients tend to experience increased levels of anxiety, irritation and depressed mood across situations and time, while not sharing these emotions with others because of fear of disapproval." For more information, read the article - Type D Personality Associated With Higher Future Heart Risk.

If you can relate to the Type D personality, you should consider seeking help from a mental health care professional. They will be able to help you work through negative feels and emotions. Visit Managing Stress on my website for specific stress management tips. You can improve your physical and emotional health!

New Study Reveals a Genetic Link Related to Migraine Headaches

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

More than 30 million Americans suffer the incapacitating agony of recurring head pain or migraines. Pain of the head, face and neck is one of the most intense forms of pain one can experience, and may make it difficult to carry out normal living. The reasons for migraines have long been a mystery, but according to a new study, a genetic link may be to blame.

Scientists studied 50,000 Europeans and found that people with a variation in a particular section of DNA that regulates the chemical, glutamate. The buildup of glutamate may put you at greater risk for migraine headaches. This is the first time that a specific genetic link has been found. For more details on this study, read First Genetic Link Found For Common Migraine.

Migraines can be debilitating. If you suffer from these chronic headaches, I encourage you to visit a physician and a psychotherapist. Together they can work to improve the severity of your headaches and help you cope with the stress of chronic pain. Visit Headache Relief on my website for more information.

Do You Have a Gifted Child?

Friday, September 24, 2010

Have you ever wondering if your child is gifted? A gifted person according to the National Association of Gifted Children is, "someone who shows, or has the potential for showing, an exceptional level of performance in one or more areas of expression.” It is generally recognized that approximately five percent of the student population, or three million children, in the United States are considered gifted.

A child would be considered gifted if they excelled in these areas:


  • General intellectual ability or talent
  • Specific academic aptitude or talent
  • Creative and productive thinking
  • Leadership ability
  • Visual and performing arts

If you feel like your child is gifted, it is important to observe their behavior. Ask yourself:

  • Is your child intense?
  • Is he/she a perfectionist?
  • Has your child been identified by your school district as “gifted”?
  • Is your child an “underachiever”?
  • Is your child a rebel?
  • Is your child a leader?
  • Does your child prefer adults or older children rather than same-age playmates?
  • Do you feel awkward talking about your child’s gifts to other parents?
  • Does your child “dumb-down” in order to fit in?

If you answered, “yes” to one or more of the questions listed above about your child you will probably benefit from an individual intellectual and achievement evaluation by a qualified psychologist. If they conclude that your child is indeed gifted, then seek specific guidance and training for them. Gifted children are fundamentally different and need help to learn social, interpersonal and self-development skills to relate to the rest of humanity. By doing this you can understand and perhaps even avoid some common problems gifted children commonly face such as a lack of motivation, boredom, perfectionism, cynicism and even depression. For more information visit Guiding A Gifted Child on my website.

Be Alert to Physical Signs of Depression

Thursday, September 16, 2010

About 17 million Americans are estimated to develop depression each year. In one large survey, 8.6% of adults over the age of 18 reported having a mental health problem for at least two weeks. However, the incidence may be even higher since many people fail to seek help for depression. One reason may be because they are not alert of the signs of depression. Many feel think that depression is exhibited only by emotional problems, but that is not the only sign. Physical ailments can be linked to depression. (It is important to note that depression symptoms vary from person to person.)

Here are a just few physical symptoms that could be linked to depression problems: 
  • Headaches
  • Digestive Problems
  • Muscle or Joint Pain
  • Dizzy Spells
  • Change in Appetite
  • Problems Sleeping
  • Exhaustion

Visit The National Institute of Mental Health for a full list of signs and symptoms of depression.


If you can relate to the symptoms listed above, I advise you to seek professional help to see if you can determine what is causing your symptoms. And remember that depression is treatable. For more information on treating depression, visit Overcoming Depression on my website. It is also important to understand the mind and body connection. Visit Holistic Health Consciousness for a more detail explanation.

Be an Optimist - It's Good for Business

Wednesday, August 25, 2010 defines optimism as "a disposition or tendency to look on the more favorable side of events or conditions and to expect the most favorable outcome." For some, optimism comes naturally, but for others it is something that has to be cultivated. The question is, can optimism help your business? We hear that attitude is everything . . . is that true?

Yes it is true. Optimism can greatly impact your business. Optimism helps you to be solution-oriented. When you encounter a bump in the road, instead of throwing your hands up, you continue to search for a way around the problem, convinced that there is a solution. You will also be willing to try new things because you recognize that there is no failure rather everything is a learning experience.

Dr. Marin Seligam, Director of the University of Pennsylvania Positive Psychology Center, has conducted hundreds of studies proving that optimism is a key to success. In one study, he found that "optimistic salespeople sold 88 percent more than the most pessimistic ones." ( The Successful Optimist)

If you are not naturally optimistic, do not despair! Work to cultivate a more positive way of speaking. Be aware of the way you describe certain situations and make a conscious effort to turn those comments into something more optimistic. This takes time and lots of practice! In a sense, you are rewiring your brain. Choose to surround yourself with things that promote a positive message. There are many wonderful self-help books that can help you develop an optimistic outlook. The issue really boils down to choice. Will you CHOOSE to be optimistic? It's up to you. In the words of Winston Churchill, "I am an optimist. It does not seem too much use being anything else."

Visit Entrepreneurial Life for additional information.

A Happy Marriage Contributes to Your Health

Monday, August 23, 2010

Can marriage contribute to your health? According to recent studies, the answer is YES! Recent studies from the University of Chicago and Northwestern University came to the conclusion that those who are married or in long-term relationships have lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

University of Chicago professor Dario Maestripieri stated “These results suggest that single and unpaired individuals are more responsive to psychological stress than married individuals, a finding consistent with a growing body of evidence showing that marriage and social support can buffer against stress.” For more details on this study, read Marriage Lowers Stress Hormones.

It is no easy task to maintain a strong and healthy marriage, but it can be done! It takes hard work, dedication, and the proper tools to make a marriage work. You might also need to seek the guidance of a marriage counselor for help. Don’t delay because unfortunately unresolved problems in marriage can have a very negative impact on your health. I encourage you to visit my website - Maintaining a Strong Marriage - where you will learn nine critical psychological tasks that must be applied to keep a lasting and happy marriage. 

Benefits of Eating Together as a Family

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Family dinner has become a lost tradition. Nowadays family members eat when they want and whatever they want or they may eat dinner around the television or in their separate bedrooms. Studies show that eating one meal a day together as a family can be highly beneficial.

First, it can help the family to eat a healthy and balanced diet. It is a great way to incorporate fruits, vegetables, and whole grains into your family's diet. This will also help you to promote the concept of a healthy body image especially if you have a teenage daughter. You will be able to observe any unhealthy habits that your children may be developing.

Second, it will improve the family communication. This time is ideal for positive parental influence. Parents, use this time to talk to your children about what is happening in their life. Try to ascertain problems that they may be encountering like peer pressure. Do not use this time for disciplining. It will turn this enjoyable time into a time of dread.

I highly encourage you to take this counsel to heart and add it to your family schedule. You will be happy you did. It may take time to make it happen, so don't give up if it is taking time to coordinate. For more tips on parenting, visit the Parenting page on my website. Happy eating! 

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