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Entrepreneurs – Do You Need to Change Your Habits This Year?

Wednesday, December 21, 2016


Arrows pointing opposite directionsWe all have habits we don’t even notice anymore. Maybe you get up each morning and immediately make a cup coffee. When you get to the office, you might take a moment to organize your desk and plan your day. You could take the same path through the grocery store every time you shop.

Our days are made up of a series of habitual behaviors. We develop habits because they are convenient mechanisms for getting things done without having to think too much about them. This leaves us more time and mental energy to devote to other things. Entrepreneurs, who are pulled in so many different directions throughout the day, find mindless habit to be extremely helpful as it allows some things to just flow.

But what happens when your formerly good habits no longer serve your best interest?

When you come to realize that a habit, or even a series of them, is no longer serving its purpose, stop doing it. Once we get something working, an efficient routine, it can be hard to give it up. But the fact is that what works now, won’t work forever.

Our lives are ever changing, as is our environment and our business. Therefore, it is important to assess your habits from time to time. Ask yourself: Are my habits helping me? Or are they just comfortable? Have they gotten to the point of being counterproductive?

I worked with a couple who, for many years, had a great routine going. Don ran the family business and Maria cared for the home and the children. The problem came later, when the children were grown. Maria wanted to go back to work, but she had trouble seeing her husband taking care of some of her former household duties. Don was afraid to relinquish control of their family finances. They struggled because everything had worked so smoothly for so long, they were reluctant to change even though change was needed.

What they needed to do was examine their habits in the light of their values as a family. If traditional family roles were most important to them, then it would make sense for Maria to not work outside the home. However, if their traditional style was simply convenient when the children were young, they should have no problem changing their style and habits to suit a dual-career life.

Successful entrepreneurs are all about managing exterior change, but many forget that they have to change themselves sometimes. While it is not always a comfortable process, change is a part of life and it is vital to our progress and happiness. We all need to experience new things, overcome new challenges that take us outside of our comfort zones, to grow.

As this year draws to a close, it is the perfect time to step back and assess your habits, personally and professionally. Can you identify any of your habits that might be doing more harm than good? I’m sure you can recognize some of your habits as being helpful and moving you forward in the right direction. Are there any new habits you want to develop?

New Year’s Resolutions often get a bad rap for not lasting past January. It doesn’t have to be that way. Instead, try examining your priorities and resolve to establish habits and routines that maximize your values and beliefs. These are changes and habits that will last…until they need to change again!

Have your habits and routines stopped bringing you joy? If there is something about your life that’s not working, don’t settle for it! If you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA please contact my office and schedule an appointment. I will help you get to the root of the problem and find a solution.

Drinking Safely During the Holidays

Monday, December 19, 2016


Woman declining a glass of wineIt’s the most wonderful time of the year – spending time with family and friends, giving and receiving gifts, and invitations to a lot of parties. With all this merriment, often comes more drinking. Even for people who generally drink in moderation, holiday celebrations can really impact their alcohol consumption and quickly lead to overindulgence.
 
What is it about the holidays that lend themselves to an increase in drinking? There is a festive feeling in the air at this time of year. It seems there are endless occasions for celebrations, from end-of-the-year office parties, to the reunion of long-lost friends and family.
 
The flip side of that, though, is the extra stress brought on by the holiday season. Family dinners do not always equate to relaxing, enjoyable evenings. Memories of those who are no longer with us can bring sadness. The sheer cost of the holidays can also make it tempting to escape in a glass of spiked eggnog!
 
Whether you’re celebrating, or trying to de-stress, it may be tempting to overindulge or even use the holidays as excuse for binge-drinking. It may seem like a good idea to help you cope with difficult family members or an uncomfortable office party, but the reality is over-drinking can have a detrimental physical effects and lead to behaviors you often regret later.
 
So how can you enjoy drinking during the holiday season wisely? Here are a few suggestions:
 
Have a plan. How much alcohol are you comfortable drinking? A martini? Two glasses of wine? Decide ahead of time how much you will drink, and stick to your decision. Don’t let others push you to drink more than you know you should.
 
This is especially important for recovering alcoholics. Go in to any gathering with two or three responses prepared for when you are inevitably offered a drink. You don’t have to tell anyone that you have struggled with addiction. A firm, “No, thank you. I’m fine,” can suffice.
 
Keep a non-alcoholic drink in your hand. This helps space out the drinks you’ve already decided you can have. Instead of drinking two glasses of wine before dinner is even served, sip on some water or sparkling cider in-between glasses.
 
This is also a great way to avoid being offered a drink. If people see you with a glass already in your hand, they will be much less inclined to try to push something on you. Having something bubbly and delicious also helps you avoid feeling deprived.
 
Remind yourself why you plan to drink in moderation (or not at all!). Have you made bad choices in the past when you over-drink? Do you feel sick, tired, and weak the next day? Remember why it is important to you to make this choice.
 
Keep alcohol in its proper place. Instead of viewing the party as an opportunity to drink, look at it as a wonderful time to socialize and enjoy good conversation. Then if you choose to have a drink, it's just an addition to a lovely evening not the focal point.
 
Surround yourself with supportive loved ones. For those that deal with addiction, it is vital to get support from close friends and family. While they may not understand exactly what you are going through, they want the best for you and will help in any way they can. If you start to feel your willpower waning, reach out to them. If you make it through a tempting situation successfully, share it with them!
 
If one of your family members struggles with addiction, it is very important that you help them as much as they will accept. The function of the family unit is to nurture and protect its members. Family members tend to overlook, condone, deny, rationalize, or minimize the problem for the sake of keeping peace. No one wants to rock the boat, especially around the holidays. Of course, you can’t force anyone to do anything. But offer to help. Do not enable them, or ignore their addiction. And if they turn around and get their life back on track, celebrate with them and support them in their ongoing efforts!
 
If you feel that you need help dealing with addiction personally, or in your family, and you live in the Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA area, I can help! Please contact my office to set up an appointment.

Entrepreneurs – Reduce Stress by Caring for Your Mind, Body and Spirit

Wednesday, November 30, 2016


Man standing on cliff with arms outstretchedWhile entrepreneurs are good at accomplishing goals, they're usually not very good at establishing healthy habits. You probably work tirelessly building your business, working long hours while simultaneously caring for your family. It’s no wonder that self-care quickly takes a backseat to more immediate priorities. With what result? A lot of built-up stress with no relief in sight.

What can you do to minimize the amount of stress in your busy entrepreneurial life? Stress comes when the different aspects of your life fall out of alignment. In order to keep all parts of your life in healthy productive alignment, you must attend to the whole person. That means caring for your mind, body and spirit.

Care for your mind. Take time to refocus and recharge. One way to do this is through the practice of mindfulness, a simple 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. 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, a process that helps you be truly present and live in the moment.

The benefits of practicing mindfulness extend beyond the initial session of meditation. People who practice mindfulness experience greater focus and decreased stress, even beyond the meditation session. It keeps you from jumping from one thought to the next or dwelling on negative thoughts. Even just a few minutes can quiet your mind and reduce stress.

Care for your body. Physical needs are some of the first things left behind when entrepreneurs really get busy. But caring for your body is necessary for staying healthy and keeping your stress levels in check. Get some sleep. This is easier said than done, but it is important. Take time to prepare and eat nourishing foods. The vitamins and minerals in healthy foods keep your body working properly, enabling you to power through the daily demands of entrepreneurial life.

Also, move your body more. Exercise reduces stress, increases your energy levels, and helps you sleep better. Even small amounts of exercise can make a big difference. The mind and body are in state of constant communication. What the mind thinks and experiences is sent from the brain to the rest of the body. This is why you can often physically feel the effects of stress. The good news is that our bodies are also sending messages to the brain so exercise can help calm the mind.

Care for your spirit. The spirit is that part of each human that makes us a distinctive personality. It is the part of a person that defines us and yet connects us to others. Keeping our spirit healthy is essential to the process of achieving healthy balance in life. Some feed their spirit through belief in God and the practice of religion. Others maintain a spiritual connection in some other way. Find your sense of self that extends beyond the boundaries of this life and commit to it.

Stress is a part of life, especially for entrepreneurs. However, it can be managed by taking care of your entire being. When you balance your mind, body, and spirit, you will be able to have a more meaningful, and less stressful, life to share with the ones you love. If you’d like to achieve balance again and live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA, please contact my office and schedule an appointment.

7 Ways to Teach Your Child to be a Leader

Monday, November 21, 2016


Mother and daughter spending time togetherIt probably goes without saying that parents want their children to be leaders rather than followers. Some children are natural leaders. They seem to inherently understand how to negotiate successfully, effectively give directions, and kindly offer help. These children bring peace and harmony to a group, and inspire others to do their best.
 
But for most children, these skills do not come naturally. They are skills that must be learned from you as a parent – the family leader! When you are running a family business, there’s an additional element to teaching leadership since your child might be called upon to lead the family business someday.
 
So how can you teach your child to be an effective leader? Fortunately, you don’t have to revamp your entire routine to teach leadership skills to your children. Small things you do every day can have a big effect.
 
Take a look at these seven ways you can help your children grow into great leaders:
 
Emphasize the value of perseverance. Leaders need to learn to handle failure gracefully. They may fail many times, but true leaders always get back up and move on quickly. It is important to allow your children to experience disappointment rather than protect them from it. When you shield your children from failure, they don’t learn to tolerate the inevitable failure they will experience later in life. Children need to learn how to deal with a setback and move forward with a positive attitude. When they do fail, be kind and show support. Let them know that you understand their feelings. This will help them understand that things will ultimately work out for them.
 
Don’t be so quick to offer praise. Children need praise to build their self-esteem, but not so much that they depend on praise from others to feel good about themselves. Their confidence must come from within. They need to learn to believe in themselves, especially in the face of opposition or naysayers. When you do praise your children, praise the effort they put in to something.
 
Let your children be self-sufficient. Don’t be quick to jump in and solve their problems for them. This applies to everything from school projects to a disagreement they have with a friend or sibling. Step back and let your children work through their issues. This empowers them to stand on their own two feet and take control. They learn to be responsible and accountable.
 
Focus on independence verses obedience. By no means am I advocating a parenting technique where the child can be disobedient, rude, or disrespectful. However, if you want your child to lead your company someday, they need to learn how to be independent and make good decisions now. Independence is a state of mind that children must conquer for themselves. In order to do this, children must eventually prove themselves in the adult world. This proof often comes by leaving home, perhaps even the family business for a time, and facing their fears of being on their own.
 
Don’t focus too much on achievement. Of course, you are proud of your child when they get good grades or excel in some other way. But are those individual achievements really what’s most important? Isn’t it the journey? True success, especially in the business world, comes from teamwork. The most successful people surround themselves with talented people who make up for what they lack. If you focus too much on the individual achievements of your children, they will not learn how to work with others, ask for help, and may give up out of discouragement.
 
Say no. It sounds simple, but it is very powerful. Successful leaders work hard for the things that are important to them. They don’t get everything they want, right this second. It is vital for children to develop this same patience. Help them set goals. They will experience the joy and gratification that comes from working hard to accomplish their goals and get what they want. Your children will learn to deal with the initial disappointment, and refocus on the goal ahead.
 
Model the behaviors you want to see in your children. Your children see everything you do, and soak it up like a sponge! Make sure your actions are saying what you want them to say. Be honest and authentic. Show your children that it is ok to be who you are. Show them that you aren’t infallible, that everyone makes mistakes. Then you can teach them how to work through, and learn from, their mistakes.
 
Parenting is no easy task, and we can all use some help from time-to-time. If you need help with your family, and you live in the Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA area, please contact my office to set up an appointment.

How Codependency May Secretly Be Hurting Your Family Business

Wednesday, October 26, 2016


Codependency can be a problem in family businessesAre you in a codependent relationship? Perhaps you have no close family or friends that are suffering from addictions or illnesses, issues that commonly result in codependence. You are not enabling anyone, picking up the slack when they refuse to do their part, making excuses… wait a minute.
 
Maybe you aren’t doing these things in your personal life, but if you tend to do them as a business owner, you could very well be on the road to codependency, and it could be hurting your business.
 
Codependency occurs when a person consistently allows their own needs and rights to become secondary to someone else’s. They take the emotional needs of others onto themselves. As a business owner, this can include neglecting your business in order to take care of other people.
 
What does this actually look like? Maybe you have an employee or business partner who has to be reminded over and over, and over again, to get things done.  They aren’t doing their job. They aren’t fulfilling their commitment to the company. But then again, they don’t have to. You are there pushing, pulling, and reminding them to do their work. The result is wasted time, energy, resources, and money.
 
Things get trickier when we are talking about a family business. With regular employees, it tends to be easier to lay down the law, make cuts when necessary, and enforce consequences. When it comes to family – your spouse, your daughter, your cousin – we make more allowances and offer more assistance. But this can quickly go from being kind and loving to a family member to being codependent.
 
The reason it is so easy to confuse kindness and codependency is that they are essentially the same behavior, just within different contexts. To be kind means to give unconditionally, share, and show that you care. When this giving and caring is reciprocated in a healthy relationship, the condition is kindness. However, when the kindness is not reciprocated, and you find yourself constantly giving, it may be codependency.
 
How can you tell if you are a codependent business owner? Perhaps you see yourself in the scenarios mentioned above. Here are some other signs of codependence: 

  • Difficulty saying no or feeling guilty for being assertive

  • Extreme preoccupation with the opinions of others, perhaps even valuing their opinions over your own

  • Difficulty communicating, identifying your needs, or making decisions

  • Sacrificing your good reputation to help someone who doesn’t give back

  • Feeling unappreciated and resentful

  • Physical symptoms such as feeling tired or depressed, or experiencing headaches or stomach pain

  • Relying on food, shopping, alcohol or other drugs to give you a lift

As in personal relationships, a codependent business relationship will eventually result in burnout for you and/or your business. You can only go so long putting other people ahead of yourself and your business until something breaks down. Choose to have positive self-esteem, and realize your limitations and personal responsibilities. Give responsibility for other people’s actions back to them.
 
Breaking codependency is extremely difficult to do without help and support from others. Because codependent tendencies are rooted in childhood dysfunction, it is often necessary to consult a therapist to determine the cause. I can help you work you these issues and empower you to take back control of your life and your business. If you live in the Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA area, please contact my office to set up an appointment.

Can Entrepreneurial Women Measure Up to Their Definition of Success?

Wednesday, September 28, 2016


Entrepreneurial woman caring for business and familyAccording to the 2012 US Census, women own 36% of all businesses, which is a jump of 30% over 2007. This trend isn’t going away. However, the challenges for women entrepreneurs on how to deal with differences between themselves and their husbands, and find work/home balance remain.

Even in the 21st century, women are still often expected to take on a submissive, dependent, supportive role. They help their husbands, nurture their families, and care for their homes. Over time women, even successful entrepreneurs, have internalized this definition of womanhood. This can lead to women being less assertive, struggling with the choice between caring for her own needs and that of her business, and taking care of the needs of others.

Women are keenly aware of their identity in relation to others. They view themselves are caregivers, wives, and employers. Women develop their sense of self through connections with others. Their sense of worth is highly dependent on the status of their relationships.

For example, I worked with a woman named Sarah who was at a crossroads with her husband and her business. Sarah’s husband had begun helping her with her business, but the arrangement was not working. She needed to take back control of her business but still save her marriage. Despite being a successful entrepreneur, she was struggling because her sense of success was based on how her husband would adjust to the new developments.

The fact that women view the world in relational, or interpersonal terms, helps explain why many women downplay their business achievements. For example, I asked a co-entrepreneurial couple to tell me their official business titles. The wife, who had started the business five years before her husband began working with her, said she was a “sales associate,” while her husband referred to himself as the “vice president.”

Over time, our society has developed the notion that money and power are synonymous with success. Entrepreneurial women certainly find satisfaction in business accomplishments. To many women, however, true success comes from so much more. It comes from relationships, family, and personal connections, to name a few. Women have different values, and these values are significantly impacting how they design their businesses.

Women are encouraged, even expected, to marry and have children. If a woman only achieves success in business, she runs the risk of being considered a failure as a woman. Of course, each woman gets to choose if they will work, start a family, or do both. What if a woman wants to have both a family and a business venture? They have to find the balance between what they believe is required of them as a competent professional verses a good wife and mother.

Often, women end up working overtime. While maintaining, or even increasing, their commitment to secular work, they also increase the time they spend nurturing their families, relationships and caring for their homes. To make this work, many women design their business schedule around family needs. Since they are well aware of the challenges of raising a family while working, they are often willing to work with employees to maintain their own work/life balance.

In spite of the challenges, the number of woman entrepreneurs continues to rise. In fact, they often report a high level of satisfaction with both work and home life. They are successfully facing the challenge of balancing love and work.

Do you need help balancing your home life and work life? I’ve been there, and I can help! If you live in the Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA area, please contact my office to set up an appointment.

I also encourage you to check out my book, Entrepreneurial Couples - Making It Work at Work and at Home. It explains why partners sometimes struggle to see eye-to-eye in business, but how to overcome differences and succeed. I encourage you to read it together as a couple and see how the suggestions can improve your home and business life.

Entrepreneurs - The Power of Planning for a Successful Relationship

Wednesday, September 21, 2016


Are you a natural planner? Does it take effort for you to plan something? Is planning for the future, or even dinner tomorrow night, the last thing you feel like doing? No matter what your feelings are toward planning, I’m sure you’ll agree that a well-thought-out plan is more likely to guarantee a successful outcome than winging it!

What kind of planning am I talking about? There are business plans, essential to the success of an entrepreneur. It is necessary to determine goals, methods, contingencies, etc. Most people wouldn’t dare to start a business without some sort of plan in place.

Then there is personal life planning. What do you want to accomplish in your personal life? What makes you feel alive? We plan to fulfill our personal ambitions, desires, and goals.

But what about planning your relationship? If you’re like most couples I work with, especially busy entrepreneurial couples, you haven’t given your relationship the kind of focused attention a plan requires!

Your relationship life plan is just as important as plans concerning other parts of your life. Many couples do not plan for success or for contingencies. Rather, they live in the moment, trusting that life will work out and what they need will come. Often, to their surprise, life delivers a needed lesson in the importance of planning.

Before you begin to plan a relationship and a life with another person, you have to know yourself well. This will guide you to choose a life partner who shares many of your goals and values. What if you are already married? Your relationship life plan still needs to be reviewed, or even created! It may be that changes are necessary in order to better fit the developments of you as a person, and the two of you as a unit. It can be scary to re-evaluate a marriage, but doing so can reveal issues interfering with your marital development, and provide you an opportunity to proactively make changes.

In my workbook, Do You Have What It Takes To Work With Your Spouse?, I outline an effective exercise to help with planning your relationship. Here are a few of the questions for consideration from the exercise:

  • Why did you choose your partner, and, conversely, why did they choose you? 

  • What do you need to change in yourself to make this relationship better?

  • What important lessons have you learned from your partner?

Once you have honestly answered these questions, you can begin to sift through the information to find patterns and themes. Begin to ask why and why not? These can be hard questions, but they are worth asking! If there are areas in the relationship that are no longer working, begin problem solving with your partner. Even for those experiencing serious marital stress, there are reasons to consider that this spouse is in your life for an important purpose. Look for the deeper meanings.

Ideally, you can work on this plan with your spouse or significant other. The goal is to build or re-write a life plan that encompasses your individual life plans as well as a relationship life plan that you create together. I encourage you to complete the entire exercise from the workbook, especially if you are already in an entrepreneurial relationship or are thinking of starting one. Entering an entrepreneurial venture is tough on a marriage. It presents challenges that no other experience can so it's a good idea to regularly reexamine your relationship, plan for weak spots, and face them head-on.

After completing the exercise, sorting through the information and figuring out exactly what needs to change can be tough. If you need help making positive changes in your relationship, and are in the Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA area, please contact my office to set up an appointment. If you live out of the area check out Video Education sessions that are available to answer your questions on planning a successful life as an entrepreneurial couple.

Restore Balance by Strengthening Your Spiritual Life

Wednesday, July 27, 2016


Those who embrace their spirit connection find greater health and prosperity, because the three legs of a balanced life are mind, body and spirit. After struggling for years to make ends meet, many parents say, “I don’t want my children to suffer or work as hard as I had to.” This brings up the question: Is suffering really a bad thing?

Viktor Frankl, a survivor of a Nazi concentration camp, wrote, "Man is not diminished by suffering but by suffering without meaning." Many people do suffer as a result of having allowed their lives to become unbalanced, of crossing boundaries in unhealthy ways, and of denying the inevitability of change.

In order to restore balance, you must create a healthy lifestyle for yourself and the ones you love and work with. If you have been attending to the mind and the body, you are well on your way to a healthy integration of intimacy, family life, and meaningful work. However, until you assess and address the strength of your spirit, you will not achieve true balance or prosperity. How do you do that?

Remember that spirit is not bound by religion. But as Frankl suggests it defines the meaning of life. Many successful people have a strong sense of spirit and they do believe in God. The spirit connection is not just a belief in God but the ability to relate to God, often through communities such as churches provide. The healthiest Americans are often members of those religious groups that have a strong identity with their church. It’s not the religion per se that contributes to overall health, but the intensity of the commitment to spirit, whether by being a member of a religious community or by maintaining a spiritual practice or connection in some other way.

Although most Americans believe in God, many of us are prone to having fragmented and impersonal lives, which leads to hedonism, increasing drug addiction and other health problems. Spirituality in the sense of the expression of our spirit is not a regular part of our lives because so many of us have abandoned religion. According to Kabbani, a physician and author on Islamic spiritual healing practices, religion gives us something to believe in, an identity, a way to know ourselves in relation to others. Churches, therefore, provide a community within which to know ourselves, to belong, and to repair our fragmented lives.

Since for years I’ve worked coaching entrepreneurial couples, I know many of them list church attendance as one of the last things on their list of things to do. After all, you are busy people, working fifty to sixty hours a week. When would you find the time? You barely have a few moments to eat a quick meal and watch television before falling into bed at the end of your day. However, just as you have reevaluated other aspects of your life and business plans, you need to reevaluate your spirit connection.

If you really want to create a balance among intimacy, family life, and meaningful work, you need to repair the third leg of the mind-body-spirit connection. (Furthermore, if you want to live long enough to enjoy the fruits of your labors, you might want to reconsider the use of television as an expedient stress reliever. According to a review of the research by Dale Matthews, M.D., and Herb Koenig, Ph.D., there is a positive correlation between television watching and mortality: In other words, the more you watch TV the shorter your life.)

Chapter 10 of my book, Entrepreneurial Couples – Making It Work at Work and at Home, helps you do a deeply, personal self-examination on living a balanced life. If you have questions about what you read, I’m available for an online Q & A session.

Are New Year’s Resolutions Too Superficial?

Wednesday, January 27, 2016


Every year you resolve to lose weight, quit drinking, or spend more time with family, yet the resolve fades, so why are New Year’s Resolutions so hard to keep? Every year you may resolve, “I want to lose weight” or “I want to quit drinking so much”, or “I want to spend more time with my family.” Yet as January fades away so does your resolve. Why is it that we can’t accomplish what we want? Because all too often we apply a band-aid when surgery is needed. We end up trying to fix the symptom or signal without addressing the real problem.

When problem solving the first question to ask yourself is, "Is this thing I’m observing the signal or the problem?" Recognizing and interpreting the signals is quite a complex process, but you can improve your skills.

However, there are two common mistakes people make when trying to solve a problem or create real change in their lives…

1. Ignoring signals until they grow into serious problems. For example, I often hear that people too busy to attend to themselves or their personal relationships. Too busy doing what? Working? You need to ask yourself why are you working so hard? Is that your goal? Most people want a close-knit family who enjoys being together. But if you’re too busy managing the nuts and bolts of a business or career and have no time to enjoy and communicate with your family, aren't you overriding one of the reasons why you working in the first place?

2. Mistaking signals for the problem. When a person is angry or aggressive, we tend to listen, but when a person is quiet or passive, we tend to ignore them. Actually, those behaviors are signals of something. Discovering the meaning of the signals takes digger deeper.

The bottom line is that all human behavior is meaningful. But the meaning may come disguised as signals that look like problems themselves. For example, alcoholism is a signal of a pervasive illness. Alcohol abuse, on the other hand, may be a sign of overwork, too much stress, a lack of parental guidance, or even confusion in the work place. If you try to solve the problem of alcoholism by reducing the person's stress at work, the alcoholic may just have more time to drink. Likewise, if you recommend alcohol treatment for the person who is abusing alcohol, they may stop drinking but find other self-destructive methods to cope with problems at work.

Many New Year’s resolutions are superficial but the underlying problems most likely require deeper probing. So if there’s something about your life that isn’t working don’t just settle with a quickly forgotten resolution. Instead dig in, assess, diagnose and search out the meaning. If you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA please contact my office and schedule an appointment to figure out what the signals are telling you. I’ll help you tap into all the strengths at your disposal to create workable solutions.

Seven Weight Loss Misconceptions that May Be Keeping You Overweight

Thursday, January 14, 2016


Seven Weight Loss Misconceptions that May Be Keeping You OverweightYou’ve no doubt heard the statistics that the obesity rate is on the rise in the United States. And you know that excess weight not only increases your risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, stroke and cancer, but it compromises your psychological welfare. Being overweight lowers self-esteem and heightened vulnerability to anxiety and depression.

Yet, many people have misconceptions about weight loss. Take a look at the following false statements. Have any of them influenced your thinking?

1. “You can’t lose a lot of weight and keep it off.”
Researchers have been surprised at how easy it was to find people who have achieved major weight loss goals. The National Weight Loss Registry found that the project’s 2,800 respondents have maintained an average 67-pound weight loss for five years, with up to 14% of them staving off a more than 100-pound weight loss.

2. “Your ‘set-point’ determines how much you weigh.”
Studies show that when you lose weight, your metabolism actually shifts to a normal rate for that new weight, in spite of your individual differences. Some want to blame their bodies rather than their own behavior for their weight-loss failure.

3.”Poor willpower is to blame for excess weight.”

It’s not that simple. There are genetic, metabolic, biochemical, cultural and psychosocial factors. It doesn’t help that there’s an increase in easy-access, delicious, high-fat foods. Nor does it help that our lives are more sedentary. Willpower helps but to lose weight and keep it off, an active lifestyle is a must.

4. “The best weight loss regimens incorporate structured exercise three to five times a week.”

A physically active lifestyle is important, but you don’t have to live at the gym to do it. Walking 30 minutes most days may be all you need to effectively lower body fat.

5. “I have to lose a lot of weight to make a significant impact on my health.”
Even small weight changes can have a major impact on your health and quality of life. A five-pound loss can improve depression, anxiety, psychosocial functioning, and mood.

6. “You should eat only low-fat and no-fat foods.”
Many people avoid fatty food only to overeat “low-fat” foods. According to the American Medical Association, reducing fat intake is only effective if we reduce calories as well. And our brains need a limited measure of good fats from foods like avocados and nuts in order to function properly.

7. “Dieting doesn’t work.”

We absolutely need to be aware of what we put in our mouths. If you have a sensible diet plan that focuses on substituting healthy choices for the junk food you’ve been eating, you’ll see results.

Do you find yourself consistently struggling to keep the weight off because you’re an emotional eater? It may be time to request the assistance of a mental health professional who is trained in methods of permanent weight control. It’s not easy to change an ingrained lifestyle but if you use a psychologist as your coach you can do it. If you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA please contact my office and schedule an appointment.



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