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Kathy Marshack News

Chronic Worrying – When Controlling Gets Out of Control

Monday, January 11, 2010


We all worry. Sometimes it’s good to worry because it helps us to problem solve or avoid trouble in the first place. But when does worrying become unhealthy?  It’s a good question because according to leading experts 19 million Americans are “chronic worriers”.

 

Dr. Borkovec who developed the Penn State Worry Questionnaire defines unhealthy worrying by three main components: overthinking, avoidance of negative outcomes and inhibition of emotions. Basically chronic worrying stems from a craving for a sense of control, yet that is something worriers can never really find.

 

Sadly, by trying to be ready for the worst, worriers are actually compromising their body’s ability to react to a real crisis. Too much time worrying undermines the body’s ability to react to stress. Not only that, it also weakens the cardiovascular system and disrupts normal emotional functioning.

 

So what’s a worrier to do? The first step is identifying whether your worry is really productive.  Will worrying help you find a practical solution to your problem? If the answer is no, then you’re damaging your emotional and physical health if you continue fretting.

 

More insight can help you manage your worries and cope with the stresses of everyday life. Follow these links for more advice on coping with stress and anxiety. One more note, cognitive-behavior therapy can be a very effective treatment. If you’re having difficulty getting worries under control talk to a mental health professional and get some help.

Adjust your attitude about the upcoming New Year

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


The New Year is in just a few days! The arrival of the New Year can bring additional stress to overachievers. Instead of thinking about the negative, think of January as time to recoup and restore your energy and peace of mind. January is also a time to build a foundation for the goals you want to accomplish this year.

Because January brings us the opportunity to make New Year's Resolutions, I think it is about time to start a new tradition, that of appreciating ourselves for who we are. As one bumper sticker proclaims, "God doesn't make junk." Let your New Year's Resolution this year be - "I will accept myself totally and unconditionally and be the best I can be this year."

If you can appreciate who you are, that each and every day you are making a valuable contribution to your community by just doing your everyday thing (not overachieving), then you will have a much more prosperous New Year.

You will notice your talents more and strengthen them. You will notice your flaws more too, but you can build a plan to correct them. If you have been successful accomplishing other people's goals, think how much you can really accomplish if you lead your own life.

This year focus on self acceptance and you will benefit. For suggestions on how to change your paradigm for the year, read my article - Entrepreneurs should tackle the New Year with new priorities.

Worthwhile New Year’s Resolution - Change the Cycle of Unhealthy Dieting

Monday, December 21, 2009


For many life seems to be a roller coaster of weight loss and weight gain. Some choose the excessive approach, depriving yourself of the foods you want or your body needs then spiraling headlong into binging. The scenario seems to be diet – lose weight – develop cravings – eat compulsively – gain weight – diet again, and so on. Researchers are now finding that this type of pattern can cause changes in the brain similar to those who are drug addicts. For more information on this interesting study, visit "Dieters Face Similar Problems as Drug Abusers."

To avoid developing an unhealthy approach to food and dieting, I recommend four basic principles:

* Eat only when you’re hungry
* Stop eating when you’re not hungry
* Eat only what you’re hungry for
* Get plenty of exercise

A change in attitude and eating behaviors are required. If you feel like this is something you are struggling with, I recommend setting up an appointment with a mental health care professional who is trained in this area. For more information, visit my tip page - Healthy Weight Control.

November 2009 Is National Adoption Month

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


This month is National Adoption Month. Since I have adopted two children, I love to see the extra emphasis placed on raising awareness about adoption and foster care. The chosen theme is "Answering the Call - You don't have to be perfect to be a perfect parent." What a great theme! For more information, visit the Child Welfare Information Gateway website.

With my personal experience, I have recognized that raising adopted children and growing up adopted is different than it is for other families. There are many similarities, but the exceptions to the rule need to be examined too. It is foolish for adoptive parents to raise their children without education about the effects of adoption on the lives of their children and themselves. So in addition to the regular books and seminars on effective parenting, adoptive families should be reading and talking to adoption professionals about the special needs of their families.

Raising a child is no easy task, but with the right attitude and right education, it is a wonderful and life changing experience. If you would like more information on adoptive families, please contact my office.

Is it Really Going to be a Happy Holiday? Watch my Interview on KGW

Friday, November 20, 2009


Yes, the holidays are literally around the corner. Usually this time of year is full of excitement and anticipation, but with the recent economic downturn the holidays are turning into a time of stress and anxiety. I have found that people are slightly fearful of how they are going to cope with this time of year especially after experiencing a layoff or some other financial hit.

Here are a few things I recommend that will help you avoid stressing out this holiday season:

1. Accept that you may be stressed, but focus on what you can do and not on what you can't. You may have to make adjustments in how you choose the celebrate the holidays, but don't lose sight of the joys that you can still have with the right attitude.

2. Exercise, exercise, exercise. It is a proven stress buster and mood enhancer. Find what type of exercise that you enjoy most and make time for it.

3. Take time to meditate. There is an obvious connection between the mind and body and with the help of meditation, you can reduce stress, headaches and hypertension.

4. Spend time with the ones you love. Don't underestimate the power of love and friendship. A good time with friends and family is sure to enhance your mood.

I was interviewed about this very subject on KGW Portland News Channel 8. You can view the entire segment and see how myself and others have decided to view the upcoming holiday season - http://www.kgw.com/thesquare/Happy-Holidays-What-already-69994867.html. Make it a happy holiday. You have the power to do so!

New Research Designed to Assist Young Ones with Autism Cope with Anxiety

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Living life with autism can be extremely frustrating. Experts are finding that anxiety is on the rise for children and teens with autism spectrum disorders, roughly 80% according to recent statistics. A University of South Florida clinic has been researching treatment options for young ones with autism and anxiety. According to their research, the most effective treatment they have found so far is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy addresses the way people think. The techniques are designed to change faulty irrationally thinking into more constructive, solution-oriented thinking. Through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy you are confronted with the irrational beliefs and offered a new way of thinking about them.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has been used successfully with a variety of human problems from depression to low self-esteem to relationship dysfunction to phobias and anxiety, to writer’s block. However, as with all therapies, it is not the best solution for all people and this type of research is still new and under development. It is encouraging to see the medical community taking a more active interest in looking for ways to help young ones with autism cope with their anxiety.

Visit my website for more information on Psychotherapy Treatment Options including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

Winter Babies May Experience More Life Challenges

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


I was intrigued by a recent article in The Wall Street Journal, New Light on the Plight of Winter Babies. It discussed an interesting new study on the strong similarities in children born in the winter months. Statistically, there are significant findings that babies born during the winter have poorer health, school performance and career prospects. For all the details on this study, I recommend reading the article. Hearing these types of statistics can be jolting, but it is important to remember that there are always exceptions to the statistics. Just because the numbers point to something, they do not always factor in key individual differences. The positive side of this type of information is that it sheds light on potential problems that may not have been as recognizable before. As a parent, it can be challenging to keep up with the ever-changing needs of your children. If you think your child is struggling, for whatever reason, you might benefit from visiting a family therapist. For more information on parenting effectively, visit my website or contact my office for more information.

Back-to-School Transitions: Tips for Parents

Friday, August 21, 2009


With school beginning soon, parents can assist their children to get off to a good start.  This can help the child build confidence and performance academically, as well as socially. To assist parents with back-to-school children, check out the following tips from the National Association of School Psychologists:
  • Be sure your child is in good physical and mental health.
  • Review all of the school information.
  • Make a note of important school dates.
  • Make copies of all your child's health and emergency information.
  • Buy school supplies early using the school's checklist, if possible.
  • Re-establish the bedtime and mealtime routines.
  • Turn off the TV.
  • Visit school with your child.
  • Minimize clothes shopping problems by checking out the school's dress code guidelines.
  • Designate a location to keep backpacks, lunch boxes, as well as important papers.
  • Prepare a simple menu for the first week to eliminate additional tension.
These tips should not only make for a smooth transition from a summer schedule to the classroom, but may also make a difference in stress levels at home. For more information, go to http://www.nasponline.org/resources/home_school/b2shandout.aspx

New Study Shows Huge Increase in Antidepressants

Thursday, August 13, 2009


A new study published in the August edition of General Archives of General Psychiatry highlighted a startling fact. Apparently the use of antidepressants have increased by 75% when looking at the years 1996 to 2005 in the US. That is a considerable increase! Another worrisome statistic is that less 32% of those taking an antidepressant have visited a mental health care professional for treatment. Most received their medication from a general practitioner. With increasing difficult times, it is realistic to expect an increase in depression. What concerns me is the how people are going about treating their depression. If you are dealing with depression or know someone who is, I strongly encourage treatment from a mental health care professional. Therapy is a highly effective way to treat depression and can be used in combination with antidepressants. I also recommend lifestyle changes when coping with depression. A healthy diet and regular exercise promotes mental and emotional health. A strong network of positive and healthy support from family and friends is important for prevention and recovery from depression. For more tips and important information, visit Overcoming Depression on my website. If you would like to set up an appointment with me, please contact my office for more information.

A Healthy Brain Equals Healthy Relationships

Wednesday, July 08, 2009


A strong marriage or relationship requires constant and loving attention, which can be hard work under the best circumstances. Lately I’ve focused on the impact of Asperger Syndrome on relationships. But the truth is there are many things such as ADD, anxiety, depression, obsessive tendencies, brain trauma, toxic exposure, and early Alzheimer’s disease  that can seriously sabotage your relationships. I greatly respect the work of Dr. Daniel Amen, who I have spoken of in past blogs. In his recent "Brain in the News" newsletter, he spoke of how brain function has an incredible affect on our relationships. When the brain is functioning properly, things are good, but when it is not, you exhibit traits that could have a negative impact on your relationships.  For example, Dr. Amen mentioned that if you have low activity in the front part of your brain, you will often speak before you think. This type of speech can be hurtful and harmful to your relationship. If this type of behavior sounds familiar, you may need marital counseling and more. You may also need to examine your mental health as individuals. If you are interested in other tips for maintaining a relationship, visit Marriage Counseling - Maintaining a Strong Marriage.


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