Visit our homepage...

Learn more at

Friday, August 24, 2007

Multitasking or Mistake?

Think you can answer a cell phone, drive your car, and respond to a text message all at the same time? You may think you are adapt at multi-tasking, but are you?

What are the results of recent research?

• David Meyer, a Michigan psychologist found that people who multi-task don’t accomplish more, they slow down their tasks.
• There is a significant amount of time lost shuffling from one task to another
• Shuffling tasks varying from complex to familiar and back again may add 40% more time to a task
• Meyer says it takes time for the brain to shift gears and move to a different task, no matter what you may think
• Multi-tasking actually increases the chances of mistakes
• Muti-tasking can slow down our response time, and that slowing down can be dangerous when we are doing something like driving

Many people won’t believe this research and believe they really can do it all at any one time. Can they?
• Use this typical example… count from one to ten, and of course that comes very naturally and quickly. But, try to add a task and add one number and then one letter of the alphabet in sequence. Like 1 A 2 B 3 C 4 D--- notice how much more time it takes to work through the two varying tasks and integrate them. This should easily prove my point. You might be able to be efficient in doing the task, but your performance usually suffers.

What are some suggestions for multi-taskers?
• Only check your email once an hour at work. Try to focus on one task for 40 -45 minutes before a break. ((our concentration limit is about that amount of time)
• It usually takes 15-25 minutes to return to a task when interrupted, so turn off distractors, close your office door, or listen to music with no lyrics.
• Take brief breaks during the day which include deep breathing or trying to meditate and being mindless.
• Try to schedule difficult tasks for your most productive part of the day and save routine tasks for times when you might get more interruptions.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Grief And Loss

With the recent deaths of students within our community, we thought it would be helpful to give some mental health tips for helping someone work through grief and loss

Typically there are some common stages of grief. Please explain

The stages of grief are commonly identified through the work of Elisebeth Kubler-Ross who has identified 5 stages of grieving.
o Shock and denial: The inability to feel anything. The mourner may feel numb, overwhelmed, anxious and withdrawn
o Anger: Blaming self or others for the loss
o Bargaining: Trying to ask a Higher Power for a change, or pleading for a different result
o Depression: The feeling of sadness, disturbed sleep, thoughts of suicide, or excessive crying
o Acceptance: Beginning to look for the lessons of the experience and acceptance that you can not change what has happened.

What are some suggestions for working though the grief?

o Accept your grief. It is acceptable to grieve the loss. Grieving is a natural part of healing and it is a self-loving behavior
o Remind yourself that grief stages have a purpose
o Remind yourself that the grief will end
o Take care of your health (eat nutritionally, get sleep, exercise)
o Process the loss with your support network. Talk about the person who is no longer in your life.
o Take time to be alone.
o Remind yourself that grief hurts, but it will not harm you
o Ask for help from others, including a therapist

What are some tips for helping someone who is experiencing a major loss
o allow the mourner to feel whatever they are feeling
o talk openly about the death and have a candid discussion about the consequences of death
o don't push the griever into hiding their feelings or covering up their grief. Be there for them, versus avoiding the mourner.
o Let the mourner tell you about their loss again and again if they need to, andencourage them to seek help if they don't seem to be moving forward in the process.
o Help the griever find a grief support group (at school, in the community, etc)
o Stay involved in the mourners life, and let them know you are available to support them beyond the initial few weeks after the death.

Do Our Friends Effect Our Weight?

Can your social ties affect your weight? Some new research indicates that peers can effect your weight.

Tell us a little bit more about the new research that was just released.
• A study funded by the National Institute on Aging, utilizing over 12,000 participants showed that thinness and obesity are socially contagious. (study collection of data 32 years- multigenerational)
• If a person slims down, the people around them may also lose weight
• There is an acceptable norm for weight and people tend to share the same eating and exercise habits.

This is an interesting study. What else did they learn from the study?
• Acceptance: If someone you care about gains weight, your notion of an acceptable body weight may change and you may decide it is okay to go up in weight.
• Gain: When people become obese, the risk of their closest friends becoming obese over the next 2-4 years increases by 171%. Spouses chances are up by 37%
• Loss: When people lose shed pounds, it has a ripple effect and increases similar weight loss in friends, siblings and spouse.
• Gender: Men’s weight effect their male friends and siblings and female weight changes tend to effect their girlfriends or sisters more than brothers or guy friends. Men look to men to vise versa.

If we want to create a change in our lives, what are some healthy tips for those wanting to create a healthier lifestyle

• Exercise 3-5 times a week and include cardiovascular workouts
• Cut portion size and eat a little more often
• Drink plenty of liquids, limit sugars & white flours, and increase your fruits and vegetables.
• Lose weight slowly & focus on realistic goals, and focus on creating a healthier you!

College Transitions

Walking a fine line between interest and intrusion? The coming weeks will mark the transition of college students leaving their homes and moving to college campuses across the country. For many parents this is the first exposure to “letting go” not only psychologically but also physically. It is the time for many of us to learn to guide and support our sons and daughters from a distance.

Recently journalists have focused on some of the concerns parents of college students--and most specifically freshmen. Are there are notable trends? (parents frustration about the lack of being able to gain access to information from college due to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of l974)

What are some of the colleges doing about the concerns of parents?
~keeping parents in touch with newsletters
~ sending newspapers to parent's residences
~ trying to get parents involved in college events
~ setting up web sites for commonly asked questions and answers
~having webcams of the campus so parents can get a feel for what's happening on campus

We have talked about tips of getting ready for sending your son or daughter to college-- now that they are on campus any suggestions for parents?
o Help your child with problem solving (now is the time to use key phrases like “it sounds like you have some concerns, what are you going to do about it” “What ideas do you have to address this problem?” “Perhaps you should try working on it for a few days and if you can't find a solution we could talk about it in a couple of days”
o State your concerns (it is important that you be honest and tell your child your concerns, whether it is about their lack of studying, or concerns with them drinking or partying. It is important to make a point without lecturing and state your concerns openly )
o Don't overburden with your emotions (the transition is difficult for them also-- it is important to find someone to discuss your feelings with and let them know you care, but not that you can't survive without them)
o Take advantage of e-mail and text messaging (what a wonderful way to dialogue with your child. You can both connect when you find free time and it is much cheaper than phone service, and of course, much faster than snail-mail)
o Find a time to connect (but for those of us who love hearing our child's voice it is great to find a mutually agreeable night for calls. Many parents typically use Sunday nights as check-in nights)

Monday, August 6, 2007

Real Age... Can We Really Live Longer?

Computer generated programs can easily compact great amounts of information and quickly give us some generalized information for our personal usage. Recently I came upon the site, listed below, that looks at some of our mental health and physical health risks and correlates your responses to your "real age." The online survey looks at important categories that affect your longevity and quality of life.

Take some time and try it yourself:

*Please note this computer program is "Just For Fun" and for your own personal empowerment. You will quickly witness how "poor" lifestyle choices can effect your longevity and well-being.