Managing Your Mind
3975 Waldenwood • Ann Arbor, MI 48105 • tel/fax (734)761-6498 •
Geraldine A. Markel, Ph.D. •
Geri Markel
Managing Your Mind Newsletter
February 2009

Welcome to the Managing Your Mind Newsletter, where you can find information and strategies to help you manage your mind and enhance your work, life, and/or school performance.

Feel free to contact me with your questions, concerns, and suggestions. Previous issues are archived in our Newsletter Archive. Sample checklists and diagrams are archived there under The Geri Checklists.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Please add to your address book so you'll be sure to receive every issue. "Spam" filters may place future editions of this newsletter in your "junk" or "deleted" folder unless it is a recognized address.

You'll find the following sections in this issue:



Goofs and Glitches

What happens when you don't secure that cork on a bottle of leftover wine? A house that smells like a stale bar, and a countertop that looks like a crime scene...


Funny or inconvenient, let's share our experiences. If you have one to share, send it to


Strategies for Success:

We have a happy follow-up to Laura O'Connor's story in the December 2008 MYM Newsletter. As a result of Laura's perseverance with the job search process, she reports, "I got a job. A good job. The job I wanted for 1 1/2 years. If I ever doubted the phrase 'timing isn't everything, it is the only thing,' I am now a devout believer... Losing my job was one of the most difficult experiences I have had as an adult. Trying to keep perspective was often difficult, and maintaining a positive attitude even more so." To read more about the circumstances that led to Laura's new position, click here.

Consider advice provided in Greenbaum and Markel's Finding Your Focus: Practical Strategies for the Everyday Challenges Facing Adults with ADD: "Visualizing is particularly useful for goal setting. You can visualize what the goal will look like, how you will feel when you have attained it, and the steps leading up to it. Visualizing the goal is a great motivator to keep you on course."


"It Worked for Me" - Rick's Story

"I travel a lot for work. Every few weeks I'm packing a bag and rushing out the door to catch a plane to Europe, China or India. It's exhilarating to be able to do this for a living: to explore new places, sample the local cuisines, make new friends, and form new teams all while understanding and overcoming cultural differences - especially when I can clinch a business deal in the process! But it all comes at a hefty price - it's physically grueling and I leave my family behind. I know I miss out on a lot. The obvious, such as the school functions, but also the more subtle, like not being there to help out with the math homework, or to bring a cup of tea when someone is sick in bed.

Over the years I have found ways to cope with the pain of the separation and minimize the disruption of being gone. To see some of the strategies I use, click here."


Student/Parent Corner

Educational theory, instructional techniques, and classroom technologies evolve over the years, but one thing never changes: students are always going to have to commit some information to memory. Vocabulary, historical dates, mathematical formulas, and other types of data need to be memorized not only for short term testing, but as foundational elements for later learning and application. Memorization requires repetition and retention of new information; this process is enhanced by strategies that involve using the information in some way. In Performance Breakthroughs for Adolescents with Learning Disabilities or ADD: How to Help Students Succeed in the Regular Education Classroom, Geri and co-author Judith Greenbaum suggest the following ways to help all students memorize new material:

  • Writing and/or reciting new material, organizing it, and/or applying it.
  • Connecting new information to something already known.
  • Drawing pictures or diagrams or developing checklists.
  • Visualizing a book, a page or a diagram.
  • Using rhyme and/or rhythm while reciting information.
  • Using acronyms and other mnemonic devices.

Students should be cautioned that it is difficult to memorize more than a little bit each day (for example, they should attempt no more than three to five spelling words at a time).


Coaches Corner

Coaches often work with clients who need to recognize and address counterproductive behaviors. As a coach, one walks a fine line between being truthful and constructive without appearing critical or judgmental. Certain clients may respond best to the use of humor: many people can better identify their difficulties and accept truths about themselves through the lens of a comedian, satirist or cartoonist. Ashleigh Brilliant, for example, is a cartoonist who has been amusing people with his insights for many years. Below is an example that is particularly apt for an AD/HD coach. After introducing a concept through text or a graphic, a coach can ask the client, "On a scale from 1-10, how frequently do you feel this way?" Humor can also be a great teaching tool. Props are one way to introduce fun into a lecture or coaching session while reinforcing points that have been made. Examples include using a funny pair of eyeglasses when talking about new perspectives, or using a magic wand to discuss the difference between magical thinking and self-management. To enjoy more of Ashleigh Brilliant's Pot-Shots, visit his website.



Featured Resources

During the dull, dark months of winter, Renee Vettorelli - a respected and much loved massage therapist - asks, "Are you feeling old, cold, and want to break out of the mold?" If you want a lift, contact Renee. She has revitalized many of the bodies you bump into around Ann Arbor. Geri became her client while recuperating from hip surgery over 20 years ago.

Whether you need a one-time boost, some relaxation, or help recuperating from an injury or illness, Renee brings joy - not only to your body, but to your soul. Give yourself or someone you care about a lovely gift: a massage. Renee is a runner who has participated in marathons in Boston, New York, Athens, Paris, and Los Angeles. She is pictured below after completing the Bobby Crim Festival of Races 10 mile run in Flint, Michigan. She is located at 815A Huron Towers, 2222 Fuller Ct., Ann Arbor, MI 48105. Tel. (734) 665-6436.




  • Geri is participating in a new group: The Leadership Fit® Associate Network. David Chinsky & Associates, LLC, a leading provider of executive coaching and management development programs, has announced the formation of The Leadership Fit® Associate Network. A dozen experienced and credentialed executive coaches and leadership trainers have now joined this new network, giving them access to an expanded set of resources for serving clients seeking the clarity, confidence, effectiveness and vitality necessary for achieving their highest levels of professional effectiveness and leadership fitnessTM. For more information about workshops available from The Leadership Fit® Associate Network, click here.
  • Want to make sure that those New Year's resolutions turn from intention to action? Give the life-changing gift of professional coaching to yourself or to others: help your child or grandchild deal with the tyranny of standardized testing, or obtain the support you or your significant other need to achieve big dreams! It's easy to get off track when confronted by the enormous changes and challenges of 2009; even one or two sessions per month can ensure that you move forward despite winter and economic gloom. Geri is offering a New Year's Resolution Special Rate of 20% off coaching sessions booked before March, 2009. Simply mention this newsletter item when you contact her, tel. (734) 761-6498.
  • Finish-that-Book Coaching Package! Geri is offering on-site or telephone coaching with fees starting from $750 for a three month package. Contact twice per month with fax or email feedback.
    • Organizing material
    • Sequencing sections
    • Managing references
    • Integrating material within and between chapters
    • Scheduling writing
    • Monitoring progress
    • Revising
    • Editing Scheduling promotional activities
    • Book signings
    For more term and pricing information, contact her, tel. (734) 761-6498.
  • New book! Three experts provide their best college admissions advice in the latest publication from Managing Your Mind: College Admissions: From Chaos to Control by John Boshoven, M.A., M.S.W., Debbie E. Merion, M.S.W., and Geraldine Markel, Ph.D. Decide on the right schools for you, find your unique voice to write a compelling application essay, and score your best on high-stakes tests such as the ACT and SAT. John, Debbie, and Geri help families fit together the pieces of the college admissions process. Available from the authors, email for more information at,, or $12.95, digital download $10.00.
  • Attention! The second edition of Defeating the 8 Demons of Distraction: Proven Strategies to Increase Productivity and Decrease Stress has now been published by iUniverse. New price, $15.95! Copies can be ordered from the publisher's website,, from, and from Books can be special-ordered at Borders and Barnes & Noble, and are on the shelf in Ann Arbor at Nicola's Books. Defeating the 8 Demons of Distraction can be purchased in e-book format from iUniverse or as a download through
  • Recognize and reward progress! Are you a speaker, consultant, coach, or business owner? If you need memorable and useful gifts or incentives for your clients, consider the products below. The tips and strategies to help people accomplish more in the New Year are available in several handy formats: paperback, pocket-sized deck of cards, and 16-page concise booklet. Check out all of the "Defeating the Demons of Distraction" products.
Defeating the Demons of Distracton Book Defeating the Demons of Distration Cards Defeating the Demons of Distraction Brochure


Cooking: A Positive Distraction

Cooking can be a positive and creative distraction. If you are one of the many people who find that cooking is relaxing, you may enjoy the recipes that we sometimes feature. If you have a favorite recipe, feel free to send it in to be shared. Here's one you may enjoy.

Recipe: Strawberry Raspberry Trifle
Trifle may be a "company" dessert but don't be intimidated: it is as easy to prepare as it is beautiful to behold. It can be prepared in advance, which makes for easy entertaining on long, cold winter nights. Give your guests a preview of summer pleasure with this fruity treat.

Cooking time: 20 minutes Services 14 to 16 people

3 cups milk
2 packages (1 ounce each) vanilla pudding mix
1 prepared angel food cake (14 ounces), cut into 1-inch cubes
3 cups sliced fresh strawberries
3 cups fresh raspberries
2 cups of sweetened whipped cream
Liquor, liqueurs or fruit juice (e.g., rum, bourbon, Amaretto, orange juice)
3 to 6 whole strawberries quartered for garnish (can also add mint sprigs)

1.Cook vanilla pudding as directed on box and set aside.
2.Place a third of the cake cubes in a trifle bowl or a 3-1/2- quart glass serving bowl.
3.Sprinkle with the liquor or fruit juice.
4.Top with 1/3 of pudding, 1 cup of sliced strawberries, 1-1/2 cups raspberries and a third of the whipped cream.
5.Repeat layers of cake pieces, liquor sprinkling, pudding, and berries.
6.Garnish with quartered strawberries.
7.Refrigerate for at least one hour.

Use crumbled macaroons sprinkled with liquor as the first layer.
Line the sides of the trifle dish with ladyfingers before adding first layer.
Include fresh blueberries (or coconut or chocolate chips or toasted nuts) in the fruit layer and garnish.

Take a photo of your creation and share your success: mail photos and comments to


Celebrate all of the love in your life this Valentine's Day - family, friends, pets, work, and community make it all worthwhile!

Feel free to forward this newsletter to someone else who might be interested.