Managing Your Mind

Geraldine Markel, Ph.D. • 304 1/2 South State Street • Ann Arbor, MI 48104 • tel/fax: (734)761-6498 • Mobile: (734) 657-7880


Geri Markel

Managing Your Mind Newsletter

March/April 2012


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:



Office Space!

Geri loves her office space at 304 1/2 S. State Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48104. (Enter next to Ben & Jerry's and take the stairs to the second floor, near Dascola Barber.) This location allows her to meet clients on campus and conduct "Managing Your Academic Mind" seminars in the following areas:

Call (734) 761-6498) or email if you are interested in small group services.



Geri's "Demons of Distraction" blog is up and running! The blog focuses on Barriers to Productivity, particularly those that affect career and work/life balance. Recent topics include travel safety, tackling distracting clutter, and positive distractions. To access a steady supply of helpful tips and reminders, follow Geri on Twitter, "Like" the "Defeating the 8 Demons" Facebook page and bookmark the blog.

For students and the families who care about them, Geri also offers the Study Tip a Day blog for helpful hints from her new guide, "A Study Tip a Day Gets You an 'A': 365 Secrets of Study Success." It's full of great advice on keeping up with your assignments and improving your test scores!

For interesting information about college admissions, check out the blog at Geri, John Boshoven and Debbie Merion all provide tips on navigating the maze of the college admissions process.

Here in the newsletter, MYM will continue to provide announcements as well as information and tips on memory, time management, and organization. The Managing Your Academic Mind section is for students of all ages, and their families. There, you'll find resources on education, study skills and academic time management, college and graduate school admissions and testing, and AD/HD concerns. The Life Management section includes positive strategies to deal with issues that affect your home and family life, including health and wellness, parenting, caregiving, transitions, and managing finances. And of course, you will still see Goofs & Glitches and Positive Distractions - because we never seem to run out of either!

Questions? Comments? Suggested topics? Click on the links above to Tweet back, write on our Facebook wall, or react to a blog entry. Or, email Share your thoughts and ideas!


Events: Recent/Upcoming


Goofs and Glitches

On a ski trip, Dani had just nailed a beautiful run, carving her way down the mountain. Now she was hungry, and the protein bar she'd put in her jacket wasn't going to cut it. She headed for the lodge cafeteria, stripping off her hat, gloves and handwarmers and stuffing them into her pockets as she stepped into the lunch line. After refueling, she felt refreshed and ready to tackle another trail. When she stepped outside to suit up again, she reached into her pocket for her gloves--and came out with a warm, squishy, sticky, disgusting handful of chocolate-covered fabric! Apparently, the handwarmers were much more effective than the seal on the wrapping of her protein bar...

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


Life Management

Waiting in line at the Dollar Store, Geri overheard a conversation between the cashier and a fourteen-year-old who was cradling a dozen brightly colored 5-Hour Energy drinks. "Sorry, you can't purchase these unless you're over eighteen," declared the cashier. The male adolescent stomped away, only to return a minute or two later with an eighteen-year-old who doled out the cash. The cashier refused to allow the younger teen to walk out of the store with the bag. She told the boys that the store's video cameras register every sale. The older teen angrily grabbed the bag and walked out with it. Is anyone naive enough to think that the younger boy didn't drink the stuff?

Previous generations usually didn't become familiar with the jolting effects of a high dose of caffeine until they fell into the coffee habit in early adulthood. Now, caffeine is a lifespan experience. Stop into any Starbucks these days and you're likely to see even small children sipping sweetened, caffeinated novelty drinks like Turtle Mocha Frozen Frappuccinos while their bleary-eyed parents guzzle espressos. By adolescence, most of today's young people are seeking out even more powerful, so-called "high-energy drinks" to help rev them up and battle fatigue. What they don't realize is how damaging this can be to their health. Red Bull, Rockstar, Monster, Full Throttle and the like provide a short-term energy boost because they contain large amounts of caffeine and other stimulants. For example, a pint of an energy drink typically contains a cup and a half of sugar plus the amount of caffeine found in four or more colas. The overuse of such drinks can be especially dangerous to those with ADHD, diabetes, epilepsy, sleep issues, and eating disorders (Neuman, 2009). Those with allergies and asthma may also experience negative effects. Caffeine increases heart rate; overconsumption can lead to dehydration, nervousness, irritability, and insomnia. Parents need to be aware of the dangers of these energy drinks, especially if their children have any of the conditions listed above. Although the research is preliminary, hospitals are seeing emergency room visits due to adverse reactions, as seen in this recent Today Show segment.

Parents should also pay attention to the worrisome trend of teens and twenties mixing energy drinks with alcohol. One brand, Four Loko, has attracted particularly negative attention from the Food and Drug Administration. Due to the powerful combination of ingredients (including 12 percent alcohol by volume), those who have consumed these combination beverages may not perceive that they are impaired/drunk. This can lead to further overconsumption as well as extremely dangerous drunk-driving incidents. Energy drinks alone are unhealthy enough, but when combined with alcohol, they can be lethal.

If you have concerns, take time to monitor the nature and frequency of caffeine use in your family. What kind of example are adults setting? Are children and young adults aware of the unhealthy ingredient levels and possible health problems associated with energy drinks? If family members consistently rely on coffee, soda or energy drinks to stay mentally alert and be productive, it's time to review the basics: there are no long-term substitutes for adequate sleep, nutritious food, proper hydration and regular exercise. No one will achieve optimal functioning or peace of mind until priorities change to accommodate healthy habits. The "once in a while" use of an energizing drink should not drift into an "I can't function without it" habit.


Managing Your Academic Mind

Fearful about her grades, one college student skips going for meals at the cafeteria but munches on high calorie snack food and drinks as she pours over her books. When she puts on 15 pounds and is bursting out of her jeans, she becomes even more distressed. Another student is worried about the divorce of his parents and experiences intrusive thoughts during lectures. Afterward, he can't remember half of what the instructor said. Still another student is embroiled in a dispute with a roommate who is bringing a boyfriend in to share the room each night. All of these students are confronting a significant life problem and attempting to deal with it on their own. Should they?

Previous generations were often left to sink or swim once they were dropped off at their dorms--with mixed results. But there are some significant ways in which both college life and college students have changed: institutions are providing less supervision and expecting more personal responsibility, while students are approaching their college experience from a much wider variety of backgrounds. For instance, some of these students would not have attempted post-secondary education were it not for the extensive support network provided to them in high school; these same supports are not always as obvious at the college level. Across the nation, counselors are noticing an increase in mental health problems among college students, either due to preexisting conditions or to situations they are encountering for the first time.

Do most college students have the experience or coping skills to deal with these challenges by themselves? Most often, the answer is no. The high school-to-college years are still "growing up" years. Students of all ages have high stress levels related to academic success; as personal problems pile up, their stress levels soar even higher and their ability to use logic and coping skills decreases. Unfortunately, their friends may be in the same boat and not the best sources of advice or support.

This means that students need help to sort out issues, gain insights and perspective, and discover options. Knowing this, schools provide counseling services to help students deal with potential personal problems or crises. If parents suspect or learn that their child is struggling, they should be good listeners: calm and non-judgmental. They can reassure the student that it is a normal and positive sign of maturation to seek out the right resources to solve a problem. They can make the student aware of the names or websites of appropriate offices on campus where help is available.

Here are a few suggestions aimed at college students to help them deal with personal problems:

(A version of this article for students is available here.)


Featured Resources

When problems arise, there are the healing arts, and then there are the arts that heal. Ann Arbor Psychotherapist/Creative Arts Therapist Kim Perlman, M.A., has announced the opening of her new office at 623 W. Huron Street (at 3rd St.), Ann Arbor, MI 48103. Creative Arts Therapy utilizes drama, art, dance, and music as expressive tools. These techniques are an alternative outlet for clients who are dealing with painful unresolved emotional or somatic blocks. Kim uses such projective techniques as role-play, clay work, drawing, and movement to facilitate change in her clients. If you live in the area and think that this would be a useful process for you or someone you love, contact her at or (734) 846-2883. She provides office hours by appointment, and charges by sliding scale according to need. Visit her website at

Kim Perlman
Kim Perlman, M.A., Psychotherapist/Creative Arts Therapist



Defeating the Demons of Distracton Book Defeating the Demons of Distration Cards Defeating the Demons of Distraction Brochure


Reading: A Positive Distraction

Do you belong to a book club? Are your members having trouble finding the time to finish their monthly selections? What about a meeting to discuss the Demons of Distraction? For book clubs of ten or more members, Geri would be happy to present a session featuring her book, Defeating the 8 Demons of Distraction: Proven Strategies to Increase Productivity and Decrease Stress. Learn how to reduce distraction and increase time for reading and other meaningful life activities. Visit to read summaries and reviews of Defeating the 8 Demons of Distraction: Proven Strategies to Increase Productivity and Decrease Stress

Getting lost in a good book can be a wonderful distraction. Even fifteen minutes of reading time, curled up in your den or a cozy cafe, can really be rejuvenating. Here are some favorites that Geri and her staff enjoyed recently:


Good news: many areas are experiencing a warm, early spring to enjoy! Bad news: more frequent, violent storms may occur this season. Take some time to review/renew your emergency plan, supplies and safety area. You'll be glad you did!

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