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

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

NEW "APP" Look at the App Store for Geri's studytipaday. Here's a neat way for high school and college students to find quick tips to improve memory, test taking, reading and other study skills.

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!



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 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

Eggs Over Not-So-Easy

Geri says: "Like many of you, I have morning fog. To borrow an expression from my friend Hali, when I first get up, 'twenty percent of my brain hasn't downloaded yet.' Normally, before I undertake a morning task, I spend a few minutes doing something simple and soothing until I become alert and ready to work. If I'm in a hurry, even taking a big gulp of orange juice helps. Under ideal conditions, I brew a cup of tea or coffee to perk up and revel in the old-fashioned indulgence of turning the crisp pages of the New York Times. Even 15 minutes of solitude, sipping and reading provides a calming effect and marshals my focus so I can make a good start to the day.

"This particular morning, however, I woke up hungry enough that I made the fateful decision to cook my organic eggs first. Bad move. I was still bleary-eyed when I attempted an artistic flip to finish them off--and the phone rang while they were in mid-air. I was so startled and distracted that I missed the pan. Oops. I had to laugh as I scrubbed the range. Back to beverage-before-eggs for me!"

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


Life Management

"I didn't get accepted into the show." "I didn't make the cut for the team." "I wasn't picked for the promotion this year." You're disappointed. You expect a "Yes" and, instead, receive a "No". Sometimes you think you're a shoo in, other times you raise the bar and take a risk. In either case, you fall short.

What does this all mean? Now what? You might get distracted by feelings of disappointment, frustration, or in some cases, humiliation. However, after you suffer the shock and sadness (or anger) and the sting wears off, it's important to move past the paralysis of your negativity. You need to reframe, refresh and refocus on your goal. Decide to view the experience in a larger perspective. Philosophically, to grow, you must take risks, stumble, learn from experience and move to a higher level. How many times do youngsters fall before they walk? A child's physical growth and development doesn't happen overnight. Neither does an adult's learning curve. Regardless of the field, you need to find challenges, take appropriate risks and use the feedback to decide how, when, why and with whom to further develop.

Failure doesn't prove that you're not good enough. A failure is one experience, not an evaluation of your worth as a person or professional. The learning from mistakes, blunders, failures and frustration comes as you review your past actions and attitudes in light of the current situation.

Here are some questions to address after a frustration or failure:

Here are some actions to take:

  1. Give yourself a break or time to calm down and relax. Reaching a state of lowered stress and emotionality will allow you to use your logic and view the larger picture. You ask, "Is this an experience that requires a total shutdown? How will I view it in 5 months or years?"
  2. Recognize and respect the courage and effort you demonstrated to take the risk and throw your hat into the ring.
  3. Ask yourself, "How consistent is this experience with my most important goals? Should I continue to pursue?"
  4. Evaluate whether you need more knowledge, skill or experience.
  5. Construct a plan that includes the actions and timetable that are needed.

There are scores of famous people who dealt with frustration and failure. A commonly used example is the story of Thomas Edison, who conducted more than 9,000 experiments before he was successful with the light bulb. He said, "If I find 10 thousand ways something won't work, I haven't failed. I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is just one more step forward." Edison was a scientist. He set goals, kept records and learned from failures and mistakes. You can do the same on a less intense basis. The key is to look at disappointments as a source of feedback on your performance. Ask, "What aspects of my performance need to be maintained or modified?"

However, a word of advice: unless you're a scientist, don't make 9,000 attempts.

This entry can also be found on Geri's "Defeating the Demons of Distraction Blog


Managing Your Academic Mind

Transitions to college life are challenging for many students, but collegiate student athletes often face unexpected hurdles. A new book from two University of Michigan experts is a needed resource for the new high school graduate: College Knowledge for the Student Athlete by David Schoem and Shelly Kovacs. Kovacs recently retired from the University of Michigan, where she was Director of Student Services in the School of Kinesiology. Schoem is the faculty director of the Michigan Community Scholars Program and teaches in the Sociology Department at the University of Michigan. They have collaborated on a comprehensive guide to ensure the success of student athletes. The University of Michigan Press says, "...[S]tudent athletes face unique challenges, including the complicated set of regulations set out by the NCAA and individual conferences that determine eligibility. The current environment in college athletics makes it even more critical that student athletes understand what they need to do academically and how to avoid potential situations that could jeopardize their athletic careers. ...Tips are based on research and the authors' experience, as well as the wisdom and advice of hundreds of former student athletes." This would make a great graduation gift!


Featured Resources

Announcing the Kick-Off Meeting for the new Ann Arbor Adult ADHD Support Group: Tuesday, June 5, 2012 from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. at the Washtenaw Intermediate School District, 1819 S. Wagner Rd., Ann Arbor, MI 48106 (NE corner of Scio Church and S. Wagner Rds.).

Sari Solden, MS, LMFT, will give introductory remarks and WELCOME you to this new ADHD Support Group. Sari is a psychotherapist in private practice in Ann Arbor, MI and has worked with adults with ADHD and their partners for over 25 years. She is the author of Women with Attention Deficit Disorder, 2005, and Journeys Through ADDulthood, 2002.

Matthew Cunningham, LMSW, is the Group Facilitator & Organizer. For the first half of each meeting, a local professional will talk about an ADHD-related topic. The talk will be followed by a Q & A Session, and each meeting will end with a discussion and resource-sharing among participants. This is not group therapy, but a place to learn, ask questions and share information. Come ask your questions, give your input, network and learn about the Fall line-up. Meetings are FREE of charge, but to help Matthew plan for how many will attend, it's requested (not mandatory) that you either email him at OR you sign up at the meet up link .

Meeting Dates 2012 - 2013:



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


Music and Movies: Positive Distractions

Ann Arbor is blessed with many positive distractions, including numerous movie and music festivals. During early June, there is Cinetopia at the Michigan Theatre.This film festival will focus on presenting feature length, story-based films - dramas, comedies and documentary films that have screened at the world's best film festivals, featuring performances by Emily Blunt, Geoffrey Rush, Blythe Danner, Sacha Baron Cohen, Barbra Streisand, Ben Kingsley, Warren Beatty, Mark Duplass, Jess Weixler and many more. Special programs will explore 60 years of 3-D films and 3-D film technology, celebrate the work of UM screenwriting grad David Newman ("Bonnie & Clyde," "What's Up Doc" and "Superman") and the silent film comedy of Harold Lloyd.

Later in the month, The Summer Festival returns. Now entering its 29th season, the Ann Arbor Summer Festival offers a progressive mix of regional, national, and international artists of all disciplines. Presenting over 100 scheduled events each season and attracting a diverse audience of 60,000 people, the festival continues to grow as a major cultural event in the Ann Arbor community, and as an internationally recognized celebration of arts that enriches the cultural, economic, and social vitality of the region. The Ann Arbor Summer Festival is an exhilarating celebration of performing arts, outdoor entertainment, and community spirit. A boutique music and arts festival, the three-week gathering offers dozens of performances, activities, exhibitions, and screenings representative of the best in music, dance, comedy, film, circus and street arts, and family entertainment.

Most cities have such events and festivals during the summer months. Don't be so distracted with work that you miss out on the outstanding entertainment featured in your area.


Enjoy a happy, safe graduation season!

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