Managing Your Mind
3975 Waldenwood ? Ann Arbor, MI 48105 ? tel/fax (734)761-6498 ?
Geri Markel
Managing Your Mind Newsletter
November 2007

Welcome to the November, 2007 edition of the Managing Your Mind Newsletter. The goal of this communication is to help you manage your mind and enhance your work, life, and/or school performance.

Around the middle of each month, you will receive this practical newsletter providing tips, stories, resources, and announcements. 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.

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You'll find the following sections in this issue:



Upcoming Events:

Come to the November Jewish Book Fairs. Do your early- bird holiday shopping. Geri will be there with her friends, Mitchell Rycus, author of Rub Up, and Wilma Fellman, Author of Finding a Career That Works for You.

  • In Ann Arbor: Sunday, November 18, from 10 AM to 12 Noon, at the Jewish Community Center, 3935 Birch Hallow Drive.
  • In West Bloomfield: Sunday, November 11, from 10 AM to 12 Noon, at the Jewish Community Center of Metropolitan Detroit, 6600 West Maple Road.


Goofs and Glitches

Have you laughed at yourself or others when you observed a car with a coffee mug forgotten on the roof, a gas cap hanging from the tank, or a belt dangling from the back seat? These are occasional attention mishaps that are amusing. With the holidays fast arriving, however, be prepared for the possibility of distractions that result in greater costs and inconveniences. For example, recently, a friend was so excited about the fantastic reductions at Saks Fifth Avenue that she left her cell phone in the dressing room. What she saved on holiday clothes she spent on a new phone!

If you are prone to distractions, ask yourself, .How many funny stories does one person need?. Start planning now for the holidays and keep the goofs and glitches at a minimum.

Let's laugh together about our experiences. If you have one to share, send it to


"It Worked For Me" - Blake's Story

Blake's Story: "I PASSED!!!!!! Such a relief!!!!! I got my scores and I'm so happy." This is the feeling of elation and success experienced by a medical resident. Adults facing credentialing tests deal with unique challenges because they are actually on the job while also trying to assimilate new material and prepare for their examinations. If they fail in early attempts to pass those exams, they often get stuck using the same unproductive ways of preparing for the next round of testing. As their stress levels increase, they tend to use fewer and fewer of the advanced study skills and test taking strategies that they used earlier. Time between testing attempts also becomes a factor: they may become rusty with material previously learned if it is not applied to their work regularly, or they may be so busy learning new material that they have little quality time to re-study and re-memorize previously learned facts and procedures. Blake, for instance, had long-standing trouble with standardized tests and needed to have new ways of practicing for his upcoming examination. Instead of reading and re-reading his notes, he summarized on a blank piece of paper what he had learned every twenty minutes. Also, when he was studying the material, he visualized an actual patient and spent more time on diagnosing rather than jumping into treatment. During the exam itself, he kept talking to himself to remain calm, focused on key words, and took frequent mini-breaks. Congratulations, Blake!

If you've used a tip from a Managing Your Mind book or seminar or you've come up with one of your own, please share with me by calling (734) 761-6498 or emailing


Strategies for Success:

With the holidays around the corner, many people are taking advantage of online shopping as a convenient way to purchase gifts. To safeguard your identity and financial accounts, you may want to consider Tips #13 and #8 from Geri's booklet, Defeating the Demons of Distraction: 111 Ways To Increase Work/Life Performance and Decrease Stress: open a separate email account for your online shopping, and a separate credit card for all online transactions. This limits your exposure to fraud or security breach while online. It becomes easier to track transactions or investigate problems when online transactions are kept separately. Follow information security guidelines. Occasionally change passwords to protect your privacy and prevent identity theft.


Student Corner

What does it feel like to be a student with AD/HD? How does the school experience differ when on AD/HD medication or off it? An eloquent friend looks back and writes: "I must have been among the first children in North America to take Methylphenidate. In 1963 or so I was identified as a kindergartener with a problem. I couldn't lie still on my nap mat, I interrupted, and could not focus on tasks at hand. My mother made a chain of safety pins for my mat so I would have something to do at that time. I was cared for by our pediatrician who was just out of med school. He diagnosed .hyperactivity. and prescribed Ritalin. He felt that a child's self esteem was of primary importance to development. Success, achievement, and fitting in with others for the sole purpose of having positive social experiences are what self esteem is made of and as important as the content of the curriculum at hand. It was helpful to me. I knew it helped me to be a better student. I don't know what my grades were as a youngster; I did not perceive it as a negative thing at the time. I believe the young pediatrician was correct. I had a loving and supportive family to boot. I felt supported by those decisions. I took Ritalin until the fifth grade. At that time the thinking was that kids grew out of the disorder. I then discontinued the medication as was the practice..." To read the rest of this moving, first-person account, click here.


Parent Corner:

Families, educators, and the national media are all debating the issue of students and stress: how busy should middle and high school students be, and how hard should the adults in their lives push them toward achievement? Whether from intensive sports training, full slates of Advanced Placement courses, or extracurricular activities that never leave students time at home, ambitious adolescents are showing signs of stress that worry their elders, including academic cheating, depression, and substance abuse. A recent New York Times article (Sara Rimer, Oct. 29, 2007) profiled a Massachusetts high school principal who is trying to alter the school culture by introducing yoga and other stress reduction techniques. He has also asked his staff to provide some homework-free periods and to take the emphasis off of getting into a small number of elite colleges as the only definition of success. His efforts have met with both praise and derision. Parents may bear the brunt of this ambivalence, receiving contradictory messages from school staff to both "back off" yet be more vigilant, to provide a "Leave It to Beaver" home atmosphere yet demolish each dinner hour with runs to music rehearsals, sports practices, honor society meetings and the like. How can families decide how much is enough for their student? Like Paul Richards, the Needham High School principal, parents need to inform themselves about the research on stress and adolescent development: too much stress, along with accompanying factors like sleep deprivation, poor nutrition, and too strenuous or too little physical activity, can actually impede learning. Applying this knowledge to each child's individual needs and situation may help give families the courage to climb off the hamster wheel and find a healthier path to success. For one expert's perspective, visit NBC Nightly News, and search for "Pushing too hard" to find the video with child psychiatrist Dr. Alvin Rosenfeld.


Featured Resources

Families dealing with AD/HD or learning disabilities can always use some inspiration.and anyone can use a good laugh. Actor, director, producer, and humanitarian Henry Winkler brings humor, warmth, and understanding to his newest venture: co-author, with Lin Oliver, of the Hank Zipzer series of books for young people (ages 9-12). According to LD Online,, Winkler struggled with undiagnosed learning disabilities until well into his career, when he was asked to narrate the 1976 educational film, "Everybody Has a Song." Recognizing himself in the film's descriptions of dyslexia and dyscalculia, he gained further insight into his condition when his stepson went through the evaluation and diagnosis process. Despite his academic challenges, Winkler persevered to earn degrees from both Emerson College and Yale Drama School. Hank Zipzer, "the World.s Greatest Underachiever," is his fourth grade alter ego; he brings creativity, resourcefulness, and above all, a positive attitude to each difficult situation that he encounters. Check out Hank Zipzer #11, The Curtain Went Up, My Pants Fell Down and the other hilarious titles in this series at your favorite local or online bookseller.



Geri’s NEW BOOK: Defeating the 8 Demons of Distraction: Proven Strategies to Increase Productivity and Decrease Stress is now available! This book is designed to arm workforce employees, independent professionals, and family managers with simple yet powerful strategies to stop distraction from interfering with effective performance. Practical, step by step techniques help you rid your life of formidable enemies such as The Technology Demon, The Others Demon, The Activities Demon, The Unruly Mind Demon, and four others. In Ann Arbor, it's on the shelves of Nicola's Books in the Westgate Shopping Center; call (734) 662-0600 or visit for directions. The book can also be ordered from and Geri will also have copies on hand for purchase and signing at several upcoming events, see below.

New product! Mem-Cards for Defeating the Demons of Distraction. This pack of 28 fast-reading, pocket-sized cards provides a personal coaching tool that can be used by individuals or in corporate training. Each deck contains the key ideas and important insights from Geri's booklet, Defeating the Demons of Distraction: 111 Ways to Increase Work/Life Performance and Decrease Stress. In just minutes a day, you'll get everything you need to know to improve your life. Available at $9.95 each. For more information or to buy for your own use or as a gift, click here.

Defeating the Demons of Distraction Mem-Cards



Holiday Recipe: Stuffed Mushrooms

In our family, no major holiday goes by without a platter of delicious stuffed mushrooms. Here's the foolproof, secret, Sicilian recipe:

Set aside about 15 to 20 minutes. The festivities begin when you start to prepare this dish. You create a party of one when you turn on music you love, prepare a drink you enjoy, and munch on veggies--or chips, nuts, or cookies.

Now you are ready to begin the preparation:

  • Clean and remove stems from 12 to 15 large mushrooms. Brush with olive oil and set aside.
  • Mix: 1 Cup Progresso Italian Style Bread Crumbs, 1/8 Cup Grated Parmesan, Lawry's Garlic Salt, Ground pepper, Two tablespoons of Chopped Italian Parsley, and a Few sprinkles of oregano. Add olive oil to moisten.
  • Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil, brush with olive oil, aJnd place mushrooms on the cookie sheet. Use a teaspoon or your fingers to fill each mushroom cap with a small mound of bread crumb mixture.
  • Bake at 350 degrees until soft. Keep tasting to make sure they are done. Enjoy.

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


Have a Wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday!

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