Find Yourself Forgetful? How to Enhance Your Memory

Improve MemoryWhile you may think of forgetfulness and memory loss as challenges only the elderly face but if you are a young person, you may be disappointed to learn that memory loss can affect you too. Unfortunately, like most mental health problems memory has not prejudice. But there’s something you can do to help!

Young or old, if you are finding yourself forgetful there are certain things you can do to help improve your memory. To help you begin today, here’s a few tips on how to enhance your memory.

  • Train. Yes, it’s true- like training your body through physical exercises you can help train your brain for memory improvement. “People in the early stages of memory loss can benefit from simple memory training, research suggests according to the American Psychological Association (APA) (1) Using popular training techniques like “mnemonic devices” or “vanishing cues” can help trigger you brain to better remember.

Mnemonic devices: To put this training tactic to work simply visualize something that will help you better remember whatever it is you want to be able to recall later. For example, when meeting a new person whose name is Mrs. Teal, you would visualize that person covered in the color teal to better help you remember their name.

Vanishing cues: This tactic is used more often when trying to recall information. For instance, if you are trying to think of Mrs. Teal’s name but can’t remember it, instead write down on a piece of paper any letters of the name that you can remember. Once seeing the letters on the paper fill in more, and more until you begin to remember. By doing this you are training new areas of the brain to take over defective areas.

  • Mental photos. Sometimes, being able to recall memories later on means taking a mental photo or snapshot now. According to the APA, “Good memory requires good learning and good learning is done through forming strong association with new information as you learn it.” (2) While you don’t have to physically walk around life acting like you are taking photos, mentally focusing on new things you are learning or would like to remember later, similar to a camera focuses can help you form those strong associations, and thus help improve your memory.

Make taking notes a routine part of your day. When you set important items down like a cell phone, car keys, or wallet take a moment to focus and take a mental snapshot.

No matter your age, forgetfulness and memory loss can affect you and make life more challenging. But you can work to improve your memory. By working to train your brain and making a point to take mental snapshots all throughout your day you can better challenge your brain and enhance your memory.

Mark D. Parisi, Psy.D. & Associates, P.C. provides counseling, psychological testing, and psychotropic medication management in Mount Prospect and Chicago – serving surrounding Cook, Lake, DuPage, and Will Counties. They accept most insurance and offer extremely affordable sliding scale rates. Call (847) 909-9858 for a free, no-obligation telephone consultation





  1. Enhance Your Memory, Training your brain quote, 2015,
  2. Enhance Your Memory, Mental photos quote, 2015,




3 Ways Weather Is Affecting Your Mental Health

mental healthWhile many of us are fully aware of how weather has the ability to affect our physical health, the majority of people today are completely ignorant of the affects weather can have on our mental health. Rain or shine, hot or cold, tornado or hurricane- weather can have a dominating effect on the way we feel and translate the world around us.

According to a 2014 climate change study, “climate change and related weather events and environmental changes can profoundly impact psychological well-being and mental health.” (1) To help you learn just how weather may be impacting you beyond just the physical, here are 3 ways weather may be affecting your mental health.

1. Stress.  If you have been the victim of a natural disaster, you may be more likely to develop post-traumatic stress disorder. But you don’t have to be the outcome of a hurricane, tornado, or earthquake to feel the increased stress they can cause on ones’ life. Simply living in a region prone to more drastic weather can easily send your stress levels through the roof.

2. Anxiety and depression.  When it comes to mental health, anxiety and depression are key areas to be potentially hit by weather’s impact. Results in a 2012 study comparing temperature and humidity vs mental health emergency room visits suggested an increased use of emergency departments for mental and psychosocial problems the higher the temperature. (2) Many of these visits were due to anxiety, depression, anxiousness, and even stress.While warmer temperatures and pleasant weather can reap positive effects like higher mood and improved memory at first, over a short period of time these positive effects evolve into more of the negative effects discussed above. Likewise, many love the first hot summer day. They enjoy soaking up the sun by spending time outdoors in the heatwave. But if that heatwave continues over an entire week, most people would begin yearning for relief.

3. Addictions and suicide. Unfortunately, weather can affect people on an even higher scale, aiding in addictions and suicides among the population. According to a study conducted on the effects of sunshine on suicide rates, “…sunshine, via interactions with serotonin neurotransmission, may trigger increased impulsivity and promote suicidal acts.” (3)  The ongoing combination of stress, anxiety, and depression may put those already more susceptible to mental illnesses at a higher risk for developing addictions and even committing suicide.

We are all well aware of the physical affects weather can have on both people and the world around us but it’s important to also shed light on the mental health impact of weather. Oftentimes, being proactive in mentally preparing for changes in weather can be just as beneficial as stocking up on bottled water and flashlights. By choosing a region with weather trends you can better anticipate and mentally prepare for, you can help brace yourself for weather’s negative impact on stress, anxiety and depression, addictions, and suicide both physically and mentally.

Mark D. Parisi, Psy.D. & Associates, P.C. provides counseling, psychological testing, and psychotropic medication management in Mount Prospect and Chicago – serving surrounding Cook, Lake, DuPage, and Will Counties. They accept most insurance and offer extremely affordable sliding scale rates. Call (847) 909-9858 for a free, no-obligation telephone consultation.



  1. Climate Change: The Next Challenge for Public Mental Health?, Weather effects mental health quote, 2014,
  2. Relationship Between Ambient Temperature and Humidity and Visits to Mental Health Emergency Departments in Quebec, Study findings for connection between heat and mental health emergency visits, 2012,
  3. Effects of Sunshine On Suicide Rates, Sunshine and suicide rates quote, 2012,




2 Terrible Truths about Stress Today

So, stress is up! We all know that high stress levels are on the rise all across the nation but what’s the real truth about stress today? Why is it impacting everyone we know- both the young and the old, and why does its negativity reign supreme?

StressOutAccording to the key findings of the American Psychological Association (APA), there are 2 terrible truths about stress today (1). To help you better understand these truths and in return your own personal stress, here’s more.

1. Self-care is not a priority. Only forty percent of Americans rate their health as very good or excellent, leaving the remaining sixty percent with less than adequate self-rated health, as stated by the APA. (2) The first terrible truth about stress in America is a lack of self-care. It’s simply not a priority. Instead of managing stress in healthy ways by staying active, eating nutritional meals, and making our personal health a priority we opt to indulge in unhealthy behaviors like drugs and alcohol, over or under eating, and being lazy when it comes to regular exercise.

The APA continues to provide a list of startling facts including, “two-fifths of Americans reported overeating or eating unhealthy foods due to stress.” (3) The terribly sad truth is that we, as Americans are taking part in a viciously repetitive cycle. We choose to eat unhealthy, not be active, and overall not make self-care a priority which in return creates stress in our life. And what do we do because we are feeling stressed? We continue to eat unhealthy, not be active, and not make self-care a priority. Yikes!

2. Lack of willpower is the problem. The second truth in our one-two-punch against stress is the lack of willpower. The APA cites the lack of willpower as being the biggest barrier to adopting healthier behavior and continues to inform us that survey respondents are mistakenly relying on an inner strength to make necessary health changes (4). Similar to standing in front of an empty refrigerator with the door wide open waiting for something delicious to appear, you too should stop waiting for some inner strength to emerge against unhealthy choices.

Willpower is a choice you make, not something that all of a sudden happens within you. Combatting the stress in your life requires better health choices through nutrition and exercise and both of those choices take a strong will power. Don’t be afraid to awaken yours.

Stress is up because self-care and willpower are down. The 2 terrible truths, the first being that Americans are not prioritizing self-care through eating healthy and being active and the second, that Americans have a lack of willpower are society’s downfall when it comes to combatting stress. Want to beat the stress in your personal life? It’s as simple as prioritizing your health and having the willpower to stick to those healthy choices.

Mark D. Parisi, Psy.D. & Associates, P.C. provides counseling, psychological testing, and psychotropic medication management in Mount Prospect and Chicago – serving surrounding Cook, Lake, DuPage, and Will Counties. They accept most insurance and offer extremely affordable sliding scale rates. Call (847) 909-9858 for a free, no-obligation telephone consultation.





  1. Stressed In America, 2 Terrible truths, 2011,
  2. Stressed In America, Americans rate personal health stats, 2011,
  3. Stressed In America, Unhealthy eating due to stress stats, 2011,
  4. Stressed In America, Lack of willpower facts, 2011,


Sweat Away the Stress

Stress ReductionMost people experience stress on a daily basis.  For some it is mild and easily controlled, but for others it can be serious and begin to affect their everyday lives.  There are many ways to manage stress, but exercise is one that can assist in stress management as well as provide many other health and mental benefits.

1. Increase Energy. Your daily routine can be physically and mentally draining.  You may think that you cannot possibly squeeze one more thing into your schedule; however, finding time to exercise on a regular basis has been shown to give you even more energy to achieve those everyday tasks.  It may seem strange that exercise, which can be exhausting, can actually replenish your energy levels.  Not only can your energy be restored, but your ability to concentrate can be increased as can your overall brain function (1).  In order to fully utilize this energy, working out in the morning is a great option.

runStress22. Encourage Stability. Having a consistent routine as well as a goal to be attained can shift the focus of a person’s mind.  Even if the stress factors in his life have not been removed, the stability offered by a proper exercise regimen can allow him to concentrate on something other than those stress factors.  If you are in need of some consistency in your everyday schedule, make exercise part of your daily routine, not just something that you do if you have time.  The best way to accomplish this is to join a specific class that meets at a specified time or to work out with a friend; if someone is relying on you to be there, you are less likely to make excuses.

3. Release Tension. Exercise is a science.  There are many chemicals that can be released and many nerves that can be stimulated through physical activity.  Endorphins are released during physical activity, and these chemicals offer a person relief from stress as well as a chance to get a better night’s sleep (2).  Many people who are trying to do exercise specifically for stress relief choose yoga since it also requires that you concentrate and control your breathing.

4. Balance Emotions. The body and the brain go hand in hand.  What affects one will naturally affect the other.  When your body is stronger, so is your mind.  One of the greatest benefits of exercise is that it allows all the systems of the body to work together.  This includes the brain function, which then allows the body to handle stress more efficiently (3).  One of the best exercises to accomplish this is running since it works the muscular, cardiovascular, and nervous systems.  Only a strong and focused mind will be able to balance all these functions properly.

Using exercise as a weapon against stress has been shown to be successful for many people (4).  Whether physical activity actually reduces stress or simply lessens the effects of it, there is no question that it is a great outlet for stressed people.

Mark D. Parisi, Psy.D. & Associates, P.C. provides counseling, psychological testing, and psychotropic medication management in Mount Prospect and Chicago – serving surrounding Cook, Lake, DuPage, and Will Counties. They accept most insurance and offer extremely affordable sliding scale rates. Call (847) 909-9858 for a free, no-obligation telephone consultation.

1. Physical Activity Reduces Stress, Benefits of exercise on energy levels, 2015,
2. Exercise for Stress and Anxiety, Endorphins released during exercise, 2015,
3. Exercise Fuels the Brain’s Stress Buffers, Body systems, 2015,
4. Exercise Fuels the Brain’s Stress Buffers, Body systems, 2015,

When Anger is a Positive

There are many misconceptions about the emotion of anger. One of those misconceptions is that anger is a negative thing and that being happy is its opposite. Another misconception is that, when people become angry, violence will most likely ensue. While these thoughts are sometimes true, they are also missing the other aspect of anger – the positive side.anger management

There is a way to display anger in a proper manner that is actually helpful rather than hurtful. While constructive anger has no exact definition since it varies from one situation to another, there are some common elements (1).

  • Constructive anger is controlled. Instead of immediately expressing anger when first instigated, take time to think about the situation and determine whether your anger is appropriate (2). Thinking about your response first will help you avoid destructive anger.
  • Constructive anger is justified. Do you actually have a reason to be as angry as you feel, or could you be overreacting to the situation? Did you do anything that could have contributed to the problem? Is the level of anger you feel proportional to the situation? Considering these questions will help you avoid regretting your anger later.
  • Constructive anger is shared (3). If you are expressing your anger and the object of your anger isn’t even present, you are wasting your breath and most likely just working yourself up. If you have a legitimate reason to be angry, it should be discussed face to face with the person. In addition, the other person should be given a chance to explain, share his perspective, and eventually apologize without being attacked further.

anger managementNot only can constructive anger help an immediate relationship or situation, it can have positive effects on the future as well. Studies have shown the repressed anger is more likely to result in violence than immediately expressed anger (3). The following are a few of the positive aspects of anger.

  • Resolves. Constructive anger results in a situation being resolved, which in turn strengthens the relationship rather than hurting it.
  • Motivates. Anger is an excellent motivator. If you feel wronged about something, it can motivate you to do something about it. This can work to your advantage in the workplace, politics, health and fitness, etc. (1)
  • Helps. Constructive anger can help you learn something about yourself and the other party that you may have never known before. It has been said that, in conflict, you will see a person’s true colors. This is true for others as well as yourself. In a relationship, learning these intimate details about each other can bring you even closer together (3).

Although anger can be difficult to control, especially for people who have long-term anger issues, anger can be used constructively to benefit you and your relationships rather than harm them.

Mark D. Parisi, Psy.D. & Associates, P.C. provides counseling, psychological testing, and psychotropic medication management in Mount Prospect and Chicago – serving surrounding Cook, Lake, DuPage, and Will Counties. They accept most insurance and offer extremely affordable sliding scale rates. Call (847) 909-9858 for a free, no-obligation telephone consultation.



  1. When Anger’s a Plus, Aspects of constructive anger, 2003,
  2. Anger – How It Affects People, Characteristics of constructive anger, 2014,
  3. The Upside of Anger, Benefits of constructive anger, 2015,

Expectation vs. Performance

performanceThe Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the term “expectation” as “a belief that something will happen or is likely to happen”; It defines “performance” as “the fulfillment of a claim, promise, or request; something accomplished.” We have expectations in every aspect of life: for our kids, our marriages, our careers. In some areas, we set our own expectations; in others, they are set for us.

Our performance shows whether or not we fulfilled those expectations. For example, if you are asked to write a report by a specific deadline, you will be expected to fulfill this. The level of your performance may be determined by the quality of the report as well as your timeliness and accuracy. In general, if we meet all of the expectations we create for ourselves or are given, we might consider ourselves “successful.”

Expectation Mindset

expectationsThe expectations that you set for yourself and your life can be determined by your overall attitude. If you are an optimistic person, you will most likely have high expectations regarding the outcome of your life, career, and family. You imagine everyone at his best. If you are a pessimist, you might have low expectations or have doubts that you can fulfill expectations in those areas, reasoning that you will be pleasantly surprised if it turns out better than expected but prepared if it does not. These views are not necessarily wrong or right, just different.

Expectation Level

  1. High Expectations. Setting high expectations for yourself or for others can provide great motivation to perform. In sports, if a coach puts great trust in you and expects you to be a team leader, you will be very motivated to prove to him that you are capable of doing so. At work, setting high expectations makes you work harder to achieve that goal. However, setting your sights too high can be detrimental to your success. If the bar is set too high and you are not able to reach it, you may feel disappointment or inadequacy. You might feel embarrassed if you do not perform the way that you were expected to.
  2. Low Expectations. If your expectations are too low, the performance might be too easy. If there is no challenge, then there may be nothing to work for. Instead of having a drive to succeed, you may get comfortable in your position and reach a plateau.
  3. Realistic Expectations. Set expectations for yourself and others that you know will be motivational and require hard work but that will also be achievable. This will give you something to work for and then provide great satisfaction when you accomplish it.

Expectation Failure

We have all failed at something or fallen short of the expectations. Instead of letting this get you down or giving up, use it as motivation to improve or change what is needed to perform the way you are expected to.

Whether your performance succeeds your expectations or not, it’s important to keep in mind success is reached through trial and error. In all aspects of your performance, try-try-again!

Mark D. Parisi, Psy.D. & Associates, P.C. provides counseling, psychological testing, and psychotropic medication management in Mount Prospect and Chicago – serving surrounding Cook, Lake, DuPage, and Will Counties. They accept most insurance and offer extremely affordable sliding scale rates. Call (847) 909-9858 for a free, no-obligation telephone consultation.



  1. Expectation, Definition, 2015,
  2. Performance, Definition, 2015,
  3. High Hopes and Happy Homes, Mindset of Expectations, 2004,


Tom Naratadam

Tom Naratadam, Psy.D., LCPC

Dr. Tom Naratadam chicago illinois

Hi and thank you for choosing me!  Please allow me to introduce myself.  My name is Dr. Tom Naratadam.  I earned my undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign and both my Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) and Masters Degree in School Psychology (Ed.S.) from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology.  I completed my Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) certification in Illinois in 2015.  My professional work experience is diverse and includes work in multiple settings including residential, inpatient, outpatient, community mental health, group private practice, and school-settings throughout the Metro Chicagoland area.

I have worked as an outpatient provider with Dr. Mark Parisi since 2010. In addition to my work with Dr. Parisi and Home Psych Services, P.C., I have worked as a bilingual school psychologist at the Chicago Public Schools – performing extensive diagnostic testing and spearheading group therapy with children and adolescents – and more recently in the private school systems.

I have expertise working in multicultural populations and have conducted numerous workshops on cross-cultural issues related to the Latino and Asian-Indian cultures. My experience also includes several years of assessing and working with children and adolescents who have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Autistic Spectrum Disorders, Conduct and Mood Disorders, and issues related to adolescent sexuality and identity.  I provide in-office and teletherapy services for Generations and Home Psych Services using secure video teleconferencing technology for the comfort, convenience, added privacy and safety of my clients.

I am proud of his Asian-Indian heritage. I enjoy traveling, enjoying Chicago’s wide array of restaurants, and spending time with his family and friends. I am a non-native speaker of Spanish and have excellent fluency.

Ways to Reduct Your Anxiety NOW!

We all have time in our lives where we can feel the stresses of life creeping up on us. When we think of anxiety, we usually think of apprehension over an upcoming event of some kind. This can be a life change, a big meeting, a move, dinner with the in-laws, or anything that causes you to feel a little anxious.

The events that makes us anxious will be different for everyone, but it can is a real problem that can cause real physical symptoms. When truly anxious, you may experience an increased heart rate, sleep problems, sweating, mood swings, and lack of concentration.

As stressful as all that sounds, there is good news. Dr. Parisi and Associates have some tips for you to reduce your anxiety now.
Of course, if you feel that you are dealing with extreme anxiety or more than the typical symptoms, contact Dr. Parisi and Associates for a low cost psychiatrist in Chicago to help you assess the problem.

Catch some Zzzzzzs. I know, I know, we just said that sleep can be hard when you are feeling anxious, but it is important to keep with your routine and try to be consistent in your sleeping pattern. Catching that beauty rest is so important to help your body function properly. Shoot for seven to nine hours every night.

Be positive. When we feel anxious, it is easy for those negative thoughts and feelings to creep over us. Make sure you are in control of your thoughts and focus on the good in life, especially when those feelings are directed at yourself.

Plan ahead. This one will make you feel more in control of your situation. Do the simple things that you have complete control over. Set out your clothes, make a schedule, follow your to-do list, pack lunches the night before. Start building habits that increase productivity in your daily routines. These are smalls steps that help ward off anxiety when something uncontrollable pops up (which we know happens, it is called life).

Exercise and eat right. When you don’t feel well, anxiety and stress can have ben more control over you. Use food as fuel and not a way to cope. Exercise is a great way to burn off a little extra steam and wash away the day. You will feel great when you are done.
Breathe. No, seriously, just sit there and focus on your breathing and nothing else. Nice deep breaths in a quiet space. Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale. Doesn’t that feel nice?

Most Important…
STAY IN THE MOMENT. No one can control the future. Don’t waste time worrying about something that might happen in the future and enjoy the moments you are living right now.

For more help, contact Dr. Parisi in the Chicago and surrounding areas including Des Plaines, Arlington Heights, Schaumburg, Barrington, Hinsdale, Skokie, Lincolnwood, Park Ridge, and Wilmette.


Mindfulness in Sport: Improving Attention and Poise for Optimal Performance

As athletes or performers we are taught to focus our attention to “stay in the game.” However, when in the middle of a play, race, game, or routine, our mind may wander to other things: what happened in school that day, what we have coming up after practice, how we did in a prior performance, or what we have to do in an upcoming performance. Keeping our attention on what we’re doing while we’re doing it is much easier said than done!

Mindfulness is a practice of present-focused attention of a non-judgmental nature. Simply put, it means paying attention to the present moment.. our breathing, the sense of our feet planted in the turf, the smell of the chlorine as we’re pulling through the water, or the feeling of the racket in our hand. In addition, mindfulness means taking a non-judgmental attitude towards what we experience.. not interpreting it as good or bad, right or wrong, but rather describing what is. By practicing this skill of mindfulness the way we practice our physical skills in sport, we can build the muscle of mindfulness to keep our attention on the game at hand.

To learn more about how mindfulness can improve your game, contact Dr. Lori Jeffries for a confidential consultation.