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Dr. Hallowell's Blog

Archive for May, 2014

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

Dr. Hallowell: Tech Addiction is Comparable to Being Overweight or Smoking

Edward Hallowell, M.D., author of “CrazyBusy: Overbooked, Overstretched and About to Snap,” compared tech addiction to being overweight or smoking — it’s that bad for you.

“Multitasking can cause the brain to overheat, like a car engine,” he said, adding that people who addictively respond to every text and email “get toxic stress and burn up energy rapidly and wastefully.”

Read more at http://www.queenannenews.com

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

Dr. Hallowell: It’s Crazy to Give Toddlers ADHD Medication

People are looking for a quick solution for an age old problem of rambunctious children. We should play with them and take care of them instead. Long term effects are not understood. Controlled substance is not a trivial intervention.

Instead, human connection is the better solution – albeit labor intensive. Physicians that are well-trained do not give into the pressures of the parents.

Dr. Hallowell recommends abruptly stopping medications (no side effects) and instead spending time with them.

Watch the video at Fox and Friends.

Saturday, May 10th, 2014

Happy Mother’s Day – Why Women Have it Harder

Why Women Have It Harder

It amazes me how much more – exponentially more – women today do than in generations prior. My wife Sue works as a psychotherapist while organizing the lives of our three children and taking care of our home. It is a huge task. Every day I marvel at how she plans her day, like an air traffic controller managing continual incoming and outgoing flights; only the flights Sue must control often come in unannounced. Which kid needs to be picked up when and where? Whose day is it for carpooling? When is lacrosse practice? What can she make for dinner tonight? When can she grab a moment to check email?

….. and the holidays add even more to her over-stuffed calendar!

This is the life of the modern working mom. It is also the life of the working dad who has assumed responsibility for most of the child care and housework, but in general it is a woman who is both the primary caretaker and a wage earner.

This Mother’s Day, take a moment to reflect on how much that special woman in your life has helped you become the person you are today…. and be sure to tell her! How about making her a special dinner – who wouldn’t like that?!

Monday, May 5th, 2014

10 Tips to Achieving Focus in Today’s Busy Workplace by Dr. Hallowell

I am currently working on a book on how to achieve focus in today’s busy workplace and in life in general.  The following 10 tips, each 3 words long, are part of the book. Please let me know if you find them helpful! – Edward Hallowell, M.D.

Achieve Focus 3 Words at a Time (each 3 words long)

1.    Do The Impossible. People focus most intently when they take on a challenge, when they are working in an area where they are skilled, but where they are also stretched.  Often, amazingly enough, what seemed impossible becomes possible.
2.    Trust Your Way.  Perhaps the single most cliched song lyric ever, “I did it my way,” became so cliched because its message is so powerful.  We focus best, we do our best, when we do it our way. We all have our routines, our own individualized process, or way, for producing our best work.  Trust yours.  When you don’t know where you’re headed, your process, your way, will allow your unconscious to enter in. It will guide you and often surprise you with your most valuable discoveries and unexpected solutions.  Don’t work against your grain, but with it.
3.    Take A Break.  When you start to glaze over or feel frantic, stop what you are doing.  Stand up, walk around, get a glass of water, stretch.  Just 60 seconds can do the trick.
4.    T.I.O. Turn It Off.  Turn off your electronic devices during periods of your day when you want uninterrupted, focused time.
5.    Ask For Help.  Don’t feel it is sign of weakness to ask for help when you hit a snag. Just the opposite.  It is a sign of strength and can get you out of a confused place and back on track.
6.    Take Your Time.  It’s one of truest rules of modern life is: If you don’t take your time, someone or something else will take it from you.  Guard your time jealously.  It is your most prized possession at work.  Do not give it away easily or let someone regulate it for you, unless you have absolutely to do so.
7.    Close Your Eyes.  When you are losing focus or feeling confused, the simple act of sitting back in your chair and closing your eyes can, oddly enough, allow you to see clearly.  It can restore focus and provide a new direction.
8.    Draw A Picture.  Visuals clarify thinking.  Draw a diagram, construct a table, cover a page with zig-zags like a child finger painting, cover a page with phrases and arrows, use colored pencils or markers, do it on poster paper on an easel or on the floor, just get past words and blow up the frame to accommodate visuals of any and all kinds. You may soon see the bigger picture you’d been looking for coming into focus.
9.    Talk To Yourself.  Talking out loud to yourself can lead you out of confusion.  Assuming you are in a setting that allows for this, simply talk, out loud, about the issue you are grappling with.  Talking out loud engages a different part of the brain than thinking in silence.  It can clear out the fog.
10.     Do What Works.  Don’t worry about convention, or what’s supposed to work.  Some people focus better with music playing or in a noisy room.  Some people focus better when walking or even running.  Some people focus best in early morning, others late at night; some in cold rooms, others in a sauna; some while fasting, others while eating.  There is no right way, only the best way for you.  Experiment, and discover what works for you.

Reprinted by permission of Harvard Business Review Press. Excerpted from Driven to Distraction at Work. Copyright 2014 Dr. Edward M. Hallowell. All rights reserved.

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