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Dr. Hallowell's Blog

Archive for February, 2018

Tuesday, February 27th, 2018

Brain Care Basics

When was the last time you thought about how your brain is functioning? Are you on overload? Having trouble focusing?  Perhaps it’s time for some brain care basics.  Dr. Hallowell addresses the importance of taking care of your brain with Jessica McCabe, How to ADD Host, in this week’s Distraction podcast.  LISTEN NOW for tips on the different things you should be doing to ensure your body and mind are at peak performance.

3 Tips on Achieving Focus:

1. 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, and stretch.  Just 60 seconds can do the trick.

2.    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.

3. 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.

More tips in Driven to Distraction at Work.

Monday, February 26th, 2018

A New Solution for Anxiety: The Alpha-Stim

by Rebecca Shafir, M.A.CCC Personal Development and Executive Functioning coach at the Hallowell Center MetroWest

Perhaps the most common concern my entrepreneur clients report is anxiety and its cousin, insomnia. Founders have every reason to be anxious. In fact, if they are perfectly at ease with their startup, I get suspicious!  For those  new to  entrepreneurship there are constant battles between vision and reality, hope and doubt, deadlines and the worry of having no deadlines at all.  I encourage my entrepreneurs-at- risk to hold off on big, costly decisions until they get a handle on their anxiety. Control over anxiety means:

  • consistently good sleep
  • giving emotion a back seat when solving a problem
  • being able to re-frame mistakes and setbacks and move forward
  • the ability to inhibit impulsive actions and reactions.

Emotional control is one of the four core skills essential to healthy and successful entrepreneurship.

A review of the most helpful of anxiety-reducing activities include: meditation, yoga, exercise, visualization and  mindfulness training etc. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is another fine option, but it requires regular sessions and practice. Others benefit from software tools like The Muse, Wild Divine, Heartmath and other kinds of biofeedback. The usual objections to these approaches include “not enough time,” or “the more I try to quiet my mind, the louder it gets.”

Let me tell you about another safe, effective, well-tested approach for anxiety, insomnia (and depression). It is a form of cranial-electrotherapy called Alpha-Stim. It is a user-friendly, handheld device the size of a cell phone. It requires no practice or effort by the user, and it can be used while doing most other activities except driving.

Moods and emotions are controlled through electro-chemical signals in your brain. When these signals aren’t functioning properly, the hormones and neurotransmitters that regulate your emotions can become unbalanced resulting in an anxious state.

The Alpha-Stim device generates a signal that produces a waveform conducive to calmness and a better state of mind − the Alpha frequency  (8-12 Hz). The Alpha-Stim has been very helpful with many of my clients. For those that notice no change with the Alpha-Stim, other approaches such medications or neurofeedback may be more helpful.

To learn more about the Alpha-Stim go to www.alpha-stim.com or email info@epii.com.

If you are local to the Boston MetroWest area, we offer a personalized Alpha-Stim demonstration and educational session at the Hallowell Center in Sudbury, Mass. If you’d like to make an appointment call 978 287 0810.

Monday, February 26th, 2018

Understanding Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)

Source: Arlem Furlem/Shutterstock

It’s time to treat the chronic brain disease called addiction. Let’s begin by understanding what alcohol use disorder (AUD) is and how we can make a difference.  Learn more in my post in Psychology Today on Reclaiming Lost Talent by the Millions.

Thursday, February 22nd, 2018

Connection is Prevention: Start With Mindful Listening

by Rebecca Shafir, M.A.CCC Personal Development and Executive Functioning coach at the Hallowell Center MetroWest

What causes disconnection? Standards, expectations, comparisons, too many rules, too much time talking and not enough time listening, acting like you’re listening, words like “policy” and “should” are good examples. These words and behaviors invite frustration, isolation and alienation. If that is what surrounds you day after day, the anxiety and depression can get bad enough to cause harm to yourself and to others. If a person suffers from a mental illness on top of that, his or her reaction can be magnified to tragic proportions.

Mindful listening is one good solution for creating connection. When you are heard wholeheartedly, when you’re given a chance to express your feelings and given the attentive silence to do so, that lonely place inside you gets some friendly company. If you ever had a family member, teacher or friend who gave you that rare gift of listening, it is memorable. Do you recall? You were the most important person in the world to them during those few minutes. Note how they didn’t talk too much, give advice or interrupt you. They watched you intently – they ignored their phone and didn’t sneak a peek at the clock. It was all about you. Perhaps they didn’t agree with you, but in the end, you finished that interaction feeling valued and respected for your point of view. Your reality was recognized by someone else. You felt understood (or you got the feeling that at least they tried to understand you) and perhaps, quite grateful to that listener. That is the experience of connection I’m talking about.

Mindful Listening is a simple solution to disconnection, but it is not easy. It requires you to forget yourself, your agenda, and like at the movies, “get into the movie” of the speaker. Just like at the movies, you don’t interrupt, cast judgment or argue, you watch and listen with curiosity. As observers, we ask ourselves, what makes that person feel that way, say and do those things?  We want to understand. Connection is a two way street. Once you’ve put aside your agenda to understand someone else, you’re in a better position to help them. Your judgments about this person (i.e. “the troublemaker” etc) were temporarily put aside, and you got a clearer view of what it’s like to be him or her. That person’s story changed you. You, the mindful listener, are in the best position to help them, if you can. If you can’t help them, you can take what you learned and share it with those who are in a better position to help. At worst, just by listening to this person, you have helped them.

Learn more about Mindful Listening at www.MindfulCommunication.com and the book The Zen of Listening: Mindful Communication in the Age of Distraction by Rebecca Shafir.

Wednesday, February 21st, 2018

The Power of Joy

Life seen through the refractory prism of the imagination turns the daylight of ordinary experience into the glorious rainbows we all carry around.  Read more about The Power of Joy The Marvels of the Inner life  / Psychology Today.

What more information about finding joy?  Check out my mini podcast on How Little Things Bring Joy.

What are some of the things that bring joy into your life?

Monday, February 19th, 2018

ADHD: Ferrari Engine for a Brain, with Bicycle Brakes

We don’t treat disabilities; we help people unwrap gifts.

When you come to The Hallowell Centers, you leave with hope and optimism.

Watch Dr. Hallowell explain this analogy.

Learn more about The Hallowell Centers

Dr. Hallowell’s books, audio and apps, and More about ADHD.



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