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Dr. Hallowell's Blog

Archive for April, 2018

Sunday, April 29th, 2018

Make Attention Training a Habit

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

Jordan, a student in a major entrepreneurship program in Massachusetts, had a rough first semester. He has trouble sustaining attention for the necessary and “less interesting tasks” that require planning, prioritization and writing. Like many entrepreneurs, Jordan reports having ADT (Attention Deficit Traits) and possibly ADHD. He recognizes that weak attention can mask the positive traits associated with ADHD and, consequently, affect his success in a startup (smart boy!). Jordan wanted ways to strengthen attention and focus.

I suggested several non-medication approaches known to enable improved attention. But these methods (exercise, better sleep, etc.) prepare the brain to perform at higher levels. What’s also needed is practice paying attention. Attention is like a muscle; it takes regular practice to develop. It behooves every serious student or entrepreneur pinged by chronic distractions to practice attention control on a daily basis. Every day set aside 30 minutes to an hour to pump up that attention muscle:

  1. Find a place with little or no distractions. Read an article or two and write down the major takeaways and how you might use the information (see my April 2018 MCM newsletter for more details). When you notice your thoughts straying to a new idea, jot down a key word regarding that new idea for later and return to your reading. How frequently you stray doesn’t matter. What matters is how often and how quickly you get back to the task.
  2. Attention training is a form of self-defense. Our control over our attention protects us from the ravages of distraction. Sign up for a martial arts class that will challenge your attention and concentration. It’s worth checking out different schools to be sure that aspect is a high priority. As a martial arts student and instructor, I know that this kind of training is one of the very best ways to hone extreme focus.
  3. Take up a musical instrument (I practice piano); learn chess or poker; memorize a prayer or an inspirational passage.

Your attention control is the most critical resource in your entrepreneur toolbox. Pump it up!

Need more help with concentration and focus? Getting things done well and on time? Contact me at Rebecca@MindfulCommunication.com  

Friday, April 27th, 2018

Harnessing the Power of Vitamin Connect

The Surgeon General named loneliness as the #1 medical problem in the country.  We live in a world characterized by what I call “the modern paradox”: miraculously connected electronically, we are growing disconnected interpersonally. This social isolation is as dangerous a risk factor for early death as cigarette-smoking, high blood pressure, and obesity. In this VIDEO, I discuss harnessing the power of “the other Vitamin C, Vitamin Connect.”

While we are far more connected electronically than ever before, we are missing the “human moment.” We’re texting instead of talking. We’re glued to our phones while out with friends (take a look at the photo – that’s what social disconnection looks like.)

Maybe you feel powerless; you think disconnection is a sign of the times.   I’m here to tell you that it’s a problem we can solve. It’s in your power to live a life rich in human connection. I’m not just talking about person to person. You can connect by joining a club, team, connecting with your neighbors, having a pet or a hobby. Join me and find out how to add Vitamin Connect to your daily life.

What more tips on improving family and community connections? CLICK HERE!

Learn more about CONNECT: 12 Vital Ties that Open Your Heart, Lengthen Your Life, and Deepen Your Soul

Tuesday, April 24th, 2018

Young Adults, Risky Behavior & ADHD

Sex, drugs, trust, medications, alcohol, and accommodations are just some of the topics discussed in this conversation that’s all about the big issues young people with ADHD and their parents face in today’s  world.

Listen here.

Looking for more information on ADHD & Teens? Click here.

Wednesday, April 18th, 2018

ADHD CollegeCORE Coaching program

Rebecca Shafir M.A.CCC – Speech/Language Pathologist and Executive Function coach,  Hallowell Center MetroWest, (978) 287- 0810 or (978) 255-1817

CollegeCORE Coaching (by phone, Skype or in person) helps high school upperclassmen and college students conquer the most common problems associated with ADHD or Executive Dysfunction. Rebecca provides effective, practical and non-medication solutions for getting things done well and on time. She has worked with ADHD students and entrepreneurs for over 20 years. Read more at www.MindfulCommunication.com.  Rebecca’s coaching and training approach builds the core skills and routines that enable success in school and greater marketability for the workplace.

CollegeCORE students will learn:

  • core skills and routines for managing anxiety and improving focus, follow through and communication
  • to become more independent, and how to be the CEO of YOU, even if you don’t plan to be an entrepreneur
  • basic organizational skills
  • problem-solving skills
  • note-taking skills
  • more efficient study and test-taking skills
  • why good sleep is a major ally for the ADHD student, sleep’s powerful role in learning and ways to improve sleep quality
  • how exercise regimen best promotes clearer thinking and improved productivity
  • how to apply Rebecca’s 80/20 approach for managing procrastination
  • how to self-advocate – a competitive life skill.

How CollegeCore Coaching works: The process begins with a complimentary 15-20 minute inquiry call with Rebecca. Call to set up that inquiry session (978) 287-0810 or (978) 255-1817. This is a brief discussion to answer questions about the program and to determine whether the CollegeCore coaching approach is appropriate for the student.

A 90 minute meeting (in person, Skype or phone) follows to get background information, identify personal strengths, establish personal objectives, deadlines (if imposed) for improvement, and to determine best approaches. $325.00

Based on that meeting an action plan is created and the frequency of coaching sessions is determined. The goal is to identify the best starting point(s), select a couple small steps that are fairly easy to implement consistently that will yield some early and notable results. These new routines become habits.  Minor adjustments are made along the way. For some, the compound effect will work best, for others a multi-target approach is better. The process is customized to the student and his/her needs. Coaching sessions are $150/hour, $75/30 minutes. Sessions may be 1-3x a week; duration and frequency is determined by Rebecca and the student. A spouse, partner or co-founder may also be involved, if desired. Progress is addressed at each session. As the gains become more consistent and the student more independent, the coaching sessions wind down. Check-in sessions are monthly or bi-monthly, then every six months or as needed.

To set up a CollegeCORE inquiry session or to make an appointment with Rebecca Shafir, contact the Hallowell Center BostonMetroWest in Sudbury MA at (978) 287-0810 or her West Newbury office (978) 255-1817 to schedule sessions in person or by phone or Skype. Sessions are $150/hr and may be reimbursable through your insurance.

Tuesday, April 17th, 2018

Managing Anxiety and Toxic Worry

In this video, I discuss anxiety and worry. Although these are common symptoms in life, excessive worry is not. Worry is like blood pressure: you need a certain level to live, but too high a level can hurt you. When worry becomes toxic, it ceases to serve as the useful built-in alarm system nature meant it to be and becomes instead a painful problem in itself. As a car alarm system that won’t shut off, our human alarm system can drive its owner crazy – and get him or her into trouble – when it won’t silence itself.

In order to set fear far enough aside for us to be able to act creatively and boldly, we need to find a method, other than denial, for doing so. So what do we do? What is a reliable non-medication method for controlling toxic worry? The 3 steps outlined in this video are something we can all use.

  1. NEVER WORRY ALONE! Toxic worry is rampant because people are so disconnected. We’re connected electronically, but we’re disconnected inter-personally. Our prime antidote to toxic worry is another person.

Remember that everyday with my just released “Never Worry Alone” mug.

Watch the video for Tips #2 & #3 and to learn more about anxiety and toxic worry.

Want more tips on managing worry? Click here.  Having problems coping with anxiety? Click here.

Worry Hope and Help for a Common Condition offers the perfect antidote to fear, nervousness, and prevalent feels of anxiety.

Remember: All worry is not bad. Identify all the things you worry about and separate out the toxic to your health worries from good worry. Good worry amounts to planning and problem solving. Toxic worry is unnecessary, repetitive unproductive, paralyzing and life-defeating.  If you’re suffering from toxic worry, in  addition to consulting with your family doctor, be sure to consult with experts in other fields. Some options below:

The Hallowell Centers treat: Anxiety (worry, panic attacks, headaches), depression, phobias and more.

Learn more about Depression here. 

National Institute of Mental Health

National Alliance for the Mentally Ill 

Freedom from Fear

 

 

Monday, April 16th, 2018

Stuck in a Rut at Work?

How many times  have you found yourself sitting in a meeting, yawning, pinching yourself or grinding your teeth? How many days have you gone to the coffee machine multiple times, begging the caffeine to create some energy and get you out of this rut at work? Most people wake up, maybe grab some breakfast or at least a shot of caffeine, go to work, and assume they can stay consistently focused without taking any steps specifically designed to replenish and maintain their energy at work throughout the day.

If you’re having difficultly staying focused and feeling stuck at work, you can follow the 6 tips below, adapted from Dr. Hallowell’s book Driven to Distraction at Work, which was recommended in “8 books to Read When You’re Stuck in a Rut at Work

The Sensational Six*

Prep works relies on “the sensational six.” Do the things recommended below and your brain will give you much more time in flexible focus if you prepare it every day by following each of these practices so you’ll spend less time in a “rut” and be more productive.

  1. Sleep – one of the greatest favors you can do for  your brain and your entire body is to get enough sleep. Sleep is tonic. Reset your priorities to make time for sleep.  Set a regular bedtime and get-up time. Do make sure you have comfortable bedding. Reserve your bed for sleep; not work – don’t bring your screens into the bedroom.
  2. Nutrition – when you don’t eat right, your brain can’t function well. Eat a breakfast with protein. Eat a balanced lunch. Use a fruit snack and a burst of exercise to combat the blahs. Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables to feed your brain the micronutrients it needs. Watch the amount of coffee you drink.
  3. Exercise is beyond doubt one of the best tonics available for your brain. You can start by walking every day with a friend; schedule time each week to play a game of some sort; i.e., golf, squash or tennis; or join a gym.
  4. Mediation can lower stress levels and blood pressure, increase energy and cognitive function, and make you calmer and happier.  You can start by sitting in a comfortable chair, both feet on the floor and both hands comfortably placed on your lap. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. In, out. Watch your thoughts float by like leaves on a river. Try not to evaluate your thoughts, but rather let them pass by without a comment or a care. You can meditate for just a 5 minutes or more. Try to meditate daily and it will help you focus better.
  5. Mental Stimulation – When you stretch your brain by trying new tasks or doing everyday tasks in a way you’ve never done them before, you are doing something that will not only enhance your ability to maintain focus, but also help stave off the ravages of aging, include dementia.
  6. Connection – The human connection is the most powerful force in the world for growth, health, fulfillment, and joy. I call connection “the other vitamin C” or “vitamin connect.” You can get tips on ways to connect here.

*Adapted from Driven to Distraction at Work

 

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