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Dr. Hallowell's Blog

September 3rd, 2018

Managing the Racing Mind

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

Emotional regulation is a core executive function. Regular meditation and a good sleep regimen, among other methods, foster the emotional competency needed for successful decision-making and execution of tasks. A common complaint among my clients is their struggle with “a racing mind.” A racing mind jumps from one thought to another at random, making it seemingly impossible to let go of fears and worries. Meditation, or attempts to fall asleep at a normal hour can be maddening for some. Perhaps this is why many folks keep the noise and distractions alive well into the wee hours of the morning because “quiet” for them is a breeding ground for worry.

For a person suffering from anxiety or depression, worry finds an opening in a vacuum of quiet. Real concerns and irrational imaginings can flood your mind filling every nook and cranny with fear. If not managed, a mind out of control can lead to panic attacks, chronic insomnia and/or depression. To naturally slow down your mind and steer it in a more positive direction, try these methods:

1) Before bedtime or prior to an attempt to meditate, write down all that’s bothering you. List the things you can control, and accept the ones you can’t control. Include any solutions to these problems. Putting them in writing helps you address them and move on, hopefully to less worrisome thoughts.

2) Have ready some “detours” for your mind when worry intrudes. In advance, create a gratitude list, an outline for your next blog, or prepare some mantra-like affirmations using your name, for example: Carole, everything is OK, or Tom, you’re doing the best you can; it’s all you can do.        

3) Repeat a favorite prayer over and over.

4) Shift to a breath pattern that takes up a lot of mental space. Choose a breathing pattern that requires enough focus to overwhelm negative thoughts: Lie on your back with one hand on your chest and another on your midsection. Inhale and exhale audibly through your nose for 3 slow counts in, hold your breath for 2 counts and breathe out for 4 slow counts. Feel your heart beat slow down as your midsection rises and falls.

Let me help you find a non-medication approach to managing your racing mind. Contact me at the Hallowell Center 978 287 0810 or RebeccaShafir@gmail.com  

 

August 17th, 2018

NAMI NYS announces 1st Leader of Mental Health Awareness Honoree, Dr. Hallowell

NAMI-NYS is honoring Dr. Hallowell for his work in raising mental health awareness at their 2018 NAMI-NYS Educational Conference on:

Friday, October 26, 2018.

CLICK HERE for details and registration information.

August 14th, 2018

Summer Reflections

I just completed teaching my course about ADHD on Cape Cod at the Cape Cod Institute.  If you’ve never taken the course, you ought to consider it.  It’s a lot of fun.  You get a week in Eastham, or whichever nearby town you choose–more on this later–and after spending 9 – 12:15 learning about ADHD in the morning, you get the afternoon and evening free to play.  People always have a ball. Attendees make friends with each other, and almost everyone leaves feeling glad they came, not just for what they learned, but, more important, for the people they met and the experiences they shared.  

            It’s all produced by the Cape Cod Institute (Cape.org).  They offer 3 courses per week all summer long, each on a different topic in mental health, each given by one or two authorities in a wide range of different fields.  It was started 39 years ago by a marvelous psychiatrist, Dr. Gil Levin, who was at Mt. Sinai Medical School when he opened the Institute.  He has since passed the operation on to his son, Alex, who ran it for the first time this summer.  We had about 55 attendees in the course this year, in which I introduced my new name for ADHD.  I now call it VAST, Variable Attention Stimulation Trait.  Carrie Feibel, who attended last year’s course and is Health Editor at KQED in San Francisco, came up with the name and I love it.

               I urge you to check out the Cape Cod Institute for yourself.  Now, let me commend the rest of Cape Cod to you.  A few memories from the week.  Hatch’s seafood and produce in Wellfleet Center.  We got six lobsters steamed and cracked which fed us and our friends just wonderfully along with the corn from the adjoining farm stand.  LeCount Hollow Beach.  You leave your footwear atop the dune, then walk down to the beach and the surf.  I grew up in Chatham and it makes me shudder to think that now we have to watch for seals and the risk of sharks that might be following them, but we do.  Nonetheless, the beaches on the Cape, especially those that face the ocean, give me doses of majestic beauty like nothing else.  Provincetown, Commercial street, a place where people can be whoever they want to be.  It is so wonderful to walk through that little town and bask in how great, and rare, true freedom really is.  The Wellfleet Drive-In.  Although we didn’t go there to see a movie, and rarely do, it is a landmark, one of the first places I made out when I was a kid, and a wonder that it still stands.  I hope it never closes down.  Arnold’s.  Lobster rolls, fried clams, beer.  Isn’t this summer at its best?  The occasional rainy day, reading inside, deciding what to cook for dinner, we opted for linguine with clam sauce with plenty of crunchy bread for dipping.  Driveways made of broken oyster shells.  The pungent salt air when you get near the beach at just the right tide with the right wind.  Horseshoe crabs.  Blue claw crabs.  Seagulls.  Beachgrass.  Roadside stands selling jellies made of beachplums and honeysuckle.  Standing barefoot on the white lines in parking lots so as not to burn your feet while you wait for an ice cream from a truck.  The many bars where when you sit down and look around you have the passing fantasy that maybe you really should have spent your life as a beach bum.  The many churches, some splendidly white, some in such disrepair you wonder why God doesn’t just send a lightning bolt and end it right there.  The spectacular houses lining the best roads belying the poverty and broken down houses so many of the locals live in while the super houses go empty through the winter.  Hydrangeas and wild roses galore, wildflowers everywhere, each marshy area boasting cat-o-nine-tails standing like fat Churchill cigars, titling in the wind.  To me, it was, and always will be somewhat, home.

            The fact that if you are driving it is so hard to get onto the Cape and so hard to get off makes you wonder why so few people live here year round. Maybe some day.

August 13th, 2018

What Makes a Little Child Decide to Become a Psychiatrist?

When Dr. Edward “Ned” Hallowell was eleven, a voice out of nowhere told him he should become a psychiatrist. A mental health professional of the time would have called this psychosis. But he took it in stride, despite not quite knowing what “psychiatrist” meant. Years later, the voice turned out to be right and he did indeed become a psychiatrist.

Dr. Carole Lieberman was intrigued by Dr. Hallowell’s story and interviewed him for her show “Dr. Carole’s Couch.”  Listen to her interview with Dr. Hallowell’s as he shares his story in “What Makes a Little Child Decide to Become a Psychiatrist.

If you’d like to learn more about Dr. Hallowell, read his Memoir, Because I Come From A Crazy Family The Making of A Psychiatrist.

August 10th, 2018

8 things I wish teachers knew about my child with ADHD

Dr. Hallowell is a featured expert on this important subject.

Of all the problems your kid could have, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder seems relatively benign. But the potential long-term consequences of ADHD are scary.

One parent made it her mission to ensure her son’s teachers knew what interventions were working at home and what could help at school. Here’s what she has learned, and what she thinks every teacher should understand, too.

To read the full story, visit: www.BostonGlobe.com.

If you’d like to learn more about ADHD and Students, CLICK HERE!

August 9th, 2018

ADHD and Back-To-School Tips

Hear how to set students up for success during the first few weeks of school whether your child has ADHD or not. Dr. Hallowell speaks with ADHD parent coach, Cindy Goldrich about ways to get the family back into the swing of things.

If you’d like more tips and resources for your ADHD student, click here.
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