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Dr. Hallowell's Blog

May 8th, 2018

Your “Guy In The Basement”

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

Several years ago at a National Speaker’s Association meeting, I heard a motivational speaker who planted a metaphor in my mind that I’ll never forget. He described a friendly fellow somewhere between our conscious and subconscious, who works mostly behind the scenes and is loyal to the core. He is, figuratively, your Guy In The Basement, your GITB.

Your brain’s CEO, located in the penthouse (your prefrontal cortex), orders the GITB to dig up information, and deliver the data for the CEO to synthesize and execute. For example, when the CEO is trying to recall the name of your 6th grade teacher, he directs the GITB to do a search, and a few minutes later the GITB runs up the stairs to the CEO and announces: “MRS. CRUM!”  Although it may take awhile, your GITB is good at retrieving data.

The GITB also loves autonomy. He likes to scan your existing knowledge base, integrate anything in view that is novel and shiny and interrupt your deep work (including your sleep), to proclaim his findings. Be kind to your GITB; he is always at work. But he is impulsive, gets bossy when restrained and has no sense of time.

Instead of getting mad at your GITB, shutting him out and blaming him for all your unfinished deep work, let him get his ya-ya’s out. When you’re working on a task that requires a lot of focus, have a pad of paper handy to capture ideas that your GITB sends forth. Keep a notepad at your bedside for his middle-of- the-night revelations. He’ll quiet down once he’s been heard. You can come back and elaborate on those ideas later. If he just can’t settle down, take your GITB for a walk. Remind him of your goals, problems you’d like to solve, or visions you have for your project. After the romp, your reliable GITB will gladly hunker down with his new orders, mind his own business and get to work, giving you the peace and concentration you need to do your CEO thing.

Let me help you manage distractions, get things done well and on time! Contact me at Rebecca@MindfulCommunication.com

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  

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

Connection is like the keys in the ignition. The keys are there, waiting to be taken. We only have to reach in.”

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.

April 20th, 2018

Parenting

April 25-30, 2018 The Bright and Quirky Child Online Summit.
Strategies to help your bright child thrive, even with focus, learning, social, emotional or behavioral challenges.

May 31, 2018 InventiveLabs
Dr. Hallowell will keynote an Open House at InventiveLabs, Amesbury Ma – A place of acceptance for alternative learners to discover a career, start a business or experience a Gap-year. Register here.

July 15-20, 2018 – Dr. Hallowell Summer Camp, Week long
Hallowell Summer Adventures ADHD Family Summer Camp for Parents, children and siblings. Click here for more information.

 

April 18th, 2018

ADHD CollegeCORE Coaching program by phone, Skype or in person            

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

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.

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