ADHD and Productivity

It was my pleasure to welcome Kristin Seymour back to Distraction to discuss ADHD and Productivity. Kristin knows firsthand how tough it is to have be productive when you have ADHD. Not only does she have ADHD, but Kristin is the mom of two ADHD teens, and she’s also an ADHD specialist. In S3 Ep 9, she shares more of her “life hacks” along with some special advice for parents of ADHD kids.

LISTEN NOW to Kristin’s sage advice on how to achieve productivity in the midst of chaos.

Erasing Stigma of ADHD, Dyslexia, Depression, etc.

KUOW interviewed Dr. Hallowell and Lesley Todaro, Hallowell Todaro Center, about erasing the stigma around the word “crazy,” the relationship between ADHD and creativity, and talking to kids about ADHD.

“Most people who have exceptional talent have one or another of the conditions we diagnosis, whether it’s anxiety disorder, ADHD, dyslexia, major depression, substance abuse,” says Hallowell. “It’s rare to find someone who has major talent who doesn’t wrestle with one or another of those conditions.”

CLICK HERE to read more and listen to KUOW’s interview on “Why Ned Hallowell wants to celebrate craziness.

If you miss ADDitude’s online webinar “From Shame and Stigma to Pride and Truth: It’s Time to Celebrate ADHD Differences,” with  ADHD experts Dr. Hallowell and Dr. Dodson, no worries. Thanks to ADDitude, you can LISTEN HERE and learn how to celebrate your ADHD.

Have you ever felt sad and not sure what to do? Dr. Hallowell shares his moment of entering sadness in this blog post.

The Future of ADHD is VAST (SM)

Dr. Hallowell shares his thoughts on the current state of ADHD / ADD, Treatment and Advances, etc. in S3 Mini 6: The Future of ADHD is VAST (SM). This 5 minute episode will have you thinking about ADHD in a whole new way!

VAST (SM) stands for Variable Attention Stimulus Trait

Dr. Hallowell and Dr. Ratey coined this new name for ADHD thereby expanding its reach to include millions of people.  LISTEN NOW!

October is ADHD Awareness Month. Learn more:

ADHD and College

ADHD and college can be a perilous journey far beyond what most people imagine. Even, if you don’t have ADHD, it is difficult enough to make the transition from home to a college or university.  Consequently, if you do not prepare in advance, the chances are good that you will stumble.

In this special Distraction episode on Why College Can Be Daunting For ADHDers  sponsored by Landmark College, Jessica McCabe from How to ADHD, shares the problems she faced  with new demands and less support in college.

How to Avoid the Dangers of College

To avoid the dangers of college, information and preparation make all the difference. First of all, parents and students should know in advance that going from home to college means going from a place of dependence and high supervision to a place of independence and low supervision. It is a jarring, albeit longed-for transition. And one that students who have ADHD are particularly ill-equipped to handle. Parents and students ought to prepare for this transition methodically, instead of simply letting the student jump into the college environment literally overnight, hoping he or she can swim.

Even if your child does not have ADHD, I recommend that you begin during senior year of high school to prepare your child for the transition to college. If your child does have ADHD, this is crucial. Once  your child gets into college, you should then assist him or her to organize and run their life. You should not stop supervising them.

Dr. Hallowell’s Top 10 Tips for Parents, Children, Teachers and Students of all ages – how to make school rewarding and successful!

Learn about Coaching for College Students.

Hold Onto Your Dreams, No Matter How Unrealistic

Someone asked me in a lecture I was giving the other day how she should tell her 10-year-old son that his dream of playing in the NBA is unrealistic.  I asked her why she felt she needed to tell him that. She replied that she wanted to protect him from getting disappointed when he realized that that dream could never come true.  I asked her how she knew it could never come true.  “Well, he’s white, for one thing, and he’s short for his age for another, and your average toddler is more coordinated.”

“But would it hurt him to keep believing he might play in the NBA someday?” I asked.  “After all, we allow kids to believe in Santa Claus for a long time.  We even encourage it.”

  “But this is starting to seem cruel,” she said.  “I mean when his grandfather asks him what he wants to be when he grows up, and he says a professional basketball player, and his grandfather laughs so hard his glasses fall off before he then asks him to give a serious answer, isn’t it time for me to tell him this dream is just not going to come true?”

“Well, it sounds like Grandpa already did that, didn’t he?  But if he chooses to ignore Grandpa, so what?  Life will teach him soon enough, when he tries out for whatever team he tries out for.  And who knows, maybe he’ll have a growth spurt, maybe he will become more coordinated, and being white doesn’t automatically disqualify him.”

“But you know what I mean,” the mom replied.  “Aren’t we supposed to guide our children toward realistic dreams and protect them from crazy ones?  Isn’t that part of making sure they don’t get hurt?  What if he wanted to date a movie star?  Should I say, Ok son, go for it?”

“Why not?” I said.  “What’s he gonna do?  Send her a fan letter?  If he got a reply, which he might or might not, it would probably be a signed photo that he could put on his wall and admire all year. What’s so good about being realistic?”

“I just don’t want him to get hurt,” the mom replied.  By now the whole lecture hall was listening to our conversation, obviously interested in it, not making noises for me to move on.

This is a question that comes up all the time, not only in children who have ADHD, but in all children, and, if truth be told, in us adults as well.  How long it is healthy to hold onto dreams that aren’t coming true?  By what age should we start to get realistic?

My answer is you should never give up on your dream.  It’s better to go to your grave with an unfulfilled dream than no dream at all.  You can feed off of that dream your whole life long.

But you also need a Plan B. My first dream career was to be a writer.  When I was in high school, I wanted to rank right up there with Dickens, Dostoyevsky, and all the greats.  When I got to college, I realized that making a living as a writer of fiction was sort of like trying to make the  NBA as a 5’6” white guy, so I needed a Plan B.  I decided being a doctor would be a good way to make a living, that would also allow me to write as well.  And that’s exactly what I’ve done.

I encourage people of all ages to hold onto dreams no matter how unrealistic.  I will die hoping to write a great novel.  Maybe I will actually do it, but on the way I’ve written some wonderful books that have helped lots of people, so my dream has served me and the world quite well.  Which is exactly what dreams are supposed to do, don’t you think?

ADHD and Time Management

ADHD and Time Management – What is in your time bank account?

Time Management

We are all too familiar with this the term. If you are suffering with time management just recently or if it has been an issue for years, I am going to ask you to look at time through a new lens. We all have the same amount of time per day in our “time bank account. Twenty-four hours every day. Simple. What are some of the common “time overdraft” traits that are encountered?

Hyperfocus

Although this can be a very positive trait of ADHD with the increased ability to focus and get entrenched in work, hyper focusing can also act as a “time thief.” Those who hyperfocus rarely come up for air, lose track of time and ultimately miss other commitments or responsibilities. When you have established those tasks that will lead to a “hyper focusing hijacking of time,” set the timer on your smartphone so to establish a “time boundary.” This “time boundary” will allow for a much-needed break or transition to another obligation or commitment.                                                             

Blurry Schedules “Well, I’ll get to it later

  • “This should only take me 10 minutes.”
  • “The drive isn’t that long in rush hour traffic.”

First, we have to look at time and appreciate how long tasks actually take to be completed.  Then, take account of where your time is being spent each day. Tracking one typical work day and one “off” day is usually enough to see a pattern. By tracking where your time goes, you’ll have an increased awareness of where time is being spent. Furthermore, this will allow clarity on the length of time each task actually takes each day.

I once coached a busy mom of three children who came to me in exasperation regarding her schedule and time management issues. We did an exercise where I asked her to record frequent tasks and estimate how long she thought they took. Since there were five people in her household, she reported that grocery shopping was an all too frequent activity. She reported to me it took about 30 minutes. In fact, when she completed this exercise and actually accounted for the time, grocery shopping on average took 90 minutes!

Over a period of about three months, my client was armed with a new ability to be proactive and an increased empowerment over her sense of time. She reported feeling less frustrated and an overall reduction of stress.

The coaching process allows for a gradual change in habits with frequent check-ins, encouragement and strategies designed specifically for those with ADHD. I have also established a “coaching on demand” program to accommodate busy entrepreneurs, executives or anyone that would like more frequent communication than the traditional one hour appointment. Just another option to achieve a “balanced” time bank account with improved productivity while accommodating your busy lifestyle.

Contact Christine L. Robinson, M.Ed., Certified ADHD Coach/Educational Consultant to learn more. ~ T: 212-799-7777

Managing ADHD Meds and more…

In this DISTRACTION Podcast S3 Ep 2, we’re doing one of my favorite things — answering YOUR questions. In our Q&A episode, you’ll learn:

* how to manage ADHD meds;
* ways to get past childhood trauma; and
* what you can do to become an ADHD coach; and more.

Sending a big thank you to everyone who submitted questions and to YOU, my loyal listeners.

If you have a question for me, please send it to: connect@distractionpodcast.com or call 844-552-6663. Thank you.

LISTEN NOW!

If you like to learn more about treating ADHD, click HERE.

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  

 

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.

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 for Teachers, CLICK HERE!