Why Are People Distracted?

Over busy lady with many armsA cartoon on the October cover of The New Yorker a few years ago showed trick-or-treaters knocking on a front door while their parents waited at curbside, all with their heads down, checking their smartphones. Was this so-called “screen-sucking,” as Dr. Edward Hallowell calls it, a case of catching up at work, paranoia about falling behind, feeding on gossip, obsessing over a game score? Or was it simply an example of disconnecting from the real-life, time-honored moment of child and parent sharing in an annual holiday ritual?

More and more situations of this nature sneak into our everyday lives without people really giving pause to understand what is happening or why. That’s the impetus behind Distraction, the new podcast series with relevant advice and insight for anyone who finds themselves disconnected, disorganized and generally discombobulated by their crazy-busy lives. Whether you want to be a better parent, increase work productivity, combat stress and anxiety, bring order to your home, or connect more deeply with loved ones, Distraction was created to help you cope and, more importantly, thrive. LISTEN NOW ON iTUNES.

“Someone called in claiming he is addicted to his cellphone and wondering what to do,” said Dr. Edward (Ned) Hallowell, a child and adult psychiatrist, leading authority on ADHD, New York Times best-selling author and host of Distraction. “The first thing I recommended was in fact to treat his situation as an addiction, and then we’d discuss where to go from there.”

What drives people to distraction? Certainly, our 24/7 modern-day world provides more information and resources than ever, but at what cost? The temptation to lose focus and fail to connect is real. The challenge is to turn these modern problems into new-found strengths. Dr. Hallowell describes many of his ADHD friends with the gift of having “Ferrari brains, but bicycle brakes.” That could well describe some of the callers coming up on future episodes: a professional researcher who continually gets distracted; a mom who feels she’s spread too thin and can’t give 100 percent to anything in her life; a woman raising kids as a divorced parent with an unsupportive spouse. Wait until you hear Dr. Hallowell’s advice!

Walking the Walk, Sipping the Sip

A key premise of our series is that human connection is the antidote to distraction. While Dr. Hallowell certainly has much to talk about when it comes to the subject, he also has decided to walk the walk. To this end, Distraction has been recording segments from the East Rock Café in New Haven, CT, where he has made connections with some extremely interesting people. In future episodes, you’ll also hear what sorts of “collisions” Dr. Hallowell can generate in a local barber shop and in a crepe hangout near his home in Massachusetts.

Ned’s Nuggets

Here are just some of Dr. Hallowell’s insights on life’s important challenges:

Connecting With Others. Take trivial contact seriously. Smile in the elevator; don’t just stare up at the floor numbers. Say hello at the water cooler. Make eye contact and give a nod as you pass someone in the corridor. Be pleasant even to those people you don’t know. Make connection a habit.

Raising Happy Children. The roots of self-esteem lie not in praise but in mastery. When a child masters something she couldn’t do before, her self-esteem naturally rises, whether she receives any praise or not. If you want your child to have a high sense of self-esteem, don’t go out of your way to praise her; go out of your way to make sure she experiences mastery in many different ways.

LISTEN TO DISTRACTION TODAY ON iTUNES

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