Q&A with Dr. H: How Can We Help ADHD Kids Manage Their Emotions?

Q&A with Dr. H: How Can We Help ADHD Kids Manage Their Emotions?

Today’s question is from a mom named Mary. She wrote:

My seven-year-old daughter Laura was diagnosed with ADHD combined type about a year ago. She is very smart and does well academically, but school is still a struggle.

She gets overwhelmed very easily and she falls apart crying or has screaming meltdowns in class frequently. This was only made worse by the changes made to schools with in-person learning during the pandemic.

Her teacher can’t hug her to help her feel secure. What strategies can you suggest to help kids with ADHD manage their emotions and have less overwhelming feelings?

Dr. H response includes several ways Mary can help her daughter, including one that involves a giant bean bag! If you have a question or comment you’d like Dr. Hallowell to address in a future Q&A episode just like this reach out to us! Write an email or record a voice memo and send it to [email protected].  

Learn more about our sponsor, Forman School, a coed college prep school dedicated to empowering bright students who learn differently in grades 9-PG. Forman School provides the individual attention these students need.

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our recording engineer/editor is Scott Persson and our producer is Sarah Guertin.

Check out this episode!

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Strategies to Counter Negative Emotions

Strategies to Counter Negative Emotions

Negative thoughts and feelings of rejection, anger, resentment and bitterness can be particularly difficult for those with ADHD. The good news is that these feelings and emotions can be managed by practicing positive beneficial emotions. And it’s something everyone can learn to do!

Listen and follow along as Dr. Carol Locke of OmegaBrite Wellness (one of our sponsors) takes Ned through a Metta meditation. Practicing this meditation regularly has been shown to decrease stress and make you feel less depressed. It actually changes your brain! 

Learn more about Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria in this Distraction episode with Dr. William Dodson.

Center for Healthy Minds (University of Wisconsin website Dr. Locke mentions in this conversation)

If you have a question or comment you’d like Dr. Hallowell to address in an episode reach out to us! Write an email or record a voice memo and send it to [email protected].  

Learn more about the programs being offered this summer at Landmark College! There’s a summer program for high school students, a summer bridge experience, and a college readiness program. Go HERE to learn more. Landmark College in Putney, Vermont is the college of choice for students who learn differently. 

Learn more about Dr. Locke’s company (and our sponsor) OmegaBrite Wellness, creators of the #1 Omega-3 supplements for the past twenty years. Ned and his wife, Sue, take them every day. Distraction listeners will SAVE 20% on their first order with the code: Distraction at OmegaBriteWellness.com.

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our recording engineer/editor is Scott Persson and our producer is Sarah Guertin.

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Q & A with Dr. H: Why Do I Feel Shame When Talking About My ADHD?

Q & A with Dr. H: Why Do I Feel Shame When Talking About My ADHD?

Pamela was recently diagnosed with combined-type ADHD at the age of 43. She’s thrilled to finally have a name for what she’s experienced all of her life, but reaches out to ask why she feels shame and guilt when talking about her diagnosis with friends and family.

Ned offers advice to help Pamela move past her feelings and embrace the positive qualities she possesses. Which includes being an excellent cake baker!

Pamela’s ADHD celebration cake!

If you have a question or comment you’d like Dr. Hallowell to address in a future Q & A episode just like this, reach out to us! Write an email or record a voice memo and send it to [email protected].

Learn more about our sponsor, Forman School, a coed college prep school dedicated to empowering bright students who learn differently in grades 9-PG. Forman School provides the individual attention these students need.

Get a copy of Ned’s newest book, ADHD 2.0 at DrHallowell.com or by clicking HERE. You can also find it wherever books are sold!

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our recording engineer/editor is Scott Persson and our producer is Sarah Guertin.

Check out this episode!

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Waiting Can Feel Like Agony

Waiting Can Feel Like Agony

Ned talks about how waiting in line and waiting his turn get him riled up and feels like torture. He proposes a few ways we can pass the time without getting angry and irritated, and pledges to try and turn his impatient moments into something other than purely painful. 

Get a copy of Dr. H’s newest book, ADHD 2.0 at DrHallowell.com or by clicking HERE. You can also find it wherever books are sold!  

If you have a question or comment you’d like us to address in a future episode reach out to us! Write an email or record a voice memo and send it to [email protected].  

Check out our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness! Distraction listeners SAVE 20% on their first order with the code: Distraction at OmegaBriteWellness.com.

Learn what it’s like to be a student at Landmark College during their Virtual Open House on March 19th! Register HERE. Landmark College in Putney, Vermont is the college of choice for students who learn differently. 

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our recording engineer/editor is Scott Persson and our producer is Sarah Guertin.

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How to Deal with Disappointment

How to Deal with Disappointment

The expression, “don’t cry over spilled milk” has been around for centuries, but what do you actually do when your faced with a disappointment?

In this week’s mini Dr. H talks about a few different ways you can move past a disappointment. And yes, that does call for the occasional “good cry.”

If you have a question or comment for Dr. Hallowell reach out to us! Write an email or record a voice memo and send it to [email protected].  

Ned’s new book is out now! Get a copy of ADHD 2.0 at DrHallowell.com or by clicking HERE. You can also find it wherever books are sold!  

Learn more about our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness! Distraction listeners SAVE 20% on their first order with the code: Distraction at OmegaBriteWellness.com.

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our recording engineer/editor is Scott Persson and our producer is Sarah Guertin.

Check out this episode!

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Gabby Bernstein’s Judgment Detox

Gabby Bernstein’s Judgment Detox

Gabby Bernstein is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Universe Has Your Back and Super Attractor. She’s an international speaker, and a self-proclaimed spirit junkie who has made it her life’s mission to empower people to gain more confidence and live their purpose.

In 2018 Gabby joined Dr. Hallowell to talk about her book, Judgment Detox, a six-step method for releasing and healing judgment so you can feel good and restore oneness. She and Ned talk about why we attack one another, how shame and vulnerability play a part, and why it’s important to find a better way.

Learn more about Gabby Bernstein on her website, GabbyBernstein.com.

Check out Gabby’s book: Judgment Detox: Release the Beliefs That Hold You Back from Living A Better Life

If you like this episode, please rate and review Distraction on Apple Podcasts! If you have a question, comment, or show idea please email it to [email protected].

Dr. Hallowell’s new book, ADHD 2.0, comes out January 12th. Click here to pre-order your copy of ADHD 2.0!

Check out #NedTalks on TikTok! @drhallowell

Thanks to our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness! Dr. H takes OmegaBrite supplements every day and that’s why he invited them to sponsor his podcast. SAVE 20% on your first order at OmegaBriteWellness.com with the promo code: Podcast2020.

Click HERE to learn more about our sponsor, Landmark College, in Putney, Vermont. It’s the college of choice for students who learn differently. Dr. H has an honorary degree from Landmark!

This episode was originally released in January 2018.

Check out this episode!

A transcript of this episode is below.


Dr. Ned Hallowell:
This episode is made possible by our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness. I’ve taken their Omega 3 supplements for many years and so as my wife, and that’s why I invited them to sponsor my podcast. I’m proud to have them. You can find all of their products online at OmegaBritewellness.com, and bright is intentionally misspelled, B-R-I-T-E. OmegaBritewellness.com. This episode is also sponsored by Landmark College, another institution that I have warm personal relationship with in Putney, Vermont. It’s the college of choice for students who learn differently. Learn more llcdistraction.org.

Gabby Bernstein:
I don’t like to preach to people who are unwilling. So my hope is to gather the willing and really the question is, are you willing to feel better? Are you willing to feel safer? Are you willing to feel more connected? Are you willing to feel more compassionate towards yourself? Are you willing to attract more of what you want into your life? If the answers to any of those questions are yes, then I invite you to join me on this journey and open your mind to these steps.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Hello, this is Dr. Ned Hallowell. Welcome to Distraction. Today we have an extremely interesting guest and truly, stay with us, because I think you’ll be intrigued. She’s onto a topic that I think almost everyone can relate to. She’s a woman by the name of Gabby Bernstein and her bio describes her as a number one New York Times bestselling author, international speaker, and spirit junkie. She’s a recovering addict, certified Kundalini yoga and meditation teacher, featured on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday as a next generation thought leader, New York Times named her a new role model, co-hosted the Guinness World Record largest guided meditation with Deepak Chopra and her new book, which will come out today, just absolutely captivated my imagination when I read the title. It’s called Judgment Detox: Release the Beliefs That Hold You Back From Living a Better Life. Rather than me telling you why I find that so interesting, I asked Gabby if she would just tell us about her journey and how she came to writing this book. So welcome, Gabby.

Gabby Bernstein:
Thank you for having me. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I’m so excited to talk to you about this.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
How did you come to the place in your life where you wanted to write this?

Gabby Bernstein:
Well, I’ve been in this field of personal growth and spiritual development for 12 years, and this will be my sixth book. And I have had the privilege of helping people in many different ways shift their perceptions and choose to align their thoughts with higher thought forms and use power of prayer and positive thinking to change their experience of life. And in the last two years, as I was preparing to write this next book, I was becoming very conscious of a really huge pervasive issue that we were all coming up against in a way far bigger than we’d ever known before. And that’s the issue of judgment and the issue of division and separation. I was writing this book during the 2016 election and seeing not only just our country, but the world, really far more divided than we’ve ever really seen before.

Gabby Bernstein:
And actually the truth is, is that I had the idea for the book a year earlier. So it was almost like I had a sense of what was coming. And my concern always has been that, when we have these belief systems, but then when we start to voice them, we bring even more energy to them. So what we were seeing over the last two years, and up until even this point today, is the vocalization of the judgmental belief systems that many of us have always carried and had. So we’re just seeing it all very magnified at this time. And the judgment’s not just judgment towards others, but also judgment towards ourselves and living with these belief systems, this separation, is what’s causing, I believe, all of the issues that we’re facing today. Racism, terrorism, fear, all of the fear based experiences that we’re experiencing, unfortunately, every other day throughout the world.

Gabby Bernstein:
So my feeling was the best contribution that I could give to my readers and far beyond hopefully, was to help people begin to learn how to clean up their inner belief systems so that they could stop polluting the planet with their fear and their judgment and separation. And I believe that as we begin to shift on an internal level, we have the power to start to experience shifts within our local communities and our families and our homes, and that ripple effect spreads far beyond our local environment. So my mission as a spiritual activist is to really help people clean up their belief systems, clean up their side of the street. And as a result of cleaning up your own inner terror, you begin to really heal the world around you. I believe that is a solution and that’s the intention and energy that I’m focused on bringing to the world today.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
What if a person says, well, that sounds fine, but I just see so much horribleness in the world, I can’t stop myself from judging it? I’m not just going to say, Oh, well, that’s okay and walk on by. I have to judge it. I have to say, that’s terrible. I hate it.

Gabby Bernstein:
Right. Well, this is something I address in the book. I don’t by any means, ask my reader to be apathetic or to turn their back on what’s happening in the world. And in fact, I don’t do that myself. I’m very loud and clear about what I believe is right and what I believe we need to do politically and globally. But the goal here is to be able to learn how to speak up from a place of love and compassion, not a place of attack. When we meet attack with more attack, we just create more of it.

Gabby Bernstein:
When we speak up and voice our opinions and voice our desires, and start to show up more socially in our lives, when we do that from a place of love and from a place of oneness, that’s when I believe we can be truly heard. So that’s been my experience, having a platform where I speak up about these daily issues that we see showing up, and I’m not going to stay silent, but I’m never going to take it from a one-sided approach. We can’t fight an attack with more attacks. And that’s been my experience.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I wrote a book about forgiveness and it was very much in keeping with what you’re saying, and it didn’t sell very well. I often thought if I wanted to write a best seller, I should write a book called Get Even, because I think people would much rather respond to an attack with an attack. It’s sort of wired into our brains to forego the attack response. You have to appeal to your higher brain centers, and that’s hard for folks to do.

Gabby Bernstein:
It’s very interesting that you said that because it’s actually much more comfortable. Just as what you’re saying, is much more comfortable for us to fight back because that becomes … Because judgment ultimately has become this great protector. It’s become the way that we protect ourselves from feelings the shadow part of ourselves that we do not want to recognize, protect ourselves from the fears of the world, protect yourself from feeling unlovable and inadequate. And ultimately to your point, we get high in many ways off of judging because it’s a way of anesthetizing the deep rooted pain. But underneath that high is deep rooted guilt because it’s not the truth of who we are. So that’s really the bigger issue is that, even if we get that quick fix or we get a quick moment of relief because we’re put pushing out and reflecting out what we don’t want to feel within, we feel relief for a moment, but an unconscious sense of guilt begins to come over us because, deep down, we know that’s not the truth of who we are.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
In the attack position and the judgment position, we don’t have to feel vulnerable.

Gabby Bernstein:
We can avoid vulnerability. We can avoid shame. We can avoid feeling any or acknowledging any of the wounds from our past when we’re in the stance of judgment.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So why should we do it?

Gabby Bernstein:
Because ultimately, living in that place of judgment, we are constantly standing there with knives out, right? Constantly ready to fight, and every day we’re triggered and every day we’re fighting each trigger and then we’re triggered again and we’re fighting the next trigger. Our nervous systems cannot handle this. And from a global standpoint, when we magnify these individual movements of judgment and attack, that cumulative energy begins to create what we’re seeing in the world today. I think this is a really important point is that we need to take a personal responsibility for the terror that we’re seeing in the world today. Because even those moment to moment judgmental thoughts are contributing a negative vibration that has a ripple effect.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Over the past few months, I’ve spoken to my friend, the founder and creator of Omega Brite Wellness, Dr. Carol Lark, about the benefits of taking Omega Brite Omega 3’s, CBB, and other supplements. Here’s a clip from one of those conversations. Could you tell us a little bit about the study, recent study, that showed Omega Brite reduced inflammation and anxiety in medical students?

Dr. Carol Lark:
This was a great study. It was done at Ohio State and it was done on medical students, 68 medical students, without any medical problems, done over 12 weeks. And it was a blinded study, meaning the researchers and the students did not know if they were taking the Omega Brite or the dummy capsules. And what it found was a 20% reduction in anxiety and a 14% reduction in the inflammatory cytokine il-6. So that you had a very powerful benefit from the Omega Brite shown in this study, and that’s something that people could use right now in their life, reducing their anxiety and stress and inflammation.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Distraction listeners, you can save 20% on your first order at OmegaBritewellness.com by using the promo code, podcast 2020. All right, let’s get back to today’s topic.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So Gabby, I agree with you 1000%. It’s just, how do we persuade people that it’s in their, ultimately not their, but the whole world’s best interest to override these primitive responses that people seem to so want to go with?

Gabby Bernstein:
Well, Doctor, I don’t really like to persuade anyone. I like to invite people to give … Offer an invitation. And I really, truly, I don’t like to preach to people who are unwilling. So my hope is to gather the willing. Gathering the willing, there are many of us out there. Anyone who’s listening to you today, anyone who’s read your books, anyone who’s read my book. There are people out there who are willing. And really the question is, are you willing to feel better? Are you willing to feel safer? Are you willing to feel more connected? Are you willing to feel more compassionate towards yourself? Are you willing to attract more of what you want into your life and the answers to any of those questions are yes, then I invite you to join me on this journey and open your mind to these steps.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Let me just encourage everyone who’s listening too, if you’re a part of the willing, and I think most people listening to this podcast are, join Gabby. I mean, get her book Judgment Detox: Release the Beliefs That Hold You Back From Living a Better Life. I mean, really, and it sounds dramatic to say it, but I believe it with every fiber of my being, the future of the world depends upon our somehow galvanizing this energy that she’s talking about. And if you join her in her efforts and more and more people join that, then we can start all of us together generating that positive energy. Don’t you think, Gabby?

Gabby Bernstein:
I couldn’t agree more. It’s absolutely the reason I wrote this book. These are the times where we have to be very, very serious about what we’re putting out in the world and begin to show up for in a really big way.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And you offer the invitation sort of by modeling it, would you say?

Gabby Bernstein:
Well, yes, absolutely. I think that we, in any moment, have an opportunity to look at our life, and people come to me all the time and they’ll say things like, I don’t have time. I teach meditation. I teach really beautiful, mindful practices and people will say, well, I don’t have time for meditation, or I don’t have time to read the books and do the work. And my response is, do you have time to feel like crap? Right? So I do model it because in all of my books, and particularly in this book, I share many, many personal anecdotes and experiences of how releasing judgment has set me free. I’m very forthcoming with my reader of all the ways that I have judged, all the ways that I have detoured into fear and been unforgiving and held on to resentment.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So give us a couple of examples of how releasing that has set you free.

Gabby Bernstein:
Well, I wrote this book at a time where I was going through a lot of personal struggles with my family, with some friends. I applied the principles that I was living, the types of principles from the book, and have truly forgiven the people who I had been holding resentment towards. Truly forgiven them. I’ve been given very clear direction on how to carry out the next phase of those relationships.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
How did you forgive them?

Gabby Bernstein:
I accepted that, one of the steps in the book is called, see for the first time. And I practiced this step and truly seeing the people, seeing these specific people for all the things that I love about them and all the qualities of them that I admired most. And then I took the others parts of the book, which were the first two steps, which were really owning my shadows and looking at my wounds and seeing my part, seeing my judgment and the issues. While I may have felt like the victim of a situation, I spent some serious time auditing my part and seeing how I was contributing.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Did you do that alone or with a guide?

Gabby Bernstein:
With the guidance of the book that I wrote. I followed the steps from the book and really did the work to see my part. And I practiced emotional freedom technique, which is the second step in the book, which was using EFT to really get to the deeper ones that live beneath the judgment. I’ve practiced that third step of seeing for the first time. I practiced the steps of really, prayer and meditation to really get grounded in healing my belief system so that I can be free from the projections I’d placed upon these people. And then the final step of the book is forgiveness.

Gabby Bernstein:
And I put that step at the very end because I felt that these other steps were very necessary to get to the place where we could finally be willing to forgive. And then the practice of forgiveness in the book is very passive. It’s really about offering our desire to forgive up to a power greater than ourselves, and really inviting in a spiritual intervention. Really opening up our consciousness to allow the miracle of forgiveness to be bestowed upon us. And it’s not a very active step. It’s a step of releasing and surrendering.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I’m fond of saying forgiveness is a process, not a moment.

Gabby Bernstein:
Yes. I love it.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
It’s something that’s sort of ongoing and you’re much better heading in that direction then heading toward revenge.

Gabby Bernstein:
Couldn’t agree more.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah. And yet so many people, when they say I demand justice, what they really mean is I demand revenge.

Gabby Bernstein:
Often that is the truth, yeah.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
But what you’re speaking is so, if only people could see it’s in their best interest. They think they’ll feel better when they get revenge, but they don’t. They don’t feel any better. They still carry that pollution inside.

Gabby Bernstein:
Right. People feel like they, when they walk around with that revenge, they feel like in some ways they’re protecting themselves. They feel like they are in some ways, that that would be the way that they would stay safe. Particularly if someone has been traumatized or if someone has been deeply wounded, which can also be reflected trauma, a traumatic event. They use that feeling of defense, that defense mechanism in efforts to avoid having to feel the severe pain that lives underneath it.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I want to tell you about Landmark College in beautiful Putney, Vermont. It is the best college in the world for students who learn differently, with ADHD, for other learning differences or autism spectrum disorder. It’s fully accredited, not-for-profit, offering bachelors and associate degrees, bridge programs, online dual enrollment courses for high school students and summer programs. They use a strength-based model at Landmark, which as you know, is the model that I certainly have developed and subscribed to, give students the skills and strategies they need to achieve their goals in life and really expand upon what they believe they’re capable of doing. It is just a wonderful, wonderful place, and I can’t say enough good about it. I myself have an honorary degree from Landmark College, of which I am very proud.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Landmark College in Putney. Vermont is the college of choice for students who learn differently. To learn more, go to lcdistraction.org. That’s lcdistraction.org. Okay. Let’s get back to today’s topic.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
What were the worst wounds that you suffered?

Gabby Bernstein:
Some of the things that I’ve uncovered throughout the process here is traumatic memories from my childhood, healing, forgiving myself for detouring so far to the places of drug addiction and alcoholism.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Those were the traumas, the drug addiction?

Gabby Bernstein:
Yeah. I got sober when I was 25. So I’ve been sober now for 12 years.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
When did the addiction start?

Gabby Bernstein:
Probably, I’d been running for most of my life, I imagine, but the drug abuse and addiction was pretty fast, probably off and on for a few years and then got pretty bad towards the end.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
You weren’t an addict in high school?

Gabby Bernstein:
Not in the sense that I would have recognized that I needed to get clean and sober, but I did have a dysfunctional relationship to drugs and alcohol when I was in high school.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Do you happen to have ADHD?

Gabby Bernstein:
I probably do.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
The reason I ask is there’s a big relationship between addiction and ADHD, and the biggest undiagnosed group are adult women. So we ought to talk about it at some point because it’s-

Gabby Bernstein:
We might have to have a private conversation.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah, yeah.

Gabby Bernstein:
I definitely think that I may have ADHD. And in some ways I think it’s been one of my greatest virtues and in some ways, of course, it can be [crosstalk 00:00:19:36].

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, that’s the whole thing about it. What makes it so interesting, if you manage it right, it’s an incredible blessing. Some of the most talented, most successful people in the world have it, but on the other hand, it’s got a downside that can hurt you. So I’ll get in touch with you when we’re finished and we can talk about it. I’d love to talk about it.

Gabby Bernstein:
I’d love to talk about it.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah. Yeah. So where did your gift come from? How did you develop this sort of … You’re obviously incredibly intuitive and spiritually connected. How did that develop?

Gabby Bernstein:
To be honest with you, I think that I was really quite willing to just release all the barriers that were in the way of those gifts that are within me. And I don’t think I’m any different. I think we all have the same types of gifts within us. They just manifest in different ways. And I think those of us who are brave enough to wonder what the blocks are that are holding us back from stepping into those gifts and do whatever it takes to get closer to consciousness and get closer to a more peaceful path. When we have the willingness to be that brave and do that work, then we can allow our true gift to be expressed. That’s been my experience. I’ve just been really brave. I’ve just been willing to go there.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I agree with you. What do you think others are so afraid of it? I suppose, getting hurt or feeling embarrassed.

Gabby Bernstein:
Feeling embarrassed, being hurt, facing the feelings of shame. I think the biggest thing that holds us back is the terrible, terrifying fear of facing our shame. And not even many people wouldn’t even have a name, wouldn’t even know that shame was what they were running from.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Right. And you just said, okay, I’m going to feel it and release it, and then …

Gabby Bernstein:
Well, I’ve been doing this work on myself for over a decade. So it’s been many stages of development. I think some of the heaviest lifting I’ve done on myself has been in the last two years. Not I think, I know. Even more than when I got sober. [inaudible 00:21:34] any of that. Some of the biggest, biggest work I’ve done on myself was over the last two years.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
What was the hardest part of it?

Gabby Bernstein:
Facing my shame. That is definitely been the most terrifying. But the beauty about it is that, when you do give voice to your shame and you face it finally, then you finally feel free. You feel truly free because you don’t have to run from it anymore.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Now, listeners would say, what in the world do you have to be ashamed of? You’re a beautiful woman, happily married, well educated. You’ve written six books, you’re successful. What shame could you possibly have?

Gabby Bernstein:
Well, first of all, I think that we all carry shame from traumatic events from our childhood. And those traumatic events may be something as simple as somebody calling us stupid in the classroom or something far more significant, seemingly significant. But regardless of what the minor or significant instance was, it creates an imprint. And obviously this is what you teach and write about, I’m sure, but those imprints are shameful moments, feelings of being unlovable, inadequate, not good enough. And we do whatever we can to avoid feeling those feelings. It really creates a tapestry that becomes our life. And we have to begin to redesign that when they want to heal.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
That’s a wonderful gift you’ve given. And I’m so impressed that you’ve done this. Gabby Bernstein, enlightened, gifted woman who has done an awful lot in her still relatively young life and is on her way to doing a lot more. Get her book. I’m quite certain it will set you free in many ways. Thanks a lot for joining us.

Gabby Bernstein:
Thank you so much for your time and thank you for having me on your show.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Take care. Bye-bye.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
You can find Distraction on all the social channels and you can find me on TikTok. My username is @drhallowell. I’ve uploaded a bunch of ADHD related videos, 60 seconds a piece, and I’d really love to hear what you think. Send me a DM or email [email protected] That’s [email protected] Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is the extraordinarily talented Sarah Burton, and our audio engineer and editor is the equally extraordinarily talented Scott Person. I’m Dr. Ned Hallowell. Until next time.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
The episode you just heard was made possible by my good friends at Omega Brite Wellness. I take their supplements every day and that’s why I invited them to sponsor my podcast. Shop online at Omega Brite, and that’s B-R-I-T-E, wellness.com.

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5,203 Things To Do Instead Of Looking At Your Phone

5,203 Things To Do Instead Of Looking At Your Phone

It’s more important than ever to slow down, look up from whatever device you’re on and take a few moments for yourself. If you’re not sure what to do in those few moments, author Barbara Ann Kipfer has plenty of ideas for you! The list-loving lexicographer and editor of Roget’s International Thesaurus joins Ned for a lighthearted chat about recognizing the simple things in life that bring you joy.

Barbara’s books mentioned in this episode:

5,203 Things To Do Instead Of Looking At Your Phone

14,000 Things To Be Happy About

Dr. Hallowell’s new book, ADHD 2.0, comes out January 12th. Pre-order Now!  Click here to pre-order your copy of ADHD 2.0.

Check out #NedTalks on TikTok! @drhallowell

Thanks to our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness! Dr. H takes OmegaBrite supplements every day and that’s why he invited them to sponsor his podcast. SAVE 20% on your first order at OmegaBriteWellness.com with the promo code: Podcast2020.

Click HERE to learn more about our sponsor, Landmark College, in Putney, Vermont. It’s the college of choice for students who learn differently. Dr. H has an honorary degree from Landmark!

Do you have a question or guest suggestion? Send an email with your thoughts to [email protected].

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is Sarah Guertin and our recording engineer/editor is Scott Persson.

Check out this episode!

A transcript of this episode is below.


Dr. Ned Hallowell:
This episode is made possible by our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness. I’ve taken their Omega-3 supplements for many years and so has my wife, and that’s why I invited them to sponsor my podcast. I’m proud to have them. You can find all of their products online at omegabritewellness.com and brite is intentionally misspelled, B-R-I-T-E Omegabritewellness.com. This episode is also sponsored by Landmark College. Another institution that I have warm personal relationship with in Putney Vermont. It’s the college of choice for students who learn differently. Learn more at lcdistraction.org.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Hello, and welcome to distraction. I’m your host, Dr. Ned Hallowell. No matter pandemic or not, we’re all becoming quite addicted, if not addicted, at least to [inaudible 00:01:04] to our various screens and other electronic devices. And we have a guest today who has a book out titled 5203 Things to Do Instead of Looking at Your Phone. She’s pretty remarkable. This lady has written 80 other books, including 14,000 Things to Be Happy About, that has over 1.2 million copies in print. And I can tell you that’s a staggering number. She has a PhD in linguistics, a PhD in archeology, a PhD in Buddhist studies and a BS in physical education. My gosh. Barbara Ann Kipfer, did I pronounce that right?

Barbara Kipfer:
Yes, you did. I’m a hundred years.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
You’re amazing. And it’s an incredible. 80 books and three PhDs and a degree in physical education. Did you have a favorite sport?

Barbara Kipfer:
I wanted to be a football coach. That was the plan. I loved basketball, but I wanted to be a football coach. And then I got to college and my advisor said, “Really? You’ve got to be kidding me.”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, you marched to the beat of your own drum.

Barbara Kipfer:
So I ended up being a sports’ writer, which was great, but I was working in Chicago and that meant working late at night until the wee hours of the morning in a big, big city. So I said, “What else can I do with words?” And I thought about dictionaries because I had read them. That was the kind of book I like to read, it was dictionaries. So I became a lexicographer and that’s what I’ve been doing for 40 years.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Wow. Well, you don’t write sports anymore?

Barbara Kipfer:
I don’t, but I am very much interested in writing some books about sports in my future life.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I’d love to ask you a few questions about that. So you became a lexicographer. I wrote my undergraduate thesis in college about a lexicographer.

Barbara Kipfer:
Are you serious?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I’m dead serious.

Barbara Kipfer:
Who did you write about?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Samuel Johnson.

Barbara Kipfer:
Oh, there you go.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah. The first dictionary of the English language. He also wrote a few other things, and his definition in his dictionary of a lexicographer was a harmless drudge.

Barbara Kipfer:
I know. A harmless drudge.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Exactly. But you’re much more harmful than that, I think.

Barbara Kipfer:
Well, I don’t know. I am a drudge though. You see how much I like to work?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yes, that’s wonderful.

Barbara Kipfer:
The thought of retirement is-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Don’t do it-

Barbara Kipfer:
My husband will tell you, not something I like to entertain.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Don’t do it until you have to. I’m 70 years old and they’ll have to carry me out, but I’ll do this as long as my brain allows me to.

Barbara Kipfer:
Well, my first thought when this pandemic started was I’m going to lose my job. And by golly, thank goodness I still have it. And it’s just amazing. I thought the company I worked for would start going downhill and they’ve been rising. You can’t predict things.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah. No, you sure can’t.

Barbara Kipfer:
Everything you worry about doesn’t happen, everything you don’t worry about that’s what’s going to happen.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So I’m sure all of our listeners are waiting with bated breath to hear some of the 5,200 and three things we can do, instead of-

Barbara Kipfer:
You think we’re going to give some away, huh?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah. Give some away.

Barbara Kipfer:
Well, here’s the thing. When I first got an iPad, which was a while ago, I’m not an early adopter, but I’m a fairly early adopter. I would leave the thing. It would just be there for emergencies. I never looked at it. The kids and my husband would say, “Why do you have an iPad? You never use it.” Now, the thing is another appendage. I actually probably use it more than my computer. And it’s just addictive. When I finally picked it up and started using it, it became addictive. I think that’s why phones are for a lot of people. My phone stays in my purse and I don’t use it. But the iPad that became my thing, I guess. And if I don’t have something to do reading a book, petting the cat, doing something useful, I pick the thing up for no reason and I just scan and say, “What app can I open and look something up?”

Barbara Kipfer:
It’s not good. I don’t have to explain that to anybody. It’s not good. So I started thinking, I love to make lists. I had told my publisher, Workman Publishing, many times I had ideas for things to do for people, things to do at the beach, things to do at a museum that were a little different, like a little out of the line sort of what you would normally do in those places. And then finally, my editor about two years ago, Mary Ellen ONeill said, “Why don’t we do a book about things to do, but make it about instead of using your phone.” Which was a brilliant idea. I’m going to give her credit because I didn’t come up with that part of it. So this is about what you can do when you’re about to pick up your phone or you’ve been messing with your phone. And then you say, “Wait a minute, how useful is this for my brain?”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Over the past few months, I’ve spoken to my friend, the founder and creator of Omega Brite Wellness, Dr. Carol Locke, about the benefits of taking Omega Brite’s, Omega-3s, CBD and other supplements. Here’s a clip from one of those conversations. Now there are many different products, brands of fish oil. Why is Omega Brite the best?

Dr. Carol Locke:
What I can speak to with Omega Brite is it’s a very different formula than typically what you can get in the store or online. And Omega Brite is clinically proven. We have over 10 studies in major academic centers showing Omega Brite improving mood, helping with bipolar, with depression, with ADHD, with anxiety, with inflammation. So it’s a very proven product for you to gain these benefits. And these benefits, we know, come from Omega Brite. You can’t get that with a typical Omega-3, which has say 180 milligrams of EPA in it. That just isn’t going to provide that benefit.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Distraction listeners, you can save 20% on your first order at omegabritewellness.com by using the promo code podcast2020. I want to tell you about Landmark College in beautiful Putney, Vermont. It is the best college in the world for students who learn differently with ADHD, for other learning differences or autism spectrum disorder. It’s fully accredited, not-for-profit offering bachelor’s and associate degrees, bridge programs, online dual enrollment courses for high school students and summer programs. They use a strength-based model at landmark, which is the model that I certainly have developed and subscribed to.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
To give students the skills and strategies they need to achieve their goals in life and really expand upon what they believe they’re capable of doing. It is just a wonderful place. And I can’t say enough good about it. I myself have an honorary degree from landmark college of which I am very proud. Landmark College in Putney, Vermont is the college of choice for students who learn differently. To learn more, go to lcdistraction.org. That’s lcdistraction.org. Okay. Let’s get back to today’s topic. Can you give us some of the 5,203 things I, or anyone else can do instead of looking at our phones?

Barbara Kipfer:
My idea for it is you open the book to just any place, just randomly open up because it is a random list. So I’m going to do that now. I’m going to open it and it says, play a game of paintball. Okay. Roll around in your office chair, dance in the moonlight, they could bake a dessert, interview a person you admire. I didn’t make that up, it’s really in the book. Feed a squirrel carefully, excuse a blunder, frame something you painted, invite friends for a hike, make a salad, create a space to do yoga, open a drawer and sort the contents. There are a quite a few in here. Little things to do around your house that you may have put off, forgotten about, or really need a reminder of. So here’s one, picnic on the fire escape, map out your ideal road trip, flip or turn the mattress, open stuck windows, donate your old books, balance on tiptoe, play in autumn leaves and eat all your spinach.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
These are great. And how did you come up with them? Did you just sort of sit down and let your mind wander?

Barbara Kipfer:
I did that. And what I did was because I’ve written a lot of list books. I kind of just page through those to trigger some ideas, because it’s really easy to think of things to do with your devices. So I figured you got to get back into the mindset of thinking about what things involve no devices. So I use my other list books that seemed like a fair enough way of going about it. I looked at some books that were written for kids. Most of them were pretty dated about things kids could do and things kids could do outside in the backyard and things like that.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Sounds fun.

Barbara Kipfer:
It wasn’t easy getting to this number. I’m pretty good at making lists and I’m pretty good at making lists where I don’t repeat myself, but I needed a lot of help double checking the manuscript afterwards to make sure I did not just repeat something like they’re slightly different wording.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
You came up with 5,203, but that’s nothing compared to your book about 14,000 things to be happy about.

Barbara Kipfer:
Yeah. But it’s nothing compared to my database, which is on my website, which has 176,000 things to be happy about.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
176,000 things to be happy-

Barbara Kipfer:
176,000. And I can tell you, there’s no repeats in that either.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
How in the world?

Barbara Kipfer:
I’ve been doing that since I was in sixth grade. So now we’re talking about 50 plus years that I’ve been writing down things to be happy about. Somebody who interviewed me said, you must have done three or four a day during this whole time. And I do, I just still find so many things to write down that are things to be happy about.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Can you name off the top of your head some of your favorite things to be happy about?

Barbara Kipfer:
Oh yeah. Blueberry muffins, that was my first entry. I love things just simple stuff like the feeling of receiving a genuine compliment. That is something we remember for a long time.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah, that’s a very good one.

Barbara Kipfer:
Study hall in the school, hot tomato soup. I have a lot of food entries. Somebody asked me once, “Why are there so many food entries?” And I said, “It’s better to read about food than eat all of it.”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah. That’s really cool.

Barbara Kipfer:
And most of the stuff that I write into the database, which… When the book was published, I said to Peter Workman, I said, “Now, what do I do?” And he says, “What do you mean now what do you do? Don’t stop. You’ve done it up to now. Just keep writing down what you like.” And that was very inspirational to hear. A book being published doesn’t mean you should stop doing, what’s your favorite thing to do.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Absolutely not, Barbara.

Barbara Kipfer:
So I read things that authors write that are so poignant. Here’s a phrase, the closing eyelids of the day. I read that somewhere and it’s like poetry.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yes. And you have the soul of a poet, but the mind of a lexicographer.

Barbara Kipfer:
Right. Well, remember dictionaries are actually lists to. So dictionary [inaudible 00:16:08]. I’m the editor of the Roget’s International Thesaurus, that is one big list there.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Wow. You’re a regular genius, Barbara. I’m amazed.

Barbara Kipfer:
No, I just work hard. No genius.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
No, you have a lot to work with. You’ve got massive talent. Well, listen, we’re out of time, but what a great read for anyone who wants to just keep something by your bed, 14,000 Things to Be Happy About and 5,203 Things to Do Instead of Looking at Your Phone by Barbara Ann Kipfer, what a wonderful kind of book to have right next to you. And I can tell every single one of those things is something that all of us could benefit from doing instead of looking at our phone. Thank you so much for joining me and joining my wonderful audience, who I’m sure-

Barbara Kipfer:
Thanks for the invitation. I enjoy your work very much.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Thank you so much. Thank you so much, Barbara. Well, that’s it for today. Thanks so much to Barbara for joining me. Her book, 5,203 Things to Do Instead of Looking at Your Phone is available online wherever you buy your books, or you can click the link in our show notes, and please continue to reach out to us at [email protected] That’s [email protected] and follow Distraction on your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. We’re trying to really beef up our social media presence. And please remember to tell your friends about this podcast. We want to keep growing our wonderful Distraction community. And while I’m praising social media, I should also say you should get Barbara’s book. So you won’t just stay glued to social media.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. The podcast is recorded and mixed by the super talented Scott Persson, a genius in his own right and produced by the equally talented genius laden, Sarah Guertin. I’m your host, Dr. Ned Hallowell saying goodbye for now. The episode you just heard was made possible by my good friends at Omega Brite Wellness. I take their supplements every day and that’s why I invited them to sponsor my podcast. Shop online at Omega Brite and that’s B-R-I-T-Ewellness.com.

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How to Keep Politics from Ruining Your Relationships

How to Keep Politics from Ruining Your Relationships

Psychotherapist and author, Jeanne Safer, PhD, shares strategies and tips for maintaining relationships with your friends and loved ones in spite of political differences. Advice for handling social media and the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday are addressed in this conversation that took place just before Election Day in the United States.

Jeanne’s book: I Love You But I Hate Your Politics

Thanks to our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness! Dr. H takes OmegaBrite supplements every day and that’s why he invited them to sponsor his podcast. SAVE 20% on your first order at OmegaBriteWellness.com with the promo code: Podcast2020.

Click HERE to learn more about our sponsor, Landmark College, in Putney, Vermont. It’s the college of choice for students who learn differently. Dr. H has an honorary degree from Landmark!

What do you think? How are you handling political disagreements with your loved ones? Send an email with your thoughts to [email protected].

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is Sarah Guertin and our recording engineer/editor is Scott Persson.

Check out this episode!

A transcript of this episode is below.


Dr. Ned Hallowell:
This episode is made possible by our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness. I’ve taken their omega-3 supplements for many years and so has my wife. And that’s why I invited them to sponsor my podcast. I’m proud to have them. You can find all of their products online at omegabritewellness.com and brite is intentionally misspelled B-R-I-T-E, omegabritewellness.com. This episode is also sponsored by Landmark College, another institution that I have a warm personal relationship with in Putney, Vermont. It’s the college of choice for students who learn differently. Learn more at LCDistraction.org.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Hello, this is Dr. Ned Hallowell and welcome to Distraction. Here we are coming hard upon election day. And I think most of us have opinions, maybe even all of us, you know the line about opinions. And I had a guest on some time ago who wrote a fascinating, wonderful, absolutely brilliant book entitled I Love You, But I Hate Your Politics. How many of us have people in our lives that that applies to? And then of course there are I hate you and I hate your politics but there’s no book on that. So my guest is Jeanne Safer. A lovely last name, Safer. And she wrote a book called I Love You, But I Hate Your Politics. And you will or may remember Jeanne because we did have her on the podcast around this time last year. Thank you for joining me again, Jeanne.

Jeanne Safer:
I’m delighted to be with you, Ned. And I think there’s no time more important than right now to deal with this issue that destroys relationships. Really [crosstalk 00:02:08] destroys relationship.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah, absolutely-

Jeanne Safer:
Because-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And you speak from personal experience because you are a liberal and your husband is a card carrying National Review friend of William F. Buckley conservative as I recall.

Jeanne Safer:
But he’s not a Trump supporter so that has made life a lot easier, I have to say.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Good.

Jeanne Safer:
We still don’t agree on anything except Trump.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
What percentage of true conservatives, intelligent, true conservatives like your husband, do you think will vote for Trump and what percentage do you think will vote for Biden?

Jeanne Safer:
Now, not voting for Trump doesn’t mean voting for Biden, you have to understand in that [crosstalk 00:02:49]. I would say true conservatives are appalled by Trump because they feel that he’s destroying things that they hold dear. And a good percentage of National Review writers and editors do not agree with Trump. But Rick is not going to vote for Biden, he’s just going to not vote for Trump. So one out of two ain’t bad from what I think.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Will he vote at all?

Jeanne Safer:
Yeah. I don’t know what he’s going to do exactly. But I said to him, “I think you should vote for Biden, we’ve got to do everything we can.” But at this point, and we’ve been married 40 years, and you learn how much to say, if you’re lucky and you work at it, you learn what not to say. And I’m not going to hawk him about voting for Biden, really. As long as he doesn’t vote for Trump that’s all I can ask. It’s been very interesting to hear his point of view on these things because authentic, decent conservatives are outraged by Trump.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I cast my ballot this morning and I sat at my kitchen table and got my paper ballot that came in the mail. And I took my black pen and it brought me back to days when I took those SSATs and SATs and what not and I cast my various votes and then I had to vote on question one and question two in Massachusetts. That was the most perplexing part of the whole thing because it was really hard to figure out exactly what they were all [crosstalk 00:04:22] about.

Jeanne Safer:
Isn’t it? They never explain it.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah, well they had a long explanation but I couldn’t penetrate that either. But I did cast a ballot for each of those questions. I hope I voted in the right way-

Jeanne Safer:
The right way.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
But it was a very satisfying feeling and then I put it in the envelope and signed it and I was bold enough to take it to the mailbox down the street. My wife said, “How can you trust that?” I said, “Well, we have a mailman and I see him empty it and I think he’s going to take it to the town hall like it’s addressed to.” So I trusted the United States Postal Service and dropped my ballot into the blue mailbox and walked away feeling very satisfied that I had voted, exercised my opportunity as a citizen. So-

Jeanne Safer:
Without having to go to the polling place which is also important [crosstalk 00:05:17]-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah, exactly. I kept social distanced between me and the mailbox and dropped it in. So what is your advice to people who have good friends who they just, as you say, I love you, but I hate your politics? How do you reconcile that?

Jeanne Safer:
Well my advice to people is, and I know this will shock you, but self control is an awfully important thing in having relationships. Even with people who totally agree with you politically. Why pick a fight? You’re not going to win it, I guarantee you, I can swear to you, you will never win a political fight. They’re not winnable and [inaudible 00:05:59] with that like, “How could you vote for that creep? How can you… ” Hear my voice, right away you’ve lost the other person. Now, you can learn and I have a lot of recommendations about how to learn and based on a lot of my own experience of you can learn to have a political conversation but not if you want to change the other person’s mind.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Why do people not change their minds?

Jeanne Safer:
People do not change their minds because we try to make them. They may change their minds but not because of us. I think of trying to change a person’s mind is very much like trying to get somebody to fall in love with you. Have you ever tried that? I have and I haven’t had very good success. You can’t make somebody feel what they don’t feel. And it’s very hard for us to accept this, it’s really… we can’t bear it. How can this person-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I’m just going to interrupt you for a second, Jeanne. I have a friend who I’m working closely with on a big project and I’m a Biden supporter and she’s a Trump supporter and she says, “Ned, I think I could convert you.” And I said, “Well [crosstalk 00:07:12] have at it. I’m always open.” So she feels that she can convert me. She’s only got a few days left but I-

Jeanne Safer:
What’s she doing?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I tell my kids when they would say, “We want to have permission to stay up all night.” And I would say, “Well, go ahead and try and persuade me.” Learning how to talk someone into something is a life skill so I’d say, “Go ahead and try. If you can do it, congratulations.” They were never able to do it but at least I honored their attempt to try. And this friend who is very persuasive, I said, “Give it a shot.” But you say it’s an undertaking but you say it’s an undertaking you can never win.

Jeanne Safer:
I do believe that. I really do. I think that it’s possible to open a person’s mind, if they wanted to be open. But in your case, you already knew what you felt and you weren’t going to change it because somebody else was a persuasive person because you weren’t open to the arguments. And I think one of the ways to save relationships with anybody is to know the limits. We don’t agree, even with people who have exactly the same politics, we’re not on agreement about everything important. And I think that is something that people don’t want to hear because, look, Thanksgiving is coming, remember? This is a nightmare because people start all these horrible political fights.

Jeanne Safer:
And one of the pieces of advice that I want to give people is you can say no. You can say, “This is Thanksgiving, let’s talk about anything other than politics.” And everybody will kiss your feet because they feel the same way ultimately. Nobody likes these fights.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Right. Now, particularly, they come very close equating you’re an evil, despicable person if you hold this point of view.

Jeanne Safer:
Yes. Now, I’ve been fortunate that because I’ve had to be around people who disagree with me about a lot of things that I hold dear for many years because Rick is senior editor of National Review. I’ve been part of National Review, a mascot… I call myself the liberal mascot. I haven’t changed one opinion but I have learned that some of these people are good friends, some of them came through for me when I had cancer, where my liberal friends did not, and they’re sensible people and they have a right to their opinion. And I avoid it like the plague. They ask me all the time, “Well, what do you think about this? What did you think about the supreme court?” I said, “Let’s not.” And I feel delighted that I can say that. I don’t feel a need to convince people who aren’t convincible. And, like you, I convince people for a living, they pay me, right?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Right, right.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Over the past few months, I’ve spoken to my friend, the founder and creator of OmegaBrite Wellness, Dr. Carol Locke, about the benefits of taking OmegaBrite’s omega-3s CBD and other supplements. Here’s a clip from one of those conversations. Could you tell us a little bit about the recent study that showed OmegaBrite reduced inflammation and anxiety in medical students?

Dr. Carol Locke:
Yeah. This was a great study, it was done at Ohio State. And it was done on medical students, 68 medical students without any medical problems, done over 12 weeks. And it was a blinded study meaning the researchers and the students did not know if they were taking the OmegaBrite or the dummy capsules. And what it found was a 20% reduction in anxiety and a 14% reduction in the inflammatory cytokine IL-6 so that you had a very powerful benefit from the OmegaBrite shown in this study. And that’s something that people could use right now in their life, reducing their anxiety and stress and inflammation.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Distraction listeners, you can save 20% of your first order at omegabritewellness.com by using the promo code Podcast2020. All right, let’s get back to today’s topic.

Jeanne Safer:
So you were asking before about some tips about how to deal with these fights. So I have some specific ones as well as the basic one of recognizing it’s all based on knowing that you can’t change a person’s mind. That’s the simple logical notion, anymore than you can make a person fall in love with you, can’t be done. And once you realize that, then a lot of other things open up for you. But if you’re in a situation and somebody is goading you to have a political conversation, here’s some things you can do. The first thing is do not raise your voice. As soon as you raise your voice, it’s interpreted as shouting, rational discussion goes out the window. And you have to be conscious of this.

Jeanne Safer:
And one way to not raise your voice is to not drink alcohol before you have the political fight. Then you will raise your voice and then it’s over. I had two guys [crosstalk 00:12:58] delightful guys, who had such a fight over Trump and they were both Trump supporters. They broke each other’s cell phones over this because they had been drinking. Don’t do it.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Very good advice.

Jeanne Safer:
Very, very important. And here’s another thing, I created a word which I offer to you to use. I call it article thrusting. Can you [crosstalk 00:13:25] what this is? It’s I take an article from my point of view and there I’m sitting with somebody who disagrees either my spouse at the breakfast table or some friend, and I stick it in their face and I say, “Read this. It’ll change your mind. [crosstalk 00:13:38].” Do you think that ever worked in history?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
No, no.

Jeanne Safer:
Do you think people do it every single day?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
But let me ask you a little bit more less strategic and more underlying question like I’m a rabid Red Sox fan. And I know why that is, I grew up in Cape Cod, my family are Red Sox fans, I went to Fenway part with my father when I was a little boy. It’s perfectly clear to me why I’m a Red Sox fan and why someone who grows up in New York is a rabid Yankees fan and we just stick with our teams. But that’s not true with politics. I grew up in a pretty apolitical family. I think they voted for Eisenhower and Nixon. They were republican if you pushed them but we never talked about politics ever. And it wasn’t until-

Jeanne Safer:
People didn’t.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
What? Yeah, it wasn’t until I got to college that politics came on the main stage and it was the height of the Vietnam War, I was in college between ’68 and ’72. And that’s where my political views got formed. And where do you think they come from and why do some people, at a certain age, declare, “I’m conservative. I’m liberal”? And do you think it comes from the background, their socioeconomic status, their being left handed or right handed? Do you have any theories to [crosstalk 00:15:13] where the… what?

Jeanne Safer:
I think it’s a very tough question. Some people identify with their parents as they get older, sometimes people change, by the way. They’ve been liberals, say, most of their lives and when they get older they get conservative because their father or mother was. I had a few couples like that. I have been pretty consistent my whole life but my parents never discussed politics. My mother was a democrat, my father was a republican, I think they both voted for Roosevelt. But political fighting just didn’t happen. But there’s a statistic that might disturb and interest you too. When Rick and I got married which was 1980, if you can imagine that, I was a child bride, when we got married, 20% of people married across party lines. Would you like to know what the figure is now?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
What is it?

Jeanne Safer:
Nine and going down.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Wow.

Jeanne Safer:
So people are never around anybody that disagrees with them.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Wow, that’s why I love examples like Scalia being best friends with Ginsberg and John Kenneth Galbraith being best friends with William F. Buckley. I just think that’s such a good example that you can be absolutely diametrically opposed to someone philosophically and go out for dinner and to the opera together and be friends. I think we’re losing that ability right now.

Jeanne Safer:
Totally. One interesting thing about Bill Buckley, because I know you have some interest in him, is he was dear friends with Allard Lowenstein who was an extremely liberal congressman. He endorsed him because he thought so highly of his character.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah. But now it’s character assassination. I just think that’s really too bad because not everyone who roots for Trump is a bad person and not everyone who roots for Biden is a bad person. You find people equating your worth as a human being with the candidate you’re favoring.

Jeanne Safer:
Well it’s a disaster to me because I’m married to a man who disagrees with me on pretty much everything, I’m pro-choice, he’s pro-life. That’s our biggest problem. Not anymore, I mean, we figured out how not to do it anymore. But, I mean, in every other way he backs me up, he loves me, he reads every word I write, he’s proud of me. I mean, so he’s going to vote a different way and he has a different idea about things. I’ve lived long enough to know that that’s not the only thing in life.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah. One of my favorite prayers is… I happen to be a Episcopalian but one of my favorite prayers is Lord, help me always to search for the truth but spare me the company of those who have found it.

Jeanne Safer:
I love that. I wouldn’t a better prayer, Ned.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
There’s too many people out there who have found it and they’re beating each other over the head with it.

Jeanne Safer:
Oh my god. Being so self righteous is just unbearable.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Isn’t it?

Jeanne Safer:
And the right and the left are the same damn thing.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Right, exactly. David [Reisman 00:18:33], years and years ago, wrote a wonderful chapter in his book, the title of the chapter, The Ethics of We Happy Few. And it’s sort of this smug self satisfaction that we know the truth and all the rest of you peons just don’t get it. And that infuriates people and rightly so. Where do you get off claiming that you know and I don’t know? I mean, that’s-

Jeanne Safer:
If you think of the number of people that you have cut out of your life or dismissed before you even know them, who could be true friends to you, who could be intellectual companions, it’s tragic. It’s just tragic.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yes, it is, it is.

Jeanne Safer:
Let’s look for what we have in common. I mean, as a therapist, I have Trump supporters, I have Biden supporters, I have socialists, and I want to know who these people are. I don’t care who they vote for.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah, yeah. Me too. And you scratch the surface of any of them and you find a really decent, interesting person.

Jeanne Safer:
Often.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Not always. That’s true.

Jeanne Safer:
I think people need to know that they don’t have to discuss politics if they feel goaded into it by somebody else. You can stop the conversation, you can say, “Look, we’re at Thanksgiving, we’re out for a drink,” whatever, not these days of course, but, “Let’s talk about something else. We’re not going to change each other’s minds here.” Or, “What do you think about this?” Which is very different than saying, “You should think what I think.” So there are ways to have a political discussion but you have to really be a disciplined person to do it. So I’m all for discipline. I don’t say things to people at National Review that I know that we… I know where we stand, how differently we stand. What am I going to do with that? I look for things in common. I look for humanity.

Jeanne Safer:
And I think the last time we talked, I mentioned the test that my husband and I created for with somebody you want in your life. It’s not about politics. It’s called the chemotherapy test. And that is if somebody is standing next to you while you’re getting chemotherapy in the bed, which both of us have been through, you do not ask that person’s political affiliation. [crosstalk 00:21:03]. But when someone shows up for you when you need them, that is a real core value, that’s what counts in character.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Absolutely.

Jeanne Safer:
And one of the people who I interviewed had a family, a young woman I’m very fond of, had a family, they were all serious liberals, very, very serious, towards socialism. So when her father died, it was a terrible situation, the only person in the family who helped her was her uncle who had become an evangelical and moved to the south, he was in the military. And she used to fight with him on Facebook, another terrible thing to do. And she did something that is very rare, she wrote him an apology. “I want to tell you I apologize for being obnoxious to you because now I know who you truly are.” A really good example for all of us.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And to watch out for the hypocrisy of the self righteous. I will never forget, I was pulling into a parking spot back in the days when I drove a Suburban, so ecologically wrong, but anyway, I did. And so I needed a big place to park and so I was backing into a spot and this little car snarked in and stole it from me. And she had no right to do it, I had full claim to that spot. But she had a little car and she just stole it outright right from under me.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And I wanted to get out and scream at her but I didn’t. But I did happen to notice when I finally did park that she had a bumper sticker on her car that said, “Practice random acts of kindness.” So that was her random act of kindness for the day. And I think that’s the trap many of us liberals fall into, we claim to be so giving and generous but when it comes down to a parking spot that you both want, we’re just as nasty as the other person. And sometimes I think the conservatives are just more honest about self interest and how much it governs behavior.

Jeanne Safer:
Yeah, I think at times they can be, having spent an awful lot of time in that world as a visitor. But human nature, core values, and politics are not the same. It’s a big mistake to make because-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
That’s a very good point, that’s a very good point. Underline that, say more about that.

Jeanne Safer:
Well because people that you agree with do not necessarily hold your values.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Exactly.

Jeanne Safer:
They don’t pass the chemotherapy test necessarily. They won’t necessarily be there when you need them. And people who disagree with you can come through for you and once you see that, it breaks the sense of self righteousness that I have the truth and I only want to be around people who have the truth.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Right.

Jeanne Safer:
And I’m passionately against Trump. But I’m proud of the fact that I know Trump supporters, some of them are my patients, some of them are my colleagues, and I can have a conversation with them and I’m proud of it because it means I’m an adult and I’ve learned something.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And they’re not evil people.

Jeanne Safer:
Yes.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
You may thoroughly disagree with them but they’re not evil people.

Jeanne Safer:
Absolutely not. Now there’s some people on the right and some on the left that I think are monstrous. Anybody who… violence, right or left, is on my list.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Right, exactly.

Jeanne Safer:
But most people are not like that.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah, no exactly.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I want to tell you about Landmark College in beautiful Putney, Vermont. It is the best college in the world for students who learn differently, with ADHD, for other learning differences, or autism spectrum disorder. It’s fully accredited, not-for-profit offering bachelor’s and associate degrees, bridge programs, online dual enrollment courses for high school students and summer programs. They use a strength based model at Landmark which, as you know, is the model I certainly have developed and subscribed to to give students the skills and strategies they need to achieve their goals in life and really expand upon what they believe they’re capable of doing. It is just a wonderful, wonderful place and I can’t say enough good about it. I, myself, have an honorary degree from Landmark College of which I am very proud. Landmark College in Putney, Vermont is the college of choice for students who learn different. To learn more, go to LCDistraction.org. That’s LCDistraction.org. Okay, let’s get back to today’s topic.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Most of us would be willing to do almost anything to preserve freedom for everybody. I just love the title of your book and I love how you’ve lived it in a marriage. You love Rick and [crosstalk 00:26:31]-

Jeanne Safer:
That’s why I offered to write it because I really do love him and I hate his politics. But only on certain issues do I hate them. But you need to be able to live in the world with other people, otherwise we turn into two countries and that’s a disaster and it’s tragic how much it’s happened. I hope this next election will change that a little bit.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Oh it’s got to because we really need to come back together. I mean, we really need to create a culture of forgiveness, not accusation and understanding, not preempting the other person’s right to have an opinion different from ours. It’s…

Jeanne Safer:
I like the idea of forgiveness as a goal. This kind of forgiveness, I really do.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
No, absolutely. I wrote a whole book about forgiveness and one of the main points was forgiveness [crosstalk 00:27:23] is a gift… Yeah, I know, forgiveness is a gift you give yourself, that you rid yourself of the hold that anger and resentment have over you. What was the title of your book about forgiveness?

Jeanne Safer:
Forgiving and Not Forgiving because I also-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Forgiving and Not Forgiving.

Jeanne Safer:
[crosstalk 00:27:39] that there are some situations in which you don’t have to forgive. You can have a resolution without forgiveness. So that’s my-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
You never have to forgive. Some people go through…

Jeanne Safer:
You don’t have to forgive in order to work through something. That doesn’t mean that forgiveness is not very precious and important. I [crosstalk 00:27:58]-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
But I don’t define forgiveness as condoning the deed that was done. You can abhor the deed that was doe. But you renounce the hold that anger and resentment have over you.

Jeanne Safer:
Well my position was that you could renounce anger and resentment without forgiving. I think image is based very much in a religious context and people feel terrible, they say, “I’m not angry anymore but I don’t feel forgiveness to my father who beat me every day of my life.” And I say, “Okay, you don’t hate him. You won. You don’t hate him anymore.”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
How do you deal with disagreements in social media like Facebook? There are lots of nasty exchanges and unfriending happening on social media these days.

Jeanne Safer:
I counsel people to never have a fight on social media. It’s a disaster. It can ruin your relationship with your grandmother, with your children, awful, because people are uninhibited on social media and they say things that they can’t undue. Like my friend who was saying things to her uncle that she found, “Oh my god. I’ve said that this man’s horrible and he’s my only friend in the family.” Never read anything that somebody that you know disagrees with you writes on social media because you’ll be tempted to get into an argument. You have to use self control as I said before. And then you can have a relationship, otherwise you can’t.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Right. It’s one of those things where being right is so overrated.

Jeanne Safer:
Oh my goodness, absolutely.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
How about advice for our listeners as we head into the upcoming election and the fallout afterwards?

Jeanne Safer:
Well, things keep changing. Whoever wins, there’ll be another change later. Politics changes all the time. Try hard not to be bitter about if your side doesn’t win and try not to be too delighted around people who lost if your side wins.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Right.

Jeanne Safer:
That’s my main piece of advice. Thanksgiving is coming after the election. You’re going to have to sit around the table, very likely, with people who look the other way. So one thing not do is say, “I am so glad your side lost.” What do you think [crosstalk 00:30:30].

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
It’s obvious but a lot of people will be saying exactly that.

Jeanne Safer:
Yes.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
They’ll be saying, “Na, na, na, na.”

Jeanne Safer:
Listen to me now and put it in your head to not do this because otherwise when you’re there, you’ll do it and if somebody does it to you, deflect it. Say, “Let’s not get into that.”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Really, exactly.

Jeanne Safer:
Right? “Let’s pray for the president to do well, whoever he is. And bring the world a little bit more together.” And one time I was at a party where people were starting to fight and I was a guest there, I wasn’t the host. And I said, “Excuse me, could we please stop this?”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Good for you.

Jeanne Safer:
Being a therapist gives you a certain ability to do that. I said, “What are we doing here?” [crosstalk 00:31:18] at a party, what are you talking about, why are you screaming at each other?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And they just want to get along.

Jeanne Safer:
I give everybody the permission to intervene and stop it.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Right, absolutely. Well I’m inviting you to my Thanksgiving dinner party, that’s for sure.

Jeanne Safer:
I’ll come into New York to come to it.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
You’re a godsend, Jeanne Safer. And your book, one of your many books, I must say, but the book we talked about today, I Love You, But I Hate Your Politics. And Jeanne Safer, you’re a lovely lady to talk to and I can’t thank you enough. You have to promise to come back on ext election year, okay?

Jeanne Safer:
Absolutely. Delighted, and any time you want to have me, give a call.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well thanks so much. That’s going to do it for today. And as always, please reach out to us at [email protected] That’s [email protected] Write in with your show ideas, if you like Jeanne Safer, and I’m sure you did, tell us that and tell us who else you’d like us to have on, what other topics, ideas, thoughts. Please, we are guided by you 100% and we depend upon your feedback. So [email protected] And please remember to like Distraction on social media and check out my videos, I’ve just started doing videos on TikTok, can you imagine that? Only not too long I didn’t know what TikTok was. And now if you go there, you’ll see eight or nine videos that I made. The handle is @drhallowell on TikTok, @drhallowell. And let me know what you think of those too, please. I’d love to hear from you.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Okay, Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our recording engineer and editor is the amazingly talented Scott Persson, that’s with two Ss. And our producer is the also amazingly talented Sarah Guertin, rhymes with curtain but it’s spelled G-U-E-R-T-I-N. And I am Dr. Ned Hallowell which is spelled phonetically. Thank you so much for joining me. Look forward to hearing you, seeing you soon. Bye-bye.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
The episode you just hear was made possible by my good friends at OmegaBrite Wellness. I take their supplements every day and that’s why I invited them to sponsor my podcast. Shop online at omegabrite and that’s B-R-I-T-E, wellness.com.

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From Our ADHD Archives: ADHD’s Practical Problem Solver

From Our ADHD Archives: ADHD’s Practical Problem Solver

ADHD pioneer, Dr. William Dodson, joins Ned to talk about the similarities he sees in neurodivergent people, the prevalence of Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria, the omnipotential of those with ADHD, and what he wishes your doctor knew about the condition in this episode that was originally released in our third season.

Dr. Dodson specializes in the evaluation, treatment and support of adults and teens with attention deficits, learning problems, and related behavioral difficulties at his ADHD Center in Colorado.

For more information:

Dodson ADHD Center

Additude Magazine

Reach out to us with your questions and comments! Email [email protected].

Thanks to our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness! Ned takes their supplements every day. Distraction listeners, you can SAVE 20% on your first order with the promo code: Podcast2020 at OmegaBriteWellness.com.

Click HERE to learn more about our sponsor, Landmark College, in Putney, Vermont. It’s the college of choice for students who learn differently.

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is Sarah Guertin and our recording engineer/editor is Scott Persson.

Check out this episode!

A transcript of this episode is below.


Dr. Ned Hallowell:
This episode of Distraction is sponsored by OmegaBrite CBD formulated by OmegaBrite Wellness, creators of the number one Omega-3 supplements for the past 20 years. OmegaBrite CBD, safe, third-party tested, and it works. Shop online at omegabritewellness.com. And by Landmark College, offering comprehensive support for students with ADHD and other learning differences. Learn more at lcdistraction.org. Landmark College, the college of choice for students who learn differently.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Hello, this is Dr. Ned Hallowell and welcome to Distraction today. We are welcoming a man I’ve wanted to have on this podcast for a very long time. It turns out he and I are the same age and we’re the same vintage and we’ve been barking up the same tree for an awful long time. William Dodson, Bill Dodson, has been specializing in adult ADHD for most of his career. And I’ve been toying around with the same syndrome for most of my career. And Bill has come up with some wonderful observations. And so this is a treat for me to tap the experience and the brain, the mind, of a man I’ve respected for a long time and have really never had the pleasure of interviewing. And welcome to Distraction Dr. Dodson.

Dr. William Dodson:
Good to be here. I’ve been looking forward to this myself.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Give us just a couple of words about your background. How did you get into this world? How did you find yourself working with people who have ADHD, particularly the adults?

Dr. William Dodson:
I started back when I was a resident at Louisiana State University, and there was no place where anybody could go in all of New Orleans if they had learning disabilities and ADHD. So I and another resident started a clinic there that was still running until Katrina wiped out the entire hospital.

Dr. William Dodson:
But I’ve always been drawn to ADHD. I know it’s somewhat controversial nowadays to talk about it being the happy diagnosis, but it really is. There’s no place else in medicine where the outcome is that the person’s better than they’ve ever been. Usually in medicine we’re just trying to get people back to their previous level of functioning. But with ADHD, people are usually much better than they’ve ever been before in their lives. I mean, it takes a lot of work. I’m not belittling that. But the outcomes are usually wonderful outcomes.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Just out of curiosity, who introduced you to the condition?

Dr. William Dodson:
No one. I think I heard a lecture from Randy Salle probably 25, 30 years ago, and that’s what really turned me on to really emphasize and specialize in it.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
That was at LSU?

Dr. William Dodson:
No, it was at a Continuing Medical Education Conference. The whole subject of ADHD was not mentioned in four years of my training, which I think is still at least 50% of adult psychiatry residencies just never mention it at all.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Sp you just kind of learned about it on your own.

Dr. William Dodson:
Yeah, I’m out here in the hinterlands.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
How did you get to Colorado?

Dr. William Dodson:
I wanted to live here. I was actually practicing in Washington DC and had my first child and decided that was not a place to raise children. So I moved here to Denver.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
You picked Colorado because it was a-

Dr. William Dodson:
Great place to live.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
When did you settle there?

Dr. William Dodson:
20 years ago.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So you just started seeing adults with ADHD and began to realize that it was a good news diagnosis. They were doing okay, but they could do even better.

Dr. William Dodson:
Well also because people with ADHD have another comorbid coexisting condition about 70% of the time. The statistic is that about one in every five people who walks into a mental health professional’s office is going to have ADHD. And what I was finding was that the diagnosis was being totally overlooked. I would see patients who had seen half a dozen other clinicians and the missing piece was adult ADHD. And it had never occurred to anybody.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Why do you think that is?

Dr. William Dodson:
I think again, it’s lack of training. It’s just not something that people look for.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
It’s not on the radar.

Dr. William Dodson:
Right. When we were going through school, it was a disorder of little boys.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And a lot of people still think of it that way.

Dr. William Dodson:
You have to almost be hyperactive and disruptive before you’ll get the diagnosis.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So for people listening who don’t know what this condition is, tell them. If you’re an adult listening right now, Dr. Dodson, how would they know if they have this condition?

Dr. William Dodson:
Well, that’s one of the major problems that confronts us is that we don’t have diagnostic criteria for adults that have ever been research validated. That sort of stops at age 16. For an adult to continue to meet the diagnostic criteria that we have for children, they would have to be functioning on the level of an elementary school aged child with untreated ADHD. And if that’s your cut off, somebody’s going to have to be severely impaired indeed.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So, how do you diagnose it?

Dr. William Dodson:
To me, ADHD is three things. There’s a cognitive piece, an emotional piece, and a arousal piece. The cognitive piece is if you ask a person with ADHD, look back over your entire life, if you’ve been able to get engaged and stay engaged, have you ever found anything you couldn’t do? A person with ADHD will think for a second, say, “if I can get engaged with something, I can do it.” The term that is out there that’s used out on the internet is it people with ADHD are omni-potential? They quite literally can do anything if they can get engaged.

Dr. William Dodson:
People with ADHD get engaged in one of four ways. The big one is they can do it when they’re interested. They can do it when they’re challenged or competitive. They can do it so long as it’s new, novel, or creative, but by definition, that one’s time limited. And they can do it when it’s urgent. That’s sort of the substitution for important.

Dr. William Dodson:
In those four ways, people with ADHD can get in the zone or get in the flow and be extremely productive, creative people. The other 90% of people that they rub elbows with, the neuro-typical people, for them being interested or challenged is totally optional. They can take it or leave it. Neuro-typical people use important and rewards as ways of getting engaged, getting access to their abilities, and getting things done. And so that’s one way where you can say always and never. A person who has ADHD is able to say, “I have always been able to do anything I wanted to do, if I could get engaged and stay engaged through interest, challenge, modeled in urgency, and I have never, in my memory, been able to make use of what everybody else makes use of, and that’s importance and rewards.”

Dr. William Dodson:
The emotional piece is what for 60 years has been called rejection sensitive dysphoria. I’m not responsible for these terrible names.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Who came up with that one?

Dr. William Dodson:
I don’t know. It’s very, very old, it’s 60 years old. But on my checklist, the question goes, for your entire life have you always been much more sensitive than other people you know to rejection, teasing, criticism, or your own perception that you’ve failed or fallen short. And virtually everybody that I see not only texts that, they put stars by it, they underline it. What it means is that the vast majority of people who have an ADHD nervous system are hard wired as part of the ADHD that if they perceive, it doesn’t have to be the reality, they just perceive that they disappointed somebody, and because of that, that person is at risk for withdrawing their love, approval, and respect, it’s excruciatingly painful. In fact, that’s what the meaning of the word dysphoria is. It’s Greek for unbearable or difficult to bear, because when they did the original work, they wanted to get right up there in the name just how severe this emotional pain was. And so just about everybody with ADHD will endorse that specific experience.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I mean, no one likes to be rejected. So you’re saying that it’s a quantum level beyond that.

Dr. William Dodson:
It’s several orders of magnitude greater. It’s devastating. If you ask people they can’t describe the quality of the emotional experience, but they do talk about its intensity is awful. It’s terrible. It’s catastrophic. It’s overwhelming. It just really throws people. If they internalize it they can look like as an instantaneous major depression. If they externalize it, it’s a rage at the person or situation that wounded them so severely. And so very commonly, these folks get misdiagnosed as being borderline because of that interpersonal nature of the trigger that sets off this emotional experience.

Dr. William Dodson:
The third piece is that people with ADHD have to have some sort of hyper arousal, either their having three or four simultaneous thoughts. They physically have a hard time sitting still. They have to be in motion. They can’t sit all the way through a movie for instance. Or, something that usually goes unrecognized, they can’t fall asleep at night. That as soon as it gets dark, they get a burst of energy, and when they try to go to sleep, they physically toss, turn, fidget, kick the covers off, and their thoughts bounce from one concern and worry to another.

Dr. William Dodson:
The average length of time is more than two hours before they can fall asleep, and so it’s a major cause of insomnia that generally goes unrecognized. In fact, people believe that the stimulant class medications are going to make this insomnia worse when actually it makes it better.

Dr. William Dodson:
In our group, what we do is, once we find to the medication as well as we can, we ask the person to lie down and take a nap after lunch, to prove that they sleep great on their medication, then they know they can take a second dose and sleep normally at night.

Dr. William Dodson:
Those are the three things that has to be. There’s a cognitive piece, where the ADHD nervous system works on the basis of interest and not importance. There’s an emotional piece of an exquisite sensitivity to rejection and criticism. And a third piece of some form of hyper arousal. That to me is ADHD and nothing else.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
The usual triad of distractibility, impulsivity, and restlessness, you may find that, or you may not?

Dr. William Dodson:
You generally do, but what I’m looking for is most people come in, one of the first things they say as a goal is, “Do I have ADHD or not?” The vast majority of the people I see are self-diagnosed. Usually they have some, because ADHD is so genetic, they have somebody in the family who got diagnosed, got started on medication, they were transformed by medication and coaching, and they start talking to their cousin. Usually they try their cousin’s medication, know that it works great by the time they get in to see me.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
That leads to the logical next question. Now, if this is how you diagnose it, what are the interventions? What are the treatments? You say we’re going to make your life even better. What re the ways you do that?

Dr. William Dodson:
Well, medications are what we’ve been doing for 50, 60 years. The ones in the stimulant class do one thing spectacularly well, and that is when a person’s engaged with what they’re doing already, that it keeps them from being distracted. And that’s really what the stimulants do.

Dr. William Dodson:
What we’ve done is we’ve missed the first step, and that is, how does a person with ADHD get engaged in the first place? And they engaged through interest challenge, novelty, and urgency. So with our people, what we ask them to do is write their own personal owner’s manual for their nervous system. Most people with ADHD were given the wrong owner’s manual back in preschool. All of the helpful hints, techniques, methods, whatever you want to call them, that they were offered by people, usually people who are neuro-typical, and that they see working for other neuro-typical people, don’t work for them at all, and so they have to figure out how do they, as a unique individual, get in the zone and become omni-potential.

Dr. William Dodson:
It’s usually as somebody is coming out of the zone that they recognize they were in the zone. When somebody is deeply engaged with what they’re doing, they’re really not self-aware that they are, so it’s when they’re coming out of the zone and they say, “Wow, I just got a whole day’s work done in about an hour,” and we have them stop right then, write down for themselves, how did they get in the zone and become superhuman?

Dr. William Dodson:
Was it because they were interested and, more particularly, what did they find fascinating? Was it because they were challenged or competitive? And what brought out that competitive streak? A good example of that one for the people who are listening to this podcast, imagine somebody saying, “Ned, you can’t do that.” What’s your first response? For most people with ADHD is, “Oh, yeah? I’ll show you.”

Dr. William Dodson:
You’ll know from personal experience that if you do have that response of accepting that challenge, whatever that challenge was, you’re going to have it mastered today because you slipped into the zone. And so it’s picking up little subtle moments when you go from just day-to-day life to getting in the zone and writing those down so that then you can come back and do them on demand, is something we found to be very helpful.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So you have them sort of take an inventory of, what are the activities that put you into the zone? What are the moments? What are the prompts?

Dr. William Dodson:
Ways of thinking. What are the emotions that do that? So much of treatment in the past has been focusing on what doesn’t work. What are the executive function deficits? Which never made much sense to me because once you identify somebody couldn’t do something and then demand that they do it, you only get to failure with that.

Dr. William Dodson:
This is recognizing when things go spectacularly well and writing them down so that you can remember to do them the next time you have something that’s very important, but probably fairly boring.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Right. Do they do this one-on-one or do you have someone else work with them?

Dr. William Dodson:
Well, I’ve always found that people with ADHD work best in groups where they can feed off of each other, where they can learn from each other.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So, you’ll do a group talking about what are the moments where you trigger into the zone?

Dr. William Dodson:
Right, and when things went. And then somebody else will say, “That’s what happened when I…” And they tell their story. The other thing that that does is being in groups helps people overcome a lot of the guilt and shame about having ADHD, is that they’re able to talk with people who really get it. Who’ve been through that themselves. That’s not going to make fun of them or tell them they’re doing it the wrong way because they’re not doing it in a neuro-typical way. So that the group has a lot of things going for it that no other modality of treatment does.

Dr. William Dodson:
You can also do it with family and friends. You can do it with teachers. You can especially do it with coaches who are able to pass on things that worked for other people they’ve coached in the past. You can do it with practically anybody anytime.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
What else goes into your treatment plan, if you will?

Dr. William Dodson:
We generally refer people to coaches and, again, looking for different categories of things. There are some people who just need help with organizing daily life. There are some people who need coaching in relationships, because the relationship of somebody with ADHD with a partner who’s neuro-typical is going to have its own problems.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Do you find any particular problems recur more than others?

Dr. William Dodson:
The biggest one is that the neuro-typical person expects their partner to behave in a neuro-typical way. Intellectually, they know the person has ADHD and they may have even done some reading up about what ADHD actually is. But the knee jerk response is that their ADHD partner should be behaving in a neuro-typical way. The other big one is that the ADHD partner doesn’t seem to be listening to them, and that will really tick people off in a hurry.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And leads to all kinds of name calling, including by psychiatrists, like narcissistic and those kinds of words.

Dr. William Dodson:
Yes.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I know you have particular medications in mind for rejection sensitive dysphoria. Do you want to talk about that for a minute?

Dr. William Dodson:
As with most everything in ADHD, it’s something that we just stumbled across and that is there are two medications that are FDA approved for the use of treating ADHD. They’re called alpha-agonist medications, Clonidine and Guanfacine are their names. They’ve been around since the mid 1980s. They were originally brought on the market as blood pressure medications, and so consequently they’re not controlled substances. You can just phone in a whole year’s worth at a time.

Dr. William Dodson:
As blood pressure medications, they were pretty poor. Nobody used them very much. But very quickly practitioners figured out, just through, again, real life experience that they were going to be the drugs of choice for a half dozen other conditions. They’re the treatment of choice for tic disorders, for Tourette’s syndrome. It’s the anesthetic they can do LASIK surgery under. A whole bunch of different uses.

Dr. William Dodson:
For years they’ve been the medication used for the hyperactive component of ADHD. And it’s in that context that we started seeing when we started a medication for hyperactivity, that in about 30% of people, the rejection sensitivity would just go away.

Dr. William Dodson:
It’s a different 30% for Clonidine and Guanfacine. It’s not the same patient population for either medication. So if the first medication doesn’t work, we stop it and we try the other one. We end up trying both of them sequentially, not at the same time, but sequentially, you get about a 50-60% robust response rate.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
What kind of dose?

Dr. William Dodson:
If you take all the people who get a response, 80% of them are going to be at three tablets. That’s three milligrams of Guanfacine or three-tenths of a milligram of Clonidine, which still means a 20% are going to be higher or lower. But by far, the most common dose is going to be a three.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Is there any category of predicting which, whether of Clonidine or Guanfacine?

Dr. William Dodson:
Nothing predicts response to either medication or predicts [inaudible 00:22:54] is not going to respond. It’s just something you got to try and see.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Do it’s like Methylphenidate or Amphetamine. You can’t tell. You just got to try.

Dr. William Dodson:
With all the medications in ADHD. There’s no predicting. You just got to try them. And it doesn’t run in families either.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
How long does the trial of Guanfacine last?

Dr. William Dodson:
It takes about two weeks. With the stimulants, when we give a stimulant, we’re going to see everything the stimulant is going to do in an hour.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
That’s the beauty of stimulants.

Dr. William Dodson:
All of its benefits, all of its side effects, in one hour. With the alpha-agonist, it takes about five days for the benefits to develop. So we change the dose every fifth day. So Guanfacine we do one milligram for five days, then two milligrams for five days, then three milligrams for five days. So that takes about two weeks to do.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And the Clonidine, you start with 0.1?

Dr. William Dodson:
With Clonidine it’s 0.1, 2.1, 3.1. It only comes in a 0.1 size.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Right. And then again, do you sometimes get a response at 0.1?

Dr. William Dodson:
Yes, you do. That’s why you pick it up. You can get a very good response just at one tablet.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And a response means if someone walks up to them and says, you’re ugly, they don’t go into a big depression.

Dr. William Dodson:
Right. They just say, well, that person’s unpleasant, and walk away.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
What a difference

Dr. William Dodson:
The other thing that you see is that the number of simultaneous thoughts that a person has goes from three or four down to the one that they want. A lot of people, even when they’re on a stimulant medication, will still have two, three, four simultaneous thoughts going on. And that in and of itself is distracting.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah. Now you can of course combine the stimulant with the alpha-agonist, right?

Dr. William Dodson:
In fact, that’s how they’re usually done. In fact, they’re combined so frequently that the FDA has actually tested them and approved them for use at the same time.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, this is a wonderful thing. And you’ve pretty much pioneered this, correct?

Dr. William Dodson:
I’m the first person that started writing about it. And again, it’s just one of those things that, as you say, we’re naturalists. If you see the same thing happening over and over again you know it’s important. You may not know why, but you know it’s important.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Right. Yeah, no, exactly. And it’s a great contribution, but so is your way of categorizing all this. I know you have a book that you’re on the brink of coming out with, is that correct?

Dr. William Dodson:
It’s been on the brink for a long time now.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, but this time you’re going to… Do you think 2019 will be the year?

Dr. William Dodson:
I’m shooting for Christmas time.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Excellent. Well, please allow me the honor of writing a blurb for it. Do you have a tentative title?

Dr. William Dodson:
Well, it’s either going to be something formal like, The Practice Of ADHD Medicine, or something informal like, What You Wish Your Physician Knew About ADHD.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, maybe one could be the title and the other could be the subtitle. That’s often a good way to combine those two. And if someone wants to find you, is there a website they can go to?

Dr. William Dodson:
Yes, it’s dodsonadhdcenter.com.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
That’s D-O-D-S-O-N, right?

Dr. William Dodson:
Yes.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
D-O-D, as in dog, S-O-N adhdcenter.com.

Dr. William Dodson:
Right.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
If they want to reach you, they just go to that website?

Dr. William Dodson:
Yes.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
You will respond to them, or do you have someone else respond to them, how does that-

Dr. William Dodson:
I try and do it myself.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I know you’re very approachable. And you also write frequently for ADDitude Magazine, correct?

Dr. William Dodson:
Yes.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
That’s a wonderful magazine. They do a great job at it. If they want to go to ADDitude, again, just go to… What’s their website? Just ADDitude?

Dr. William Dodson:
It’s ADDitude, A-D-D-I-T-U-D-E, mag, M-A-G, .com. It’s additudemag.com. One of the nice things is they’ve been publishing for 20 years, but they have everything they’ve ever published in a searchable format online. So if you want an article that they printed 10 years ago on ADHD and sleep, you can pull it up from that website. It’s probably the largest ADHD website in the world. They get more than a million discrete hits a month, so it’s very popular.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Wow. They’ve done a great job. Sarah Kaufman and Wayne Kalyn. You’re one of their mainstays.

Dr. William Dodson:
As are you.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, thank you. And this is a real pleasure. And just again, Dodson, D-O-D-S-O-N, adhdcenter.com. And if they want to track down articles that you’ve written in ADDitude, like on rejection sensitive dysphoria, or on any… You write the most practical articles. Truly listeners, if you want practical, Bill Dodson is practical. He’s not in the clouds, he will tell you how to solve problems. And he also shares with me a very positive approach to all of this. He’ll tell you how to make things better for yourself and not get mired in the misery of it all.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
He and I have both seen a lot. We’re both getting a little bit older and we’ve seen a lot. But fortunately, what we’ve seen is how great life can be with this condition if you learn how to manage it, right. Would you agree with that, Bill?

Dr. William Dodson:
Th word I use is embrace it. If you embrace it and you start learning about it and you see what works, it’s a good life.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
It hurts you if you run away from it, that’s when it does its damage, and that’s when you get addiction and the prison population and all of that. It’s when people, and a lot of men, unfortunately, don’t want to… How do you deal with them, Bill? How do you deal with the wife who says, “My husband won’t come to see you because he thinks it’s a bunch of crap”?

Dr. William Dodson:
Usually the last thing that somebody has to overcome is a combination of shame and the rejection sensitivity. They don’t want to be blamed. They don’t want to be the one that’s at fault, that’s got the defect, because it hurts so much. And usually if I can get the spouse to give them just something short, a one page on rejection sensitivity and the fact that it’s got a treatment, that usually can overcome that hopelessness and shame.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, gosh, I could talk to you for a lot longer, but I can’t thank you enough for coming on. I look forward to your book coming out and congratulate you on the wonderful career, and many more years to come. Thank you so much, Dr. William Dodson and dodsonadhdcenter.com. Thanks a million.

Dr. William Dodson:
Pleasure to be here. Good to talk to you, Ned.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Take care.

Dr. William Dodson:
Bye-bye.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, that was Dr. William Dodson. Really one of the great men in the field. He’s truly in the trenches, been doing it for as long as I’ve been doing it. He’s seen it all and then some. He’s taken what he’s seen and turned it into real pearls. He’s a naturalist. You can find a lot of his work in ADDitude Magazine. Again, A-D-D-I-T-U-D-E mag.com. And he’ll have a book coming out, hopefully around Christmas.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, this is Dr. Ned Hallowell. I hope you’ve had a wonderful summer and looking forward to a terrific fall. And I’ll look forward to talking to you again soon. If you have a question for me or a show idea for us, email it to [email protected]

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
The episode of Distraction you’ve just heard was sponsored by OmegaBrite CBD formulated by OmegaBrite Wellness, creators of the number one Omega-3 supplements for the past 20 years. OmegaBrite CBD, safe, third-party tested, and it works. Shop online at omegabritewellness.com.

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Strengthen the Cerebellum to Improve ADHD Symptoms

Strengthen the Cerebellum to Improve ADHD Symptoms

Dr. John Ratey joins Ned to share the latest research on how underdeveloped cerebellums affect executive functions like regulating emotions and staying focused. They discuss Dr. Jeremy Schmahmann’s Dysmetria of Thought theory, and share specific ways those with ADHD can build up this part of their brain.

Learn more about Dr. John Ratey HERE.

October is ADHD Awareness Month and we want to hear your ideas for the show! Write an email or record a voice memo with your thoughts and send it to [email protected].

Thanks to our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness! Distraction listeners, you can SAVE 20% on your first order with the promo code: Podcast2020 at OmegaBriteWellness.com.

Click HERE to learn more about our sponsor, Landmark College, in Putney, Vermont. It’s the college of choice for students who learn differently.

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is Sarah Guertin and our recording engineer/editor is Scott Persson.

Check out this episode!

A transcript of this episode is below.


Dr. Ned Hallowell:
This episode of Distraction is sponsored by Omegabrite CBD formulated by Omegabrite Wellness, creators of the number one omega-3 supplements for the past 20 years. Shop online at omegabritewellness.com. That’s B-R-I-T-E, Omegabritewellness.com. And by Landmark College, offering comprehensive support for students with ADHD and other learning differences. It is the college of choice for students who learn differently. And I have an honorary degree from that college. Learn more at lcdistraction.org.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well Schmahmann then said there can be something that he called dysmetria of thought and dysmetria of emotion. And this is where ADD comes into play because all of us with ADD have the common experience of having a thought not end up where we wanted it to. We have a thought and the next thing we’re thinking about how to fry an egg and the next thing we’re talking about how to change a tire on an automobile. That’s past pointing with a thought. A thought goes out, heading in one trajectory, and then it ends up in an entirely different place.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Hello. This is Dr. Ned Hallowell and welcome to another episode of Distraction. Today I am lucky again to have my dear friend and brilliant mentor and all around wonderful human beings Dr. John Ratey, professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. 2016, being named the outstanding psychiatrist of the year for advancing the field by the Massachusetts Psychiatric Society, an internationally recognized expert on many topics in psychiatry and the brain, not to mention life. He’s truly a master of the field. And always curious and trying to branch out and discover new ideas, new projects, new ways of understanding the amazing apparatus, most amazing phenomenon of all of nature called the brain.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, so welcome, John. I know we’ve had you on recently and we’re thrilled to have you back again. Let me say today, we thought we’d open up an entirely new area for most people, which is the cerebellum. And just to give you some background, the cerebellum is a clump of neurons at the base and back of the brain that literally has been thought of as an afterthought throughout psychiatry and medicine for that matter. It’s a small clump of neurons, but it occupies only 10% of brain volume, but most people, including most doctors, don’t realize it has 75% of the neurons of the brain. 75% of the neurons are packed into this clump at the back of the brain called the cerebellum.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And when I was in medical school and you were John, we were taught it regulated balance and coordination, and that was about it. Well, the picture has changed and it’s a whole new ball game when it comes to the cerebellum. Thanks largely to one man at Harvard Medical School. So let me let you, John, tell us about what we’ve learned about the cerebellum in the past 20 years and why it is so tremendously important now in matters related to cognition, affect, attention, impulse control, and general life balance.

Dr. John Ratey:
Right, right. No, thank you for having me back again. I enjoyed the first time and I’m looking forward to this. So yes, we’ve learned a tremendous amount about that little part of the brain, that beautiful brain or the pretty brain, which is cerebellum because it was when we were in medical school, yes, it was all about balance, coordination, getting ourselves to have seamless movement. Now, what we know about the cerebellum is with all those nerve cells, they’re always working, even when we’re sleeping, even when we’re not doing anything, they’re constantly adjusting, readjusting the balance and the coordination of the body, but also of higher brain functions. And that’s where attention comes in, but that’s where all kinds of brain functions like wording, like memory, like our emotional life, like social involvement and certainly like attention. What we know is that cerebellum is constantly adjusting and keeping our experience seamless. So instead of being jerky and disjointed, it’s seamless and that’s the big push that the cerebellum brings to our brain and to our brain functions. Now we, yes. So Dr. Schmahmann, I’m never quite sure how to pronounce his name.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Let me just spell it for you because it’s a name you ought to know if you’re interested at all in this topic. Jeremy Schmahmann. S-C-H-M-A-H-M-A-N-N. S-C-H-M-A-H-M-A-N-N. Jeremy Schmahmann. And he’s really the guy who with his brain scan studies has put the cerebellum on the map. There’s even a syndrome, Schmahmann syndrome, that results from cerebellar injury, which symptomatically closely resembles ADHD. In any case, so tell us what Schmahmann and others have shown.

Dr. John Ratey:
Well, what he showed and others earlier in the nineties that if the cerebellum is out of whack, if it’s not functioning properly, you will have motor problems. And we’ve known this. The cerebellum is responsible for instance, for helping us pass or fail the sobriety test, to be able to walk tandemly or to finger to nose kind of tests that they might do.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
We’ve always known that. So what’s the new stuff.

Dr. John Ratey:
So the new stuff is that he talked about that as dysmetria. And then he put that in and said, “We have dysmetria of thought as well, of thinking.” And especially of our attention system. The attention system needs this contribution from the cerebellum to achieve it’s wonderful balance and seamless working. And if we don’t have it, many people in the past have talked about their symptoms of ADD that oftentimes their brain are a little disjointed there, their experience is disjointed and-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I don’t mean to interrupt but let’s just pause over that because it’s a very sophisticated concept. Dysmetria means, what John was just talking about, when you touch your finger to your nose and then you touch your finger to the doctor’s finger and back and forth. If you can’t do that, that’s called dysmetria. It’s past pointing. You point past the doctor’s finger or you miss your nose when you point it to yourself. Well, Schmahmann then said there can be something called, that he called, dysmetria of thought and dysmetria of emotion. And this is where ADD comes into play because all of us with ADD have the common experience of having a thought not end up where we wanted it to. We have a thought and the next thing we’re thinking about how to fry an egg. And the next thing we’re talking about how to change a tire on an automobile.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
That’s past pointing with a thought. A thought goes out heading in one trajectory, and then it ends up in an entirely different place. Or with emotion. We start to feel an emotion that we think is gentle and tender and loving, and we end up getting angry at somebody. So again, it’s dysmetria of the past pointing, if you will, both of thought and emotion. And Schmahmann said, “Yes, this is cerebellar mediated.” It’s not a problem with cognition or affect in and of itself. It’s related to problems in the cerebellum. Did I get that right, John?

Dr. John Ratey:
Yeah, you sure did. And it is true that, yes. And so he, amongst others, began to say, Hey, the cerebellum is involved even in mood regulation, even in…” And so see cerebellar differences in people who get depressed.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Once again, I want to tell you about the favorite supplement that I take and my wife takes, Omegabrite. Go to Omegabritewellness.com for their fish oil supplement, their omega-3 supplement, their CBD supplement. They’ve been our sponsor so of course, I’m going to tell you to go buy their product. But in addition to sponsoring us, they have really helped my health, my wife’s health, and the many of my patients who have I’ve encouraged to take the Omegabrite products. That’s O-M-E-G-A B-R-I-T-E. Particularly with all the stress we’re feeling these days, the antioxidant effect of Omegabrite, the anti-inflammatory effect of omegabrite is a real stress reducer and health promoter, Omegabrite CBD and omega-3 supplements are top of the line. You can find all of their supplements online at Omegabrite. That’s B-R-I-T-E. Omegabritewellness.com. Distraction listeners you can save 20% on your first order of omega-3 and CBD supplements at Omegabritewellness.com by entering the promo code Podcast 2020. All right, let’s get back to the show.

Dr. John Ratey:
We early on in 1990, we began to look at the cerebellum as something that was off in autism. The social connection was off and the same thing can happen with ADD, that not having that balance can throw off your relationships with others. And this is why we’ve chosen the focus on it because it’s really very important. And what we see in a lot of kids is that they have discoordination syndrome. They are not very balanced and coordinated, and that plays a part in their attention problems. And so what we’ve done is begin to treat the cerebellum with exercise, with cerebellar training that helps to regulate the cerebellum and by the way, it then helps regulate the attention system.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
This is also big news and really new. And when I first learned about it 20 years ago, I couldn’t believe it, but isn’t it amazing that by doing certain physical exercises that stimulate the cerebellum, you can get marked improvement in the symptoms of ADHD, of dyslexia, as well as mood issues and cognitive problems, memory issues. So by bulking up, like John says, “The brain is a muscle,” by bulking up the cerebellum, by challenging it with exercises that require you to balance and that become progressively difficult. So this is very specific exercise. It’s not just doing any old exercise. Although every exercise usually includes some measure of balance, but these are specifically designed like standing on one leg or standing on one leg with your eyes closed or standing on one leg with your eyes closed while doing arithmetic calculations, so you’re further challenging the brain, you get definite improvement.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And the fellow that I’ve been working with for years, who’s really perfected this Wynford Dore over in England has a specific program that if you do for 10 minutes, twice a day for three to six months, in his experience, he gets 80% who have marked, significant improvement. And again, you can’t just randomly do balancing exercises. You need to have them… He does a diagnostic assessment, then you need to have them gradually increased in difficulty. And they’ll track you. It’s all done on computer, but they’ll track you and increase the difficulty. Essentially they become your cerebellar trainer. But if you do the exercises faithfully, and that’s the big… Like all these things that involve exercise, you have to do it and do it faithfully, you do get improvement. And would you say John, you’re bulking up the cerebellum, is that too crude a way to put it?

Dr. John Ratey:
Oh yeah, no, you’re what you do is acutely you turn it on, but chronically that is over time, you’re going to build up resources inside your brain. You’re going to change your brain, grow more connections, one cell to another that will help you overcome deficits or differences or strengthen activities that you want to be good at and to have it work better for you. So yes. I mean, one just to the side, we completed a study with 32, very autistic, hospitalized patients and autistic kids always I mean, they always have a hard time with balance and coordination, but by just training their balance, the biggest factor, the biggest effect was an improvement in their attention system. They were able to attent, they were able to be more social etc, but the attention got better. And we see this again and again, and that’s why something like yoga or something like any balance demanding activity will stimulate your cerebellum and over time will change it. And this has an effect on the attention system.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
But if you want to get a really intense effect, I think you do need to, don’t just say, “Oh, any old thing.” Indeed get skiing, skateboarding, all of those things that challenge balance are really good for your cerebellum. But I think the program that Door has developed is, I don’t know of any… Well Brain Balance is another one, but you have to go to them and it’s very time consuming. With Door, you do it at home. Let me just give you a website. If you want to learn more about this program, go to Distraction, the word distraction.zing performance, Z as in zebra, zingperformance.com. So that’s distraction.zingperformance.com. And you’ll see an interview on there with me and Wynford Dore. And you’ll learn about his program. It’s in my opinion, the single best non-medication treatment that we’ve got for ADHD. And as John was pointing out, it helps a lot more than just that.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
We are really happy to welcome Landmark College back as a sponsor. It’s my favorite favorite place in the world as far as the college for kids who learn differently. It is absolutely a pioneer in the field and has set the bar for how to teach at a college level kids who don’t do school easily. And they find the gifts in these kids. It’s all about finding strengths, not about just about remediating problems. They really get it. And they have the added advantage of being in a beautiful town in Vermont, Putney, Vermont. It is an ideal college for students who learn differently. You could not do better. You’ll come out with confidence, direction and a real solid sense of what your special talents are. It is the college of choice for students who learn differently. Go to lcdistraction.org to learn more.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
The cerebellum you could think of as the core of your brain. If you strengthen your core physically, you will help your whole body. Well, if you strengthen your cerebellum, you’ll help your whole brain in ways that you just were not aware of it. Who would have thought that challenging balance will improve your SAT scores or your attention or your mood, and yet it’s the case.

Dr. John Ratey:
Yep. No. And just as you mentioned that, the core, actually core training of all sorts affects the cerebellum.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
[crosstalk 00:18:05] balancing… Exactly. Balancing itself depends upon core.

Dr. John Ratey:
Yes.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So you’ve got the two working in tandem. And the visual cortex plays a very important role because when you close your eyes, it’s a whole lot harder to just maintain your balance.

Dr. John Ratey:
Yes, it is. It is. And we’d learned that with our friend-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Simon.

Dr. John Ratey:
Simon, a Russian trainer. I called him my torture [inaudible 00:18:34] because he’d always come up with more harder things to do. And when we got on the Bosu ball, which is an unbalanced thing, and could stand there for 10 seconds, but then he said, “Okay, on one leg.” And we could do that eventually. And then when he said, “Okay, close your eyes,” we fell off. I mean [crosstalk 00:18:58] we couldn’t do it.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Exactly. We wouldn’t rest until we failed. It was… I tell you a funny story about him. I wrote about him in one of my books. And I said he was built like a brick outhouse, using the polite term. And he was reading the book and he didn’t recognize the term. So he showed it to his wife and he said, “What does this mean?” And she said, “Simon, he saying you look like a toilet,” which is anything but. He looks like a fireplug. I mean, the guy was just massive, massive bundle of muscle and a sweetheart, a really sweet man. Simon’s ultimate, what a wonder. I had to stop with him because he moved to Florida, but John and I, we both came under his spell.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, this is great. Isn’t it fun to be living in an era where we’re discovering new stuff? I mean with exercise in general, the cerebellum in particular. In upcoming sessions, we’ll talk about another new discovery that John and I are enthusiastic about, the default mode network. And we’ll have to do another session on that. So I think we’ve exhausted the attention span of our audience. And I think we should say goodbye, but gosh, John, it’s so wonderful to have you and how much you have advanced this field by taking us outside the box and finding ways that that all kinds of unconventional interventions can meet with tremendous success.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, that’s going to be it for today. For more information about John and his wonderful world of ideas and concepts and work, go to Johnratey.com. That’s J-O-H-N R-A-T-E-Y.com, J-O-H-N-R-A-T-E-Y.com. And please reach out to us with your questions, comments, and show ideas. Write an email or record a voice memo on your phone and send it to [email protected] That’s the word [email protected] You can also follow the distraction podcast on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Give us a like and follow to stay connected with the show. We love hearing from you.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our recording engineer and editor is the always dependable Scott Persson and our producer is the equally dependable, brilliant and resourceful Sarah Guertin. This is Dr. Ned Hallowell wishing you all the best of luck. Goodbye for now.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
The episode you just heard was sponsored by Omegabrite CBD formulated by Omegabrite Wellness, creators of the number one omega-3 supplements for the past 20 years. Shop online at Omegabrite wellness.com.

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How to Avoid Arguments with Your Kids

How to Avoid Arguments with Your Kids

Being a parent is hard, and it doesn’t come with a handbook. If you find yourself fighting with your kids and feeling frustrated by them, Katherine Winter-Sellery offers some effective strategies you can use to help you bring harmony to your home.

Katherine’s next Guidance Approach to Parenting class begins September 28th, and she is offering a special discount to Distraction listeners! Save 20% with the promo code: DrNed20. Click HERE for more information.

To download a copy of the free e-book, 7 Strategies to Keep Your Relationship with Your Kids from Hitting the Boiling Point, go to ConsciousParentingRevolution.com.

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Dr. Ned Hallowell:
This episode of Distraction is sponsored by OmegaBrite CBD formulated by OmegaBrite Wellness, creators of the number one Omega-3 supplements for the past 20 years. OmegaBrite CBD, safe third-party tested and it works. Shop online at omegabritewellness.com. And by Landmark College offering comprehensive support for students with ADHD and other learning differences. Learn more at lcdistraction.org. Landmark College, the college of choice for students who learn differently.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Hello, welcome to Distraction. I’m your host, Dr. Ned Hallowell. Glad to be with you again. We’re all aware of how much life has changed since this pandemic started. And with everyone staying at home more, there of course will be disagreements and conflicts in your household particularly if you have kids. My guest today is here to help. Isn’t that great, we always bring people in who can help. Her name is Katherine Winter-Sellery, and she’s taught thousands of parents as well as executives about how to be better communicators. She joins me today to help us all maintain harmony in our homes and our relationships. Catherine, welcome to Distraction.

Katherine Winter-Sellery:
Thank you so much. It’s such a pleasure to be with you today. It’s great to be here.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Tell me, how did you get into this area of working with parents and their kids?

Katherine Winter-Sellery:
I started, well, literally 30 years ago, more or less close to 31 years ago. I’d studied Chinese and speak Chinese and was working as a commodities trader, running a firm in Hong Kong trading commodities. And then I started having kids and my husband is an architect. And-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Do you have ADD?

Katherine Winter-Sellery:
Not diagnosed.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I’ll bet you do most commodities, and your life story, anyway-

Katherine Winter-Sellery:
I wouldn’t be surprised.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Anyway, so there you are speaking Chinese, trading commodities [crosstalk 00:02:22]-

Katherine Winter-Sellery:
I’m sure there’s so many undiagnosed out there. Oh my gosh.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Totally.

Katherine Winter-Sellery:
Totally.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So there you are speaking Chinese trading commodities and you started having children-

Katherine Winter-Sellery:
And started having children. And we had a son and here we were very successful professionals who were complete dear in headlights when it came to like, Oh my gosh, what do we do? A discipline issue would show up and I didn’t have a method to approach conflict resolution or coach for better behaviors. Other than that, tried and tested and failed from my perspective at least, rewards and punishment thing. So I became a student of conflict resolution. I’d also gone to law school. So I had a natural interest in that. And I just became passionate about communication in families and ecosystems and developing ways to create change in behavior without doing it and paying such a high price for it, which you do. You pay a high price when you use a heavy hand that that makes someone feel ashamed of their behavior rather than it’s a teachable moment.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Right. So you developed this method over a few years I gather and tell us about it?

Katherine Winter-Sellery:
Yeah, it’s actually over like decades. I started with Dr. Thomas Gordon, Parent Effectiveness Training and became, I found that course and took it over and over and over again, and finally became actually a trainer for them. And then I studied with Dr. Marshall Rosenberg, the founder of the Center for Nonviolent Communication and the father of restorative justice in American prison systems. And I sat at his feet and just took every word in and made it, it just became my passion.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
His name was John Rosenberg?

Katherine Winter-Sellery:
No, it’s Dr. Marshall Rosenberg.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Marshall Rosenberg. Okay. And what kind of doctor is he?

Katherine Winter-Sellery:
He is a doctor of psychology. He was the founder of the Center for Nonviolent Communication, CNVC.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Okay. That’s great. And he’s a psychologist, he’s a PhD?

Katherine Winter-Sellery:
He is, yeah.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Marshall Rosenberg. [inaudible 00:04:40] To look him up. Restorative justice [crosstalk 00:04:42]-

Katherine Winter-Sellery:
Totally, restorative justice in the American prison system was all because of Marshall.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Wow. So what brought you to him?

Katherine Winter-Sellery:
Oh, life is such a… you meet somebody, you meet somebody, and I was at a conference in Brisbane and I was there with the Effectiveness Training Institute of Australia who I’d received some certifications to train under their banner. And there was a conference and the woman speaking at the conference was the author of a book called Children are People Too. Her name is Dr. Louise Porter and she was the keynote. And I literally hung on every word that came out of her mouth. And I strategically positioned myself at the dinner next, I got to sit next to her. And it was the beginning of a lifelong friendship.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
That’s wonderful.

Katherine Winter-Sellery:
And she gave me her book and she and I began a conversation because she had some ways of looking at communication that were different than Gordon. And I wrote to her after reading her book and said, “Wow, are you sure about this?” And she said, “I’m pretty sure I’m happy to have a discourse.” So that became a really interesting, we became pen pals, looking at some of the techniques around communication and connection. And the thing that she brought to my attention that was so powerful is that when you say to anyone, “I feel so upset when you don’t clean up the kitchen.” That there’s a lot of blame that the feeling that I’m experiencing was because of their action. And we all know other people don’t make us feel the way we do. That we can’t blame other people for our feelings. And it opened my mind to how deeply embedded, and it was actually something that I guess became much more nuanced for my own ability to communicate honestly, and not blame other people for the feelings that were coming up in me, but yet to want to talk about their behavior.

Katherine Winter-Sellery:
So this just took me to a whole another level and she introduced, she came to Hong Kong. I brought her there as an expert speaker at my children’s school. And she saw that I had a book called Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life, which I had gotten at that event, that conference where I’d met her. And she said, “Have you read it?” And I said, “I haven’t yet.” “Oh, that was the best book I read last year.” So I feverishly read it and fell in love with yet another gem. And the gem in that moment was that I chose how I heard you. I get to choose how I hear you. Not just, I get to choose how I communicate, but I get to also choose how I hear what’s being communicated. And that just opened my mind, that I actually have a choice about how I hear other people. And all of this in the end over many, many, many, many years, eventually Louise and I created a program together with another colleague that I had been teaching with at the time. And that’s the course that I’ve been running now for 12 years.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And it’s called Conscious Parenting?

Katherine Winter-Sellery:
It is. It’s the guidance approach to parenting. And it is part of this conscious parenting revolution that I’m just, it’s become sort of my reason to get up every day and make a contribution, is that families hurt and misunderstandings create breakdowns. And the people we care the most about, sometimes we find ourselves in such a difficult position, we’re not connected, we don’t have the warmth that we wish we had or that we had when they were maybe little and somehow it’s been lost along the way. And I know it breaks people’s hearts.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah, no, it does. If people want to read about it, learn about it, where would a listener go to learn about this? Is there a website?

Katherine Winter-Sellery:
Yeah. consciousparentingrevolution.com is the website. And I have a free ebook, which people can take and digest, and it has strategies. And I have blogs as well that people can just enjoy, every week I put a new blog up and it just starts the healing process. Everybody wants healing and they want to create that connection that just makes all the difference. It’s why we have children. It’s to have that beautiful deep connection where we feel so much a part of each other’s lives.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So, the people who would go or people who are having conflict in the family and they’ve drifted away from their children, something like that?

Katherine Winter-Sellery:
I have a whole variety of clients, if you will. There’s everything from the, my kids are really young and I don’t want to get it wrong. And so I’m looking for some support. It’s one of the only things in the world that we do without training, if you will.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Right.

Katherine Winter-Sellery:
The biggest job on the planet is parenting. And so very few people actually go in prepared and accidentally they develop resentment flows. So retaliation, rebellion and resistance, it’s called the three Rs. And they are what happens in relationships. And if you can start by not creating the three Rs and the resentment flows, wonderful. And if you’ve done it and you didn’t even realize it was because of the way that you were parenting, and you thought that you just had kids that were disrespectful or didn’t pay attention or never listened to you, or didn’t cooperate, then it might actually not be about them. It could be that they’re in reaction and you can change the whole thing by changing how you’re approaching conflict resolution.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So you used a term that I’ve never heard before. What’s a resentment flow?

Katherine Winter-Sellery:
A resentment flow is also a secondary problem. Let’s take a simple example where you’re asking a young child to pick up their toys and help you clean the table off to get set it for dinner. And they ignore you, and you ask them again and they ignore you. And then you start saying things like, “If you don’t do as I’ve asked, no dessert.” And they say something like, “I don’t even like that stupid dessert.” And then you say, “All right, if you don’t help me out, no TV.” And you just keep upping it. And that finally ends with them running upstairs, slamming the door and saying, “I hate you daddy. Or I hate you mommy.” That’s a resentment flow.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
That’s a resentment flow. Why don’t you just call it an argument?

Katherine Winter-Sellery:
Because, well, I guess you could call it an argument. The resentment is that it starts to damage the relationship because they’re resentful of way that you spoke to them. And you’re resentful of the lack of communication or the lack of support or the lack of harmony or the lack of them doing what you wanted them to do.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Is there something specific about a resentment flow that distinguishes it from an argument?

Katherine Winter-Sellery:
Well, I think the key here is whether it stays past that moment, if it stays beyond, like we just had a disagreement, everything is fine, but when they run upstairs and slam the door and say, “I hate you.” And then you impose the punishment that you said you were going to do, “No TV for a week.” Then not only do they hate you in the moment, but it goes on and on and on. And ultimately the thing was about getting the table tidied, and now we’re so far away from what’s called the primary issue, and everything is now about the secondary issue, which is how I feel about my mom or dad, because they don’t get me. And all they ever do is demand that I do this demand that I do that. And they never see it from my side. They don’t even understand me. It’s a breakdown.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Walk us through that scene, doing it the way a conscious parent, who had done the revolution-

Katherine Winter-Sellery:
Would do?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah, how would she do it?

Katherine Winter-Sellery:
Okay. So when a child says no to you, a conscious parent looks at the no as a yes to something inside of themself. So, I get curious about when they’re saying no to me and not doing as I was hoping that they would do, why are they doing that? What’s going on inside of them that’s getting in the way of them doing what I was hoping that they would do? I then shift from repeating my side over and over and over again, what I want. And I shift to wondering about what’s going on for them. So it would go something like this. My daughter’s name is Pear. “Pear, it seems like you’re really involved in something on this table with all your toys. And I was hoping that you could tidy it up, but because I see that you’re really into this and you can’t even take my side into consideration. I’m wondering, are you worried that the way you’ve got it set up right now, if we move it, it’s going to wreck your game?”

Katherine Winter-Sellery:
And then I would probably get, “Yeah.” I mean, “I got everything set up just the way I want it. And if we move it, it ruins my game.” “Oh, I see. So you’re trying to figure out how to do what you want to do and you can’t figure out how to do that and also do what I want you to do?” “No, mom, it’s like, you always get your way and I never get mine.” “Oh, I see. So you just feel like, I just want you to do what I want you to do, and I’m not ever thinking about what’s important to you?” “Right. You just want me to do what you want.” “Oh, okay. Well actually that’s not what I want. I want your needs to be met and my needs to be met. What do you think we can do so that both of our needs could be met here?” “I don’t know. I don’t have any idea. What do you think I could do? I don’t know. Mom, what do you think?” “Well, I mean, I have a couple of ideas. If I take a picture and we move everything and then set it up, we could use the picture to help us figure out what to, and how to set it up. That’s one thought, what do you think about that?”

Katherine Winter-Sellery:
“Well, I guess we could do that. Or there’s that cardboard box in the garage. Maybe we could just place everything in the box and then I can just move it around the house.” “Well, that would work too.” And then we just kind of go into the problem solving. So we stay on the issue at hand, which is that I just wanted to get the table cleared and the resistance to that wasn’t disobedient or disrespectful or any of those kinds of things. It was someone not being able to figure out how to meet their needs and my needs at the same time. So children are people too. And if we begin to look at resistance as not as defiance, but as there’s something in them that is getting in the way or blocking their ability to cooperate. And as long as there are no built up resentment flows, it’s as simple as they can’t figure out how to meet my needs and their needs at the same time. And so it’s really easy for us to figure out ways to problem solve collaboratively.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I just have such a inner bristle to jargon, but okay, I’ll go with resentment flows. Because what [crosstalk 00:16:17]-

Katherine Winter-Sellery:
Well, actually it’s interesting that that’s, Thomas Gordon was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize three times based on his research regarding resentment flows. And so what Gordon discovered is that when you use a controlling form of discipline and you demand that a child do something, and then you punish if they don’t, what you generate is a resentment flow. And that appears as retaliation, rebellion and resistance. So the three Rs and the research around that is what gave him the nomination.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah, I get it. And it’s brilliant. And it’s wonderful. I just hate jargon. But resentment flow, fine. He’s introduced the term and used it eloquently. I’d never heard it before. And I always balk at jargon. I would say, why not just put it in plain English, but I think we can all identify with the resentment flow, know what it is, and certainly work around it.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
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Dr. Ned Hallowell:
What you were saying reminds me a little bit of Ross Greene and collaborative problem solving, do you think there’s an overlap there or not?

Katherine Winter-Sellery:
Oh, for sure. I mean, there’s so many collaborative problem solving models.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah.

Katherine Winter-Sellery:
Yeah. The spirit is very much the same.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah. It’s wonderful. It’s really wonderful. And you have courses on it or how does it work?

Katherine Winter-Sellery:
Yeah, no, I do have courses. I’m in a course right now and I’ve S I’ve literally taught thousands of people over decades, where up until now I would be running courses in schools to parent communities in person. And with the sort of advent of the new world, I just transitioned to doing this online. And I have a group that I’m taking through the process now, and I have another group starting September 28th.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And how long does it take? So if a listener said, boy, I really want to learn how to do this. It sounds so freeing getting out of struggles with my kids. What would they do? They’d sign up for-

Katherine Winter-Sellery:
They can sign up, my initial course is a 90 day parenting reset. And so over the course of three months, we do a coaching call every week that I do online with my group. And then every week I also give them pre-recorded sort of lesson with worksheets for them to not just understand it conceptually, but begin to land it in the way they’re changing and shifting their behavior. So, it’s a period of three months where we begin to actually take on the underlying beliefs that get in the way of looking at children as people too. There’s some shifts that have to happen around our beliefs about children should be obedient and compliant. They should do as they’re told there’s something actually around parents not generally looking as their children’s right for autonomy, for example, should be honored because they’re children and they have no right to autonomy, but actually everyone has the need for autonomy, including children. So some of our beliefs about children are getting in the way of actually truly being with them like we would any other human being.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah, no, indeed. Having raised three of them, early on we treated them as autonomous beings and they were wonderful. They’re three very happy adults now. In fact, similar to you when we started having kids, I realized here I am a Harvard trained child psychiatrist and I know nothing about how to raise children and particularly about how to instill joy. I was an expert on misery. I knew a lot about misery, but I didn’t know much about how to instill joy. So I did research and I wrote a book called, The Childhood Roots of Adult Happiness and of my 20 books. It’s my favorite one. It really-

Katherine Winter-Sellery:
Wow!

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And it’s the manual that we use to raising our kids, The Childhood Roots of Adult Happiness. And you’re so right. How you treat them really matters and to get into what you call resentment flow. I just call the big struggle and so many families, they just live in the big struggle and it’s damaging on both sides. So if someone wanted to take your course, they go to consciousparentingrevolution.com?

Katherine Winter-Sellery:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yes, they do. And actually, I think I had it in the show notes, or I spoke to Sarah about it that I would give your audience a 20% discount so that there’s some appreciation to you for having me on and that they get to benefit.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And what is the fee?

Katherine Winter-Sellery:
The fee is 497. And so a 20% discount, I think puts it at 397 or something like that.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Something like that. Yeah.

Katherine Winter-Sellery:
And it’s for the 12 week course, and it’s truly amazing value. So, it’s really a lot of hands on support over the course of 12 weeks and the gems, the gems from my own experience over 20 years, starting at the beginning, really it’s been longer than that because our son is 25 and he was two. When I started down the journey of recognizing that, how I’m being with regard to sorting out problems, mediation, working together with one soul to another in moving forward to resolve an issue, it’s no different with children than it is with adults. And if I have demand language, I’m going to activate the three Rs, if I have consideration for their needs and I model it, then they are naturally considerate of my needs.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Right.

Katherine Winter-Sellery:
And it’s just about modeling.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah. It’s such a beautiful concept. And if they sign up for the course, it’ll be online and how many others are in the course?

Katherine Winter-Sellery:
I have a group right now of 17, so it’s a very intimate group.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
That’s wonderful.

Katherine Winter-Sellery:
And it allows for everybody to learn on Monday when the module is dropped in and they can listen to it as often as they want. A lot of the information it’s the first time they’ve heard about it. I do a whole unit on self-esteem for example, and how we have probably grown up where our worth has somehow been confused with our competence, and breaking that so that children have a sense of feeling worthy, whether they’re good at baseball, whether they excel at tennis, whether they got an A on the test, de-linking competence from self-worth and just all these ways in which we accidentally, and I do think it’s accidental, no one intends to link someone’s competence to their worthiness. And yet when we’re trying to get our kids to be capable and competent, that message somehow does get communicated, that they love me if I’m good at this and they’re not so happy with me if I’m not. And my love and belonging is linked somehow to my capacity to be good at Chemistry or excel at Biology, or be a star on the tennis team.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
How do you break that? How do you-

Katherine Winter-Sellery:
How do you break that?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah.

Katherine Winter-Sellery:
Well, you create the ecosystem in your family where the sense of love and belonging, I love you worths and all, I love you, you have to be intentional about it. You have to be languaging, my love for you doesn’t matter. And also break the habit of rewarding the wanted behaviors, because we can’t just give the, let’s go out and celebrate and have an ice cream only if they do the level of performance that we wanted. Let’s go out and have an ice cream if you failed, because I just want to be with you and let you know that I know how hard this is and how disappointing. And I can imagine this is a real struggle for you right now. And let’s go do something that’s enjoyable and fun together, and let’s have a chuckle and a laugh over it. Let’s be there for our kids in all the ways that we think when we’re behavioralists that we only reward the behaviors that we want so we get more of them.

Katherine Winter-Sellery:
Let’s break out of that mold completely and stop treating our children like their dogs. And we just give them a treat when they’re good so we get more good behavior and we give them a little smack on the bottom when they’re bad, so that they never do that again. That whole world doesn’t work.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Right now. Of course, it doesn’t. And how do you counter the messages that society puts out? That you’re only as good as your most recent triumph?

Katherine Winter-Sellery:
Yes, absolutely. I mean, you have to be intentional. You have to be intentional and you have to have the conversations at the dinner table, and you have to have the conversations in the car, and you have to have the conversations every time you see their little faces sink, because they are in the world of external locus of causality. They’re out there comparing themselves to others. They’re out there thinking that if little Johnny next door is better at this than I am, then somehow they’re more worthy than me. So, it has to be languaged. It can’t just be assumed. We have to know how to sit down with our children and say, “I can see you’re really upset and that it’s hard for you to celebrate with other people’s successes,” because somehow we don’t know where the languaging came and the message was delivered, that you look to other people to determine whether you’re worthy or not. We need to stop that, in our family, we’re going to put up big signs that say, “It’s acceptable to fail here.”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Absolutely.

Katherine Winter-Sellery:
We’re going to put up big signs that say, “If you didn’t make a mistake, you’re not learning.” We’re going to try to overcome the messaging of society, every single turn of the corner, so that the children and our family know that it’s not about that. And that this is not whether, they do well or not. It’s that no matter how they do, how are we with each other and how are you with yourself?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
It’s like the line from the poem, “If.” It’s written on the tunnel heading to the center court at Wimbledon, it goes, “If you can look at triumph and disaster and treat those two imposters, just the same.”

Katherine Winter-Sellery:
Beautiful.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And I think it’s, [crosstalk 00:28:45] Yeah. I mean, it’s a wonderful lesson to learn young. I’ve always said to my kids just, “It’s the love of the game. The victories and the defeats are part of the game. And so, as long as you love the game, you win, that’s the victory in life is finding a love of the game.” And just what you were saying, these poor kids think they’re worthless if they’re not number one, and I call it the great Harvard fallacy, that if I can get into Harvard, then I’ve got it made. And if I don’t, then I’m a second rate. And the kind of, well, just what you’re saying. And I think you’re so right. You have to consciously and deliberately oppose that because society is sending out constant messages of, you’re only as good as your-

Katherine Winter-Sellery:
GPA?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah, exactly. And then-

Katherine Winter-Sellery:
And it’s heartbreaking. I mean, it’s so heartbreaking as you and I both know in Hong Kong, it has the largest or the highest suicide rate among young women in the world.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Oh boy.

Katherine Winter-Sellery:
And there’s so much pressure on these kids that if they don’t, it’s a very, I’m going to call it, I hope I don’t get in trouble draconian educational style, and it’s very much achievement oriented. It doesn’t celebrate all kinds of brains. It just celebrates a very linear, sequential, achieving scientific brain. And for the creative child that thinks out of the box and doesn’t fit into that mold and is definitely not going to do well in that system. There’s a sense of them being made to believe that they’re not as good as other people, that there’s something wrong. And not only that, they’re losing face for the whole family. It’s bringing shame to the whole clan.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yup. And they’re my ADD guys, and they’re going to change the world for the better if they’re not broken through the educational system. And the Chinese are catching on. They want us to come over and teach them divergent thinking. They want us to come over and teach them creativity. And they don’t realize that they’re regimented system literally beats the creativity out of these kids.

Katherine Winter-Sellery:
Yeah. I went to teach it, Hong Jo University in 1983, and I was young. I just graduated and I get to [Hong Jo 00:31:14] And they say to me, “What we really want you to do is teach them how to think.”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Exactly.

Katherine Winter-Sellery:
And I thought, wow. I don’t even know where to begin. And that’s such a part of the American education in so many ways. I think it may still be one of the strengths, is there’s a round table where you do, do a lot of just conversation and thinking, thinking, thinking, and brainstorming. And that is a really beautiful way to just open your mind to possibilities.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Absolutely. I mean, that’s what… I went to a high school at a school called Exeter in New Hampshire and all it was a boarding school and all of the classes were taught at round tables and it was all Socratic. So it was all about open-ended questions. And you were always imaginatively engaged. Is the opposite of drilling and memorizing. And I saw the value of this. I consulted for a few years to the Harvard Chemistry Department because they had a bunch of suicides there. And one of the things I learned during my time there, they get the best applicants from around the world. They have five Nobel Prize Winners on the faculty. In every year a new crop, and it’s a big department, over a thousand postdocs and graduate students. And every year a new crop arrives in Cambridge and the mandate is go into the lab and discover new knowledge.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, one group runs into the lab just eager to mix chemicals and blow up the building, but the other group freezes up and says, “No, you’ve got to tell me what to do. I’ll do anything you want. I’ll run your experiments all night if you want me to, but you have to tell me what to do.” And that’s the group that basically had their imagination snuffed out back around fifth grade when they got the message that do exactly what you’re told. And if you do that, then you will succeed. And it’s just tragic because what you really need in life, as you know as well as I do is the ability to take initiative, is the ability to come up with new ideas, is the ability to, I call it play, and this doctrinaire system just doesn’t allow for that, does it?

Katherine Winter-Sellery:
It’s just so sad. And I hear you so deeply that it’s truly this mind boggling turning of the ship, turning of the Titanic and moving into territory where it’s not as measurable, and therefore it’s scary. And there’s also some reality check around children and their brilliance. Isn’t because of, I don’t know. I mean, I have no research for this. It’s not because of learning the three, reading, writing, and arithmetic. It’s opening up the mind to allow for the access to that big magic, where all of it is out there for discovery and the more we’re free to make mistakes, the more we’re free to discover and create. And this is, to me, what gets me so excited, is to find the ones that are willing to risk.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yes. You have to be given permission. You have to know that it’s safe to fail.

Katherine Winter-Sellery:
Yap.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Success has made a failure as you know and if you’re not failing, you’re not trying anything new.

Katherine Winter-Sellery:
Absolutely. Marshall used to say, “Until your children know that they can say no to you, then they can’t say yes.?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah. That’s so true, and mean it. Exactly.

Katherine Winter-Sellery:
And mean it.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah.

Katherine Winter-Sellery:
Yeah. That there’s actually the fabric, the ecosystem that’s been created in the family system that allows for you to say no. And I even extend that a little bit further to the school systems where if you have that authoritarian model again, there’s only one thing that you get to say, and that is, “Sure, okay, I’ll do what you tell me to.”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yes sir. Exactly.

Katherine Winter-Sellery:
And this, again, gets in the way of that beautiful autonomous aspect and nature to the human being even the young ones, where they have within themselves, some dignity.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yes.

Katherine Winter-Sellery:
I remember there was a kid that I got to work with for a while. And he was just always in trouble. And it was a very prestigious Hong Kong family going to the best school. And every day they would walk into the classroom and he was told, “Now, take off your backpack and hang it over here on the hook. And be sure to get that book out and put it on your table.” And he wouldn’t do any of it. And he was just so in reaction to all of this control, and he would just say to me, “If they’re going to treat me like a baby, I’m going to act like one.”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Good for you.

Katherine Winter-Sellery:
He says to me, “As if I don’t know where to hang my bag.” And he says, “As if I don’t know to take the book out, I mean, seriously?” And I just thought, part of me was just like the dead poet’s society. I wanted him to stand on a chair and just go, “Yeah.”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Exactly. Good for you.

Katherine Winter-Sellery:
And the parents said to me, “What’s wrong with him” And I said, “There’s nothing wrong with him, but there’s something wrong with this school you have him in.”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Exactly.

Katherine Winter-Sellery:
It wasn’t what they wanted to hear. Because it’s the prestigious school and La, La, La and I was just like, “Make choices.”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah. Do you want to a child who will be a person who can take initiative and use his imagination or do you want to have a robot?

Katherine Winter-Sellery:
Exactly. Yeah. And I mean, honestly, what’s going on in Hong Kong right now. I mean, really just the robot will be fine.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Right. Well, Katherine, you are wonderful. You really are. I can’t thank you enough for coming on. And-

Katherine Winter-Sellery:
This has been so fun. Thank you so much.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I want to say it again. Katherine Winter-Sellery, and her website is consciousparentingrevolution.com. You can get her free ebook there. Seven strategies to keep your relationship with your kids from hitting the boiling point. And I can tell you for sure, just talking to her in this interview, she’s spot on. She knows what she’s doing. She’s been trained by the best people and she’s been a serious student and she’s got decades of experience. And my gosh, it’s a deal to take her course. If you’re a parent and if you’re having some struggles as most parents do, there is a rational way out of it that’ll be good for both of you, not just your kids, but for you, because you don’t like struggling with your kids any more than your kids like it. And if you’re not careful, it takes on a life of its own.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And as Katherine says, it becomes part of your culture, part of your family culture. And you don’t want that. The good news is, you can change it. You have to be deliberate, but you can change it. And she will show you how, and I can tell just to, I’m looking at her picture now and hearing her, she’ll tell you how in a very warm and a helpful way, she’s not going to sit there and tell you what to do, but she’ll suggest what you might do. And there’s a big difference. There’s a big difference there. So, go to consciousparentingrevolution.com, get the free ebook, sign up for the course with a 20% discount. And my gosh, that’s so modestly priced. I mean, if I were a parent, I’d take advantage of it right away. And the next course starts September 28th, you said?

Katherine Winter-Sellery:
Yes, it does. Yeah. And it is, it’s priced for access. So that, I’m about the revolution. I’m about giving parents the skills that they need to change their family’s systems if they need to, if there’s resentment, clean it up, and to also be able to go back to that school and say, “I’m actually not okay with this approach. Would you be willing to hear me out?”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah.

Katherine Winter-Sellery:
Not in an aggressive way, because that doesn’t get us anywhere, but in a really sort of open-hearted. “I’m in discovery. Would you go down the road with me?”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah. Well, “Wouldn’t you like to learn something new?”

Katherine Winter-Sellery:
Yeah. Just that Mr. Rogers neighborhood kind of thing.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Exactly.

Katherine Winter-Sellery:
It really is about supporting everybody in learning how to manage their emotions.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
It sure is.

Katherine Winter-Sellery:
And when kids are under threat and they can’t meet their needs and they’re falling apart, I call it drowning, and they don’t know how to drown politely just like the rest of us. So let’s not get so hung up on how people drown and let’s get really connected to what the needs are that they’re not able to meet underneath it. And if we start to meet the needs, all the behaviors that we didn’t like disappear anyways. So let’s start with the heart.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So they can swim.

Katherine Winter-Sellery:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Okay. Katherine Winter-Sellery, thank you for welcoming us to your neighborhood. It’s really-

Katherine Winter-Sellery:
It’s so lovely. It’s just been really beautiful to be here with you. Thank you so much.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Thank you so much and, please again, go to consciousparentingrevolution.com, sign up for a course, get her free ebook, and remember to reach out to us with your questions, comments, and show ideas. We thrive on them. We love them. We eat them up and we turn them into shows of their own. So write an email or record a voice memo on your phone and send it to [email protected] That’s [email protected] Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our recording engineer and editor is the amazing talented Scott Persson. And our producer is the also amazingly talented Sarah Guertin. I am Dr. Ned Hallowell saying goodbye for now.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
The episode you just heard was sponsored by OmegaBrite CBD formulated by OmegaBrite Wellness, creators of the number one Omega-3 supplements for the past 20 years. OmegaBrite CBD, safe, third party tested, and it works. Shop online at omegabritewellness.com.

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4 Core Areas for Self-Assessment

4 Core Areas for Self-Assessment

There are four basic pieces that form the foundation for executive functioning. In this episode you’ll learn what they are and how to look at these areas to assess how you can help yourself.

If you’ve explored coaching before and it didn’t work, or just have trouble making things stick, Rebecca Shafir, an ADHD coach at the Hallowell Center, offers concrete ideas in this episode on how to make lasting improvements in your life.

Email Rebecca Shafir at [email protected].

Or contact Rebecca at the Hallowell Center by calling 978-287-0810.

Rebecca’s book: The Zen of Listening

Check out Focusmate.com for distraction-free productivity help (mentioned in this episode).

Share your thoughts with us! Write an email or record a voice memo and send it to [email protected].

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is Sarah Guertin (@sarahguertin) and our recording engineer/editor is Pat Keogh.

Click here to listen to this episode!

A transcript of this episode is below.


Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Hello, this is Dr. Ned Hallowell. And welcome to Distraction. Today, I have a very special guest. She’s an old friend, and she works in my office in Sudbury. In addition to having her own practice, she’s a multi-talented woman. Not only is she a black belt in karate, but she is the author of a wonderful book, and is a speech language pathologist, and she is a coach extraordinary. She’s developed her own system of coaching, and whether you be a student or adult professional, Becky will absolutely help you, and you’ll have fun in the process. She’s one of the best in the business. So I am very, very happy to have her join us. And let’s just jump right in. Becky, welcome to Distraction.

Rebecca Shafir:

Oh, thank you for inviting me Ned, I really appreciate it.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Well, it’s wonderful to have you. You told me you wanted to talk about core coaching, is that correct?

Rebecca Shafir:

Yes. It’s interesting how it all got started, is that I was working with many of your patients with executive functioning and ADHD, and they reported trying many strategies for time management focus and follow through, et cetera. But to no avail, they were really trying to be better and better themselves, and do well in their work and at school. But they were just having trouble making things stick. And they had explored coaching with some very fine coaches, by the way. But again, the strategies and tactics weren’t sticking.

Rebecca Shafir:

So I asked myself, “What’s another way to go with these clients? What do most of these folks have in common?” Number one, I noticed they have poor sleep or wacky sleep patterns. Number two, they were low on exercise. Number three, they were emotionally dysregulated. To some extent they were anxious, procrastinating, depressed, and highly vulnerable to distraction, and their accountability for how they spent their time or activities was rather poor.

Rebecca Shafir:

So I said, “Huh, interesting.” Those core skills and routines form the foundation for executive functioning. So just like a house that’s built on a shaky foundation will topple, for me to ignore those core skills and routines just seemed foolish. So I said, “Becky, how could I make a coaching experience more effective and positive? If I could help them strengthen their core skills and routines, what would come of that?” So identified those core skills and routines, those four basic core pieces. And so I noticed that as I addressed those versus throwing bags of solutions at them, that we started to notice that the patients were becoming more enabled and more successful in implementing the strategies. So that’s my approach.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

So, tell us about how it goes. What do you do with them? And by the way, who is the, them? Who is your target client?

Rebecca Shafir:

College bound students, student that are already in college, working adults and entrepreneurs.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

And then what is the method? Say they call you up and they say, “Becky help me achieve my goals.” Walk us through what it would look like.

Rebecca Shafir:

I like to assess their current level of performance, their medical history. Are they taking medications or not? What are they doing now? What’s working, what’s not, what has been their experience in coaching before, because I want to know what not to bother doing again, or to identify what went wrong in that coaching experience. And then I ask them a very interesting question. I’ll say, “Can you give me a vision of yourself when you won’t be coaching anymore?” And that makes them pause a bit and go, “Boy, I never thought of that.” And I say, “This is important to determining what our target is. How do we know when we’re done?” I mean, this could go on for years.

So they tell me their vision and I often ask them to write it down. And sometimes they have a real hard time doing that, which is what we end up doing some times in our first session, is for getting us at least a general idea of what they’re striving for. So once we have that vision statement, then I want to check on their motivation for following through with coaching. And this is like the moment of truth Ned, because I’ll ask them, “List me your why’s, your W-H-Y-S, your why’s for wanting to meet that vision, to achieve that. And that’s oftentimes for pause, because sometimes their reasons for coming to coaching aren’t their reasons, they’re encouraged by somebody else.

But oftentimes they have a good, strong set of why’s, and it’s things like, “Because I want to be successful, I want to be able to hold a job, and I want to be able to make money and have a good quality of life for myself, and have a sense of self confidence.” I’ll say, “Great, just keep listing those why’s, because those why’s are going to be the drivers when we want to slack off a bit.” Then I’ll say, “How about those why nots? Why not make a change? Why not take advantage of coaching?” And they’ll say, “Well, there’s plenty of those. If I don’t make a change, I’m going to lose my job,” Or “My marriage won’t last,” Or “I’ll be living in my parents’ basement.” I mean, all sorts of horrible things. And I’ll say, “Great. Because we need to have those listed too, combine those with your why’s, then I know you’re motivated, you have some real strong drivers for this process, because changes small as I try to make it is not easy.” Are you with me so far?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Yeah.

Rebecca Shafir:

Okay. From there, we list our areas of improvement. They may say, “Well, I want to manage my time better.” And they’ll make a list. “I want to be able to focus better.” A list of things, and I’ll be, “Okay, you have many objectives here, but we know not to throw bags of solutions at you. That didn’t work before, why don’t we be strategic and brainstorm together to find one small step that we can make?” I like to call it go micro. Let’s find one thing that we can change that could be a catalyst to making all those other objectives easier to attain. And we’ll say, “Okay, let’s figure this out.”

So sometimes that one step is as simple, and you won’t believe it, is as simple as putting out their exercise clothes right by their bed in the morning, or it could be a little bit from a greater step such as, “Well, let’s come up with a calendar system that really works for you.” But I like to start small, because they’ll be looking at me like, “Well, that’s not enough.” I’ll say, “If we start small, then we can bank on making that particular do activity consistent. It’ll be slightly outside of your comfort zone, which is a good thing. But if you can make it consistent, then we can take the next step.” And we build on those challenges.

And what often happens is that we have a trickle down effect, where by making those one or two small changes, well, then they’re a little bit more confident in being able to implement a strategy such as looking at how to manage their time, or their money, or how to get things done.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

So once they get past these elementary steps, then how do you take them into greater success?

Rebecca Shafir:

So we meet weekly, sometimes a couple times a week, and we talk about-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

And this is over Zoom or in person?

Rebecca Shafir:

Oh, yes. It can be Zoom, it can be FaceTime, Skype are my favorite. And in between though, Ned, what I ask them to do is, “Send me a text, send me an email in between our sessions, let me know what you’re struggling with or how things went or any successes, large or small. I can make and prepare ourselves best for our session when we meet.” So I gather those, and we start off going over the progress with that one step, and we work out the kinks in that one step until it’s consistent. And we assess, and we say, “Okay, if we fell off the wagon, no shame, no blame,” I make that very clear from the beginning. “I want you to learn how to solve problems without getting emotional about it. And stepping back 30,000 feet and looking at the landscape of what went wrong there, what happened?”

So this way we’re starting to step back from problems and look at them more strategically. We take on them the next step. If a couple of weeks they’ve been consistent with that one step, we say, “Okay, what’s the next thing that we can do?” Well, maybe if you’re having troubles with sleep, we might try to normalize just with small tweaks that’s sleep regimen. That might be a real good starting point for them. That might be their one thing. And that can start as simple as waking up about the same time every day.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

So say they’ve done these little steps, what do you do to really have them take off? Tell me a story of a great success that you’ve coached.

Rebecca Shafir:

Oh, certainly. No problem. I have a computer engineer, he writes software and he has ADHD, and he was really struggling with getting things done, managing distractions at all. Perfect example. And we started off addressing what he’s done before and what worked, what didn’t, and he was really having troubles on the verge of losing his job. So I said, “Okay, let’s look at your core. Let’s see what’s going on there. What’s your sleep like?” Well, his sleep was all wacky. He was going to bed some nights at two in the morning, others at four in the morning, sometimes he fall asleep at seven, and his sleep schedule is all messed up, which accounted in great part four his irritability and not being able to get things done and all that.

So, our one step for him was saying, “Okay, you’re going to try to wake up about the same time every day. However you do it, the same time every day.” Well, what we started to notice with that one step is that he was on time for meetings with his boss. Now that was huge, and his boss gave him a lot of kudos for that, and he felt good and he felt prepared. And from then he was able to say, “Wait a minute, now that I know what my plan is for the week, I know what I’m supposed to do, I had that meeting, I’m not flailing and just grabbing at anything, and I’m able to get started and accomplish a little bit more.”

So this is how I built things up with Steve. Steve started to gain more momentum, he started to feel more confident, and then I said, “Okay, now that you’re waking up about the same every day, why don’t we try then the next level. Let’s try to say, if you were to get a little exercise in, might your focus be just a little better.” And he says, “Well, I don’t have time to work out, I only have like 15, 20 minutes.” I said, “Well, great. Peloton has a free app. You have a bike, or you have a format, 10 minutes of interval training will kick up your energy and focus to endure you to the end of the workday. Let’s give it a try, you like to exercise anyway, Steve.” He goes, “Yeah, I do.”

So one of the main things I do to help these clients flourish in their successes is to change their negative self talk to constructive self-talk. Like, “Hey, what did we do well, what do we need to improve upon? Let’s start changing the language of the way we speak to ourselves.”

Number two, many of my clients don’t know how to prioritize many tasks. And it’s just because they lacked some type of a criteria for doing so. So I said, let’s together, decide on a prioritizing criteria, and often involve things that are time sensitive and things that have strong personal value, like spending time with their family or having the connection with people. But we would look down and focus on what they need and what is important, or what they’re motivated to get done today.

And then, the third suggestion I had is for folks who are listening to look into a wonderful website, https://www.focusmate.com/. And this is live partner, that is live on the internet that you choose, maybe similar to you, like another graduate student or another entrepreneur, and you agree to sit down and do work together online, virtually. He’s doing his tasks online and you as the client, you’re doing your work at the same time. And everybody’s keeping everybody engaged and focused, and it works really, really well. Have you ever heard of that?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

No. It sounds wonderful. That’s great. You just discovered that on your own?

Rebecca Shafir:

I did.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Well, aren’t you special? You are special. Focusmate.com, that sounds great.

Rebecca Shafir:

Yes, it’s a virtual study buddy.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

And then the final one?

Rebecca Shafir:

The final one is, know your biological prime time for getting certain tasks done over others.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Now, what does that mean? I know you abbreviated it BPT.

Rebecca Shafir:

Yes. So biological prime time, is there a certain time of day when you write the best?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

No, it really varies hugely. It varies on the day, sometimes not often, but sometimes in the morning, sometimes in the afternoon, and sometimes in the evening. I’m unusual that way. Most writers have a definite time, see, I can’t do that, I can’t have a definite time. And so I’ve learned over 40 years of writing to catch it when it hits. And that’s what I do. So my biological prime time varies from day to day.

Rebecca Shafir:

Oh, but you can gauge it. You know what the day’s going to be like, right?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

No, I don’t. I know it when it hits. And next thing you know, I pull out my laptop and start writing. Unless I’m in the middle of seeing a patient or doing a podcast with Becky.

Rebecca Shafir:

Well, for the rest of us, many of us, we might be better between, let’s say, 11 o’clock and two in the afternoon.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Yeah, and I think most people are like that. I think I’m an anomaly. Most people are what you’re describing. They have a reliable BPT, and your suggestion is to save your most taxing, difficult mental work for your BPT.

Rebecca Shafir:

That’s right. And do the folding of the laundry at 10 o’clock at night. So, sometimes that can make those more odious tasks look a little bit more tolerable and palatable if we set a schedule to apply those tasks to the best time for us to do them. That’s a great tip that’s often ignored. So there we go.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

This is so wonderful. So to sum up, you’ve developed over your many years of coaching, a method you call core coaching, right?

Rebecca Shafir:

Right.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

And your core method includes attention to sleep, exercise, emotional self regulation, and some degree of accountability, right?

Rebecca Shafir:

Correct.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

And then you have a process that you reviewed with us, which you found is very effective in helping people, regardless of their actual level of helping them achieve even greater success. See what a good listener I am here. You concluded with your four tips of constructive self-talk and learning how to prioritize, and you referred us to focusmate.com. And then you urged us to work within our BPT, I love the BPT, or biological prime time, whatever that might happen to be, and I confessed that I’m an anomaly. I don’t know when it is, I just try to grab it when it comes. Now, if someone wanted to read one of your books, you go to Amazon and what’s the name of your book? The Zen of Listening, right?

Rebecca Shafir:

Zen of Listening. It’s now on audible.com too.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Wonderful, wonderful. So look for Rebecca Shafir, on Amazon. And if they wanted to get a coaching appointment with you, how would they do that?

Rebecca Shafir:

Sure. They can call the Hallowell Center at 978-287-0810 or they can email me at [email protected].

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Or they can call the Hallowell center in Sudbury, 978-287-0810. And I can’t recommend Becky highly enough, I’ve known her, I don’t know how many years Becky, must be going on 30 years.

Rebecca Shafir:

Yes.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

… Because I saw a photograph of her in the newspaper demonstrating karate. And one thing led to another, next thing I know we’re working together. And she’s one of the most multi-talented people I know. She can be a speaker, she can be a writer, she can be kicking butt in karate, she can be coaching, she can be doing speech language pathology. She’s endlessly curious for finding new innovative techniques. And if you happen to go to see her, you’ll be thrilled because she’ll be probably interesting you and something that you’d never even heard of. She does that with me all the time. A wonderfully brilliant multi-talented exceptional woman, Rebecca, Becky Shafir. Thank you so much for coming and joining us on Distraction.

Rebecca Shafir:

Thank you so much Ned, I hope it’s a help.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Okay, well, that’ll do it for today. If you’d like to reach out to Becky, as she said, you can find her at my center in Sudbury, Mass, by calling 978-287-0810 or go to hallowellcenter.org, or email Becky directly at [email protected]. Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. The podcast is recorded and mixed by the mixed up, but absolutely delightful, Pat Keogh. And our producer is the weld produced and absolutely brilliant Sarah Guertin. I’m Dr. Ned Hallowell, and thank you all so much for listening. We are banding together during this trying time and hope to bring you some interests as well as entertainment. Be well, stay safe.

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