CNN’s Alisyn Camerota Kicks Off Season 6

CNN’s Alisyn Camerota Kicks Off Season 6

When we launched Distraction 5 years ago, the world was a different place. The pandemic has changed us, and our daily lives. So for our sixth season, we’re expanding the scope of Distraction to include conversations about these new challenges. 

And we’re kicking things off with our first guest-host, Alisyn Camerota! Alisyn is a journalist, author, and anchor of CNN Newsroom with Victor Blackwell. She’s also the mother of three teenagers. Alisyn has some incredible episodes and guests lined up that include discussions about parenting, motherhood, mental health and more. Take a listen to hear the details!

And mark your calendar for our first episode of Season 6, next Tuesday, August 17th! Alisyn will have a very special first guest! 

As always you can continue to reach out to us at [email protected]! 

Check out this episode!

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ADHD Theme Park Opening Spring 2022

ADHD Theme Park Opening Spring 2022

Don’t pack your bags just yet, but there’s an ADHD theme park in the works that’s set to open in 2022! Ned shares the details in this mini episode. 

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

Students who learn differently love Landmark College and so does Ned! Sign up now for one of their summer programs! Landmark College in Putney, Vermont is the college of choice for students who learn differently. 

Check out 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 can SAVE 20% on their first order with the code: Distraction at OmegaBriteWellness.com.

Get a copy of Ned’s newest book, ADHD 2.0 at DrHallowell.com or by clicking HERE.

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

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Today’s a Good Day to Share a Hug

Today’s a Good Day to Share a Hug

Ned celebrates National Hugging Day by encouraging all of us to share a hug with someone or something we love… safely, of course.

It’s a feel-good kind of day!

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!

Reach out to us! Write an email or record a voice memo and send it to [email protected]

Learn more about our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness!

Distraction listeners can SAVE 20% on their first order with the code: Podcast2020 at OmegaBriteWellness.com.

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

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Ned’s Attitude of Gratitude

Ned’s Attitude of Gratitude

Happy Thanksgiving to all of our listeners! We are so thankful for our Distraction community and our neurodiverse brains. Ned shares a special message of thanks in this week’s mini podcast.

Check out #NedTalks on TikTok! @drhallowell

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.

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 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.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
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. [email protected]

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Hello, this is Dr. Ned Hallowell with a mini episode on the theme of Thanksgiving. No, I’m not going to give you a pious lecture on all the reasons there are to be grateful, but I am going to invite you to enter into an attitude of gratitude. How’s that an attitude of gratitude, but in a very genuine heartfelt way.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Now, I think I’ve told this story before on the podcast, but I’m going to tell it again because it demonstrates most vividly a genuine heartfelt expression of gratitude. And this came from a dear friend of mines son when he was six years old and he was sitting at the family Thanksgiving dinner. This was obviously way before we had pandemics. And 20 or so of his aunts and uncles, cousins, grandparents, mothers, fathers, et cetera, were sitting around the table and some had card tables to the side. There was the big extended Thanksgiving audience. No holiday brings together for a sit down dinner, anything quite like it. And they were doing a family tradition, which was to go around the table, each person standing up and stating one part of their life, something in their life that they’re grateful for. And so grandma begins by, “I’m grateful for all my grandchildren are here, smiling at me.”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And granddad says, “Oh, I’m grateful for grandma and all the great years you’ve given me.” And one of the teenagers says, “I’m grateful for the football games we’re going to get to watch.” And until it comes to this little boy about halfway through the proceeds and this little boy was not shy and he stood up and he said to the assembled gathering, “I am grateful for my penis.” And he sat down.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I think that is a perfect demonstration of heartfelt, genuine, sincere gratitude. So I would invite you all to think to yourselves, in equally a heartfelt, sincere way what are you truly grateful for? What are you really glad to have in your life? And I’m not going to ask you to state it because I can’t see you and couldn’t hear you anyway. But if you want to say it out loud, by all means, say it out loud, say it loud and say it clear to yourself or to whoever you’re sitting with and just let yourself wonder what are you really grateful for?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Now it doesn’t have to be anything the least bit noble. For example, I’m really grateful that the Patriots played such a great game last night and came out of their funk. Some of you know, I’m a long time Patriot season ticket holder, and this is not been a good year for us. We lost Tom Brady and we went into a swoon, but last night we rose up in the middle of a monsoon and struck down one of the best teams in the league. The Baltimore Ravens.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I’m very grateful for that. Genuinely sincerely grateful for that. Perhaps not as grateful as that little boy was, but I’m very grateful for that. So think to yourself, I’m sure we’re all grateful on the good news about vaccines. Looks like there might be vaccines on the near horizon. I’m sure you’re all very grateful for your best friend or a loved one, your dog. These are things that I’m very grateful for, but I just want to allow a few seconds for you to daydream and wonder to yourself, what am I really grateful for? So I’m going to be quiet for 10 seconds and let your mind wander.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, I hope you settled on a few items. Places, memories, hopes that you’re grateful for. I’m grateful for you. I’m grateful for our audience. I’m grateful for the time we’ve spent together over these years. I’m truly grateful, truly, truly, truly grateful.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And I’m wishing you all a very happy, happy Thanksgiving. Even if you can’t be as very few of us can be with all the people you love and would like to be with, you can bring them all to mind. You can even bring them to vision perhaps via Zoom, but they are with you mentally, if not physically.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I wish you the happiest and the most gratitude filled an attitude of gratitude of Thanksgiving holidays.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, that’s it for our mini today. Thanks to our sponsor. OmegaBright Wellness, save 20% on your first order at omegabritewellness.com with the promo code podcast 2020. Please reach out to us with your questions and comments by emailing [email protected]

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
That’s [email protected] And if you happen to be on TikTok, my new favorite platform, you can find me there with the username @drhallowell. I’ve posted a whole bunch of videos about common ADHD issues, and they’re only 60 seconds a piece.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Take a look and let me know what you think. Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our recording engineer and editor is the estimable Scott Persson. And our producer is the very talented Sarah Guertin.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I’m Dr. Ned Hallowell until next time.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
The episode you just heard 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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Why Some People Believe Fake News

Why Some People Believe Fake News

Legitimate fake news is a real threat to democracy, says Michigan State University psychology professor Zach Hambrick. And as you’ll hear him explain, there are reasons why some people believe fake news more than others. It’s an eye-opening conversation that reveals how all of us can fall victim to confirmation bias, the importance of fact-checking, and what happens to people’s beliefs when politics are removed from the equation.

Professor Hambrick’s Article in Scientific American: Cognitive Ability and Vulnerability to Fake News

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 Dr. H 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!

What do you think? 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 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 a warm personal relationship with, in Putney, Vermont. It’s the college of choice for students who learn differently. Learn more at LCDistraction.org.

Zach Hambrick:
What’s critical here is that people be critical of their own beliefs.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah.

Zach Hambrick:
We constantly, in this information age where we’re constantly bombarded with information, some of which will be true and some of which will be false, we just have to be cognizant, A, that there’s a lot of mis- and disinformation out there and, B, that you have to take responsibility for your own beliefs and interrogate them to see whether or not they’re true.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Hello, and welcome to Distraction. I’m your host, Dr. Ned Hallowell. We have a fascinating topic and a fascinating guest to talk about that topic, and particularly appropriate of the era, election era we’re in right now. I guess it’s not an era, it’s a time, but in any case, a psychology professor at Michigan State University, Zach Hambrick, co-author of the article Cognitive Ability and Vulnerability to Fake News.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Cognitive Ability and Vulnerability to Fake News, that appeared in Scientific American in February of 2018. And the article suggests that real fake news, this is an oxymoron, but real fake news is a serious problem. Analysis by Buzzfeed revealed that during the final three months of the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, the 20 most popular false election stories generated around 1.3 million more Facebook engagements, shares, reactions, and comments then did the 20 most popular legitimate stories. That’s just amazing.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And the most popular fake story was Pope Francis shocks the world, endorses Donald Trump for President. So let’s get right into it. Why do some people have a hard time rejecting misinformation?

Zach Hambrick:
Well, one reason is that misinformation is often repeated. And the more a piece of misinformation is repeated, the more likely people will come to think it’s true. We should distinguish between misinformation and disinformation. Misinformation is some false piece of information where the person disseminating the information didn’t necessarily intend to mislead. Disinformation is information that’s intended, false information that’s intended to mislead. It’s a subtle distinction, but definitely relevant.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So, disinformation is a lie.

Zach Hambrick:
Right.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And misinformation is an accidental misrepresentation.

Zach Hambrick:
Right, right, right. [crosstalk 00:04:02]

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Okay. Okay. So I could say today is Thursday, and that would be misinformation.

Zach Hambrick:
Right.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
But if I said my name is Bill, knowing full well that my name is Ned, that would be disinformation.

Zach Hambrick:
Right. That’s the basic idea. Yeah.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So, why do we believe the lie, the more it’s told?

Zach Hambrick:
Well, one reason, based on research from cognitive psychology, is that as a claim, a false claim is repeated over and over it becomes more familiar and we process it more fluently. For example, if you’re reading it, you’ll read it more quickly. And we use that fluency as a judgment for the truthfulness of something, rather than its actual truthfulness.

Zach Hambrick:
This is one of the mechanisms that seems to account for, or what called in cognitive psychology, an illusion of truth. You’re rating the truthfulness of a claim or a piece of information based on its familiarity, based on how fluently you read it or how easily you process it, rather than it on having some knowledge in your long-term memory that it’s the truth.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, how can the innocent citizen like me detect misinformation that’s information [crosstalk 00:05:49]

Zach Hambrick:
Yeah. Well, I think what this… As I write about in the Scientific American article, one of the things that you can do is begin to serve as your own fact checker. Okay? And if you hear a claim and you’re convinced that it’s true, then ask yourself why you think that’s true. Is it because you have some credible evidence that the claim is true? Or is it just because you’ve encountered it over and over? And on a related note, you should ask yourself if you know of any evidence that refutes the claim. And I think that not infrequently, if you query yourself in this way, you’ll be surprised to find that you actually do have some evidence that refutes the claim.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
But most people… I’ll speak personally. I’m not going to take the time to do that. I’m not going to… So if I read, “Pope Francis shocks world, endorses Donald Trump for President,” I’ll say, “Wow, that’s amazing!” And I’ll just swallow it whole. So, am I not typical? Do most people naturally get skeptical?

Zach Hambrick:
Well, I think that’s another problem here, is that you come across something and you read it quickly on the subway or something. And you may not even remember where you got that piece of information.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Right, right.

Zach Hambrick:
And this is a problem with what we call source memory. You might forget that you saw this as a headline on the National Enquirer in checkout at the grocery store and not in the Guardian or the New York Times or The Economist. And I think that, again, what’s critical here is that people be critical of their own beliefs.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah.

Zach Hambrick:
We constantly, in this information age where we’re constantly bombarded with information, some of which will be true in some of which will be false, we just have to be cognizant, A, that there’s a lot of mis- and disinformation out there and, B, that you have to take responsibility for your own beliefs and interrogate them to see whether or not they’re true or credible.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, I mean, how much does a, what’s the term, observant? What’s the term where you agree with what you want to…

Zach Hambrick:
Illusion of-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
What is it called?

Zach Hambrick:
Illusion of truth?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah. Okay. How much of that is, do we believe what we want to see and not believe what we don’t want to see?

Zach Hambrick:
Well, that’s another dimension to this. It may well be the fact that people are more likely to believe misinformation that comports with their preexisting beliefs.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So, is that what’s meant, is confirmation bias?

Zach Hambrick:
That would be an instance of confirmation bias, yes. That, along with seeking out information that confirms your pre-existing beliefs. If you only look for and focus on and process the information that agrees with your preexisting beliefs.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So, how do you take someone who doesn’t want to… Let’s take climate change as an example. I happen personally to believe that’s one of the most pressing problems that the world faces today, but there are intelligent, responsible people who think I’m completely wrong and that it’s all a hoax, that it’s just some kind of made up scare tactic that liberal politicians have invented to, I don’t know… I don’t know why they do it, but in any case, responsible people can disagree about the validity of global warming, which I personally think is the most pressing emergency that we’re facing in the world today.

Zach Hambrick:
Right.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So, what do I do, and what do the people who think I’m full of it do?

Zach Hambrick:
Right. Well, there’s this interesting research that seeks to use online forums where people discuss and try to come to an understanding of issues in groups. And what this has found… There’s another… I actually wrote a Scientific American article with my colleague and friend Jonathan Jennings on this. Jonathan is a director of an environmental organization called Health and Harmony.

Zach Hambrick:
And so what they did in this was quite interesting. They gave people a graph showing, I believe it was the amount of ice in the Arctic Sea. Yes, it was the amount in the Arctic Sea. And their task, working in groups, was to make a forecast for the future. Okay?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Zach Hambrick:
And the overall trend is in fact downward, indicating further loss of ice in the Arctic Ocean. And what they did was quite clever in this experiment. In one condition, they didn’t make any political orientation information salient among the group members who were chatting in this online group, and in another condition they did.

Zach Hambrick:
And basically, the finding here was that people were more accurate, the groups were more accurate, when political information was not made salient, was not made salient. And these groups included both conservatives and liberals, people who identified as such. And so the implication here is that when political information is made salient, whether you’re Republican or Democrat or a liberal conservative, then people have a hard time thinking rationally.

Zach Hambrick:
And when we set aside politics, we can actually… There’s a real value to having conversations with people with whom we disagree. In fact, we’re more likely to come to the right answer, in this case with respect to climate change. And so I think that’s one way. If there were ways in which people could harness the power of what we might call collective intelligence and work together to solve these difficult problems, while setting aside politics, then I think we would all be better off.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, why can’t computers do that for us? I mean, we can make computers talk to each other.

Zach Hambrick:
Right. Well, to some degree they can, like make forecasts. I mean, definitely computer models make forecasts that are relevant, for example, to climate change. But then in the end, people have to interpret what the computers say. And in the end, it’s humans making decisions based on value judgements that are informed by, but not completely dictated by, evidence.

Zach Hambrick:
So in the end, when we decide about what we want the world to be like, whether it’s with respect to environmental legislation or any kind of legislation for that matter, then I think that humans are ultimately making the decisions. And computers, they can inform those decisions, but there’s still a human interpreting what the computer model, for example, says.

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.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, I’ve certainly found them to be mood stabilizing. My mood is all over the place. I don’t know what diagnosis I have other than ADHD, but my mood is very labile, up, down, in-between, and quick to change. And I’ve found that the omega-3s really helped me with that, not only with my musculoskeletal issues but the mood issues as well. It is a wonder drug. I mean, what can I say?

Dr. Carol Locke:
Thank you. We hear that a lot from people. Particularly in the pandemic, we’re hearing from customers that they’re finding it essential with their mood. They’re also finding the OmegaBrite omega-3 essential in their relationships. Keeping their mood stable, positive, and feeling less anxiety helps them with their family relationships.

Dr. Carol Locke:
And I think anything we can do to help kids, parents, and teachers right now, because of this added stress of do they go back to the classroom, a changed classroom with partitions and masks and social distancing, or are they at home with their parents who are stressed is such a powerful situation. I think we want to help give people tools to put in their toolbox to succeed and to feel like they’re thriving and able to learn during this stress.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Distraction listeners, you can save 20% on your first order at OmegaBriteWellness.com by using the promo code PODCAST2020. All right. Let’s get back to today’s topic.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, as a professor of cognitive psychology, to what extent do you think emotion, confirmation bias, and lack of information contributes to our so-called opinions?

Zach Hambrick:
I think they do greatly. And I think they really do when we’re talking about highly politicized issues, whether it’s abortion, or the death penalty, or meddling in elections, and so on. I think that we know, in fact, from a lot of research on the general topic of rationality, we know that our preexisting beliefs, our politics, influence the way we think and behave. Even highly intelligent people are prone to react to irrationality. This was really the fundamental insight of a program of research by Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Kahneman, yeah.

Zach Hambrick:
… beginning in the 1970s. And Daniel Kahneman won the Nobel Prize for this. And so, yes. I think it’s a big problem. And-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And Kahneman’s basic thesis was what, is that we are far more irrational than we’re aware of?

Zach Hambrick:
Yeah. I mean, his basic demonstration and basic argument is that people make decisions based on intuition rather than reason. And those intuitions might be right, but they quite often are wrong. And this leads people to make irrational decisions.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I always like to remind myself there was a time in history when the absolute, most smartest, intelligent people in the world knew quote, unquote, the world was flat.

Zach Hambrick:
Yeah. Yeah. There you go. Exactly.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
It brings you up short. So we are, by nature, pretty easy to manipulate, if somebody knows just what buttons to push.

Zach Hambrick:
We can be. We certainly can be.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So what’s our best safeguard against that, Zach? What’s the-

Zach Hambrick:
Well, one is the kind of engineered environment that I was talking about before, where for example, people are interpreting evidence concerning climate change and they’re doing so in an anonymous virtual setting.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Right.

Zach Hambrick:
Another is basically having the, we call it metacognition. It’s thinking about your own thinking, having the metacognitive skills to know when you’re prone to errors in making judgements and decisions. For example-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So it’s like going shopping when you’re hungry.

Zach Hambrick:
Right. Exactly. That’s a good analogy, or knowing that there is such a thing called the confirmation bias. How do you make yourself less susceptible to confirmation bias? Well, the first way is knowing that such a thing exists.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Right.

Zach Hambrick:
And there’s some evidence to suggest that training about such things de-biases people, at least to some degree. I think those are examples of ways in which we might, if not making ourselves completely immune to these sorts of errors and biases and judgment decision-making, making us less susceptible.

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.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
They use a strength-based model at Landmark which, as you know, is the model that 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.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
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.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Okay. Let’s get back to today’s topic. It’s humbling, it really is, to know how, at least in my own case, how easy it is to manipulate me, whether it’s with food or money or whatever temptation I might [crosstalk 00:22:03].

Zach Hambrick:
Right. Well, that’s right. And I think that your awareness of it is absolutely critical, because now you want to understand. Okay, you recognize that, you’ve had the humbling insight, that you’re prone to making irrational decisions and that your buttons can be pushed. And so now, beginning with that insight, you seek out ways in which you can kind of protect yourself from that.

Zach Hambrick:
There’s this amazing research by a psychologist named Philip Tetlock, where they basically tried to identify people who were good at predicting world events, political events like, “Will Iran and Iraq go to war,” and stuff of this sort. This is a program of research funded by the military. And they identified people who they called superforecasters.

Zach Hambrick:
And the superforecasters were able to forecast these seemingly unpredictable events, or at least very difficult to predict events, better than anyone else. And they did so by not falling prey to biases like the confirmation bias. They were bright, but they weren’t geniuses in kind of the traditional sense of the term intelligence, but what they did know about were these kinds of biases and making judgements that we all seem to be prone to. And they were able to avoid making errors based on these biases.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And was there any variable that separated the superforecasters from the rest? Or is there any cognitive trait?

Zach Hambrick:
That was the one. That was the one. It wasn’t intelligence.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Right.

Zach Hambrick:
It was knowledge of how biases in judgment, decision-making, like the confirmation bias, the my-side bias, and so on.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So like in football betting, people are more likely to bet on the home team.

Zach Hambrick:
Yeah. There you go. Yeah. A perfect example, yes.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah. So if you-

Zach Hambrick:
I guess, let me just say a little bit more. They were also people who didn’t think they had one big idea that could kind of dictate all of their predictions, and said they were information seekers who were willing to change their mind if that’s what the evidence dictated. They weren’t ideologues, maybe, to put it another way.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah.

Zach Hambrick:
They were people who sought out evidence and revised their beliefs as that evidence dictated. They weren’t dogmatic.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah. Well, and again, that brings me back to wondering why couldn’t a computer do it better, because there’s no emotion involved? Then the computer is only as good as the information you give it.

Zach Hambrick:
Well, yeah. That’s exactly right, how the computer’s only as good as the information that you give it. Somebody has to write the programs. And in fact, computers are better than humans at certain things, like predicting the stock market.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Are they really?

Zach Hambrick:
That’s not… Go ahead.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I said, are they really? That’s interesting.

Zach Hambrick:
Yeah. In general, there was a long series of studies beginning in probably the 1960s, 1970s showing that statistical models do better than humans in predicting certain things, the weather-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
For all of the reasons we’ve been discussing.

Zach Hambrick:
That’s right, yeah.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, this is so spot on for living in today’s world. So what did your article conclude? I haven’t read it. I will, but-

Zach Hambrick:
The take home message of the article… This is the Scientific American article on the Illusion of Truth. The take home message is, as I said before, that we have to be our own fact checkers in this information age, in this misinformation age. And I think that it really… This type of research that I write about… Incidentally, this is not my own research. This is other cognitive psychologists’ research… is that this thread of fake news, it poses a real threat to democratic society.

Zach Hambrick:
This research really underscores this threat that fake news poses to democratic society. And of course, the aim of fake news is to make people think and behave in ways that they wouldn’t otherwise-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Right.

Zach Hambrick:
… including to hold views that are contradicted by scientific consensus and scientific evidence. This is very relevant during this pandemic. Recently, Trump tweeted that he was immune from COVID-19. I don’t think any doctor who knows anything about this would agree with that. It may, it may not. We don’t know this.

Zach Hambrick:
And so when this nefarious aim of fake news is achieved, we as citizens no longer have the ability to act in our self-interest. We’re misled. We’re deluded. And this, of course, isn’t just bad for an individual, it’s bad for society as a whole, as starkly illustrated by the pandemic.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah. It just brings you up so short. I mean, everyone would love for our president to be immune. And so when they hear him say he is immune, the confirmation bias says, “Okay, great. You’re immune.”

Zach Hambrick:
Well, that’s right. So, what comes out of his mouth, some people think of that as news.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah.

Zach Hambrick:
And in this case, that is fake news.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Right, right, right.

Zach Hambrick:
And so this research, again, just highlights the pernicious effects of misinformation and disinformation in a democratic society,

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Boy, it’s really cautionary to not let yourself seduce yourself into believing what you want to believe. It’s hard not to, because it’s very tempting to just think [crosstalk 00:29:28]

Zach Hambrick:
Right. And we have to constantly ask ourselves, “Why do I believe this is true?”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Right. Right. And then, as you say, talk to someone who disagrees with you, wrestle with it instead of just talking to people who agree with you.

Zach Hambrick:
Sure, that’s right.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
If you’re liberal, you should watch Fox News. And if you’re a conservative, you should watch MSNBC. You should test it out a little bit anyway.

Zach Hambrick:
Dig a little deeper than the news story.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah. Don’t just eat what you’ve been fed. No, exactly, exactly. Then we wonder about the motive of the person who’s saying it, and what are they leaving out, and what are they lying about, frankly? Well, you’re a very smart man. And thank you so much. Zach Hambrick and his article, Cognitive Ability and Vulnerability to Fake News. He’s a psychology professor at Michigan State University, a great university. And it’s a pleasure talking to you. Thank you so much for coming on the podcast.

Zach Hambrick:
Thank you. Okay. Thanks. Goodbye.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Take care. Okay. Well, that’s our show for today. Please continue to reach out to us with your questions, comments, and show ideas. Email us at [email protected] That’s [email protected] Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is the wonderful, ebullient Sarah Guertin, and our recording engineer and editor is the equally ebullient and wonderful Scott Persson, and that’s with two S’s in Persson. I am Dr. Ned Hallowell with four L’s. Thank you so much for joining me and we’ll see you next time.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
The episode you just heard 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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A Post-Election Plea for America

A Post-Election Plea for America

As we await the results of the presidential election, Ned shares his wish for all Americans.

hanks 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’s your opinion? 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, OmegaBritewellness. 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 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 at lcdistraction.org.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
This is Dr. Ned Hallowell with a mini episode of Distraction. Now that the election is in its final phase, I just thought I’d make a prayer or a plea, as we move forward, for decency and civility, grace and humor, regardless of which side ends up winning. And it looks like there’ll be winners and losers on both sides. Couldn’t we all enjoy moving forward, guided by those pretty much solid and eternal qualities of decency and civility, grace and humor. Wouldn’t it be nice to turn on the TV, open the newspaper, turn on the radio and hear reasonable, calming voices, laced not with vitriol, venom and hatred, but with humor, with humility, with curiosity.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
The people on the other side of the election, whichever side you were on, nonetheless, our brothers and sisters. We’re all brothers and sisters in this world. And my plea is that we learn once again to treat each other that way, especially the people who are on the other side of the divide. I’m reminded of a prayer that I particularly like. It goes like this, “Lord, help me always to search for the truth, but spare me the company of those who have found it.” It’s the people who have found the truth and want to ram it down everyone else’s throat that I think cause the most trouble. No one, after all, has a monopoly on truth. We’re all human. We’re all flawed. We’re all biased. We’re all more apt than not to look out for our self-interest before we look out for the other person. Let’s keep that in mind as we try moving forward, to move, not just onward, but also upward. This is Dr. Ned Hallowell with a reflection for Distraction.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Okay. Before I go, I’d like to thank our sponsor, OmegaBritewellness. Go to omegabritewellness.com and save 20% on your first order with the promo code, Podcast 2020. Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our recording engineer and editor is Scott Persson, a brilliant man, indeed. And our producer is the equally brilliant and always rich with ideas, Sarah Guertin. I’m Dr. Ned Hallowell, and thank you for joining me. We’ll see you next time.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
The episode you just heard was made possible by my good friends at OmegaBritewellness. 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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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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Ned Believes Every Day Should Be Gratitude Day

Ned Believes Every Day Should Be Gratitude Day

Ned celebrates World Gratitude Day by sharing his appreciation for the life and service of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

October is ADHD Awareness Month and we want to hear your ideas for the show! What topics should we cover? What aspect of ADHD do you want to learn more about? 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 [email protected] 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:
Hello, this is Dr. Ned Hallowell with a mini episode of Distraction. Monday, September 21st was guess what? National world, not national, World Gratitude Day. What a great day to reserve, ideally every day is world gratitude day. We’re alive, and the more we can give thanks the better. But I thought I would comment now on World Gratitude Day by speaking about my own personal gratitude. And I am sure I share it with most of you, if not all of you, for the life and service of the great Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I don’t think you could really have anything bad to say about this woman and you could have so much good, so much good.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Even those who disagreed with her, absolutely diametrically like justice Scalia, loved this woman. They would disagree, write nasty opinions to each other, and then go to the opera together. That’s the way it ought to be. She was the hardest working woman you could ever imagine. People who clerked for said they became like her family because she was never not working and they were the people who were around her. She worked so hard for women’s rights. Much as Martin Luther King is to Black people’s rights and civil rights, you might say Ruth Bader Ginsburg is to women’s rights. And I remember the exchange in the movie about her, where she’s talking before the Supreme Court and one of the Justices says to her, “Ginsburg, where in the Constitution does the word woman ever appear?” And Ginsburg responded, “Well, your Honor, nowhere in the Constitution does the word freedom appear either.”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And you know, she was brilliant, witty, dry, but beyond every reckoning, fair, honest, believing in truth to the best of her ability to discern it and trying to render opinions that would advance the cause of justice wherever she could. Never did she ever sell out. Never did she ever come under the rubric of someone else’s sway. Never did she ever give into the power of popular persuasion or peer pressure. She was her own woman, but a woman very attached to all of humanity, very attached, deeply committed, there to serve all of us. There to serve all of us, not a selfish bone in her body.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I am so grateful for the life and service of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. What she did for me, my family, my town, my state, my country, my world. That woman did so much in her slight frame with that characteristic tilt to her jaw and twist to her lips. She just was wise, brilliant, big hearted, a great, great woman. So join me in commemoration of World Gratitude Day and make World Gratitude Day become every day in your life. And maybe to give it a jumpstart, just think of the life and service of the wonderful, brilliant, loving Ruth Bader Ginsburg. This is Dr. Ned Hallowell with a mini episode of Distraction.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, I want to once again thank you to our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness. I’ve been taking their omega-3 supplement for years and recently started their CBD supplement as well. OmegaBrite products, I trust them because I know the woman who’s in charge of the company, Harvard medical school graduate. She’s very fussy about quality, efficacy, and is always looking to make sure that the product she has is the best in the business.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And Distraction listeners can save 20% off their first order with the promo code podcast2020 at OmegaBritewellness.com. All right, well next month, October, that’s the month that comes after September. See, I’ve still got my brains. October is ADHD awareness month. So be sure to reach out to us with your questions, thoughts, and show ideas. We love, love, love getting these, it sends shivers up and down my spine. Your emails and voice memos will affect what we do in October. So please take charge, send us your email or voice memo with an idea, a comment, a thought, a show, a recipe. We don’t care, we just love to hear from you. And send them to [email protected] That’s the word [email protected] Remember to check us out on social media, please, we’re trying to beef that up. Distraction is on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. This podcast is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is the wonderfully talented Sarah Guertin and our recording engineer and editor is the equally, if not even more talented, Scott Persson, with two S’s. This is Dr. Ned Hallowell saying goodbye for now.

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

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Being A Black Woman With ADHD – Candy’s Story

Being A Black Woman With ADHD – Candy’s Story

“I’ve often felt invisible as a woman of color with ADHD. Although there are plenty of us out here, we often get overlooked for one reason or another.” After reading these words in an email from Candy, a regular listener of Distraction, we wanted to learn more about her perspective. In this episode, Candy graciously shares some of her experiences as a Black woman with ADHD. This open and honest dialogue touches on a variety of topics including diagnosis, treatment, and the Black Lives Matter Movement.

Please continue to reach out to us with your questions and episode ideas. Write an email or record a voice memo 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. 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. Hallowell:
Hello, and welcome to Distraction. I’m your host, Dr. Hallowell. We really have a very special episode today, truly. I mean, I often say that, but this is especially special. Especially special special. We have have an extra special, special guest. If you listened to last week’s Q and A episode, then you’ll remember, I hope, a letter we got from a listener named Candy who shared some of her thoughts with us about being a black woman with ADHD and mother of two boys who also have ADHD. Let me quote part of what candy wrote to us.

Dr. Hallowell:
She said or wrote, “I’ve often felt invisible as a woman of color with ADHD. Although there are plenty of us out here, we often get overlooked for one reason or another. I have been absolutely floored and thrilled to witness more conversation happening about race in this country, and I’ve been especially happy to witness it coming specifically from some of my favorite ADHD experts. I’m beginning to feel seen in a way I never have before.” Well, that’s just wonderful. Today, Candy has graciously agreed to come on the podcast to share more of her thoughts and experience with all of us. Thank you so much for joining me today, Candy.

Candy:
Thank you very much for having me.

Dr. Hallowell:
Well, so tell me when did you discover you have ADHD and how has it been both being a woman of color with ADHD, a woman with ADHD, a single mom with ADHD, all of those pretty stressful categories?

Candy:
Well, I first suspected that I had ADHD when I was in college. I had a roommate who had been diagnosed and she’s actually black as well. When we started talking about things, I resonated with so much of what she said so strongly. But I didn’t actually seek out a diagnosis until I was 25 or 26. The first doctor that I saw, I had to do this super long two-day, I don’t know, 12-hour interview thing with him. At the end of it, he just told me that I was depressed and I probably needed a prescription for an antidepressant and so-

Dr. Hallowell:
How many years ago was that?

Candy:
That was, man, I guess, almost 15 years ago now. Yeah, so I was really discouraged and actually I was in therapy at the time. So I brought the results back to my therapist and she disagreed and she was like, “I’ve known you for a while now. You’re not depressed, and I’m not an expert, but I really think you should go see someone else.” So it took me a while to do that, but eventually I did. I found a female psychiatrist who said on her website that she kind of specialized with adults with ADHD. I went in, I had a conversation with her, one conversation. At the end of it, she just validated me. She said, “You’re intelligent. I can tell you’ve done your research and I’m going to turn it back to you. Do you think you have ADHD?” I said, “I do. After everything that I’ve read and the people that I’ve talked to, I really do.”

Candy:
So at that point, I got a prescription and it was amazing. I mean, the change was just almost instant. I think I had been on the medication for maybe a week or two and it was around my dad’s birthday. So I was making him this super elaborate birthday dinner and dessert. My kids are running around and my mom came in and she looked at me and she said, “Don’t ever stop taking this medication.” I was like, “What do you mean?” She’s like, “You’re managing everything.” She’s like, “You’re cooking, you’ve got the kids and you’re handling it,” and so that was that.

Dr. Hallowell:
Wow. Wow. What medication was it?

Candy:
The first medication that I was on was Concerta, actually. So I’ve been on Concerta, I’ve been on Vyvanse and right now I’m on Adderall, and Adderall’s actually been even better, because with the other two, my appetite never came back and I had really bad headaches, so.

Dr. Hallowell:
Oh gosh.

Candy:
But still, just the fact that I was able to concentrate on one thing and then be interrupted and go back to it, that had never happened in my life before, so it’s been great.

Dr. Hallowell:
Now on the Adderall, you get the benefit, but no side effects.

Candy:
They’re not as bad. So I still get dry mouth and sometimes my appetite is not as normal as it is when I’m not on the medication. But it’s nothing like what it was before. I don’t get migraines and I’m able to sleep at night.

Dr. Hallowell:
Good, good.

Candy:
So, yeah, it’s a lot better.

Dr. Hallowell:
You take a immediate release Adderall or extended release?

Candy:
I take immediate release. So I take two pills twice a day.

Dr. Hallowell:
So two 5’s, two 10’s?

Candy:
I do one 20 in the morning and then one 20 in the afternoon.

Dr. Hallowell:
Great. That’s working well?

Candy:
It is, it is.

Dr. Hallowell:
That’s wonderful. I often compare it to eyeglasses. Suddenly, you can see.

Candy:
That’s really what it felt. I remember reading something, this was back in college. My roommate recommended a book to me and I don’t remember what that first book was. But there was something in there about when you have ADHD, it’s like someone else, your brain is a television set and someone else has the remote and is channel surfing and you have no control over it. I mean, it gave me chills when I read it. So college was a million years ago and I still remember that. Once I took the medication, it was like all of those channels just went off and I had control over it. So, yeah.

Dr. Hallowell:
Where did you go to college?

Candy:
I went to college at Middle Tennessee State University, right outside of Nashville.

Dr. Hallowell:
Did you grow up in Tennessee?

Candy:
I did not. I grew up in Illinois, but I was 18. I’d actually done a year of college. I graduated at 17, but I did a year here in Illinois and it was just… I was just kind of biding my time. It wasn’t really what I wanted to study and I also just kind of got that itch to be away from my family and away from home, and so I transferred to the school. I had never been to the school, but they had an excellent recruiting program, because at the time I was really into music and songwriting and I wanted to be a songwriter and a producer. So I transferred to the school so that I could study sound production.

Dr. Hallowell:
Do you still want to do that?

Candy:
So much has happened in my life. I love it still, but I do not devote the time to it that I used to. So, no. It’s more of a hobby. I’m one of those people, I went and got this degree and I’ve never done anything with it. At least not professionally.

Dr. Hallowell:
Well, the is young. You’re still pretty young. How does race come into play? How does being African-American-

Candy:
Well, I think for one, I think it came into play with that first doctor that I saw. I literally brought… So, like I said, I was 25, 26 at this point. I dug out report cards from elementary school, some statements from my parents and I was telling him these are things that I’ve experienced, the symptoms, I guess. I don’t even think he could see it and I don’t know specifically with him if it was race, if it was gender. I didn’t have a history of being hyperactive in the sense, that stereotypical little boy who’s climbing on his desk and swinging from the ceiling and that sort of thing.

Candy:
What I have since found out is that I was a little girl who’s extremely talkative, just non-stop. Even in preschool when we would have to nap, and my mother still tells this story, I would talk to whoever was around me. So eventually they gave me the job of going around and rubbing the other kids’ backs just to give me something to do, because I was not going to lay down and be quiet. So that continued, I mean, pretty much actually through high school. But in elementary school, I have all my report cards and it’s like my teachers would talking about, “Oh, she’s delightful, she’s this, but she won’t stop talking and she doesn’t pay attention to detail and she loses focus so quickly, but she’s so smart and we like her so much.” So [crosstalk 00:10:05].

Dr. Hallowell:
Pretty classic ADHD.

Candy:
Yeah, exactly. It’s interesting to me, because again, the more that I’ve read and listened to experts talk about it, like you said, that’s classic. He didn’t see any of that. At the time, that was actually a little bit before I separated from my husband, but I had been in therapy for some marital issues and some other things. It was like, that’s where that doctor stopped. It was just, oh, well, you’ve got two little kids and you’re having a rough time in your marriage. That’s it, despite all of the history. Then since then, like I said-

Dr. Hallowell:
I assume he was a white man.

Candy:
Yes, yes. He was. So again, I don’t know what was in his mind. I just know that it felt like he didn’t hear anything that I said. Then since then, a lot of times when I am reading articles or books or people are talking about their experience with ADHD, it’s gotten better in recent years, but the poster children for ADHD are very rarely people of color. Even in school, as I’m studying mental health, and I just did a class last term and we were talking about diagnosing children, so often little boys of color, particularly black and Hispanic ones are first found to be oppositionally defiant. That’s the first thing that they look at. So I didn’t have that experience. I was “smart” growing up so I was in all of the advanced classes. But I would lose my homework and mean to bring my math book home and end up with a science book instead.

Candy:
I could not turn anything in on time and I skated by, because, again, I think my teachers liked me and I tested pretty well so I just kind of skated by. But I do wonder if I had been male, if I had not been black, if someone would have noticed all of the difficulties that I’d been having for years and maybe thought, “Huh, this could be something else.”

Dr. Hallowell:
In this anxious back to school time, everyone is looking for ways to reduce the edge of anxiety, and one good way to try is by taking OmegaBrite supplement, Omega CBD, OmegaBrite CBD, as well as the OmegaBrite fish oil product, both are good for emotional reactivity and can take the edge off of that. They’re fully natural, very healthy, really developed by a top-notch company. Omegabritewellness.com, and you can get 20% off your first order by using the code podcast2020. Enter that, get 20% off, omegabritewellness.com. Okay. Now let’s get back to the show.

Dr. Hallowell:
It’s funny, the first person I ever treated for ADHD was a seven year old African-American boy from a very poor neighborhood who was admitted to the hospital having witnessed a murder the day before and then attempted to murder his sister.

Candy:
Oh my gosh.

Dr. Hallowell:
So he had multiple problems. But his IQ on admission, I did some testing and his IQ was 69, which is very low and among his many problems. When we cleaned him up and got to know each other, he and I became friends. I said, “You have among many other diagnoses, you fit all the criteria for ADHD. Why don’t we try you on this medication?” and called Ritalin and his mother agreed. His IQ after on the medication was tested at 140.

Candy:
Oh my goodness.

Dr. Hallowell:
I’ve never seen that happen again. The neuropsychologist would say it’s impossible. But clearly, when he was admitted, he was traumatized and then when we were able to give him focus, and here I was, an old white male treating this young black boy and, but we became the best friends. When I had to leave after years following him, I remember, I said, “We’ve really gotten to know each other pretty well. Haven’t we?” He said, “Know each other? We love each other.” I think a lot of the help was developing that connection. So you had connection, you said you have a really strong family. So that must have helped you get through.

Candy:
Tremendously. I think I said something about that in the email, the other issue, of course, just with mental health in general. If you’re in a lower socioeconomic status trauma, that level of trauma. But I was very fortunate. I grew up in a very solidly middle-class family, two parents, both college educated, going to work. They were involved. But even in that, I have a younger sister, she had a lot of other health issues growing up. So my parents miss things. So again, and I know a lot of people, I think, who are diagnosed with ADHD as adults talk about that experience of kind of people telling you, especially when people think you’re really smart, oh, you just need to try harder. So every time there was a note sent home because of homework or whatever that I didn’t finish, that was my parents, “You’re too smart. You just need to apply yourself. You need to try harder.”

Candy:
But in finding out that I’ve had it, they have just rallied around me. I’ve had super tearful conversations with my mom where she’s apologized for missing things. It’s one of those things. You do the best you can where you are at the time. Then [inaudible 00:16:30] you do better. But my family has been amazing, just through the ADHD, through the divorce, through all of it.

Dr. Hallowell:
That’s just wonderful to hear. Telling someone with ADD to try harder is about as helpful as telling someone who’s near sighted to squint harder.

Candy:
Exactly.

Dr. Hallowell:
This is the point. You need eyeglasses and the squinting will help a little bit and trying harder will help a little bit, but it doesn’t anywhere near get to the heart of the matter. So it must have been quite an awakening when you finally got diagnosed. You also say you’re floored and thrilled to witness more conversation happening about race in this country. Can you say more about that?

Candy:
Yeah. So I think that everything that happened when we all collectively as a country saw the video of what happened with George Floyd’s murder, I think a lot of people’s eyes were opened and it’s one of those things. I’ve grown up really fortunately. Chicago is one of the most segregated cities in the country still. I live right outside of Chicago in a very diverse and integrated, it’s been integrated forever, area where growing up, I had friends of all different races, all different combinations of races and religions and ethnicities. So that’s been my experience, but because of that, I grew up talking to my friends about race and about our experiences and I think you have a lot of well-meaning people who get very uncomfortable kind of thinking about racism and the fact that it still exists and so they shut it down and they just, “I’m colorblind. I don’t see color. I treat everybody the same.”

Candy:
When that video came out with George Floyd, I have seen so many people kind of say, “We have to talk about this. We cannot pretend that it doesn’t exist anymore. We cannot pretend that people of color are not treated differently.” These hard conversations are being had. I’ve had white friends of mine just reach out with really heartfelt texts and cards and just to say to me, “I’m sorry that I’ve never talked to you about this before. I’m sorry that you’re going to have to teach your kids one thing, dealing with the police, than I’m going to have to teach my kids.” Having those conversations, It is uncomfortable sometimes, it’s rough, but it’s so necessary and it’s the only way we can change things. I mean, permanently changed things. I have been, I mean, so encouraged to see it in my personal life with my, like I said, with my friends and the people that I know, but even on a larger scale, watching the news and reading articles where people are really having a reckoning with it. I think it’s overdue, but it’s good to see.

Dr. Hallowell:
We are really happy to welcome Landmark College back as a sponsor. It’s my favorite place in the world as far as a 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. 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 more.

Dr. Hallowell:
What do you think, I mean, what was it about George Floyd’s murder and then subsequent death, organizations that used to be very conservative, like the National Football League or NASCAR are now completely behind Black Lives Matter, behind talking about it openly? It’s really remarkable. It’s not just a liberal cause anymore. It’s not just Al Sharpton and whatnot. It’s people who had been unaware, I think. I think, myself included, I didn’t know that an awful lot of black people, if not most, when they see a police car behind them, they tense up, like they’re going to be pulled over. I was so naive. I thought, “Well, we have the Civil Rights Act and we have… It’s a lot better than it was in the fifties and sixties.” But you tell me, I mean, your daily experience what is it like for you?

Candy:
I’m going to be very honest with you and say again, coming from where I’ve come, being raised middle-class in this area, a lot of this has been shocking for me too. I’ve had to really start thinking about my own privilege because, of course, like we said before, poverty is a thing and when you don’t live in poverty, there’s a privilege that comes with that. With being educated, with being I’ve grown up around people who are “very much like me”, even if we’re not the same race. Two parent households, two incomes, college educated, that sort of thing. I had to realize that I had a lot of ideas about those people, those people who didn’t grow up the way that I grew up and, what do they call it, respectability politics.

Candy:
So that’s been a thing. But I do think that there is only one good thing that I can say about the person who’s currently in the White House, him being there, I believe has just kind of just torn the veil on all of these things for all of us and we are all having to reckon with all of these, with regard to race and socioeconomic status and healthcare and climate change and all of these things. Just like you said, it isn’t a liberal or conservative issue. So many of this is just a humanity issue.

Dr. Hallowell:
Yeah, yeah.

Candy:
What does it mean for us to be in a country together as people in this nation? How do we take care of each other and how do we love one another?

Dr. Hallowell:
Right, and-

Candy:
So yeah, it’s been interesting.

Dr. Hallowell:
Deepening our appreciation and empathy for what it is to be different. You and I know that from our both having ADHD, we’re different, I think in a wonderful way, but we are different. You’re African-American. I’m Caucasian and I’m a WASP. I’m a Episcopalian. Are you a religion of any kind?

Candy:
I grew up Methodist. Now, I definitely have a spiritual outlook. I mean, I still believe in God, although I kind of grew up in that evangelical tradition. I have completely left all of that. But yes, I do have a spiritual outlook for sure.

Dr. Hallowell:
That’s another thing that’s I think we’re seeing happen that people are rediscovering spirituality in a less doctrinaire way.

Candy:
Yes, absolutely.

Dr. Hallowell:
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.

Candy:
I love that. I love that.

Dr. Hallowell:
So are you explaining your experience with ADHD to other people who don’t know about it? I mean, I think that’s such an important function if you can do that.

Candy:
I do. Well, I’m not going to say a little bit. Definitely in terms of the people that I get to talk to. I had taken a few years where I was pretty much off all of social media and a couple years ago I went back. So I’m on social media. So I’m always sharing something on Facebook or something on Instagram, a podcast or my own experience, just that sort of thing. My friends know that I’m very vocal about having ADHD. Even at one point, my therapist had kind of said, “Oh, you maybe don’t want to put it all out there like that in terms of when you’re looking for another job or when you are dating. Do you want people to know that right away?” I feel very much like maybe different with work, but yeah, in terms of somebody that I’m going to have a personal relationship with, yeah, they have to know this right away.

Candy:
It is not my identity, but it is a huge part of who I am and how I function. I need you to know that, and if you want to know more, I’ll totally help you know more. If you can’t accept it, that’s cool too, but let’s put it out there right away. I actually in a way kind of look at my ADHD the way I look at my race. I am black. You see that right away, obviously. I wouldn’t want to hide it. So it’s a very important part of who I am, even though my race does not define who I am. So my ADHD, same thing.

Dr. Hallowell:
Right, right. You can’t see your ADHD the way you can see your color, but-

Candy:
Right. Until you start talking to me.

Dr. Hallowell:
Exactly.

Candy:
Especially if I hadn’t I had medication, then you might.

Dr. Hallowell:
Be careful when you explain it to people to play up the positives. I tell people, I don’t treat disabilities, I help people unwrap their gifts because we, as a group, we have tremendous positives, creativity, originality, energy, intuition, entrepreneurialism. We never give up. We never say die. I mean, the positives are all qualities that you can’t buy and you can’t teach.

Candy:
Absolutely.

Dr. Hallowell:
We have those and I’m very proud of my ADHD, and dyslexia, I have that too. I wouldn’t trade that either. But don’t get me wrong-

Candy:
That’s the thing.

Dr. Hallowell:
I’m sorry?

Candy:
No, I was going to say that’s the thing. I agree with that, that creative piece, that’s what my son, a couple of years ago, my older one was right before he went on medication was struggling a little bit and I could tell. I remember being his age, that junior high school age, I feel like it’s really hard when you have ADHD, particularly when you don’t know it. But he was feeling really down about not being able to stay focused and forgetting everything. I really did have to tell him, “Yeah, that part kind of sucks. We’ll work on that, but you’re so creative.” That’s the thing. Nobody can touch ADHD folks and their creativity and their energy.

Dr. Hallowell:
Exactly, exactly.

Candy:
I think their passion too.

Dr. Hallowell:
Yes, absolutely.

Candy:
So I completely agree with you.

Dr. Hallowell:
Yeah, no. It’s so true. Those are qualities you can’t buy and you can’t teach, so it’s so important to nourish them. But the black community, I don’t know if it’s still that way, but they’ve been resistant to the diagnosis and treatment, because they think it’s a bunch of white people trying to control black children’s behavior.

Candy:
Yes. I think that the black community has a lot of trauma with the medical community in general.

Dr. Hallowell:
Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Candy:
Which, I mean, if you know about the Tuskegee experiment, you understand why that is, and a whole bunch of other things. So I get that. I think it’s getting a little bit better. I also know that sometimes with the black community, that spiritual piece can sometimes get in the way of the mental health piece where people kind of tell you, “Oh, pray harder. Go to church more. Tithe, fast.”

Dr. Hallowell:
Right, right.

Candy:
I am very thankful that as strong a Christian as my mother has always been, she’s also like, yeah, but God also gave us science and medicine and doctors who know things and so we should listen to them. So I’ve been fortunate, and that’s another reason that I talk about it a lot, because I want other black people and people of color to hear me and see me and see, it’s not a death sentence, first of all.

Dr. Hallowell:
Just the opposite.

Candy:
There’s so much you can do if you know you have it.

Dr. Hallowell:
Tell the listeners what you’re doing now, what you’re studying.

Candy:
I am in graduate school in a clinical mental health program so that eventually I can become a therapist.

Dr. Hallowell:
That’s fun. What motivated you to do that?

Candy:
I’ve always been the person that my friends come to for advice, but what really kind of solidified it for me was going through divorce and having a great therapist who got me through it. It was very, very difficult for me on a lot of levels, and kind of as I was coming through that also while figuring out my ADHD and how to be a single parent to two boys and all of that, I just kind of felt like I want to pay this forward. I want to be able to help someone else do this thing too. So that’s [crosstalk 00:31:23].

Dr. Hallowell:
What was so difficult about it and how did your therapist help you through it?

Candy:
I did not initiate the divorce. So that was number one. I’m actually a child of divorce. I was very, very young when my parents split up. So my mom’s second husband is, he’s my dad, he’s raised me. But because of that, I always felt like I’m going to get married once and that’s it and we’re going to stay together and we’re going to figure it out. My ex-husband got to a point where he didn’t want to, and it felt like a personal failing to me. I also had a lot of, I think, kind of toxic ideas that came from being raised in evangelicalism. So there was that piece where I was like, “If I don’t hold this together, God’s not going to forgive me because he hates divorce.” So it was a lot. Then it was kind of trying to reimagine my life as a not married person and I couldn’t see it.

Candy:
My therapist really helped me see that there was something beyond what I thought my life was going to look like and there was so much beauty just kind of waiting me on the other side. I’m a really stubborn person. I really dig my heels in and she was just so patient with me and so that was really the thing that did it. It’s been rough and it’s not perfect, but I actually am really happy at this point that my ex-husband knew we needed to end because we really did and I see that now, so.

Dr. Hallowell:
What a wonderful story, and talk about paying it forward. I mean, you saw what a difference a great therapist can make and now you’re going to do the same.

Candy:
I hope so. I really do.

Dr. Hallowell:
Do you get Attitude Magazine?

Candy:
I do. Yeah.

Dr. Hallowell:
You ought to write an article for them about the experience of being a single black woman mother having ADHD. I think it would be a wonderful article to write.

Candy:
Well, thank you for that encouragement. I just might do that.

Dr. Hallowell:
Yeah. I can connect you to the editor. It would be wonderful for you to tell the story, because, as you said, it’s not talked about that often and you have single mother, African-American, ADHD and you’re thriving. It’s wonderful.

Candy:
It is.

Dr. Hallowell:
Really, it’s such a great story.

Candy:
Thank you very much. I have a lot of great support. So I have to thank that people who love me. [crosstalk 00:34:20].

Dr. Hallowell:
Well, I think it’s all about connection. I think that’s what saves us all.

Candy:
Absolutely.

Dr. Hallowell:
It’s all about loving connections.

Candy:
Absolutely. I completely agree.

Dr. Hallowell:
Well, you have a lot of love in your heart, Candy, and a lot of brains in your head, I’ll tell you that as well. You’re remarkable. You’re remarkable. Mother of two boys are lucky to have you.

Candy:
Thank you very much.

Dr. Hallowell:
Is there any last remarks you’d like to make to our listeners?

Candy:
I just want to thank you for just speaking on everything that you’ve been speaking on and just keep doing it. I mean, I wrote you. I’m sure you’ve got a lot of other emails from a lot of people. It’s that connection, like you said, and it’s that finding out that we really are more alike than we are different. I think you do such a great job in all of your episodes of finding that connection and reminding us of that. So again, I am so honored and humbled that you asked me to do this. Thank you so much for allowing me to speak with you today. This was fantastic. Thank you.

Dr. Hallowell:
Well, I am honored and humbled that you joined us, that you agreed and I just can’t thank you enough. Thank you so, so, so, so much. Those of you please reach out to us with your thoughts just as Candy did, and we absolutely will get back to you. We’ll take some of them and answer them on the air. We’ll be listening, doing another Q and A episode soon. So write or email or record a voice memo and send it to [email protected] That’s the word [email protected] Remember to check us out on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. We’re trying to build that community up on social media, and subscribe to the podcast wherever you listen so you’ll never miss an episode.

Dr. Hallowell:
Thank you so much again, Candy. Let me close by saying Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is the wonderful Sarah Guertin and our recording engineer and editor is the also wonderful, Scott Persson, that’s Persson with two S’s. I’m Dr. Ned Hallowell saying goodbye and thank you once again to Candy. 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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Mentally Prepare Yourself For The Future

Mentally Prepare Yourself For The Future

As fall nears closer and the pandemic rages on it can be difficult to envision what next month, or even next week will look like. In this mini episode Dr. H shares some words of advice on how to think about the future and get ready for whatever comes next.

Please share your thoughts and ideas with us! Write an email or record a voice memo on your phone and send it to [email protected].

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

And thank you to our sponsor, Landmark College in Putney, Vermont. Click HERE to learn more 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.

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. Hello and welcome to this mini episode of Distraction. I’m your host, Dr. Ned Hallowell. Thank you so much for joining me. We love having you with us and lending us your ears.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Our wonderful producer, Sarah, gave me a note to base this mini on, and I’ll just read you what she gave me. She wrote, “I think we’ve all been waiting for fall to get here, kind of wait and see what’s going to happen with the pandemic. But now that it’s almost here, what if nothing changes, or worse yet we have to go into lockdown again? How do you look ahead when you can’t envision what it will look like?” Well, that’s the world we’re living in. Isn’t it? How have we done it so far? How do we look ahead when we don’t know what it’s going to bring? This whole thing has been an exercise in learning flexibility, an exercise in learning resilience, an exercise in learning how to find connection in places we haven’t found it before, learning new uses of technology.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
My practice has drastically changed, but thanks to Zoom and the telephone, I’m able to see patients. Without Zoom and the telephone and other platforms, I wouldn’t be able to. They wouldn’t be able to see me, nor I could see them. Now, it’s not as good as in-person, but in many ways it’s better for people who leave live two or three hours away or people will live with the other side of the country or the other side of the world for that matter. It’s an absolute godsend, and I think I will continue after the pandemic is over to offer that as an option. You can either see me live and in-person or over Zoom or another platform, so it’s been wonderful in that sense. Another hidden advantage is my two kids, our two kids who live in New York City, work in New York City have come home, and they’ve been with us for the past three months to avoid the virus in New York when it was so bad, and they’re doing their work. Fortunately they can from home, so we’ve had the benefit of their wonderful company.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
But the damage is colossal and the deaths and the restrictions on life and the not going to restaurants and going to movies. I used to love to take my son, who lives locally too, we’d go to Legal Seafood, a great seafood restaurant near us, and then we’d go to the Burlington Mall cinema and watch movie. We’d do that almost once a week. Sometimes Sue, my wife, would come with us, and sometimes she wanted a night to herself. But we can’t do that anymore. We haven’t been able to do that anymore, and then of course the big X factor, school. What’s going to happen with that? And we don’t know, and as we try to look ahead, people form opinions, and people think this, think that, think the other thing, and sometimes they get very angry and strident about it, but we’re still dealing with X factors, with unknowns. When you’re dealing with unknowns, you want to try to plan for various contingencies.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Harvard Business School made the worst case scenario famous by saying, “Well, let’s imagine the worst case scenario and then plan for that, and then if we do that, we’ve got everything else covered.” But we don’t even really know what the worst case scenario is with this virus. Haven’t we already had the worst case scenario? Can it get worse? Well, sure it could get worse, but what steps are we taking to make sure that doesn’t happen, and how can we maintain hope but also be realistic and prepare for bad things? So I guess my riff on Sarah’s question is use your imagination, both imagining what you hope for and imagining what you dread and get ready for all of the above, knowing that we are very resilient as humans. We’re very resilient, and what really makes us most resilient is when we’re serving one another, when we’re connected to one another, when we’re working together, because then you see we create a mission, and mission really motivates people.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And our mission now is to survive and to thrive, but begins with survive, and we’d never had our survival threatened on a daily basis, at least in my lifetime, like we have it threatened today. Survival is actually a matter that we have to take precaution to ensure, and wearing masks and keeping distance and all that kind of stuff, washing hands. We’re doing things. We’ve adapted. We’re banding together. We’re helping one another. By wearing a mask, you help other people, not just yourself. By washing your hands, you help other people. I mean, by working together, we’re building muscles we didn’t know we had, and we’re learning the value of interdependence rather than independence. We’re learning the value and power of what we can do together.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
My daughter happens to work for the National Football League, so I’m, as a long-time 26-year season ticket holder for the New England Patriots, I’m praying not only for my sake to have football back, but for my daughter’s sake, because that’s her job. We’re hoping and praying, and I can tell you the NFL is taking tremendous care and precaution. They’re working very, very hard to do everything they can to allow the season to proceed. But again, there are X factors. Who knows what will happen? I do take my hat off to the NFL for the way they’re handling it so far, and I take my hat off to businesses and organizations everywhere as they deal with this and try to make the best of it for everybody.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Again, the people who are hit the hardest are the people who are hit the hardest by everything: people who live in poverty, people of color, people who don’t have access to medical care, who don’t have access to good food, who don’t have access to transportation, all of that, the people who usually get the short end of the stick. And I think it’s up to us to try to reach out to them in whatever ways we can. So the answer to Sarah’s question, “How do you look ahead when you can’t envision what it will look like?” My answer is envision and just know that you’re probably wrong, but one of your visions will be close to what happens, and you want to prepare for all of them as best you can and never worry alone.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So don’t envision alone; share your thoughts with other people. Go online. Talk to neighbors, friends, however you do it, but this is a groupthink. This is not an individual think. This is a groupthink, and if we groupthink long and hard enough, this thing will come to an end, and we’ll reduce the damage it will do, and we’ll even find the hidden good things, just as I’ve discovered Zoom as a way of seeing patients and have got two of my three kids back inadvertently but as a special hidden benefit.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Okay. Once again, I’d like to thank our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness. My wife and I have taken their omega-3 supplements for years, and for the past several months, I’ve been taking their CBD supplement as well. I highly recommend them both. Go to OmegaBriteWellness.com and save 20% on your first order with the code “podcast2020.” Okay, please continue to reach out to us with your questions, comments, and show ideas. We love them, need them, thrive on them and would be lost without. Send your thoughts in an email or record a voice memo and send it to us at [email protected] That’s the word “connect” @distractionpodcast.com, and talk about from rags to riches, that little at sign, which never, ever, ever used to get used by hardly anybody is now everywhere. It must be so proud. It went from nothing to the penthouse, that little at sign. What a story.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is the infallible, lovely and brilliant Sarah Guertin, and our recording engineer and editor is the impeccably careful and always never missing a note or a sound, Scott Persson, and that’s Persson with two S’s. This is Dr. Ned Hallowell saying goodbye for today.

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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A Remarkable Story of Adaptability

A Remarkable Story of Adaptability

On this day in 1967 the people of Sweden successfully enacted a major change to daily life in their country. Listen as Ned shares the story and ponders whether the United States could accomplish the same kind of feat!

Please reach out to us with your questions and episode ideas. Write an email or record a voice memo and send it to [email protected].

Thank you 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. 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 and welcome to a mini episode of Distraction. I’m your host, Dr. Ned Hallowell. Always nice to be with you. Thank you for inviting me into your ear space.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, there’s a very interesting thing that happened on this day, September 3rd, way back in 1967 when I was a senior in high school. On September 3rd in 1967, as I was getting used to the 12th grade, something amazing, amazing happened in Sweden. And let me read you a paragraph from the news.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
At 4:50 a.m., 4:50 a.m., 10 minutes of 5:00 in the morning on September 3rd, 1967 as crowds of people gathered to watch, all vehicles on the road were instructed to come to a halt. They were then directed to move carefully from the left side of the road to the right and wait. At the stroke of 5:00, following a radio countdown, an announcement was made, Sweden now has right-hand driving and traffic was allowed to resume. Time magazine called the event a brief but monumental traffic jam.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Can you imagine in this country if we tried to at 5:00 a.m. on a certain day tell everyone they had to turn their car around and drive on the other side of the road? It would take us decades to prepare to do that. The reason Sweden did it, of course, was all the other countries in the area had it. And 90% of the cars in Sweden, since they export so many of them, had the steering wheel on the left, which led to many accidents since they were driving on the other side, especially on narrow roads. So they made the decision to switch to the side of the road that the rest of Europe drives on. I still think of it as the wrong side of the road. I shouldn’t say that. But it’s psychologically amazing that they did it without rancor, they did it with obedience.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
You know, Jonathan Swift has a great part of, I think it’s in Gulliver’s Travels, where he talks about a war, that people went to war between the large-enders and the small-enders, and it was the people who cracked their boiled eggs on the large end versus those who cracked their boiled eggs on the small end. And they thought this was worthy of killing each other to determine who would hold sway, the large-enders or the small-enders. And that seems to be much more a common part of human nature than a country agreeably at 5:00 a.m. on September 3rd of 1967, “Okay, stop your car. Now, turn and go on the other side.” And everyone does it. And leave it to the Swedes to be so adaptable and so able to cooperate. We hear a lot of stories about how people won’t do it, can’t do it, haven’t done it, and protest that they shouldn’t do it. It’s wonderful to hear a story where a very, very practically impactful measure was proposed, enacted, and followed through on. Hail to the Swedes on September 3, 2020.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Okay. Once again, I’d like to thank our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness. My wife and I have taken their omega-3 supplements for years. And for the past several months, I’ve been taking their CBD supplement as well. I highly recommend them both. Go to omegabrigtwellness.com and save 20% on your first order with the code Podcast 2020. And please continue to reach out to us with your questions, comments, and show ideas. We love them. We use them. We thrive on them. We’d be lost without them. You can email us at [email protected] That’s [email protected]

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our recording engineer and editor is the amazingly talented Scott Persson. He’s also a musician, by the way. And our producer is the also amazingly talented Sarah Guertin. She’s also an artist and a mom, by the way. I’m Dr. Ned Hallowell, and I’m also Dr. Ned Hallowell. Thanks so much for listening.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
The episode you just heard was sponsored by OmegaBrite CBD formulated by Omega Brite 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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Why Do Some People Refuse to Wear Masks?

Why Do Some People Refuse to Wear Masks?

Our host and Dr. Ken Duckworth, the Chief Medical Officer for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), exchange theories on why some Americans refuse to wear masks during the pandemic.

Looking for mental health-related help? Learn about NAMI by clicking HERE.

Is there a topic you’d like Dr. Hallowell to explore in a podcast? Write an email or record a voice memo on your phone and send it to [email protected].

Learn more about our sponsor, OmegaBrite CBD. Distraction listeners can SAVE 20% on their first order with the code: Podcast2020. Shop online at OmegaBriteWellness.com.

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.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
This is Dr. Ned Hallowell with a mini episode of Distraction. Today, I’m having a conversation with my great and dear friend, Dr. Ken Duckworth who is the medical director of NAMI, the National Alliance on Mentally Ill and former commissioner of Mental Health of Massachusetts and an all around wonderful man, psychiatrist, father and just superb human being. And we got to talking about why people wear or don’t wear masks. I hope you’ll find this interesting because I think we make a few points that are not exactly what you’d expect.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
That if only people would play by the rules of the game. I mean, this country, we lag so far behind Europe in controlling it. We could control it if everyone would wear masks, wash their hands and keep the distance. What is it about the Americans that they’re so stubborn, that some people say it’s my personal right not to wear a mask?

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
Ned, this is such a fun question because I majored in political science as I told you, and no one ever asks me a major, a political science question.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
So I think my answer would be that America was grown up on distrust of government. You go back to the American Revolution, right, the king, control, government, right, the three branches of government. The idea that people were inherently corruptible and that if you gave one person too much power, so you had to have the three branches. So in Europe, people like the government. Per square inch, they give more money to it than we do. They trust the government. They give everyone health insurance. College is pretty cheap in most of the countries, not in every country, but it is a different orientation.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
We also just have this longstanding concern, which I think Ronald Reagan articulated, that government is the problem, right. I mean, I’m not sure that the French have ever gone that far. I mean, maybe since the French Revolution in 1789. But I think, in general, I don’t think there is this inherent distrust. And of course, when your leader says don’t wear a mask.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Right.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
And a quarter of Americans genuinely follow what the leader says, plus or minus, that’s a lot, that’s millions and millions of people who are like, “Well, we’re not buying this.”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah. There is another strain. Like you say, we were born and bred to mistrust government and we were born and bred as revolutionaries, but there is another big strain in the American grain, I think, that contributes to this, which is intense anti-intellectualism.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
Ah, yes. Yes. That’s a subject I know less about. But, I think this whole idea that scientists are elitists, right?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Right.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
The overeducated.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Right.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
Science gets to bat last, and this is going to be true in the pandemic. It’s going to be true in climate change. You can’t really argue science.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Exactly.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
I’m, unfortunately, concerned about our ability to integrate scientific information. And I do think people should have the freedom to not wear a mask when they’re hiking in the woods or on a beach.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Sure, exactly.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
Right. I think that’s fine.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Just when not around other people.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
But, if you’re in your little coffee shop and there is 18 square feet, it would seem to be a perilous freedom to pursue. But obviously, I’m a doctor.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
No, but I mean, the Europeans get it and we don’t. So the mistrust of government and the anti intellectual strain, it equals people dying. I mean, it’s high stakes poker.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
It’s quite high stakes. And that’s a interesting thing that I’d like to understand better, how people think about that because to me, that’s a terrible price to pay for a transitory quote, “freedom,” end quote.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah, exactly.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
Right?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I mean, it’s stupid is what it is, I mean.

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
I have a daughter who lived in Madrid for this whole pandemic and I said, “Claire, I can fly you home. You want to be here?” And she says, “Well, I think America is looking just as bad as Spain is.” And this was in March when Spain was, Madrid was the hotspot, right?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Uh-huh (affirmative).

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
Now superseded by Florida, perhaps. And what’s interesting is she didn’t leave that apartment for 100 days or 90 days, something like that. She literally didn’t leave the apartment. And she went out once to take out the trash and a policeman accosted her and said, “You are not to be out of your apartment except to go to the store. Are you going to the store?” She said, “No, I’m taking the trash out.” “Okay, fine.” And she reported to me that she had a friend who took an Uber to see a friend and was fined a thousand euros.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Holy Moly!

Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI:
So I think have a different interpretation of sort of the public good versus individual freedom. And I’ll just leave it at that, right. I think they’ve come to some different conclusions about how society functions.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah. Yeah. Well, did you like that? I think Ken Duckworth is just one of the best guys in the world. In fact, I know he is. And I hope you found that discussion interesting. It is funny why it’s hard to get Americans to do things that even are in their best interests. If only we would all wear masks. But, it’s hard to get us, as a nation, to get onboard and do what we’re supposed to do. Okay. That’s it for now. This is doctor Ned Hallowell for Distraction. Be well and take care.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And remember to check out our sponsor. They help us stay on the air, so check out our sponsor OmegaBrite CBD. That’s O-M-E-G-A-B-R-I-T-E, intentionally misspelled, C-B-D. I’ve been taking it for a little over three months now and I highly recommend it. It’s good for mood and cuts down on impatience and reactivity. OmegaBrite CBD is safe, third party tested and it works. And if you go to omegabritewellness.com and use the promo code Podcast 2020, you’ll get 20% off of your first order.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Please reach out to us, [email protected] Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is the always reliable and always delightful, Sarah Guertin. And our recording engineer, is an editor as well, is the very multi talented and very socially engaging, Scott Person.

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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