Q&A with Dr. H: How Do I Become a Better Writer?

Q&A with Dr. H: How Do I Become a Better Writer?

Dr. H offers advice on how to improve your writing skills in response to a listener named Jake who is struggling as a copywriter. Jake is 34 years old, a new dad and a dual business owner with ADHD. 

Ned is a prolific author who just released his 21st book in January. In this episode he shares several practical strategies everyone can use to become better writers.

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

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

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

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

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Waiting Can Feel Like Agony

Waiting Can Feel Like Agony

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

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

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

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

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

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

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ADHD 2.0 Reveals New Science and Strategies

ADHD 2.0 Reveals New Science and Strategies

Dr. Hallowell’s latest book, ADHD 2.0 is out today!

Ned’s longtime writing partner, Dr. John Ratey, joins him for a conversation about the latest research they uncovered including how the brain’s “default mode network” is especially dangerous for those with ADHD, why “ADHD” is a terrible term and we should call it “VAST” instead,  and how finding the right amount of difficult can help you stay engaged in a task.

They also discuss the role the cerebellum plays in regulating our attention, how exercise can help with symptoms, why ADHDers are more susceptible to addiction in all forms, and the importance of connection.

You can get a copy of ADHD 2.0 at DrHallowell.com or JohnRatey.com, or by clicking HERE. You can also find it wherever books are sold!

Reach out to us with your comments, questions and show ideas! Send us an email, or record a voice memo on your phone 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. 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 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 omegabrite.wellness.com and Brite is intentionally misspelled, B-R-I-T-E, omegabritewellness.com.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Hello, this is Dr. Ned Hallowell and welcome to Distraction. We have a very special show today because my dear friend, John Ratey, Dr. John Ratey is joining us to talk about our new book, ADHD 2.0: New Science and Strategies for Thriving with Distraction. It will come out January 12th and we’re hoping to tell you enough about it that you will want to run out and buy the book yourselves. So without further ado, let me welcome my wonderful friend, John. Hello, John.

Dr. John Ratey:
Hello, Ned and hello everyone in podcast land.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yes. Just so you know, I’m coming to you from my third floor studio office in Arlington, Massachusetts and John is coming to you from, where are you John?

Dr. John Ratey:
I am in Los Angeles, California, Beverly Hills, to be exact from my wife’s apartment in her office and enjoying talking with you.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Good. Well, so we have this new book that listeners maybe remember our first book, Driven to Distraction that came out in 1994 and then Delivered from Distraction came out in 2005 and so now in 2021, we have ADHD 2.0. Let’s just jump right in and tell listeners what’s new about it. One thing that’s new in the book is our term for ADHD, which is a terrible term, it’s not a deficit of attention, it’s an abundance of attention and we don’t see it as a disorder, but rather a trait. If you manage it right it’s an asset, if you don’t, it can be a terrible pain in the butt. So we invented a new term for the condition that does not connote as much pathology as ADHD does with its deficit disorder.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Our new term, which we introduce in this book is vast, V-A-S-T. First of all, it is a vast condition, but vast is also an acronym stands for variable attention stimulus trait. Captures the two key elements of stimulation and attention and everything in this condition is variable. So VAST, we hope will be more appealing to people and actually far more accurate than the old ADHD. What do you have to say about that, John?

Dr. John Ratey:
No, exactly. And I think we’ve been trying to say, “Look, this is a normal condition across a spectrum,” and it’s when you get… because we all have variable attention, right, and we all have trouble with it. But especially some people have the genes or have the upbringing or have circumstances that lead to more of it. And especially in our overstimulated world, we all have trouble with our attention. We’re not building it up like we used to or so it goes. But the problem with ADHD and the problem with a diagnosis like a deficit is that it makes people feel problematic. It makes them feel defunct, deficit, they’re less than. That’s not a way to think about it. It’s something to be mastered, to be understood and to be guided.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah. So with a more affirmative term that is actually more accurate because there’s no deficit of attention, it’s wandering of attention, an abundance of attention. The need is to control it. So we offer VAST as both a more accurate and a more affirmative positive strength-based as we like to say, strength-based term. So that’s one thing that’s new in this book. Something else that’s new comes from the realm of a neuroscience and it’s a complicated cumbersome term, but once you understand it, it’s incredibly powerful. This is the default mode network, the DMN, which I call the demon and you’ll see why. John, do you want to give them a explanation of why we think the DMN is so useful and powerful an idea?

Dr. John Ratey:
Right. Well, first off, it’s looking at the brain as a bunch of networks and the major one is the default mode network, which is parts of the brain that are all connected and that are being employed when you’re letting your mind wander. This is sort of a condition that ADD people love and are very much into. But it’s when we’re not paying attention to something, we go into the default mode. This is great when you can control it. But again people with ADD have trouble getting rid of it. They’re too much into it. We can get out of it when we have a task performance network, which is another network that takes us into something that we’re paying attention to, something that we’re worried about, something they were doing. It usually in people that don’t have attention deficit disorder. When this happens, when you get into something, your default mode shuts up or goes down. However, with ADD it’s always pressing to say, “Hey, pay attention to me,” which means, let’s go into a mind wandering situation.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah. I think what people find so useful about the DMN or really revelation is that it can just stream out really negative ideas, thoughts, feelings, images. So you go into the DMN, the demon, and it takes over and you get into this sort of trance-like state of rumination and you can stay in it. As people with ADD know only to well, you can stay in it for a long time, spend an hour just brooding and ruminating on all the ways in which your life is miserable and you’re miserable and everything’s miserable. People take medication to prevent it and they do anything they can possibly think of to prevent it, but the best way to prevent it is to do something else, to get back into the task-positive network, to snap out of the demon.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And so I say, “Don’t feed the demon,” and we tend to feed it with our attention. Attention is its life’s blood, its oxygen supply. Well, if you pay attention to something else, like dig a hole or play a piano or talk to a friend, anything, do anything, do jumping jacks, focus on your breathing. The key is to focus on something else to break the hole, the DMN, the demon has over you to break that negative about how you’re awful and your life is awful. It’s a state that people with ADD go into and the mistake they make is they mistake the productions of the demon for being reality. Yes, I really am that bad, yes, life really is that awful. And it’s not. It’s your imagination conjuring up all this negative stuff. Rather than take a pill or take a new philosophy course, simply do something else, anything to focus your attention elsewhere so you’re not feeding the demon with your attention.

Dr. John Ratey:
The trick with this too is that the DMN and the TPN and the task-performance network-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Task-positive, isn’t it?

Dr. John Ratey:
Yes, task-positive network is, the connection between them is clunky. It doesn’t quite go as easily as it does in the so-called neuro-typical person or the person that doesn’t have ADD. And so having structures, having a positive focus in your life and the 3M’s meditation, medication and exercise, which is not an M, but all help correct this clunkiness so that you’re able to switch easily enough and get out of it if you get caught into the rumination problem.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I think the M you were looking for John is movement.

Dr. John Ratey:
Movement, yes.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Meditation, medication and movement.

Dr. John Ratey:
Yes.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
But to deal with the DMN, you really don’t need medication, you just need the insight that this is not reality, life is not so terrible, I’m not so terrible and just focus your attention on some other tasks. You’ve got to shut off the demon’s oxygen supply, namely your attention and redirect your attention to some other tasks. Do a crossword puzzle, dig a hole, call a friend, do 25 jumping jacks, just focus on your breathing. You’ve always got your breathing with you. And if you can do that then you will shut off the demon and you’ll stop this horrible, horrible spell of trance-like brooding, ruminating negative thinking that really hounds most people who have VAST or ADD. It’s such a simple trick to learn, but so gripping is the habit of the negative thinking that a lot of people just buy into it and keep feeding the demon with their attention.

Dr. John Ratey:
Right. It’s been very helpful for patients and people in general who have trouble with their attention, sort of giving them this model saying that, “You have something that you’re trying to attend to, but you’re being pulled out of it by the default mode that’s a chatterbox and just won’t shut up.” So it’s helpful to use this model and people have said, “Aha, that’s what it is. When I’m trying to pay attention and keep on what it is I want to do, I’m being pulled back to this default mode to have my mind wander or get into the very ingrained rumination of how you’ve not done right in life, you have been a failure, whatever.” But just having that explanation has sparked a lot of, not just insight, but action-oriented insight when people can say, “Okay, now I just need to do something or change my thoughts or flip into another mode, to fry an egg,” like your one patient who said, “Yeah, I’ve fried 25 eggs now, what?” I mean, it’s-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
When we were first learning about this, one of the first experts we listened to amused us both because his antidote to the demon, the DMN, he would just shout it out. He would say, “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,” and that would shut off the demon. He’d out shout it. He’d just say, “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,” and that would shut off the demon. So you can do that. Of course, you have to be in a place where nobody’s going to think you’re going out of your mind, but it’s-

Dr. John Ratey:
No, but that checks it off you see.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah, exactly.

Dr. John Ratey:
Then you’re able to use your energy to things that are positive and things you want to do.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Exactly. Exactly. Exactly. So don’t buy it. See, that’s the key selling point. Don’t let it own you, don’t let it take over, don’t think, “This is the terrible insight that, I really am doomed and my life really does suck and I suck and everything sucks.” Don’t buy that. Don’t mistake that imagining for reality because it’s not reality and you can shut it off just by doing something, engaging, focusing on something so you activate the task-positive network. I hope that’s clear because it is complicated from a neuroscience standpoint, but it’s very true, very valid. You can see it on FMRI and it’s really learning how to use this scientific bit of information in a very practical transformative way.

Dr. John Ratey:
One of the chapters in our new book is called, Finding the Right Difficult, which is finding something that really is compelling and that is a bit hard, but something that you want to master, you want to be involved in and this will keep your attention. If you find the right one, you can keep coming back to it, whatever it is, or solving a problem, figuring out whatever your bills or how to-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
It’s not usually going to be your bills, but the two key elements of the right difficult are number one, it has to be challenging. If it’s not challenging, it’s boring. And number two, it has to matter to you. It has to really hold you. And so those two combined, it matters to you and it’s challenging then you’ll engage and in many ways, the more difficult it is the better. I discovered my right difficult in high school when my 12th grade English teacher challenged me to write a novel. A novel, I knew Exeter was a tough school, I didn’t know I had to write a novel, but I did it because he encouraged me to do it. I took up the challenge and by the end of the year, I’d written a novel and it won the senior English prize and I was off to the races. The beauty of that and it’s been my right difficult ever since, no pun on, write, with 21 books and still counting. It all began in 12th grade when that teacher introduced me to my right difficult.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And that is a third element of it which we found is so important in living and mastering this condition, namely that you have a creative outlet. We’re like cows, we need to be milked. If I don’t have a book going, I get depressed. We need that creative outlet. I think it’s been overlooked in the writings that people have done about ADHD. We haven’t stressed it enough ourselves. It’s so important. You find it through the right difficult. So you find some activity that’s challenging and matters to you that you can put in your creativity. That’s why paying your bills is not particularly a good example. So it’s got to allow for your creativity to be brought into the process.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And so you have those three elements that it’s difficult, but it matters to you and there’s room for your creativity to activate it and advance it. When you find that and you can have several, then you’re ready to get into the zone, you’re ready to take advantage of the advantages that come with this condition, the creativity, the originality, the industriousness, the refusal to give up, the stalwart nature of, spunky nature of most people who have it. But remember those three elements that it’s got to be difficult, it’s got to matter to you and there has to be room for you to really put your full supply of creativity into it.

Dr. John Ratey:
Right. Well, I was thinking less about pills and more about manipulating the stock market and figuring that-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
There you go. Okay. There you go.

Dr. John Ratey:
Because I have so many patients who find that right difficult by day trading or dealing with the cryptocurrency. These are difficulties to get it right and to master it. So that’s what I was really thinking about this morning.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Absolutely, absolutely. 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-3’s CBD and other supplements. Here’s a clip from one of those conversations.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Could you tell us a little bit about the study, recent study that showed OmegaBrite reduced inflammation and anxiety in medical students?

Dr. Carol Locke:
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. It was a blinded study meaning the researchers and the students did not know if they were taking the OmegaBrite or the dummy capsules. 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. That’s something that people could use right now in their life, reducing their anxiety and stress and inflammation,

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

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So now we have two elements in our book that have not been in previous books, a new name for ADHD, talking about the default mode network, talking about the right difficult and then a fourth new topic in the book, you want to talk about the cerebellum, John?

Dr. John Ratey:
Yes. The cerebellum. What a great part of our brain. It’s amazing. We used to only think of it as dealing with keeping us coordinated, keeping our movements coordinated. In the past 20 years, there’s been an explosion of interest in the cerebellum as keeping our thinking in order, keeping our experience in order. This is really important. It’s not just about balance and rhythm and for our motor system, but for all of our higher functionings, especially for attention, that the carry over of our cerebellum in involvement and attention is so great.

Dr. John Ratey:
We know that, 35, 40% of kids with ADHD have a discoordination problems, problems with their coordination and balance and whatnot. And same so do many of adults who get diagnosed with ADHD, they have coordination and balance problems. The beauty of it for… in our book we talk about is that the cerebellum is something that is very trainable, that is, you can make it better by doing balance training, doing yoga, doing Tai Chi, doing the martial arts or doing some kind of exercise that impacts your balance and makes it better. This has an impact on your attention, on the clunkiness of the default mode and TPN but also in doing all the things for our executive function that the medicine can do. It can help greatly.

Dr. John Ratey:
There’s study after study now showing that this is something to really pay attention to. Ned, you have this case in China, that is in our book where you did this sort of from afar over email to a mom and getting her son to really change his life by doing balance exercising in the morning and led to massive change in his attention and his performance and in the school that he was involved with.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And what’s so important is that it’s not just you get better at balance and coordination, by doing exercises that stimulate the cerebellum, you, in fact, directly impact the circuits that have to do with executive function and detention. This is work from Jeremy Schmahmann at Mass General Hospital and Harvard Medical School showing there are connections from the cerebellum through the vestibular circuit to the prefrontal cortex and all the elements that are so involved in ADHD. In fact, there’s a syndrome called Schmahmann syndrome named after Jeremy Schmahmann where injury to the cerebellum results in a syndrome that looks ever so much like ADHD. So it’s not just that you’re getting really good at balance so you can ride a unicycle, it’s that by stimulating the cerebellum, by doing exercises that challenge balance, you are also directly impacting the circuits that create the problematic symptoms in ADHD.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And as John’s saying, I learned about this… I went to Shanghai a couple of years ago and gave a talk and at the end, the mother of one of the kids, an eight year old boy came up and said, “You’ve got to treat my son.” And I said, “Well, I can’t. I live in Boston, you live in Shanghai.” And she said, “That’s okay. We’ll use email.” And so she was so persistent, we went ahead and we devised a treatment plan that involved the elements that we outlined in the book. It’s not just a cerebellar stimulation, but it’s also creating an environment, what we call a stellar environment of warmth and connection and support and instead of the boy being humiliated and hit with a stick when he got something wrong, they started understanding him and the teacher went along with it.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And then in that context, we had him do a series of exercises for 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the evening that involved balance. So he’d stand on one leg, stand on one leg with his eyes closed, he would do some juggling exercises, a series of exercises that challenged balance and coordination. He went from being the absolute rock bottom of the class at the start of the year in September to by Christmas being number one in the class and it was just this simple, straightforward program, no medication whatsoever that took this little boy combining a stellar environment of warmth and understanding with exercises that challenged balance and coordination.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
That little boy I’m still in touch with him interestingly enough, he just got into the best secondary school in China. He’s thriving, he’s soaring and he won’t stop doing the exercises. He says to his mother, “I’m not stopping these. Dr. Hallowell gave them to me and I’m going to continue doing them,” and he’s off to the races. His American name is Boots and he and his mom it’s just wonderful to see them. But if a doctor from however many thousand miles away, Boston to Shanghai using no medication and just coaching on stellar environments, warmth and cerebellar stimulation, I can get that of a result, I mean, it really shows that we’re onto something new and important and really the way was paved by Jeremy Schmahmann and the important connection between the cerebellum and the front parts of the brain where the action is in ADHD.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
It’s a real breakthrough. I’ve spoken about this before with the Zing program, Wynford Dore in England, with his marvelous program of cerebellar graduated series of exercises. He has over a hundred different exercises that stimulate and challenge balance and coordination and get wonderful results, not just in ADHD, but in other autism and autism spectrum and that sort of thing. So this is another breakthrough that we highlight in the book that John and I are very excited about. If you noticed a change in my voice or John’s voice it’s because I had to move from one location to another, it’s still the same person just located in a different place.

Dr. John Ratey:
I just completed a study with about 26 autistic adolescents, where we had them trained basically on balance and coordination exercises and saw a vast improvement in their attention and then a decrease in their off behaviors and an improvement in their socialization. And these were very complicated autistic adolescent. So it works and it can really make a big difference and with your patient Boots who wasn’t your patient, it was just an advice to the mom, it really changed his life and it’s something that we can easily do for so many people.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah. And it’s real exciting application of advances in neuroscience to the practical treatment of this condition. What else is new in our book, John, before we wrap up here. We talk about medication, we talk about nutrition, we talk about coaching, the new developments in coaching, and now with the pandemic, coaching has become even more important because it’s harder to see people in person.

Dr. John Ratey:
Well, we also have a whole chapter on exercise and how exercise has such a profound effect on the attention system. Because when we exercise, we liberate more neurotransmitters that we affect with our stimulant medication and other medications we use for ADD. But exercise produces them in a big, big way and very quickly, so that we’ve known in all of our books from the very beginning, that exercise was a component of treatment and now we know how it works and why it works and even studies now going on about what kind of exercise to do and there’s no guarantee that one’s better than the other, but the more you do, the better you become at exercising, the better your attention will be.

Dr. John Ratey:
When we started, we heard all the time about kids doing really well when they were playing a sport and then when they were off season that’s when the trouble began. And we have so many examples of that in our star athletes that have the same kind of program that when they stop training, then they get in trouble because their attention system is wild and not focused and then they get into the inevitable problems with addictions that so many people with ADHD have.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
That’s another element that we take up throughout the book really, the overlap with addiction. Probably the single biggest hazard in life with ADD is to develop a chemical addiction or a behavioral addiction. The rate of addiction in the ADHD population is 5 to 10 times higher than in the neuro-typical population. And another interesting fact, 80% of addiction begins between the ages of 13 and 23. So we are talking about major risk for people between 13 and 23. One of the best ways to stay off to avoid addiction is taking medication. This has been shown over and over again, people think, “No, you shouldn’t take medication like Adderall. That’s a gateway drug.” No, just the opposite. It helps close the gateway.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So by taking medication, you’re reducing the risk of addiction. Contrary to popular belief, taking stimulant medication helps prevent the development of addiction. Remember, behavioral addictions are very important too, screen addiction, gambling addiction, sex addiction, shopping addiction all of these sort of compulsive behaviors go on wild are way, way, way more common in life with ADHD. And then another element that I think we have to stress because now it’s so missing in so many people’s lives that we stress in the book is the importance of connection, the importance of human connection, of warmth, which I call the other vitamin C and it is as vital for life as ascorbic acid. So many people are suffering from a vitamin connect deficiency these days. You see the symptoms, it’s listlessness, low grade depression, lack of motivation, lack of zest, lack of get up and go, all because they’re not getting enough human connection, not getting enough people and we need people.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I think it’s one of the really most serious and not often acknowledged consequences of the pandemic is the social isolation that absolutely cripples people. Well, people with ADHD, it’s critical that they get it and they often don’t get it because they’re socially awkward, they don’t join, they don’t jump in and as a result, they suffer the consequences of vitamin connect deficiency. Well, that’s a long menu John of new ideas and suggestions in this book, which is by far the shortest of all of our books.

Dr. John Ratey:
Yes. It really is the shortest, but I think it’s power packed even though. It’s short and quick but it brings to light a bunch of the new stuff that keeps coming out about ADHD and what to do.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah. It boiled down to its bare essentials. The manuscript that I handed in was 125,000 words and the manuscript that you’ll buy, if you but the book is 50,000 words. So just think of the labor that went into reducing it in size so it’s absolutely pithy and condensed and every word counts.

Dr. John Ratey:
The other thing about the final product is it hasn’t lost its humor and fun. And we try to keep that in there so that it moves along quickly and you can enjoy the reading of it.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
What would ADD be without humor and fun. There’s no serious case of, a VAST as we like to call it now that… well, we hope you’ll get it. You can go to Amazon and order it or any other book selling outlet. You can go to my website, drhallowell.com, John’s website. What’s yours? johnratey.com.

Dr. John Ratey:
johnratey.com

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
You can go to your bookstore, the bookstores that are open. We hope that with this book and the documentary, that’s going to come out two months later will really have a movement to take the stigma away from this misunderstood condition and really help people turn it into an asset from being a liability to turn it into an asset. Any last thoughts, John?

Dr. John Ratey:
Well, I just think that this book really captures the essence of the new stuff that we are so excited about and as well as how to manage your attention and the deficit or the attention difference or the variability problem that you have. I think it turned out to be a terrific resource and recommend it to all of you.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah. And I think we really stress that this condition is not a disorder. It’s a way of being in the world and it has its positives and its negative. We’ve been working with people who have it for so long. We really know what you need to do to maximize the positives and minimize the negatives of this way of being in the world that is so misunderstood. And instead of carrying around these moral diagnoses that you’re undisciplined or a loser or can’t get your act together, we’ll show you how, in fact, you can turn all that around. So that’s why we call this a good news diagnosis. Unlike most diagnoses in medicine, this one is good news because things can only get better. John and I had been doing it long enough, we’ve seen it thousands of times now, thousands upon thousands of times with people, their lives really demonstrably, measurably, improving. Sometimes only a little bit, but more often a lot, major, major improvements.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And that’s why we’re so zealous about it? A patient said to me the other day, “You’re like Moses, you’re leading people out of bondage into the promised land.” And I said, “Well, I don’t think I’m Moses, but this knowledge is Mosesesque. It really can take people out of a condition of bondage and offer them a whole new life. John and I have seen it so often that we really want people to understand it and get the message. We’re not selling anything, we’re trying to report the truth that we’ve seen over and over and over again.

Dr. John Ratey:
That’s great. I think that’s a wrap.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Okay. Well, that’s all the time we have for today. Thank you so much to my dear friend and colleague John Ratey. You can learn more about John at his website, johnratey.com that’s J-O-H-N-R-A-T-E-Y.com. And you can learn more about our new book ADHD 2.0 in the show notes and on my website and John’s website as well. My website is drhallowell.com. And of course, you can get a copy of ADHD 2.0 wherever you buy your books. Remember to follow Distraction on social media and please continue to reach out to us with your comments and questions. We love getting questions from you and every now and then we devote an entire show to your questions. Our email address is [email protected] That’s [email protected]

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media, our audio engineer is Scott Persson, the brilliant and always ingenious Scott Persson and our producer is the delightful, equanimitist and harmonious Sarah Guertin. I’m Dr. Ned Hallowell. Thanks so much for listening and I look forward to being with 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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Being Productive When You Live In Chaos

Being Productive When You Live In Chaos

Kristin Seymour knows firsthand how tough it is to be productive when you have ADHD. Not only does she have ADHD, but Kristin is the mom of two ADHD teens, and she’s also an ADHD specialist.

The advanced practice nurse returns to Distraction to share more of her “life hacks” along with some special advice for parents of ADHD kids.

As Ned puts it, “Kristin has the knack, the understanding and natural empathy of one who has been there, of one who really burns to make sure others do not suffer the way she did.”

Kristin’s website: http://www.ADHDFogLifted.com

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

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

Check out #NedTalks on TikTok! @drhallowell

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

This episode was originally released in November 2018.

Check out this episode!

A transcript of this episode is below.


Dr. Ned Hallowell:
This episode is made possible by our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness. I’ve taken their Omega-3 supplements for many years, and so 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

Kristin Seymour:
Everybody was just like, “What is going on?” And I really believed he was on the wrong medication, it was working, in fact, probably against him. That child is on the right medication now, he had three letters of commendation from emails from teachers this week, and is respecting mom at home.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Hello, this is Dr. Ned Hallowell and welcome to Distraction. Today, I am thrilled to be joined by a guest we’ve had before, but we cannot have often enough. Kristin Seymour is one of our favorites. She is a clinical nurse practitioner from St. Louis. She is a specialist in cardiology on the faculty of the Barnes-Jewish hospital, one of the leading academic hospitals in the world, and she also just happens to be an expert on ADHD. Not only because she has it herself, but because she’s made it her business to develop a specialty while continuing to be specialists taking care of critical patients in the field of cardiology. She went on to write a book entitled The Fog Lifted: A Clinician’s Victorious Journey With ADHD, where she told about her personal struggle growing up in St. Louis. Ultimately, the amazing victory she had, where she now is really at the top of her game. And it’s a great treat and pleasure to welcome Kristin back to Distraction.

Kristin Seymour:
Well, thanks, Ned. I’m not sure I’m worth all of that, but thanks for the kind words. Good to be back and talking with you.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, we wanted to touch on a couple of topics. The first one being one that you’re often asked, namely, how do you manage to get done as much as you do? Being not only a cardiology specialist and ADD specialist, but a mom, a wife, and a incredibly busy woman, how do you achieve productivity in the midst of the chaos that ADD can create?

Kristin Seymour:
Right. That’s a good question because it’s probably the first thing everybody always asks. And I think the most important advice I’ve been giving people lately, and I’ve been taking myself, is to always come back to the core four, which is my four family members, myself, my husband and my girls. And every day starts and ends with what’s best for them, and what they need to get done, we all need to do throughout the day, and everything else goes around that. Barnes-Jewish hospital, I work my job around that, the girls, gym, my consulting works around my family. As long as you always keep your priority and your eye on the ball, which is your core four people or five, or your key three, however many in your family, that is the most important thing.

Kristin Seymour:
And that’s why I can do what I do. So that’s how each day begins and ends, and then everything else works around that. And so, I always try to figure out a way and resources available, to make sure I can get done what I need to do with my priority of the day. That’s probably the biggest thing, the first most thing. The second most important thing is just to be gentle with yourself and know you can only do so much, and not be afraid to say no. So, if someone wants to see me or do something or meet or have me take on an extremely time-consuming case and I know I can’t, I will wait a few weeks. You can only do what you can do. And a lot of us ADHD’ers are pleasers, perfectionists, always want to say yes. The other thing is incentivizing yourself.

Kristin Seymour:
Most all of the teams I work with, and college students, don’t understand the real meaning of incentive. Because we’re dopamine driven, love positive feedback, we need to reward ourselves for doing things that are mentally challenging or exhausting. So if somebody has to do a paper that they’re just completely dreading, they need to set time on it, attack it in compartments or small intervals, and then reward themselves when the paper is done. That soft and hard deadlines, things like that. Set a soft deadline of maybe a week before it’s really due or a few days and a hard deadline of the day it’s due. So you can have that cushion of time, it’s a backup. If it doesn’t get done due to illness or unexpected events.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
You also had some other tips about productivity that I remember.

Kristin Seymour:
Yeah, the life hack. They’re shortcuts and ways to make things easier. I have a cooler in my car on certain days when I’m going to be running around town, going from place to place or hospital to hospital with ice packs in it. So I can pop by the grocery and throw a few items in it. Moat people like to go to different grocery stores, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Walmart, wherever, and then put the different items and it keep them cold. So you’re not backtracking where you just were earlier that day, taking pictures of your receipts, that you have to expense items for your job. Not only do you have the day and time and receipt, you can virtually move that to a folder of 2018 expenses and a subheading. So you’re not messing with all of these different receipts.

Kristin Seymour:
So things like just trying to take shortcuts like that, or taking a picture of where you parked your car, because so many of us have that poor short-term memory at times. Dictating in your note, if you’re fortunate enough to have a smartphone, which I think most of the population does anymore, you can use the voice activated memo. And I dictate my to-do-list, dictate my emails, dictate things for… It’s hard for many of us to write down all of our thoughts and then uploading it to an email. And then you’ve got your whole some brief notes to go back to if you don’t have time to sit and write something. So those are all some good ideas to help people save time.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
On another note, I know that you have worked with a number of high school students who were particularly lost, and do you have any sort of general themes and trends because I’ve seen you really turn them around? What are the issues you think are there?

Kristin Seymour:
Well, the best thing is when you can partner with parents, whether they’re married or divorced, all of these, every parent or guardian wants their child or student to succeed. And when you partner with them and better understand the dynamics, not only at home but at school and with their athletics and sports and extracurriculars, it’s a bigger picture than maybe sometimes the teacher sees, or maybe a parent can’t see the whole scope all the time. So what I like to do is if I can, and most often the families welcome it, it’s having a meeting of the minds with the school advisor, the student’s advisor, the head of the school, the Dean of students, the parents, and sometimes, with the student and sometimes without to just see what pressure this kid is under. Because sometimes when everyone’s on the same page, things go amazing.

Kristin Seymour:
But sometimes people are missing a link. So partnering with the school, really understanding everyone and learning what’s best for the student, it’s just really, really effective. You have some parents who think the school should do every single thing and the parents should do nothing. That’s not correct. You have some parents that think the school does nothing, and they have no idea what the school is capable of because they’ve never sat down and looked at the whole picture. So when they start learning, when they’re younger in high school and junior high, it’s really cool and fascinating and remarkable to see what they’re able to execute on their own with mom and dad far away, their coach, me, far away on their own, thing outside the box to partner with the school

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And you say partnering with the school comes as news to some parents?

Kristin Seymour:
Exactly. And the biggest thing, if I can say that I’ve witnessed is when the parents come in with an open-mind and calm and wanting to partner and say, “Thank you for all you’ve done for Sally,” whoever, the student. “We are so fortunate to have a team like you.” And not have to kiss their rear end, but really partner because the school works really hard too. And then say, “What are we able to accomplish within reason?” And they’re going to work with you, but coming in, they’re angry and upset and kicked off and with a chip on your shoulder and offensive about something or a diagnosis a situation, that will not be a helpful approach.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And it’s a pretty natural of alliance. I mean, you’re all on the same team. So it’s really, you’re opening a natural door. There’s no reason to keep it closed. And because all that stuff is born out of anxiety, how do you help parents become less anxious? And how do you help them come into the school with the right attitude?

Kristin Seymour:
That is a great, great question. The first thing I usually do is just tell them, and I sometimes feel rude saying this that I have to say, “Let’s just slow down.” And I hate when people say that to me. So I feel like I have regret, but, “Let’s just take a breath. Let’s sit down. Let’s slow down. Let’s see what the grades really are to date.” How anxious is the student? How vital are sports? How far are we in the season? And it just lets the parents settle down and know that we probably can drop an AP course. We probably can maybe decrease the time on the ACT for our class on a weekend, on top of the tournament. Let’s space things out differently. The school’s on our side. If it’s a public school and private, but more public, there’s laws that protect that parent. It don’t have to be so hysterical.

Kristin Seymour:
There are standards in place if you’re not getting what we need for your students. Private schools, they have standards as well, very high ones as well. But those same laws are always applied. So therefore, you can say, “We’re paying tuition. We’re seeking this education. Let’s partner on this together.” But not in a threatening way. The parents didn’t think you’re right. The ball is in our court. There’s one parent that I’ve ever had to say who actually was so anxious that we had to do a meeting before the meeting to role play. And then, that parent is probably going to… There’s some parents that end up needing a little bit more, like working out, exercising, and taking out caffeine because they just feed their anxiety. But other than that, they usually get very calm when they feel they have a partner or that the school is really on their side.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So, just your sort of taking the by the hand and saying, “We can do this together.”

Kristin Seymour:
Yeah. And the parents were just like, “What is it that you’re doing that we’re not?” And I’m like, “It’s just because sometimes it comes from somebody else who’s not in a position of authority like a teacher or a parent, but they command. They have the respect for it as well, and you’re up here, but you get the brain because I lived it.” And I know what they’re saying when they say they can’t focus. I know why they have to get up after 10 minutes to take a break.

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 OmegaBrites, and Omega-3s, CBD and other supplements. Here’s a clip from one of those conversations. Now, there are many different products, brands, fish oil, why is OmegaBrite the best?

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

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Distraction listeners, you can save 20% on your first order at OmegaBritewellness.com by using the promo code Podcast2020. All right, let’s get back to today’s topic. What do you wish someone had told you when you were in high school in trying to figure it all out?

Kristin Seymour:
That it truly can be an asset and it’s good news. It’s a gift, if you harness it properly, that it’s not a curse, that it sometimes might feel like one, but that you have an incredible ability to think large and accomplish much. You’re not a failure and you are smart because all of us feel so dumb.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And how did you beat the odds? I mean, how did you manage to make it?

Kristin Seymour:
Well, probably when I got my diagnosis, I was so relieved to know it wasn’t my fault, if you will. And at 19, I was like, “This is such a relief to know I’m not stupid and I’m not lazy and I’m not applying myself.” And after trying everything that was non-medication, scheduled routine structure, diet, exercise, sleep, everything like that, then when I went on the medication, it was really a big game changer because I was such a textbook case. And that was what changed it around. But then I thought nothing’s going to stop me, nothing was getting in my way. I just had this desire to be a nurse. And I’m like, “I don’t care what I have to do to do this. I’m going to do it.” And then that clarity was a relief.

Kristin Seymour:
And then I was like, “This is fine, and this is easy.” And I can’t believe how much I actually liked school. And the other thing is, this is just a side note. My parents never gave up, they really didn’t. And they did love me through that. But when I was dating people or if my friends in high school college and post-college, those people believed in me and those people cheerleaded [inaudible 00:14:53] like gym, the whole way through. Those are the people that have your back and support you in so many loving ways, why I was successful off medication too.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah. How much difference did medication make for you?

Kristin Seymour:
100%, because everything else was not, I mean, working that we had tried over so many years and even after diagnosis. And so in 1992, Dr. Garrett Burris was like, “Let’s just try this.” And I think this is, “She’s a classic case,” and we did it. And it was literally like turning on the windshield wipers in a rain storm and clarity or a cable from a non-cable TV. It truly is that way. And I had a patient I’m working with, he’s so impulsive in 8th grade, he opened the car door while his mom was driving down an interstate, and he’s fine, but he was just doing so many impulsive things. And just everybody, the school, everybody was just like, “What is going on?” And I really believe he was on the wrong medication, was working in fact probably against him because it was not the right dose.

Kristin Seymour:
It was like sometimes when you don’t have the right medication at the right dose, it’s sub-therapeutic. It’s not effective. It’s not against him, but it wasn’t working in his favor. It wasn’t making a difference. So, that child is on the right medication now that I suggested to as a psychiatrist. He had three letters of commendation from emails from teachers this week or last week, I apologize, at the end of last week. And is respecting mom at home and doing so well. And that is so fast that you can see how fast the correct plan all around and medication can be effective in major ways.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
The correct plan and medication, I think so true. But I would add, and you don’t know how well you do this, but I’ve seen it. You advocating, you really go to bat for these kids. And I think in a way that a lot of doctors don’t have time or don’t feel that it’s their role or what have you, but I’ve seen you. I mean, you go right in there, you go right into the school and you get right in with the kids and you really cheer-lead them in a big way. And I think that element is often forgotten that people don’t realize how important that is.

Kristin Seymour:
You’re exactly right. And when you work with cases where you have to always remember that child, your parents are trusting you and them as a team. And that child is all I care about. I mean, the parents vision and their mission and their beliefs is important, but one parent goes, “Medicine’s not an option for us.” And I said, “Well, this isn’t your journey, this is Sally’s journey.” And we need to really reevaluate what this is about. Let’s look at the facts, because right now, your child is so defeated. They’re going to turn to something else possibly to calm their mind, and that’s that.

Kristin Seymour:
And that usually is very powerful because if she was diabetic or chemo if she had cancer, or eyeglasses for vision problems, I mean, let’s stop and think about this. And that really bothers them when they don’t want to, because they don’t believe in it, or they don’t believe the facts. Look at the MTA analysis. Look at all the good data out there that shows how effective it can be without long-lasting side effects. To be effective, it’s not about making friends with everybody. You have to be direct and factual and represent and do a good job for that student.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Why do you think there aren’t more services like the ones you provide? They’re very hard to find people who do it the way you do it.

Kristin Seymour:
Yeah. I don’t know. I think probably because some people think that they’re a good coach or accountability coach or advocate and they probably are. I mean, I think there’s just not a lot of people who’ve lived it and lived it well that want to talk about it, and share some of the struggles I had and how I wanted to get in there with them and say, “I know you’d probably rather poke your eyeballs out or starved herself to death than do this paper, but I know that feeling, but let’s bite off in little chunks.” Not a lot of people would admit they had to go through that to get through school, or didn’t even know they had it, or don’t care enough, or don’t want to spend that much time.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah. I mean, I think people forget this is not just take a pill and see me in the morning kind of thing.

Kristin Seymour:
Right? No. No, it’s literally the student and I meeting with the parents and going sometimes to where they… Whether it’s FaceTime, virtually or in person and seeing the dynamic and the setup. What does homework look like in your house? Where are you sitting and how can we make this more effective? And let’s make some strategies that will work or… You know what I mean? It’s kind of like taking on a family, “Okay, I see this girl who I love and I’m working with right now.” And this girl is awesome. I mean, she’s more athletic, smarter, prettier, more competent than I was and I diagnosed with ADHD, combined type with anxiety, just similar to what I would have been in high school.

Kristin Seymour:
This girl wants to help herself so much and is willing to do anything I say and suggest, and her parents as well, that I burn to help them. So my daughter, I take care of my girls, take care of my family, take care of myself. And then when I have time and my kids are out or doing something else, I will go over to that house. So I will meet in my office and help this family, because this kid wants it as bad as I do. But when I seem to care more than the child or more than the parent, that’s not good. Those are the cases I do my best with, but it’s when the parents are so wanting me and they’re all engaged that I just like in it with them. And those are the ones who have the fastest improvement too within a month.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, I could talk to you for a long time. I want to remind people that you’ll be at the International ADHD Conference in St. Louis, November 8th to the 11th. And you’ll be talking about self-medication and vaping, is that correct?

Kristin Seymour:
Yeah. In all students, but particularly in ADHD, impulsive students and what that does to the brain and their behaviors.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And the conference will have a ton of wonderfully interesting speakers. So if any of you want to go and can go, I really recommend it. And again, Kristin’s book is called The Fog Lifted: A Clinician’s Victorious Journey With ADHD. And if people want to reach you, what’s the best way for them to reach you?

Kristin Seymour:
They can reach me on my website. It’s ADHDfoglifted.com, and there’s a contact form there. But they’re into my email, I believe my business email’s in my book as well.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Good. Well, your messages is very practical, but also very hopeful and inspiring. You’ve lived it, you practice it and you put in that kind of work and don’t give up and you do get a good outcome. Well, Kristin, thanks a million for taking the time to join us. I know how really busy you are and as always, you’re wonderful. We have to have you on again soon. Thank you so much.

Kristin Seymour:
Thank you, Ned.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
All right. Well, this is Dr. Ned Hallowell for Distraction, and thank you so much for joining us. 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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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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How to Manage Racing Thoughts and Idea Overload

How to Manage Racing Thoughts and Idea Overload

The best part and the worst part about having ADHD might be all of the thoughts and ideas that are generated, according to Dr. H. Racing thoughts and/or having an abundance of ideas is common for those with ADHD. But how do you manage all of them? Ned offers several suggestions for organizing your thoughts and keeping track of all of those great ideas. But he cautions listeners to recognize that you can’t accomplish every idea you have, so it’s important to prioritize them.

Keep listening after this episode for a special segment with Dr. Carol Locke, Ned’s friend and the founder of OmegaBrite Wellness for 5 ways to help manage stress. Learn more HERE. 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 for Dr. H that you’d like him to address in a future episode? Send it to [email protected].

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

Check out this episode!

A transcript of this episode is below.


Dr. Ned Hallowell:
This episode is made possible by our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness. I’ve taken their Omega-3 supplements for many years, and so has my wife, and that’s why I invited them to sponsor my podcast. I’m proud to have them. You can find all of their products online at omegabritewellness.com, and brite is intentionally misspelled B-R-I-T-E, omegabritewellness.com. This episode is also sponsored by Landmark College, another institution that I have warm personal relationship with, in Putney, Vermont. It’s the college of choice for students who learn differently. Learn more at lcdistraction.org. Hello, and welcome to Distraction. I’m your host, Dr. Ned Hallowell. Thank you for joining me today for a mini-episode. People love the mini-episodes because they’re quick, they’re short, and that’s the world we live in, quick and short and to the point. We received a question from a listener that I think many of our listeners will be able to relate to, so I wanted to share it with you.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
It goes like this. “Hi there, Distraction team.” Smile.” Wanted to get advice on having lots of ideas. I wake up and meditate most mornings. So even if I get my mind quieted, it can still get racing and come up with lots and lots of good ideas. I write them down, but there are just so many that I end up feeling bad about not pursuing most of them, or they lead to the feeling of never achieving enough. I obviously need more self-acceptance, but any advice on how to best approach tackling large amounts of ideas and things to do? I use the TickTick app, and it’s great, but still doesn’t help with the output of my brain. Love the podcast. Kiran.” Well, Kiran, thank you very much for that note, and what you describe is the blessing and the curse of ADHD. The great thing about it is we have so much going on and the curse about it is we have so much going on.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Our brains I often compare to a popcorn machine, just pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, ideas popping all the time. They come in bunches like bananas. We’re just surrounded by all these bananas and all these popped popcorns. Whatever analogy you want to use, we have an abundance of ideas, and you have to be grateful because contrast that to people who have what I call attention surplus disorder, they almost never have a new idea. They come by and see you surrounded by all these bananas and popcorn and they say, “Oh my gosh, where did all those come from? I never have any of those. I have no bananas and no popcorn.” And they just never, rarely, have a new idea. And you say to them, “Fine. Take them, please. I’ve got too many of them. I don’t know what to do with them.” So that’s one solution, is to share them with other people who need them and get a team of people to implement your ideas and share the credit for them.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
If you grow my idea, I’ll share it with you. Because often those folks, the ones who can’t come up with new ideas, are good at growing them. They’re good at taking them and developing them and turning them into a business or turning them into a piece of art or turning them into a new line of clothing, or turning them into a well tilled garden. Whatever the project might happen to be, if you can find someone who’s good sweating details with attention surplus disorder, you and that person can make an excellent team. They can take your new ideas, sort through them, and they’re good at prioritizing while you’re not, you can dump 25 ideas on them and they’ll pick out the one or two that stand the best chance of succeeding, and then they’ll get to work on it. And you can just keep up more bananas and more popcorn, and just keep feeding your good attention surplus friend, partner your ideas.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
That’s a really good recipe for success. Most of the successful adults I know who have ADD have someone, an admin assistant, a partner, a mate, a favorite employee, somebody who’s the chief implementer, the one who makes things happen and gets things done. And so that’s a really good team. As for you yourself, you’ve hit upon a very good strategy, which is writing things down. And once they’re written down, they don’t disappear. So even if you say, “God, I had a great idea. What was it?” Well, you can say, “Well, I’ll just look at my little journal where I keep my ideas in, my idea bin, and I’ll be able to retrieve it.” Be grateful that you have this copious, fertile, fecund imagination. Be grateful, but at the same time understand that you can’t do everything. Don’t become the victim of your own enthusiasm. Nobody can do everything. Nobody is obliged to do all that they could do. Just do enough to keep yourself satisfied and in the game, as I like to say.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
A great life is staying in the game until your life is over. The victories and the defeats will happen. They’re part of the game, but the definition of a great life I think is finding a game you love to play and then playing it until you can play it no more. That’s my answer to your question, Kiran. I hope it makes sense to you. I hope the rest of you will send us your questions and ideas, because we really love to get them. Keep listening after this episode for a new paid feature from our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness. Dr. Carol Locke, the company’s founder, will share some key information about how Omega-3s, CBD, and other supplements can help with issues like anxiety, inflammation, depression, and a host of other issues.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Remember to reach out to us with your questions, thoughts, and show ideas. Send an email or a voice memo to [email protected], and check us out on social media. We’re on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. We’re trying to build a new presence there, so please help us do that. Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is Sarah Guertin and our recording engineer and editor is Scott Persson with two Ss. I am Dr. Ned Hallowell. Goodbye for now.

Dr. Carol Locke:
This is Dr. Carol Locke, and I am here with five ways to reduce stress. It’s going to be a tough week that we’re facing with the election on top of everything else. So here are five easy things that you can do to reduce stress and get through any tough time. Number one is get up and move. Moving is so important. It activates the brain and it releases BDNF, brain derived neurotrophic factor, which increases our brain’s ability to connect to new learning, to neuroplasticity, reduces depression, anxiety, and increases your resilience. Number two is compassionate mindfulness. This is an exercise where you close your eyes, and then you imagine someone that you have a very positive relationship with. And then you imagine you’re sending good will, good wishes to help them through some difficult obstacle in their life. We know from research done at University of Wisconsin that increasing our ability to have compassion, feel compassion and caring, increases our overall sense of well-being and positivity.

Dr. Carol Locke:
Number three is limit social media. How can you do that? Well, if you’re on Twitter all the time, you can take Twitter off your phone. This will make you have to go to your computer to check and you can set a time that you need to check. If you’re just checking other social media, you can set a time each day that you’ll check in with social media and the news and check out. Number four is laughter. Laughing is super important. It increases the blood flow to your brain, relaxes your body, and causes a release of oxytocin, the feel good hormone that gives you a tremendous sense of well-being. So schedule a time to laugh every day. Number five is you can take a supplement called OmegaBrite. OmegaBrite is an Omega-3, high EPA supplement that I developed while I was on the faculty at Harvard Medical School. OmegaBrite has been shown to reduce anxiety by 20% in healthy adults in a double blind placebo controlled trial by Ohio State. So this is an important way that you can add health and reduce your anxiety, reduce your stress every day, by simply taking OmegaBrite.

Dr. Carol Locke:
If you’d like to learn more about these five ways of reducing stress or about the study on OmegaBrite by Ohio State, you can go to our website at omegabritewellness.com/reduced stress. That’s O-M-E-G-A-B-R-I-T-E wellness.com/reduced stress. This is Dr. Carol Locke. Stay safe, stay well.

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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From Our ADHD Archives: Productivity Tips to Get Stuff Done

From Our ADHD Archives: Productivity Tips to Get Stuff Done

Kristin Seymour accomplishes more in one day than most do in a week! And she might be the only person we know that travels with a cooler and ice packs in her car… just in case! This busy ADHDer (and previous Distraction guest) joins Dr. Hallowell to share her very best ideas for getting things done. The Clinical Nurse Specialist also shares some encouraging stories about some of the kids and adults she’s worked with to help accomplish their goals. Learn about incentives, buffers, prioritizing and more through the practical ideas and solutions Kristin offers up in this episode from our second season.

To learn more about Kristin or to get a copy of her book, The Fog Lifted, click HERE.

Do you agree with Dr. Hallowell? We want to hear from you! Reach out to us at [email protected].

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

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

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.

Kristin Seymour:
The mind is a powerful thing. If you want it bad enough, you can do it. Medicated or not, you can do it, right, Ned? I mean, when you want it bad enough, you can accomplish it. If you set out little ways with lists, prioritization, incentives, and timelines, anyone can do anything.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Hello. This is Dr. Ned Hallowell, and welcome to Distraction. Today, we have one of our favorite guests, Kristin Seymour, all the way from St. Louis. She is, in terms of credentials, a board-certified adult health clinical nurse specialist. She’s a nurse practitioner with a specialty in cardiology. She’s at the world-renowned Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, one of the absolutely top-rated hospitals in the world.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
She also happens to have ADHD. In her spare time. She works on ADHD. She’s authored a book about her own experience with ADHD, a wonderful book. I urge you to go buy it. It’s short, which is good for those of us who have ADHD. You can actually read it. It’s beautifully written, full of stories and anecdotes. It’s called The Fog Lifted, and it tells you how Kristin discovered the fog she’d been living in and how she came out of that fog and went on to excel.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
It’s quite something to excel in cardiology. If you don’t know it, cardiology is like the toughest field in medicine. It’s a thrill a minute, a crisis a minute, and she’s able to do that, and then in her spare time, like on weekends and evenings, take care of the crises that arise in the lives of these kids, mostly who have ADHD. I’ve met some of them, and she’s really working with some of the really tough cases, kids who are coming out of terrible poverty and abuse. So, Kristin doesn’t just serve the easy cases. She serves the tough cases.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
She’s really, no exaggeration, saving lives, changing lives. She’s one of these people who, honestly and truly, is on a mission. Much as her life was reclaimed and transformed by this diagnosis, she’s now going about doing that for a legion of people in St. Louis. The medical profession in that city swears by her. They all want their patients to see Kristin. She can’t take care of everybody, but if she had her way, she would.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
She’s just one of those people who’s always busy. Whenever I call her, she says, “Wait a minute. I’ll call you right back.” She’s always in between doing things, and it seems like she’s never tired. And even though she’s always tired, she is able to keep it going like the EVEREADY Bunny.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
She’s a remarkable woman, has two children herself, been married to a wonderful man for a very long time, and really one of the really good people in this world. It’s great to have her with us. I told her she could talk about pretty much anything she wanted. So, I will welcome her to Distraction. Kristin, take it away.

Kristin Seymour:
Thank you, Ned. I don’t know if I’m worthy of all the kind words.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
You certainly are.

Kristin Seymour:
But thank you very much.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
You certainly are.

Kristin Seymour:
Thank you very much, and thanks for having me. The thing I thought was so funny is when you offered me open platform to discuss what I thought was important. I kind of reached out to some of the patients I work with and some of the mothers who have ADHD and those who don’t to find out what they’d be interested in hearing from me specifically, or me and you, and they all pretty much unanimously said the same topic. They said, “We all want to know, how is it that you get things done with pretty profound ADHD?”

Kristin Seymour:
Medicated or not, in my life, I’ve always been able to execute and task to completion. It’s not easy, but you learn to make it a habit. I had a very brilliant junior from Washington University, computer engineering student, in my office recently, and he said, “How do I just make myself do it? I look at all these things, and everything looks so insurmountable and overwhelming.”

Kristin Seymour:
As you and I both know, when things for people in general, but it’s particularly those with ADHD, see something that’s mentally exhausting or overwhelming, they procrastinate, avoid, completely blow it off until it’s too late, then end up doing poorly things, then they get behind the eight ball. And then this vicious cycle ensues, where you’re playing catch-up on a hamster wheel.

Kristin Seymour:
I explained to this young man that so much of it is, what do you want to get done? So you have to basically prioritize. And he said he had to get eight letters done with a résumé to send out to internships by Wednesday. And I said, “Okay. Well, let’s draft this cover letter. You just have to take one piece at a time. Don’t look at every other assignment you have to do by Wednesday. Just do this one.”

Kristin Seymour:
I always tell them to prioritize the most important tasks and timeline and put them down on paper. Whether it’s an old-fashioned list, putting it in a notes app on the phone or dictating it into your phone and then pasting it, whatever, you need to make a list because it feels so good when you can cross it off. Everybody agrees that accomplishing a task, whether it’s making your bed or finishing the letters, you feel great crossing it off. But the big-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
It’s like losing a pound. It’s like if you’re trying to lose weight, each pound, you feel that much better.

Kristin Seymour:
Yes. Exactly. And as you-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I know that because I’m trying to lose weight. So yeah.

Kristin Seymour:
Right. But the biggest thing is, all of us are pleasers, and we all like to have rewards, right-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yes.

Kristin Seymour:
… because it’s a little dopamine release with a reward, correct?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah.

Kristin Seymour:
So, I like to incentivize myself and my patients. I always tell them, “Incentivize yourself.” And this kid likes to go work out. He doesn’t have time. I said, “Well, get it done by 6:00 PM, and then go work out for an hour. Make time.”

Kristin Seymour:
The mind is a powerful thing. If you want it bad enough, you can do it. Medicated or not, you can do it, right, Ned? I mean, when you want it bad enough, you can accomplish it. If you set out little ways with lists, prioritization, incentives, and timelines, anyone can do anything.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Absolutely.

Kristin Seymour:
There’s really no excuse because you just can take little pieces of the pie and finish it off. Because when you take a little teeny piece and break it into small, manageable tasks, it’s nearly impossible to get it all done at once, those small segments don’t look so overwhelming, and then your anxiety goes down and you can do it.

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

Kristin Seymour:
Okay. The next thing is how I get it all done in a day. I always set an alarm, do a routine, even on the weekends. But things like just putting a cooler in the back of your car with ice packs, for especially the moms, when you’re running around, going to and from work or going to and from helping at the school, and you think of something on your mind kind of impulsively or instantly, and you want to run to the grocery and get it and stick it in that cooler and then keep going your way, you don’t have to detour back home and then waste time. I live by having a little cooler in the way back in my car with the ice packs in it because you get all these little things done throughout the day without having to waste time and space. Another thing-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Wow. So it’s like you’ve got a refrigerator in your car.

Kristin Seymour:
Pretty much.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Wow.

Kristin Seymour:
But it really saves time because if you can get to the gym a little bit early and there’s a grocery right in that strip mall, you can pop in there, get a few items. Then you’ve nailed two birds with one stone. You’ve worked out. You’ve gotten the groceries for the night. Go home, shower, go to work. It’s just so much easier when you can start to put interventions in place that will make life easier.

Kristin Seymour:
Life’s hard enough. We’re all busy. We’re all stressed. We’re all doing a lot of things. And people are like, “How do you do it?” I do it because I want to, first of all. Like you always say, get the job you love. Get the right job. I love what I do, love my kids. You always just have to prioritize. They’re always the most important. So, the clock stops at both jobs between 3:00 and 4:30 so I can get them off the bus, take care of my girls, and then I can go back to whatever I was doing.

Kristin Seymour:
People need to learn to prioritize what’s the most important and then take it off into little pieces. Eliminate, eliminate the stress that you’re able to. For me, social media was becoming a rabbit hole just going down a bad path. So, eliminating Facebook for a while, eliminating social media, for some of us, for a time, a little amount of time, is good. Then you can come back to it. It’s just sometimes it becomes one more thing to do, and you can eliminate it because it’s probably not the most important thing at the time. Does that make sense?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Total.

Kristin Seymour:
Another thing is, a lot of states are doing this-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
If I could just stop you for one second-

Kristin Seymour:
Yeah.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
… because I want to do full justice to that because I think it is the single biggest time-waster. When people say I have more to do than time to do it, my word for it is screen-sucking. I say, “How much time do you give to screens?” Most people are just not aware of how much time. If you add it all up between email and Twitter and Facebook and LinkedIn and all of the different screen … the screen time, we’re mostly not aware of how much time we’re giving to screens. If you just go screen-free for even a part of a day, let alone a whole day, you’re going to have a lot more free time. And at first, you won’t know what to do with that time.

Kristin Seymour:
Right. Yeah, agreed, agreed. There is a platform for the promotions and the good things through social media and things like that, but I think, as you say, to just be cautioned about how much time you are on it and how it can be so addicting. I’ve seen your other pieces on that, and I think it’s really important because people need to get outside and play games, and play, and run, and do sports, and be active because it gives the same kind of dopamine feel-good release and gets your energy out there without having to sit there and worry about how many likes you have and if you’re liked or not based on amount of hearts. It’s just ridiculous.

Kristin Seymour:
And so, I thought role-modeling that for my own kids was a good idea, just showing them, “You don’t need this.” And then they don’t … Well, you got to kind of practice what you preach, if you will.

Kristin Seymour:
The other thing is, whether you have a housekeeper or not, or a helpful husband like I have, I have my girls pitch in, which helps also get things done during the day. Delegate, learn to say no. All these parents, a lot of these moms or dads see that they are … and they are so amazing and that they can do it the right way. That’s true, but it doesn’t mean it’s the only way.

Kristin Seymour:
So, sometimes I’ll be like, “Hey,” to my husband, “can you pick up the dog’s medicine?” or, “Can you get the girls today?” Delegate, learn to say no, build in buffers. Like on Late Start, I’m sick of trying to arrange that. So, I hired a high school girl to drive one girl in for Late Start. Parents need to learn how to just relax, know you’re doing the best you can, and that’s how you get it all done. You just have to put things in place that are going to help you be a success. Making lists and taking off little pieces, it’s huge. And by the way, the WashU student finished all eight letters and applications by Tuesday night.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Wow.

Kristin Seymour:
So he accomplished a goal in a matter of 48 hours of meeting together. He did one letter, I proofread it, he buffed up his résumé, and by Tuesday, he said, “I got them all in.” And what a great feeling.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
But you didn’t put that on your list of suggestions, namely, work with someone like you.

Kristin Seymour:
No. Well, right. But I mean, just, he looked at me, and he said, “How can I just make myself do it? I keep looking at it.”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
But see, that’s not … You can’t. You got to work with a coach, work with Kristin.

Kristin Seymour:
That’s true. You do. You’re right. I mean, I guess I underestimate that role too much. But I think it’s very important because just saying, “Hey, that is a lot of work with your regular 14 credit hours, and you’re a brilliant young man.” Yeah, it’s a lot of pressure, and you’ve been sick, but let’s see how we can do this. What’s due first, second, third? And next thing you know, I got a text Friday saying, “I got everything in,” and he’s … It’s kind of a great little story because he said, “I couldn’t finish my entire exam because I was so sick and tired and behind the eight ball.”

Kristin Seymour:
I said, “Well, why didn’t you tell your teacher you were sick. Let’s shoot a quick email. He probably has no idea. You were flu-positive.” We did. The professor writes him back, says, “You know what? You have a 24-hour extension. I had no idea you were so ill over break.”

Kristin Seymour:
I think people just are so quick to give up sometimes, and I’m not saying he gave up, but they don’t realize you can think outside the box, and people want to help each other. And if they understand there’s a good reason that we can all work together, it just-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah. When you’re doing it alone, you get overwhelmed.

Kristin Seymour:
Correct. You’re right. They don’t think outside the box, and you get overwhelmed. Exactly, Ned. That’s exactly right. And so, it’s good to … You’re right. You get overwhelmed. When you have someone there to help, you kind of think it through and kind of plan with, it’s a lot more … you feel not like you’re drowning. You feel supported. That’s a very good point. Yeah.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
All right, Kristin, if you could hang on for just a moment while I tell our listeners about our sponsor, Landmark College.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
For over 25 years, the Landmark College Institute for Research and Training has provided cutting-edge relevant and practical professional learning to individuals in schools. Informed by current research and decades of classroom experience, the Institute is a leader in the fields of learning disabilities, ADHD, and autism spectrum disorder, and this spring is no different.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
The Institute has lined up a couple of great webinars for educators, including one available now called Destination Education: Supporting Students with Learning Differences in the College Search. In this presentation, Landmark College’s lead educational specialist, who also happens to be a former admissions officer, offers tips that educators can use to assist their students with learning differences as they face common college search obstacles. You can register for any of the Institute’s webinars by going to lcdistraction.org and then click on Research & Training.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
All right, now back to Kristin Seymour.

Kristin Seymour:
I had a physician the other day, brilliant. He had so many thoughts on his mind, he didn’t know how to exercise documenting them. So, he dictated them while he was driving in the phone Notes app. And he’s like, “How do I get this to a document?” I said, “Just upload it in an email to yourself, copy and paste it to word, have it spell-checked and formatted, and you’ve got your outline for your paper.” There’s just all these shortcuts. And I-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So this is a physician.

Kristin Seymour:
That’s a physician who’s in a graduate program here in St. Louis. Yeah, he’s one of my patients’ parents.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Just to underline that for people listening, that this is not a problem that’s related to IQ or level of achievement. This is a problem that cuts across all levels of education, all levels of IQ, that is afflicting, I would say, everybody in the world today.

Kristin Seymour:
That’s a great point. Mm-hmm (affirmative). Mm-hmm (affirmative). Everybody in the world today could benefit from just a few … like, just take it easy, how to do some shortcuts. ADHD, as you say, it’s across all types. And this patient’s … I believe you’ve spoken with him once. But anyway, his parents are both physicians, and they’re very bright. The dad I don’t believe has ADHD, but he was asking, he said, “Well, how do you get those thoughts out so quick?” And then because our minds are like, as you say, a Ferrari engine, and sometimes the thoughts are coming faster than you can write them down, especially if you’re maybe walking or-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Driving.

Kristin Seymour:
… driving. You can dictate, and it’s really … saves some time. And it also … some of your best ideas come when you’re stimulating your dopamine, exercising, walking, driving, listening to music. That’s why it’s just not convenient for a pen and paper. So, dictate, cut, and paste is a nice way that people can … “Hey, that’s awesome. I didn’t forget what I was going to say or do.”

Kristin Seymour:
Also, I always try to tell people what I do because I hate saying, “Oh, do this,” but if I know I can’t do it. I like to do things that are really truly reasonable and feasible because otherwise, you get frustrated and you’re like, “This isn’t going to work.” And then you get frustrated again.

Kristin Seymour:
So, I never quit. The sky is not falling. So many people freak out, if they don’t … and get behind on one assignment. That is the biggest mistake. Just chill out. The sky is not falling. Start up again tomorrow. Your professors are understanding. Teachers want to help you. You just don’t have to make excuses every time. But once in a blue moon, they want to help you too.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Right, right, right. So ask for help, I guess, would be another tip, huh?

Kristin Seymour:
Ask for help is huge. I mean, to have so many bright students, especially the high school, the college students, the young professionals, I think it’s okay to ask for help. None of us are in this alone. It’s kind of humbling. I think incentivizing yourself is huge, from the eight-year-old I work with … Oh, my gosh, he’s so precious. If you could get up and make your breakfast every day without whining to your mother, I think … I’m sorry, he’s 11 now.

Kristin Seymour:
He is going to go with me to Shake Shack on a Sunday and get a shake. That was his incentive for like a month of good behavior. Incentives are great because they’re rewards. It’s that dopamine, that reward pathway again, the positive reward. You don’t have to kiss their behinds for just doing their job and being a respectful young person. But when it’s something that’s a challenge for that child, like making breakfast, getting up on time, getting homework assignments done without mom nagging, those are all things that deserve a reward and recognition after a few weeks or a month because that’s really hard for kids with ADHD and can’t focus, much harder than the child who can.

Kristin Seymour:
Those are just more reasons how we all get it done. I incentivize myself to get stuff done and all the time because I don’t always want to do something, but you have to. I mean, if we all did what we wanted in life, gosh, we wouldn’t be very successful probably. We have to do certain things.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). The thing about incentives, the more immediate they can be, the better. I mean, you brush your teeth to avoid getting cavities. That’s a long time away, but if you can have an immediate incentive, like your kid, so he can go work out, that tends to work a little bit better.

Kristin Seymour:
Right. I think even just something as simple as making the bed every morning, it’s so nice to see a clean and, you know-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yes.

Kristin Seymour:
… all put together, so when you come home from work or your day, it’s just, it’s clean, it’s put together, it’s one task accomplished, right?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yes, yes, yes. Same thing about cooking dinner. You end up with a dinner.

Kristin Seymour:
Right. And so, I think that this kid, when he was able to … I have another patient who just wanted to be able to go swing dance every Monday night, and he is hilarious, in college. And I said, “Well, if want to keep that up, we’ve got to get the stats going. So, let’s have this our goal be, by Sunday at 3:00, everything is done and checked.”

Kristin Seymour:
You’ve got to have that incentive, no matter what it is. It’s different for everybody, what makes you tick. But when you have someone to kind of help … I feel like I’m more of an accountability coach, more than anything, because they want to make … We’re all pleasers, right?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah.

Kristin Seymour:
When we’re pleasers, we love making people happy, we love pleasing people, especially those with ADHD. They’re so sensitive, and they love to please their parents and teachers and friends. When they know they’re pleasing you, they feel good. So when they know that I’m not their mom or dad, but I’m also not their friend or peer, they’re like, “I want to make Miss Seymour happier,” or Kristin or whatever, “I’m going to do this.”

Kristin Seymour:
And then it becomes a habit. So after about three weeks or four weeks, some kids about six months, of working together, they’re like, “Oh, it’s ingrained. I did it so long trying to make her proud and myself proud, that now I only want to do it because I like it and it’s a habit.” So I’m kind of creating positive habits with the kids and adults.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
But one of your great talents, and I think anyone listening who is a parent or a teacher or a coach, you want to cultivate this. I happen to know this because I know you, you have a great way of showing that you’re pleased. In other words, don’t just sort of say, “Oh, that’s nice.” I mean, you really say, “Wow!” I mean, anyone would want to please you because you really show you’re pleased, and you don’t fake it. You really mean it. You’re like, “Wow! That’s great!”

Kristin Seymour:
Yeah, I really … Yeah, I celebrate it big time.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
You really get excited for them, not over just producing a good bowel movement. I mean, they’ve got to do something that matters. But if they do something that matters, you really get excited about it.

Kristin Seymour:
Right. Right. Especially if it’s something that was hard for that person or a challenge. I mean, this young man who I just met, his mom was really eager to get him in because we have to stay the semester. This kid showed up early to my office. We worked together. He completed it. He wrote me and said, “I’m going to go camping this weekend. I did all my work. I feel great.”

Kristin Seymour:
And I didn’t just write him. I called him, and I said, “I am so proud of you, you rock star. Look at this. You did everything and more than you wanted to do in one week. This should be celebrated. Enjoy your …” whatever. But yeah, I get really excited with them. I’m very proud of them because I know personally how hard it is to do what they’re doing.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I think that’s something that anybody who works with people who are having trouble making progress and whatnot, that they need to be aware that when they do make progress at something that is challenging, it’s important to get really excited the way you do, Kristin.

Kristin Seymour:
Well, thanks. Yeah, I agree with you. I even think even just getting help … I mean, I have a lot of moms I’m working with just coming in to say, “Hey, how do I get this done?” And I’m like, “I’m just proud of you for being here.” Sometimes making the call and getting yourself in to get someone and help guide you or understand your child better is hard. It’s not easy, and just coming to get help is a big deal.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
What advice do you have for moms or dads or anyone who says, “Well, my son or daughter just won’t get help”?

Kristin Seymour:
Well, that’s tough. If they’re on meds, or they’re in sports, or they’re not medicated, or whatever the situation is, I usually tell the parent, if they have me mind me, just to at least come and see, and then they’d let the kid decide because what’s worth an hour of their life? I mean, it’s one hour, and then they can reward the … My office is over a cupcake place, and I did that on purpose. They could bribe the child, again, incentive.

Kristin Seymour:
So The child can come with their parent, and a lot of these, I would say about seven out of 10, probably didn’t want to excitedly come here, but they all leave wanting my cell phone number and not actually wanting to leave. I had one young man yesterday for three hours and 20 minutes in my office. [crosstalk 00:24:48] one-hour meeting.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
It’s so symbolic that your office is over a cupcake place. That’s-

Kristin Seymour:
I did that on purpose, my friend. That was a complete strategy.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
That is so great. That is so great. I often say that any expert who says that you shouldn’t bribe children doesn’t have children. I mean, if it’s-

Kristin Seymour:
Oh, it’s all about threats and bribes, I’m just kidding, consequences and incentives because these kids … Think about how we … Or I try to think about how I used to be. I kind of tried myself and put myself in their position, and I think, “You know what? I didn’t probably want to be here at 9:00 on a Sunday morning.” And next thing you know, it’s like, I look at the kid and I’m like, well, this one’s 17, “This is probably the last place you want to be, but I want to help you, and I’m going to talk to you about a few ideas to get these grades up and make you feel more confident.” He didn’t want to leave. I had to literally take him out [inaudible 00:25:38].

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
You worked with yesterday for three hours. That’s-

Kristin Seymour:
17-year-old, yes. And then he texted me that night, and he goes, “Hey, thanks again.”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Three hours on a Sunday afternoon-

Kristin Seymour:
Yes. I was only supposed to be with him for an hour. My husband’s like, “Hey, I got dinner. Are you coming home?”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
… with the 17-year-old, who at first didn’t want to come at all.

Kristin Seymour:
No, he didn’t, and he was so great. He’s already texted me today and said he’s going to do his flash cards during study hall, and he’s going to send me a picture of them because I’m going to prove to him … I said, “You have five days to do this my way, and if it doesn’t work and you don’t like it, then we’ll know we tried and we’ll do something else.”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
See, Kristin, that’s just … You see, we have to do this again because you really have a secret sauce. I mean, this is solving a problem that I get asked about all the time by parents everywhere, “How do I motivate the kid who doesn’t want to do anything?” And so, you took a 17-year-old male, about the most difficult population you can imagine-

Kristin Seymour:
Yeah. I’m talking like six feet tall, football player, lacrosse player, darling kid that did not really want to be here.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah, but who doesn’t seem darling to anyone else because he’s saying, “No, I don’t want any help,” and, “Get away from me,” and-

Kristin Seymour:
Pretty much.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
… and, “I’d rather sit in the basement and play video games.”

Kristin Seymour:
Exactly.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah. And somehow or other-

Kristin Seymour:
By the way, the video game is one of his rewards, by the way. Funny you said that.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah. So he walks into your office and, basically, arms folded and says, “Okay, what are you going to do for me, bitch?” And you somehow keep him for three hours. That’s-

Kristin Seymour:
Well, I started packing up. He kept wanting to stay. And finally, I start doing my stuff. I’m like, “We got to cruise.” And so, he walked out to my car with me, and he was lovely, gave me his cell phone number. And I tell the parents. I screenshot our messages to parents. I like to keep them in the loop. And the children know that that’s the rule, just to give them a feel of how we discuss goals and objectives. And this young man wrote me last night and this morning, both, and said, “I will send you my pictures of my flash cards. Thank you again.” And I-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
In 25 words or less, how did you engage him?

Kristin Seymour:
In how many words or less?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, take as many as you want.

Kristin Seymour:
I engaged him by relating to him and saying, “I know how much this is a struggle. But you know what? You don’t have a choice. You have to get through this class unless you want to spend the whole summer in summer school. So I want to help you do this, and that’s for …” And then he just looked up at me like, “Okay.”

Kristin Seymour:
And I’m like, “The last thing you need is another lecture or parent. You need someone to help advise you and guide you. So here’s what I want to try to do with you. You’re not an audio learner. You’re visual. You’ve already told me that. So, let’s figure out a way to implement and commit these terms to memory for this class. I want you to try these colored flashcards and colored gel pens because they stimulate dopamine. They stimulate your brain to feel happy when you use these.”

Kristin Seymour:
And they did. And he’s like, “Wow.” He took them home. I always have stuff stocked here just so they can start right away. And then he just started saying, he goes, “I’ve been to a lot of therapists over the years, and I sit there and tell them what they want to hear. But I really felt good today. I thank you.” And then his dad called later and said, “I’ve never heard him sound so peaceful.”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Wow.

Kristin Seymour:
And that was the … And I’m like, “Usually, people who are done with me need a nap, but that’s good.”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
That’s good, yes.

Kristin Seymour:
He laughed, and he said, “My son was revived. He Just felt calm and was so happy.” So it was a good day. It was actually a great day. I worked hard, but it was worth it just for one more kid to feel comfortable and confident.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, I know you have another place to get to, and I’m going to let you go. But you really are the Pied Piper. You really are amazing, whether it’s working with difficult parents or difficult children, you can engage just about anybody. And I think-

Kristin Seymour:
Thank you. Well, I learned for the best, I mean, you.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, no, you learn from yourself and your own experience where you were in a fog, and then you wrote about it, how the fog lifted.

Kristin Seymour:
Truly, yeah. And I had great parents. I mean, they were really wonderful and instrumental. They weren’t perfect, but they sure did a heck of a good job, I think. And I then became out to say, “You know what? I don’t care what people think.” I put it out there about my struggles, and I just want to help people, as you say, burn, I burned, so they don’t suffer like I did. But you have taught me so much in [crosstalk 00:30:00] too.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And you come up with these great ideas, like keeping ice packs in the back of your car. So you’ve got a traveling refrigerator.

Kristin Seymour:
It doesn’t have beer or wine in it, folks. Everybody always asks me if that’s what’s in there. I’m like, “No, friends. I wish. That’s for tailgate season. Okay?” But anyway, you’re the best. Thank you for everything. You have really taught me so much too, though, to implement with this.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, Kristin, it goes both ways. You’ve taught me so much, and we’ll have you again. I love the idea of, you’ve got a 17-year-old male who doesn’t want to talk to anyone, and he ends up spending three hours, and goes home, and has to take a nap. That’s fantastic.

Kristin Seymour:
Oh, he’s awesome. It was a great day. But you guys are great. Thanks for everything. You have a super rest of the day.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Thank you.

Kristin Seymour:
I look forward to talking with you all again soon.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
All right. Take care.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Thanks so much for joining me again on Distraction, Kristin. You really are remarkable. I hope her energy and imagination came through. I mean, what she’s doing, thinking on our feet, using her intuition and her experience, she really is engaging with the most difficult groups of people I know because she talks to me about them all the time. She can engage with anyone. I mean, if you can take a 17-year-old male with ADD who doesn’t want to talk to anybody and have him stay with you for three hours on a Sunday afternoon, believe me, that’s about as tough as it gets, short of someone who’s actively on drugs, in which case, there’s no point in trying because you have to wait for them to get sober. She’s really remarkable.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
If you’d like to learn more about Kristin or get a copy of her book, The Fog Lifted, go to adhdfoglifted.com or click on the link episode description in the podcast. If you like what you’re hearing here, remember to subscribe to the show so you don’t miss an episode. We’d love for you to give us a review on Apple Podcasts as well. That really helps the show. So, just go to Apple Podcasts and review us.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Also, please send us questions or show ideas to [email protected], that’s [email protected]

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Distraction is produced by Collisions, the podcast division of CRN International. Collisions, podcasts for curious people. Our producer is Sarah Guertin, and our audio engineers are Scott Persson and Greg Session.

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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From Our ADHD Archives: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective ADHD Adults

From Our ADHD Archives: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective ADHD Adults

To help celebrate ADHD Awareness Month we’re re-releasing some of our most-downloaded shows from Distraction’s first three seasons!

In this mini episode from season 2, Dr. Hallowell gives his spin on Stephen Covey’s book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, with a similar list for those with ADHD. From doing what you’re good at, to asking for advice, you’re bound to find a few nuggets of applicable wisdom for your own life. But as Ned advises, this is his list, so if these habits don’t resonate with you, add your own to the list!

Share your episode ideas and questions with us! 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.

Do you know someone who learns differently? Our sponsor, Landmark College, might be the right place for them. Learn more HERE.

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 Three Supplements, for the past 20 years, OmegaBrite CBD, safe, third-party tested, and it works. Shop online at OmegaBriteWellness.com and by Landmark College offering comprehensive support for students with ADHD and other learning differences. Learn more at lcdistraction.org. Landmark College. The college of choice for students who learn differently.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Hello, this is Dr. Ned Hallowell with a mini episode of Distraction. As everyone knows, years ago, Covey and company came out with a very famous book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. It became extremely famous, has sold, probably gazillions of copies, probably printed into Martian by now. Anyway, I lifted that motif and put it into my book Delivered From Distraction and came up with The 7 Habits of Highly Effective ADHD Adults. And what I’m going to do is give you my take of what are at least seven habits of highly effective ADHD adults. That you can add your own. Certainly the point of it is to come up with what works best for you and to make habits, make these habits if you possibly can.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So number one, do what you’re good at. Don’t spend too much time trying to get good at what you’re bad at. A lot of people with ADD, spend a lifetime trying to get good at what you’re bad at. And it’s really sad to see. And then they have some sort of moral imperative that they’re going to… Before they die, they want to become really good at accounting because they think they should. And as a result, they waste a lot of very precious time when they could be doing what they’re good at, trying to get good at what they’re bad at big mistake.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Number two, delegate what you’re bad at to others as often as possible. You know, if you don’t have anyone to delegate it to, then hire someone. But one way or another pass off to someone else by delegation, by hiring, whatever means you have. If possible delegate to others, what you’re bad at now. You can’t delegate brushing your teeth. You know, there are some things that you just have to do yourself, but as much as possible have other people do what you’re bad at.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Connect your energy to a creative outlet. I call this the creative imperative. People with ADD really need a creative outlet. We do so much better when we have a creative outlet. The reason I write books, if I don’t have a book going, I get depressed. It’s like a cow needs to be milked. I need to have a creative outlet. Really, really, really important. And I’ve found that for most of us would ADD, this is essential. It’s, more important than almost anything in bringing out our best. We really need a creative outlet.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Number four, get well enough organized to achieve your goals. The key here is well enough. That doesn’t mean you have to be really well-organized, at all. Just well enough organized to achieve your goals. So, you don’t want disorganization to keep you from reaching your goals, but that doesn’t mean you have to be Martha Stewart and appear in House Beautiful. It doesn’t mean you have to win the promptness award. You know, the school I went to, they always gave a promptness award, but that’s not what you want to do. You want to make sure that disorganization does not prevent you from reaching your goals. That’s the key, well, enough organized.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Number five asks for and heed advice from people you trust and ignore as best you can the dream breakers and finger wagers. An old friend of mine used to say, be a dream maker, not a dream breaker. Listen to the dream makers, listen to the people who are encouragers, not discarded jurors. Now, of course you don’t want to be wildly unrealistic, but I think it’s better to go to your grave, living off an unmet dream than go to your grave with a bunch of shattered dreams.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And number six, make sure you keep up regular contact with a few close friends. Those of you who have listened to me before know I’m big on what I call the other vitamin C, vitamin connect. Make sure you connect and stay in touch with a few close friends. Probably the most important thing, or one of the most important things, you can do in your life. You know, the surgeon general has named loneliness as the biggest medical problem in the United States today. Well, one of the great antidotes to loneliness is to stay in touch with friends. Now, if you don’t have any friends, start making it a priority to make friends. Join a gym, join a synagogue, church, or other free place where people get together a library or start frequenting a certain, a convenience store or a mom and pop store, a restaurant, any place where you can meet people. And Heaven knows that online, there are any number of chat rooms. And just try to make friends, keep up with friends. And of course my favorite, one of all, which counts as a person is get a dog.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And number seven, go with your positive side. Even though you have a negative side, make decisions, run your life, and present to the world your positive side is as much as you can. Now that doesn’t mean you have to walk around with a smiley button. When you’re having genuine conversations with other people, of course be real. Let people know what you’re really feeling, but don’t walk into a job interview and say, I’m really second rate. Try to present with your positive side.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, those are the seven habits that I picked. You can pick your own. To recap, do what you’re good at, delegate what you’re bad at, connect to a creative outlet, get well enough organized to achieve your goals, ask for and heed advice from people you trust, Make sure you keep up with a few close friends, and go with your positive side. Those are the seven habits that I’ve chosen of highly effective ADHD adults.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
This is Dr. Ned Hallowell with a mini episode of Distracted. If you have a question for me or a show idea for us, email it to [email protected] We look forward to hearing from you. We want to hear from you. So 844-55-Connect or email at [email protected] Distraction is produced by Collisions, the podcast division of CRN International. Collisions, podcasts for curious people. Our sound engineers and editors are the wonderfully talented Pat Keogh and Chris Latham, and our producer is the multitalented and unbelievably brilliant Sarah Guertin.

The episode distraction 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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Strengthen the Cerebellum to Improve ADHD Symptoms

Strengthen the Cerebellum to Improve ADHD Symptoms

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

Learn more about Dr. John Ratey HERE.

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

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

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

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

Check out this episode!

A transcript of this episode is below.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dr. John Ratey:
Yes.

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

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

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Simon.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Ned’s Short List of Good Distractions

Ned’s Short List of Good Distractions

Pandemic-life these days can be quite stressful, so finding ways to give your brain a break is key to maintaining a healthy balance. Our host shares a few of the things he’s been doing to take his mind off of the pandemic, politics and other upsetting topics in this week’s mini Distraction.

Reach out to us with your comments, questions and show ideas! Send us 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 Pat Keogh.

Check out this episode!

A transcript of this episode can be found below.


Dr. Ned Hallowell:

This episode of Distraction is sponsored by OmegaBrite CBD, formulated by OmegaBrite Wellness, creators of the number one Omega3 supplements for the past 20 years. OmegaBrite CBD, safe, third-party tested, and it works. Shop online at omegabritewellness.com.

This is Dr. Ned Hallowell with a mini episode of Distraction. During the pandemic, each week, we do a mini episode that touches in some way upon this phenomenon that we’ve all been living within and today’s is going to be a lighthearted one. I want to talk about things that I have been doing myself to divert me from the perils of the day, to take my mind off of the pandemic, politics and other upsetting topics. I just thought I’d go down the list of what I’ve done either alone or with family members, not an exhaustive list, of course, but just a few things that came trippingly to my tongue or instantly to my mind.

One thing, I have been binge watching Schitt’s Creek. Now, if you’ve never seen Schitt’s Creek, it is funny. I really recommend it to you. My wife started watching it and she described it to me and I said, “I don’t think that sounds good.” It is terrific. It is uproariously funny. It is so, so, so, so funny. If you don’t find the show funny, something’s happened to your funny bone. Just thinking about it, with Eugene Levy, with the big eyebrows, it’s just hysterically funny.

I also made a purchase while waiting in line because we have to wait in line to get into certain stores, and the line outside of Whole Foods happens to have a bunch of hanging flowers for sale. So I bought two of these hanging flower pots, one predominant color pink, the other predominant color violet, and I hung them from hooks on our front porch. Now, when you buy hanging flower pots, you have to water the flowers. So that’s what I’ve been doing each day, and in order to water the flowers, I’m not quite tall enough to reach the watering can up. So I bought a little step stool. So I have my step stool on the porch, along with my watering can and I get up there every day or every other day and water these flowers. I’m telling you, it’s really rewarding to see them flourish and grow and they’re bushier, and hanging downer more, and just lovely to behold.

Also, someone left us a pot of pansies as sort of a gift during this time and I’ve been watering that as well and they are just flourishing. My gosh, there were a few stray strands of pansy in the original. Now it’s just like a pansy bush. So we’ve got the blue pansies, the violet flowers, the pink flowers and the porch, it just lifts my spirits. I also wrote a letter to David Brooks, the columnist in the New York Times. He wrote a column on Friday, the 26th, about five problems that we’re dealing with that I just thought it was a wonderful column.

I’ve also been cooking. I go online and I look for recipes and there’s a gazillion recipes online. They’ll have 32 ways of turning ground meat into a meal or 17 side dishes for the 4th of July, and I love these and I go download them, I print them out and next thing you know, I’m cooking them up. Like tomorrow, I’m going to make a vegetable chicken stew in the crackpot. Tuesdays is my day to make dinner, so I’ll put it in in the morning, and by the time evening rolls around, we’ll have this yummy, delicious stew. Online recipe shopping is another activity that I highly recommend.

Play with a dog. We’re lucky because my daughter is here and with her comes her a little Chiweenie named Layla. As you know, I think dogs are God’s greatest creation. Been playing with Layla every chance I get. Then when my son brings over his dog, Max, we had to play with both dogs and out in the backyard, the two of them rushing around.

Then one final thing I got for my daughter, because she really wanted this, a inflatable pool, above ground obviously, that it’s big enough for her to put a inflatable raft in it so she can lie in the sun, in the water, on the water and to see the smile on her face, when this thing arrived. It didn’t cost a huge amount. It was $300. I know that’s not nothing, but it was affordable and it was joy, joy, joy, joy. This is all along the lines of specializing. That’s my term for making the ordinary extraordinary. Turning what’s a dismal situation into one that’s a playful, fun, rewarding, interesting, engaging.

So that’s my little list. Binge-watched Schitt’s Creek, water the hanging flowers, write a letter to David Brooks, cook up new stuff, play with the dog and get something special for your daughter, in my case, it was this inflatable pool. Let’s try to do these things for one another. Let’s try to stay connected, even though we have to keep our distance. Let’s try to bring each other messages and vibes of goodwill, of joy, of understanding, of harmony. Let’s try to get along.

Okay, before I say goodbye, I’d like to remind you to check out OmegaBrite CBD. I’ve been taking the CBD supplement myself for nearly three months and I have noticed it’s definitely helping with my feelings of irritability and random anxiety. You can get OmegaBrite CBD online at omegabritewellness.com. That’s O-M-E-G-A-B-R-I-T-E-wellness.com, Brite intentionally misspelled. They have a deal for Distraction listeners right now as well. You’ll save 20% off your first order when you use the promo code podcast 2020. That’s podcast 2020. OmegaBrite CBD, safe, third-party tested, and it works.

Please continue to connect with us. Share your thoughts, questions, and show ideas by emailing us at [email protected]. That’s [email protected] Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is the multi-talented and several voice levels, Sarah Guertin, and our recording engineer and editor is the impish and brilliant Pat Keogh. I am Dr. Ned Hallowell. Thank you so very much for joining our community and listening to our podcast.

The episode of Distraction you just heard was sponsored by OmegaBrite CBD formulated by OmegaBrite Wellness, creators of the number one Omega3 supplements for the past 20 years. OmegaBrite CBD, safe, third-party tested, and it works. Shop online at omegabritewellness.com.

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How to Stop Losing Your Stuff with How to ADHD and Landmark College

How to Stop Losing Your Stuff with How to ADHD and Landmark College

If you can’t ever remember where you put your keys, phone, wallet or whatever, help is on the way! Jessica McCabe of How to ADHD shares a bunch of useful tips and strategies to help you stop losing things in this special episode sponsored by Landmark College in Putney, Vermont. It’s the college of choice for students who learn differently!

Check out all of Jessica’s amazing ADHD content on her website at HowtoADHD.

Share your thoughts with us by writing an email, or recording a message using the voice memo app on your phone, and sending it to [email protected]

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

Do you know a student with ADHD or other learning difference looking for a higher education experience? Tell them about our sponsor, Landmark College, in Putney, Vermont. Find out more HERE.

Check out this episode!

A transcript of this episode is below.


Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Hello, this is Dr Ned Hallowell and welcome to Distraction. I’m here with a special episode brought to you by our wonderful sponsor Landmark College in beautiful, beautiful Putney, Vermont. The college of choice for students who learn differently.

And to help with this special episode, I am joined by one of our all time favorites, Jessica McCabe, the host of How to ADHD, which now she told me has 360,000 followers. So you should join and be 360,001.

Not that many people follow something unless it’s really worthwhile. And Jessica, she’s just full of positive energy and wisdom and smarts and knowledge and for her tender young age, she sure does know an awful lot. Welcome to Distraction, Jessica.

Jessica McCabe:

Thank you. Gosh, you are just so good for my self esteem. Probably everybody should be on the show just to hear how you talk about them. Thank you. That was really kind of you.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

It is all true. What was it you wanted to talk to us about in this special episode?

Jessica McCabe:

I do work really hard to create a good show. I also lose things a lot. And I finally tackled that on the channel and I wanted to talk about here too because while I was doing the research and writing that episode, I realized how much of a difference it made in my life that I lost everything. It was my first ADHD symptom that I remember. I would come home without my jacket almost every day. I spent way too much time looking through the lost and found box, and I used to feel really bad about it. It affected my life in a lot of ways because then I wouldn’t have my favorite whatever.

Or, I remember in fourth grade somebody gave me these really precious earrings and they were the first time that somebody gave me real gemstone earrings. It was a family friend and they were real Topaz, which is my birthstone. And it was like two days before I lost them and I felt so bad. And since then I’ve always told people, “Don’t give me anything nice because I will lose it.”

And I’ve also just carried around this sense of like incompetence and paid the ADHD tax of having to replace things so many times. And I used to just think this was this character defect. It was just something wrong with me that I keep, this is why I can’t have nice things. And then I realized doing this research, it really is our ADHD that makes it so difficult to hold onto things. We’re often distracted when we put stuff down or we impulsively set it down for just a second and then end up doing five other things. And then when we go looking for things to make things more challenging, our brains don’t filter out extraneous stimuli very well.

When we go looking for the thing, we see all these other things that need our attention. So we end up responding to these. And this, by the way, is also often why we’re late. And so it has this incredible ripple effect throughout our entire lives that we lose things so often. And I finally decided to tackle it.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Yes. And how did you do that?

Jessica McCabe:

Well, I took my mom’s advice. She always told us growing up, “Have a place for everything and everything in its place.” Have a dedicated place for everything so that you know when you are distracted you can still automatically put things where they go and you know where to look for it later so it’s easy to find it.

And for her, that’s the end of the story and that’s great. But the thing is, for those of us with ADHD brains, the very same parts of our brain that benefit from having a place for everything are also the ones that make it, those are the parts of our brain that make it really hard to have a place for everything.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

It is. Right.

Jessica McCabe:

Because, I don’t know about you, I walk into a room and I just explode. Whatever got with me is suddenly just all over the room. It’s really hard for me actually. I know there are some people with ADHD that can be extremely organized and that’s a coping mechanism for them.

I try. Every fall, going back to school, I would try and I’d have these elaborate systems that I would set up and I would just, they would fall apart within a week or two. So I think, from the research that I’ve done, I think the key to cutting back on losing things, and I don’t think it’s ever going to be perfect, but the key to reducing the amount of things that we lose is to make it more ADHD friendly to have a place for everything.

One of those strategies that I found is to do what’s called putting things at the point of performance. Where we use the thing, is where the thing should go. And for me, and for probably a lot of people with ADHD, that means having multiple copies of things. I used to think it was a waste of money to do that. But then I think about all the jobs I’ve lost from being late or the extra things that I’ve had to buy because I lost them. And it’s actually more cost effective probably to just have a charger at every station that you tend to charge your devices at so you don’t port it everywhere and lose it and then don’t have it. And then your phone dies and then you can’t call work to tell them you’re going to be late, or whatever it is.

Yeah. Have a charger at every place that you tend to charge your phone. I tend to train my dog in the kitchen, so that’s where I put her treats. I tend to need her to leave me alone when I’m in the office, so that’s where I put her bones. I started really being conscious about put things where I will use them.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Just such a good principle. Let me just quickly interrupt and say, Jessica is brought to us through the courtesy and good will of Landmark College, the school for students who learn differently. It is located in beautiful Putney, Vermont.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

So please go on Jessica, sorry to interrupt.

Jessica McCabe:

No, you can tell I’m really passionate about this. I’m like, I must share this with everybody. Because I wish, this is what I wish I’d known when I was in college. It would have made things a lot easier.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Yeah. I’m sure it would of.

Jessica McCabe:

That, yeah, put things where you’re going to use them and then also make it as easy as possible to put it back. Because it doesn’t matter if there’s a place for everything, if it doesn’t actually end up in that place. But I tend to be really impulsive, really impatient. And so things like I have a coat closet but it’s so much effort to open the door, get a hanger out, take my jacket off, put the jacket on the hanger, zip it up, stick it back in and close the door. So I just got a coat rack and I just throw my coat on that and now I’ll actually do it instead of it ending up on the couch or on the floor.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

You have to make the place user-friendly, too.

Jessica McCabe:

Yeah, exactly. And the cool thing is by making it user friendly for somebody with ADHD, it really makes it user friendly for everybody. There’s really no reason not to do this. Minimize the number of steps involved, make it mentally easy by making it clear where the thing goes. Label makers are really good for this. If you don’t have a label maker, a post it note or whatever. It seems so silly to have to do this, but it really does help our brains out so much if we don’t have to process, okay, I’m holding this thing, where does this thing go?

Jessica McCabe:

If there’s just a label that says “This is where it goes.” It’s like, okay, I don’t even have to think about it. It’s going to be so much more likely that I put it there. Clear containers, I never really understood why this was recommended for people with ADHD all the time and then I got some and I’m like, right. Because now my dog’s bones are in a clear container, so I don’t have to remember which container it’s in or even read a label. I can just see them, and it’s so much easier.

Jessica McCabe:

And then the other couple of tips, make it satisfying or enjoyable. If you get a mini reward for putting it there, there’s a key hook you really like, it makes you smile every time you look at it, you’re more likely to put your keys there. If you have a pretty comforter or a bedspread, if you like the way your bed looks when it’s made, maybe you’ll be a little more likely to make it. And again, these are things where it’s like, that shouldn’t matter. We get stuck in shoulds and shouldn’ts and I should just do the thing. I shouldn’t need this extra stuff.

Jessica McCabe:

But still, this is the way our brain works.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Absolutely.

Jessica McCabe:

And I think we should use whatever tools we have at our disposal.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Absolutely. No, and the fact that you feel good once you do it as a natural reinforcer.

Jessica McCabe:

Yeah, exactly. And we do, we need those little reinforcements. Because the whole well you know, it’ll be good for me to get into this habit. That’s just not motivating enough, to be honest. When you’ve got a million other things going on, you’ve got other things you’re thinking about. It’s just like, you’re not thinking when you throw your coat on the ground, you’re not thinking, God, then I’m going to have to go dry clean it and this and that.

It’s just in that moment it’s the easiest thing. If you make the easiest thing to throw it on a coat hook, well, now you don’t have to worry about it later. And then, and this I think is worth mentioning, a lot of times people see, walk into somebody’s house with ADHD and this has happened to me. Or somebody’s bedroom with ADHD, and they’re like, “God, this is a mess. Let me help you clean it up.” I’m actually really opposed to this because if somebody comes in and helps us clean up and we don’t know where things go, well now we really have no idea where anything is.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Yeah. That’s awful.

Jessica McCabe:

Right?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Yeah.

Jessica McCabe:

And so sometimes we have organizational strategies that maybe don’t make sense to other people, but I’m a really big believer in we should be the ones to clean up. We can get support, having a body double there, having somebody in the room with us, encouraging us or whatever. But we should be the ones to do it so that we know where things go.

This was part of the problem. My mom used to clean up for me all the time and at the time it was like, that’s great. And then the next morning I’d go to look for my stuff and I’ve no idea where it is. And then I never learned how to clean up myself. And so now I’m an adult and I’ve no, my apartments are always a disaster because I’m like, wait, this apartment didn’t come with a mom.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Not many apartments do.

Jessica McCabe:

No, it’s really unfortunate. I keep looking for the apartment that comes with that as an amenity and I’ve yet to find it.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Well, if you get really wealthy then you can just hire someone to do everything for you. But even then you want the feeling of I’m doing some of this by myself.

Jessica McCabe:

Yeah. And you want to be able to know where stuff goes. I’ve had a maid come and clean before and just I’m completely lost for like a week. I don’t know where they put anything.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Yeah. Right. Exactly.

Jessica McCabe:

So at the very least, we should be involved in the decision making process of where things should go, and then label them. And then a couple more things is, this I learned from waiting tables, which is scan for strays.

Before you leave a room or at the end of the day, you scan for things that aren’t where they belong and put them back as you go. Because that’s generally a lot more ADHD friendly than, especially if you’re a student, if you’re in college going “Saturdays I clean my room.” Probably not. It’s probably not going to happen. But if you get in the habit of scanning as you go and at least the things you know you’re going to need, like, “There’s a textbook on my bed. I should probably put that back on the bookshelf or back in my backpack or wherever I need it to be.”

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

What’s the line from waiting tables. What did you say?

Jessica McCabe:

Scan for strays. Look for anything that’s not, as a server you’re looking for-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

What does that have to do with waiting tables?

Jessica McCabe:

As a server, you’re constantly looking for dirty dishes or constantly looking for the coffee pot isn’t where it’s supposed to go. The trays aren’t where they’re supposed to go. You’re constantly-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Scan for, I waited tables for a whole summer and I never learned about scan for strays, so. That’s a great principle, scan for strays.

Jessica McCabe:

Yeah. And that way you clean as you go, which is a lot, it’s just a lot more tolerable. It doesn’t feel as big a thing, but you’re constantly cleaning up just a little bit and then it doesn’t get as overwhelming I think.

And then the last thing is keeping consistent. It can be hard, when you’re moving, when you’re going to college, but if you try to have whatever spot you set up, have that stay consistent as possible, then it’s a lot easier because if a spot for something keeps changing, it disrupts our ability to put it there automatically and know where to look. So I would deal with this when I used to think that having lots of purses was a good idea, because I’d have, things could be in my backpack or in this purse or in this purse or in this purse.

Jessica McCabe:

Finally I’m like, I get one purse. And one backpack. That’s it. Because the fewer that something could be, the less time we’re going to spend on looking for it.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Yeah. That’s such a great principle.

Jessica McCabe:

Thanks.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

The fewer places to look, the more likely you’ll find it.

Jessica McCabe:

Yeah. And then the last thing is, get a tile. Seriously, do you use those Dr. Hall?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

Yes.

Jessica McCabe:

Do you use Tiles?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

I have it on my key chain, all the time.

Jessica McCabe:

Yeah. Anything that travels that’s important, like a remote or your key chain or I stick it in my bullet journal. Anything you do have to take from place to place, it’s such a good idea to have a tracking device on it.

Jessica McCabe:

Yeah, I use Tile. I’m sure there are other ones out there, but that’s the one I was introduced to and I like them a lot.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

As always, Jessica, you are a treasure trove of tips. Any of you listening, you can find many more by going to Jessica’s website, HowtoADHD.com. And your YouTube channel is what? Just, How to ADHD again?

Jessica McCabe:

Yeah. youtube.com/howtoADHD.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:

That’s wonderful. That’s wonderful. Well, thank you so much. And Landmark College, thanks you, the wonderful sponsor that we have. Learn more about how they help students with ADHD succeed in college at LCDistraction.org.

I kid about it, but this truly is the best in the world at what they do. And if you want to get ready for college or supplement college or have it be your college experience and you have one of these wonderful brains that Jessica and I share and talk about, go to LCDistraction.org.

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. The podcast is recorded and edited by the amazingly talented Pat Keogh, and our producer is the unbelievably awesome star of stage and screen, Sarah Guertin. I’m Dr. Ned Hallowell, and thank you so much for listening.

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How to Take Care of Yourself in Times of Crisis

How to Take Care of Yourself in Times of Crisis

Lifestyle medicine expert and Harvard professor, Dr. Beth Frates, offers loads of practical advice on how to stay as healthy and well-balanced as possible during the pandemic. Listen as she guides Dr. H through breathing techniques, shares her insights on the foods we should be eating more of and the ones we should be avoiding, and gives listeners an overall guide to well-being through the 6 pillars of health.

Dr. Beth Frates Website: BethFratesMD.com

How are you coping? Reach out to us! Write an email, or record a message using the voice memo app on your phone and send it to [email protected]

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

Do you know a student with ADHD or other learning difference looking for a higher education experience? Tell them about our sponsor, Landmark College, in Putney, Vermont. It’s the college of choice for students who learn differently. Find out more HERE.

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