Personal Science: Coaching the Mind

I believe the placebo effect is real. In most cases, if you believe something will help you get better, it likely will. The same concept applies to just about everything else, especially if our beliefs interact with reality. For example, to some, a Ford racecar is superior to a Chevy; California red wines are better than French; and one’s political party is right and the others are wrong.

Certainly, everyone is entitled to their beliefs, but if you spend enough time experiencing your own take on reality, you come to believe that what works for you might actually be a universal truth or fact. Continue reading “Personal Science: Coaching the Mind”

Who Has Time to Sleep?

The majority of ADD-ers struggle with sleep. The fact of the matter is, sleep deprivation can intensify ADHD symptoms, making them more difficult to manage.Furthermore, sleep or good sleep hygiene requires organization, which historically is problematic for ADD-ers.

To begin, ADD-ers crave brain stimulation. If the brain is not stimulated, it will find something more stimulating. Based on this premise, I’ve found it more practical to help ADD-ers by helping them to manage their interest.

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ADHD: It Isn’t Always Easy

Often, I hear clients say, “I just need to pick up the phone, sit down and write, stick to my schedule,” etc., but they don’t follow through. My guess is, if it was as simple as taking the next obvious step, they would have done it by now. At this point I usually ask them to pause and reflect on what’s holding them back. What’s hard about what they’re trying to accomplish?

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Which Version of ADHD Do You Have?

Getting a diagnosis of ADHD can be a good thing and a bad thing. It is a good thing because the individual becomes eligible for accommodations and can take stimulant medications to level the playing field. The bad thing about the diagnosis is that, once labeled, people quit paying attention to individual differences in ADHD.

Officially, the Diagnostic Statistics Manual is used to diagnose ADHD, and from time to time, the manual is updated based on current research or updated best practices consensus. Currently we are on the DSM-5 version. Continue reading “Which Version of ADHD Do You Have?”

The Joke’s on You

There are all kinds of coaches, such as life coaches, personal coaches, and executive coaches. I consider myself an attention coach, and my number one goal is to help individuals and businesses pay attention to the right thing…. because if you’re paying attention to the wrong thing, you’re likely paying attention to, or looking for, the wrong solution.

Becoming an attention coach has been an evolution for me because it took time for me to unlearn what I had been paying attention to for many years. Once I started to turn the corner and began to pay attention to attention, it took about half a second to realize you can’t tell anyone they are paying attention to the wrong thing because what they are paying attention to is based on their beliefs.
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Attending to the Concepts of “Broken” and “Wrong”

In this article, we are paying attention to the concepts of “broken” and “wrong.” Both are a function of attention or what one is attending to. Why this theme? Because the notions of being broken and being wrong are huge obstacles for those with ADHD.

If you attend to being broken, you can’t see being fixed. If you attend to the concept of wrong, you can get hung up on perfectionism. Dr. Mark Katz has a presentation, titled “There Is Nothing So Wrong with Us That What’s Right with Us Can’t Fix.” That is brilliant! Let’s think about different ways of looking at things. Continue reading “Attending to the Concepts of “Broken” and “Wrong””

The Complexities of ADHD Meds 

You get diagnosed with ADHD, the doctor prescribes a stimulant and that is it; right? Wrong! Getting the right stimulant in the right dose delivered at the right time is more of an art than a science. As Dr. Charles Parker puts it, the meds have to pass through the body to get to the brain. Metaphorically, if the digestive tract, immune system, metabolism, and other systems are under construction or out of whack, meds can be detoured away from the brain and out of the body or get bottlenecked and wreak havoc.
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Narrow Attention, Scanning Attention, and ADHD

Have you ever paid attention to the difference between narrow attention and scanning attention? Narrow attention is like texting. Attention is focused narrowly. Scanning attention is like driving a car. You’re scanning signs, speed, other cars, spatial changes in relation to yours, etc. Note, you can’t use narrow and scanning attention at the same time. That’s why texting while driving is so dangerous.

In my work as a coach and in my studies of attention, it seems to me intuition is scanning attention. Let me illustrate. Have you ever looked at someone and your intuition tells you something is different? I have. It’s frustrating, because your gut says something is different, but you can’t prove it, that is, until your narrow attention notices he had shaved off his mustache or lost 10 pounds. Many times, our intuition (scanning attention) picks up on something, but since we can’t isolate it with narrow attention, we often override what our gut is telling us. Continue reading “Narrow Attention, Scanning Attention, and ADHD”

Exercising Your Attention

Attention is as simple as it is complex to understand. In an interview I did with noted ADHD expert Dr. Russell Barkley, he noted that, if you are to inhibit anything, you must be aware of it. As I’ve learned, understanding and observing one’s own attention to become aware of it can be the single best tool to help those with ADHD.

Coaches reference mindfulness, the Eastern religions meditate, and mental health professionals have the notion of metacognition, or thinking about what you are thinking. Each has its differences, but in the end, they are all basically attention exercises that help one become aware of attention in service to managing it. Continue reading “Exercising Your Attention”