On Attention Talk Radio, we pay a lot of attention to attention, particularly in relation to ADHD, and we talk a lot about mindfulness. When you think of mindfulness, you may see it as some intangible, nebulous thing that is hard to get your head around. Dr. Lidia Zylowska is an expert on the topic, and you can imagine how thrilled I was to interview her on the topic of mindfulness. In our interview we defined mindfulness and broke it down into two parts: the shift of attention and the shift of attitude.
Dr. Zylowska made the distinction between mindfulness and meditation. She explained how meditation is a set of practices that can help you adopt a mind state, which is mindfulness, but mindfulness can be practiced in many ways other than through meditation. It’s a particular way of paying attention, and that’s where attitude comes in.
Some people do that in daily life by having a brief shift in attention and attitude. It becomes their main practice without having to meditate. Meditation is sometimes scary, and people will avoid it. The mind state is universal, and in our interview, Dr. Zylowska talked about how the practice of mindfulness is greatly beneficial to those with ADHD. She discussed the difference between attention and attitude and what it means to manage both mindfully to be more present moment by moment. Listen to the interview and learn more.
Jeff: Lidia Zylowska MD is a UCLA trained Psychiatrist and Associate Professor at the University of Minnesota and a Diplomat at the American Board of Interactive Holistic Medicine. At UCLA, she conducted pioneering research in mindfulness and ADHD, which has been described in Attitude Magazine, KNBC Los Angeles local news programs, Time Magazine and the Boston Globe. She’s a co- founder or co-founding member of the UCLA Mindfulness Awareness Research Center. As author of the book The Mindfulness Prescription for Adult ADHD. You can learn more about Lidia at her website at Lidia, actually want to spell her website for you. It’s L-I-D-I-A-Z-Y-L-O-W-S-K-A.com and with that, Lidia, welcome to the show.
Lidia: Thank you. It’s great to be here.
Jeff: I have wanted to interview you for so long and I’m just elated that we finally got the opportunity to kind of pull this together. And on Attention Talk Radio, we like to pay attention to attention, particularly as it relates to ADHD. And we’ve done some shows on mindfulness, but you talk a lot about mindfulness and that there’s a difference between mindfulness and attitude. Can you just give us a high level understanding of that and we’ll get into some particulars?
Lidia: Yeah, so mindfulness is talked about in different ways and it’s definitely a practice derived from meditation. So oftentimes I like to distinguish mindfulness and meditation first.
Lidia: So meditation is a set of practices that can engender and kind of strengthen and help you develop a mind state, which is mindfulness.
Lidia: And that mind state actually can be practiced in ways other than through meditation. I think meditation is one of kind of the bootcamp.
Lidia: Or the more intense way of training that very helpful mind-state of mindfulness. But you can also do that in daily life by having a shift in attention and attitude. So I actually break down mindfulness to those two steps of attention and attitude as a way to help people get familiar with it. Even if they have trouble engaging with meditation, especially at the beginning. And for some people having those brief shifts into mindful state of mind throughout the day, it really becomes their main practice and it can have a lot of benefits already without having to meditate. So, I like to make it more accessible that way because meditation is sometimes scary for adults with ADHD or children with ADHD. It’s a place that they feel like they can’t do it or they avoid it. It becomes another chore.
Jeff: Yeah. So when you say a shift into that mind state, can you describe that mind state that you get into as a result of meditation? I’m just kind of curious about that a little bit for our listeners.
Lidia: Yeah. So that mind state is actually something that’s universal and we can get into it spontaneously. So think about, let’s say watching a sunset and you’re very much aware of kind of the changes of light and especially if you’re in a beautiful scenery, maybe aware of the sight, the smell, the sounds of the scenery. That’s a mindful state of mind. Being more present to what’s happening moment by moment. And another example maybe if you are in new place, if you travel to a new city, a new country and everything seems kind of unfamiliar and new, then we’re much more likely to pay attention to details or things that we otherwise gloss over and not notice. So that again, paying attention in this more particular intentional way to present moment. But that’s the attention piece of that mindful state.
The other piece, that attitude piece has to do with openness to experience and being accepting of things as they are. So not trying to have any preconceived notions of how things supposed to be, not having judgments or being judgmental or critical of what you’re seeing because that will change your perception. And the other piece of that is also, especially when we apply mindfulness to ourselves, to our thoughts and feelings. The other piece of the attitude is that you, to be open, you often have to bring on the kind, heartful quality or compassionate quality because we can be very afraid of seeing what’s inside or very judgmental of what’s happening inside. So the attitude piece is about openness, acceptance, and also kindness or compassion, especially when applied to yourself.
Jeff: I really liked this distinction. I’ve never thought of it in this terms, but I think it’s really, really kind of important. And when you were talking about meditation, it’s a practice to get into that mind state. Am I oversimplifying it, being that mind state is really being present in the now. Aware of what’s going on right now, not yesterday, not the past, not the worry, not what you’re going to do tomorrow, but really present in what’s happening in that moment. Is that oversimplified?
Lidia: Yes. That’s one way of talking about that mind state of mindfulness. And actually I like the word mindful awareness because mindfulness is a little, can bring up different ideas of being caught in thinking and having your mind full of things. But it’s really more about stepping back from your busy mind and being present to things that are happening moment by moment and offer those things that we’ve missed out on because we are wrapped up in our minds.
Jeff: Yep. Absolutely.
Lidia: So things like sounds and senses to your senses, sight, smell, taste, looking at things with this kind of intentional, curious attention. And also things that we do miss when we’re thinking a lot or being distracted is what’s happening inside your body and what’s happening with feeling. So mindfulness is really about opening our field of perception more and allowing us not to ignore or miss out on things that are happening in the present moment because we’re so caught up in, if you’re thinking, distraction or just being kind of automatically going through our day.
Jeff: Yep. So I want to delve into the attitude piece of it. Before we do, Lidia as an attention coach and working with those with ADHD, I think this meditation and mindfulness piece is such a big deal. And I want to just kind of relate it to a metaphor and I want to get your thoughts in terms of if it’s accurate or not. And you talked about meditation as a set of practices and as a swimmer and an athlete, I would go to practice. And we would practice drills and stuff like that in order to attune our body or be able to shift or pay attention to things differently, particularly if it was a sport that required some type of skill.
And so to me, meditation is an attention exercise where you’re kind of, you’re witnessing your mind and you’re bringing it back to the present, which I think is really, really important for those with ADHD because it’s about enabling yourself to pause and witness your attention and bringing it back on the intention. And you practice it on a regular basis so that in life you can mirror it just like an athlete might shoot free throws in practice, but so they can perform live game. Based off of that kind of metaphor, does that parallel what your discussion or is it a little off? What are your thoughts?
Lidia: I think it’s a great metaphor and I often talk about exercise, physical exercise, having a lot of similarities to mental exercises.
Lidia: And mindfulness or meditation is a mental training. It’s mental exercise. Very much attentional exercise because it is about observing your attention, catching it where it is and then redirecting it. So there’s this movement of attention, which is often effortable.
Lidia: You have to expend some effort there and keeping it maybe on something that you intended to keep it on. So there’s also an effort in trying to stay with something and that’s why we say we pay attention because you’re paying something, you’re giving something for it. And there’s the idea of attentional muscle as well, right?
Jeff: Yep. So we’ve interviewed Dr. Barkley before on his executive functioning, constructed ADHD as really a self-regulation issue. He talks about the brain being a two level system, that automatic brain and the executive functioning brain, which is very effortful because it’s got to step in and override that automatic brain and in the context of an attention exercise when you’re meditating and you’re having to use your executive functioning mind to override your automatic mind, as thoughts drift and bring it back to the intended target. Goes back to what you’re saying, it’s effortful and it’s something that needs to be, I wanted to make a couple of comments that come back in a minute to kind of delve a little further.
But to me, I’ve done a lot of presentations on ADHD and exercise and I’ve talked about how exercise is a repetitive and boring routine task and a hallmark of, an area of difficulty for those with ADHD. And I always talk about how it’s similar to in a social environment or there’s some element of thing to pay attention to. And I think that mindfulness sometimes is difficult for those with ADHD because it too is a practice and they have to sit there and they have to kind of, there’s a little bit of discipline to that. And I think that this practice of mindfulness, although exceptionally good for those with ADHD, because it builds that muscle, is a little bit more challenging because it does take more effort because it is somewhat of a boring task. What are your thoughts on that?
Lidia: Yeah. So yes, it definitely can be tedious or boring and it does require discipline. However, just as you try to think of ways to make physical exercise more attractive for those with ADHD, you could do that with mental exercise of mindfulness or meditation. And at first what’s important is that you understand why you’re doing it, what you’re getting out of it. So truly understanding the benefits of mindfulness, even if as you’re sitting there in meditation, it feels like you’re doing nothing. You feel like all I’m doing is just catching myself and trying to a million times come back to my breath, what’s the point of that? But if you really understand that every time you catch yourself and you come back to the breath, you are doing those reps, those attentional muscle repetitions. That has value.
Lidia: You don’t have to stay on the breath, you have to just come back to it over and over again. That has a value. And the fact that as you’ve meditating, you are engaging your executive function system. You are engaging your working memory. Those two cognitive sets of skills that are weakened or not as strong in ADHD. So what you’re doing, what might seem like not much that I’m doing is you are engaging the these systems and really strengthening them through these attentional exercise. You are also developing, back to the second step, the attitude. You’re also developing a way of just being with yourself and accepting things as they are. Even if you feel there’s restlessness, there’s boredom, there’s this impatience, learning to notice it and not react out of it.
Jeff: Yes, absolutely.
Lidia: Just say, okay it’s there. So if you really have that understanding, I think the motivation to do meditation or what’s difficult, can can be higher and can be helpful. At the same time, things like signing up for a class or going to a retreat where there are other people. So it is a social event to go and do meditation, it can be helpful. Or signing up to an online program and you can, there’s a website which I often refer my patients to is headspace.com, which is a mindfulness website and you can sign up for a challenge. So there’s a bit of like the game component of a challenge. You have so many days to try to complete practices and you can see how you compare to others. So having that social component I think can be very helpful. Just as you mentioned with physical exercise.
Jeff: I think it’s huge. When I talk about exercise it’s about people, people, people, did I say people. And what you just described is exactly the type thing. Because if this type of a thing is more enjoyable social, it is. And the bottom line is you said be creative about this and you can make it happen. So I want to go to the break and I want to really kind of delve into the attitude side of it because that side fascinates me. But before we do, your book, The Mindfulness Prescription for Adult ADHD book. Where can our listeners purchase the book?
Lidia: Yeah, it’s available to Amazon. They can also find more information on it on my website. So it’s accessible to the typical book sellers.
Jeff: Absolutely. And your websites L-I-D-I-A-Z-Y-L-O-W-S-K-A.com. And with that, we’ll be right back after these messages.
Jeff: Welcome back, everybody. We’re here with Lydia having a great conversation about mindfulness. Before the break, we spent a lot of time talking about meditation as an exercise and to shift that mind state and how positive that can be for those with ADHD. We also tried to give some insights on how to make it a little bit easier and more interesting for you to do that.
Now, I’d like to take a look at the attitude side of it. This is new to me in terms of a concept. Although on the break I was actually relating, we did an interview some time ago with an individual who talked about how problems are interesting because they pop up and you have to deal with them now. When things go right that you might be grateful for we have a tendency to put that off, which you can do and the person described how problems actually crowd out the good things of life and that if you’re going to really, really acknowledge that stuff, you actually have to schedule time and practice being grateful. To sit down and say “I’m grateful for this or grateful for that.” And it seems to me, we’ve talked about that on Attention Talk Radio, but that’s kind of an exercise too that you practice in order to shift your attitude. So, kind of before the break, we were talking about shifting to a mind state. Attitude, is it shifting to a mindset? Talk to us about that a little bit, Lidia.
Lidia: Yeah, so if you think about perception in general, it requires a particular way of paying attention and that brings awareness. And also how you pay attention, that’s where the attitude comes in. It will make you notice certain things or not notice certain things. So, that’s why the attitude of mindfulness is important. The main emphasis on openness or just being a witness to things as they are, not pushing anything away, not clinging to anything, just being there and observing things as they are. So, that’s just kind of the first step of the attitude, which I think works fine if things that you’re trying to be present to are not really difficult to be present to. Like looking at things that are happening outside of you.
Or, for example, there’s a practice of mindful eating when you take, let’s say, a piece of fruit or whatever you’re eating and you really try to attune to the taste, the texture, the smell. That exercise is important because it teaches you to bring your attention away from busy thinking and being distracted to being present. So it’s an exercise in flexibility of attention and bringing it to what you’re doing.
But let’s say there’s another practice which is about staying with difficult feelings or just staying with feelings. In general, there are layers to feelings and maybe one feeling will show that there’s another level underneath. Let’s say there’s some fear about a task and maybe there’s some frustration about the task. So as you try to understand how you are coming to a task, that’s where mindfulness can be helpful. You’re asked to practice just being present to those thoughts and feelings. And there may be underneath a feeling of shame, for example. You know, well how come I’m not able to do this? And there is a value in being able to acknowledge these feelings because then you can kind of release them. They don’t have as much power when you acknowledge them.
So, it’s really important with the attitude piece, when you’re trying to be present or aware of what’s happening inside, to also remember to be kind and compassionate to yourself. That can kind of offset or neutralize these negative feelings. It can help you actually approach those feelings without wanting to avoid it or push it away. Because if you can be compassionate to yourself, you can have everything about yourself. You can see everything about yourself. Sometimes people are a little confused about compassion or self-compassionate and they think it’s like self-pity or giving yourself a pass when you’re not supposed to give yourself a pass about something that you’re doing, and they use criticism to self-motivate. So, if they think I’m going to be compassionate to myself and I won’t achieve anything or I’ll just be passive. So, that’s not what compassion is. Compassion is really enabling you to acknowledge things and to be with things as they are. From that awareness, you can see more choices about how to proceed. Oftentimes, you continue solutions and your ability to approach things that otherwise you wouldn’t.
Jeff: So, I wanted to share a story. It’s going to be a story, but we’re going to call it a metaphor to see if I can illustrate the power of what I think that you’re saying. I coach a lot of people on procrastination and often they’ll come to me with something and I’ll say, “Well, what’s hard about it?” And they’ll say, “It’s not hard. It’s easy.” For example, a guy, this is a true story, he said he wanted coaching on time. He was procrastinating on calling his family members about his daughter’s dance recital or something. I said, “Well, what’s hard?” He said, “There’s nothing hard. It’s just a phone call.” And I said, “Isn’t it self-evident? If it was easy, you would’ve done it by now. So, what’s hard?” And we began to talk about it. We began to realize what was hard was typically he calls up and says, “Hey, the dance recitals in two weeks.” And they say, “Well, what do we bring? Where do we park?” And, a various bunch of other questions that he doesn’t have the answer to that.
So, then he’s got to go track that stuff down from somebody who asked him to have the task. And so, that’s hard. He has to create a bunch of other phone calls as a result of that. And the awareness of the hard part was he didn’t have the information actually enabled him to, “Hey, that’s the awareness.” And so, he would go ask in advance if I’m going to make these calls, what types of information are they going to ask me for? So, he would have it and then he would activate. So, by pausing and acknowledging what was hard, it opened things up and he was able to manage around it and come up with choices.
And what I think I hear you saying Lydia, is that if you can be with those feelings and stay with them and acknowledge them, you can often open up and help you get choices and actually come up with solutions to get around them. Just as I described, there’s a simple task that the person was not activating on but they acknowledged it was hard and we dealt with those, we were able to figure out how to move forward. Now, if that’s not accurate please correct me, but just to make it kind of tangible, do you see this? Is that a good representation of what you’re talking about?
Lidia: Yeah, that is a great example. It’s very much that. And, I appreciate you having that example because if you think about procrastination or avoidance of something, just as you said, it might seem on the surface that it’s easy, but if you’re not getting to it, then it’s like you have to be a bit of a detective. What else is there? Right? What else is there that is making it difficult, that makes me drag my feet or I don’t want to do it? So, mindfulness is very much about that pausing and expanding your awareness and checking in. Sometimes talking about mindfulness as bringing that curious attention to the present moment. Be curious. What else is in there?
Jeff: Absolutely. I want to go to break. We’ll come back. We’ll talk about some practical applications because we’re talking about shifting the mind state, then the mindset, and actually I’m having this huge aha Lidia about some other shows that we’ve had. And, I think you can really talk about how we can deal with this practically. Need to go to the break. Everybody, if you’re not curious before you should be now about her book, The Mindful Prescription for Adult ADHD. You can look it up on amazon.com or her website at L-I-D-I-A Z-Y-L-O-W-S-K-A. And with that, we’ll be right back after these messages.
Jeff: Welcome back everybody. We’re here with Lidia talking about mindfulness. I got to tell you, I already know this is going to be one of my top 10 favorite shows because just … Watch this, I think this is really kind of cool. We talked about shifting your mind state, then we talked shifting your attitude. We’ve done some shows in the past, one of them stands out with Dr. David Now. The show is all about how exactly did you do that? He came on and we talked about how people do things and what their recipe is. So, we really kind of talked about there’s so much that those with ADHD do right, but they’re not mindful enough to actually stop and witness this underlying systems that they have in place that don’t necessarily look like everybody else, to realize that they do it in order to build on it.
I had this story I was … to give you an example, this guy called me up one time. He was a lawyer and he says, “Listen, I need help with Outlook. It’s unorganized. It’s a mess.” I said, “Well, what’s an example?” He said, “I don’t have anything in my contacts.” I said, “Well, you’re organized.” He said, “No, I’m not.” I said, “No, you are.” He’s arguing with me and I said, “I guarantee you that you have a system.” I said, “How do you send me an email?” He said, “Well, I search my inbox for your name, it comes up, I cut and paste your name into the new email and I send it to you.” As he described that, I said, “Does it ever not work?” “No, it always works.” “So that’s your system.” He goes, “What?” I go, “Yeah, it’s a flawless system. Now, it might be inefficient, but it’s a system,” but it was taking this exercises that we’ve done and being able to be mindful about looking at what happens and in fact, he did have the system.
We actually coached around it to move to a system where he’d actually populate all of his contacts into his contacts, but he began to realize that mindfully, when the pressure was on, he’d have to stop and think, [effortly] think, about the new habit and the new system and he actually acknowledged that the investment of effort and time was not worth the benefit, and he said, “Hey, my system might be inefficient long term, but it helps you in the moment.” He made that decision to stay with it and I think that speaks to kind of what you were talking about, Lidia, is when we were mindful, we discovered in fact that he did have a system and he let go of the judgment, because he actually said it served him. At the end of the coaching assignment, nothing changed except his attitude and his judgment around an existing system that had worked well for him. So, I just … What are your thoughts on that? Is that kind of relating kind of the power of all this stuff for those with ADHD?
Lidia: Yeah. Yeah, I love your examples. This is a great one and how there may be some preconceived notions that somebody carries of what they’re supposed to do, right? They’re supposed to be organized in this way. This is the system that everybody uses, so I should be using it. That shows up with ADHD a lot because you’re comparing yourself to others and yet your maybe natural tendency is to use something different or something that is less effortful in the moment. So, I think what you said is pausing and taking time to understand how you work, where you naturally gravitate to, what is difficult? That can give you the power to then decide, can I embrace this about myself or do I need to tweak it or have some support systems to maybe develop what I do naturally into a little bit more efficient system? But the more time … permission you give yourself, “Well, let me understand what’s unique about me or how I work. What seems to be easy for me? “Then, you can actually appreciate that about yourself and maybe that is the system that you accept and embrace and can leave this baggage behind. “I should be doing something that everybody else is doing.”
Jeff: Absolutely. So…
Jeff: Go ahead. Finish the thought.
Lidia: So, I wanted to mention that mindfulness has a lot of facets. We’ve about this shift in attention and attitude, but part of what you’re doing with the practice, you’re also developing an inner voice. I call it the mindful self-coaching voice, that can kind of tell you in the moment what to do to become more present or to be more accepting or to become more creative in the moment of how to respond. Very much, that voice is also to be non-judgemental, to kind of first have the courage to see how things are for me and then from that, develop more choice, more possibilities.
Jeff: Exactly. So, let’s talk about … This is a real story. Let’s talk about how everything that Lidia said is played out. So I’m coaching a woman some time ago. She was really downtrodden, hard on her luck, and she came in, I started working with her a little bit. As time got on, in different ways, she began to become more mindful. She began to sit there and shift her state of mind, bringing it more to the present. As she did that, she was able to pause and she was able to do things. Over a period of time, her attitude began to change. So we see the exercise that are starting to take place. We see the shift.
Then one day I’m coaching her on time and she’s struggling with time and she says, “Well, I think I should get a timer.” I said, “That’s great. Let’s try it.” So she goes and she gets a timer and she comes back next week. She says, “Oh, [inaudible 00:05:51], this thing is great.” It’s kind of going on, but about two weeks later, she comes to the coaching call and she says, “The timer’s not working anymore.” I said, “I’m curious, why?” She says, “Well, I think I’ve gotten bored of it.” Now, here’s the cool part, Lidia, is that she’s now developed that inner voice. She’s changed her attitude, just like you’ve describe. I go, “It’s gotten boring?” I said, “Well, what’s our next step?” She says, “Well, I need to get another timer.” I’m like, “Okay, let’s try it.” So she went out and got another time. Well, as this unfolded, and you can go to YouTube and search Attention.video and time and you can pull up and she is … I did an interview with this and she’s got this … She’s got a time timer, she’s got a sand timer, she’s got an egg timer, she’s got this timer that hops all over the place. She’s got like 15 different timers and she rotates them through on a regular basis so she doesn’t get bored of any one of them.
Lidia, I think it’s a great example of how she shifted that state of mind through the exercises, she had that attitude adjustment. She was no longer judgmental, and that inner voice said, “I’m bored. I need to get some other timers.” What I love about this is I’ve been at conferences and I’ve talked to mental health professionals about this story and they’re like, “What?” I go, “Yeah, it works for her.” The shock and the awe in all their faces, like, that doesn’t make any sense. I said, “Well, it makes all the sense in the world for her,” but only she could have come up with that because she was listening to her inner voice. I think that just really illustrates the power of mindfulness and how helpful it can be for those with ADHD. So I’m going to stop for a second, kind of get your thoughts on it, because I do think it illustrates everything that you’re all about.
Lidia: Yes, and it’s very much about empowering the person to have that sense of themselves and be the expert of themselves and know what works for them because as you know, you have one person with ADHD, what works for them may be different than what works for another person with ADHD. So, you really have to tailor and individualize whatever approach is for that particular person. Sometimes it’s … as a clinician or as a coach, when you work with the person, you’re really trying different things and they may work for a little bit and not work in the long run. The mindfulness piece, if you bring it into that working relationship, then you can both be curious to say, “Okay, let’s figure out how is it for you and what works for you. Here’s a list of ADHD strategies, but maybe they don’t work exactly for you or we have to tweak them.” Right?
Lidia: So the mindfulness piece is very much empowering the person to say, “How can I make things work for me?” Versus “I have to figure out how to mold myself to what seems to be the treatment or the strategy.”
Lidia: But ultimately, it becomes a better match.
Jeff: Absolutely. So, I’m going to … a little bit, just a context. A big insight for me, many years ago when I was becoming … I called myself an attention coach because that’s actually kind of what I think I coach, but years ago it dawned on me that only Lidia can witness what Lidia’s paying attention to. Because she can only see what she’s paying attention to, she can’t see what I’m paying attention to, so she’s got nothing to compare it to. She’s really flying blind. So, when you become mindful and you begin to witness your own attention, and not try to focus on what you think everybody else is, it opens some things up.
Jeff: So, again, just another example of the power of this. I was coaching a woman one time about time, different story, and I said, “What’s time look like to you?” She said, “It flows like a river.” After about 10 minutes of questioning, we decided, let’s try a timeline, just a straight line, 7:00 in the morning, 10:00 at night, [inaudible 00:09:42]. She went to go do that and a week later, she came back and she said, “This really, really, really helps.” I said, “Really?” She said, “Yeah, when I have appointments, I got these little … It’s like a bar chart. When there’s a bunch of them, it’s a city, I know that I’m really busy, and when there’s not, it’s an expanse of time.” She went on and it was exceptionally helpful for her, although you can’t find a book of timelines in the self-help section of the bookstore, because she wouldn’t have been able to do that had she not been mindful. I had no idea what was going on. I’m just trying to ask her the questions to help her witness her attention.
Jeff: I’ve actually been in presentations before where I’ve illustrated this, where I’ve got an Outlook calendar and I got a timeline. I had people look at it. It’s funny because when you read them, it’s like switching from English to Spanish because it’s the same stuff, but the way your brain consumes it’s very, very differently. Again, just because … because your attention is so unique, this mindfulness, I think, really gives a lot of insight on how to find your obvious solutions that work, that might not be so obvious to somebody else, which with that statement, everybody who’s listening to the show knows exactly why I wanted to have Lidia onto the show and why this fits perfectly in our stuff because it’s all about paying attention to attention and mindfulness helps you witness your own attention and discover your own solution. So, Lidia, is there anything left to cover that we haven’t covered, before we wrap this up?
Lidia: One thing I wanted to emphasize is that there are different ways to practice mindfulness. We very much … We’re talking about these brief moments of checking in and that’s sometimes referred to in the mindfulness circles as informal practice. So you have the informal practice of signing up for class, sitting in meditation, going to a retreat, and that’s sort of like the bootcamp training, which can be a nice beginning or jumpstarting your practice or experience of mindfulness or you could do this informal practice when you really do these brief checking ins. That has a great value for ADHD because you want to be where the ADHD happens, which is daily life, right?
You want the mindfulness thoughts to happen there and give you choices or give you more understanding, but it can also be helpful to just have reminders throughout the day to check in to your body and your breath many times throughout the day because that becomes that informal practice of exercising your attentional muscle, of shifting to that attitude of “Let’s just be with what is. Let’s notice what is,” with this kind of openness and acceptance. So, if for somebody the idea of meditation feels daunting, just having reminders, like having a little reminder on the phone that says, “Check your breath,” or having a picture frame in your office or wherever you work that has this word “Breath” or “Sound” or “Body.” Those three things are very important because those three things, I call them the anchors to the present moment, where you can move away from the busy mind, you are training attention, and you’re learning a lot, especially the breath and the body, about what’s happening inside and the emotional level. It’s like a portal to then later on be more present to yourself. So, that practice can be great, even if you never meditate.
Jeff: Absolutely. Absolutely. So, Lidia, I just have … You crushed it today. This is a spectacular interview. I think you did a great job with it.
Lidia: Thank you.
Jeff: I so much appreciate you coming on the show.
Lidia: Yeah, likewise. I’ve heard about the show for a long time, so I’m really excited we finally got together and had a chance to talk.
Jeff: Well, I think we did a good job. So, everybody, go check out her book, The Mindfulness Prescription for Adult ADHD, and with that, catch us next week for another great addition of Attention Talk Radio. Take care.