I did an experiment yesterday…

Yesterday was the 33rd anniversary of the day I was told my cancer was in remission.

I decided to spend the day being with the feeling of gratitude for being alive.

What I experienced was a more vibrant mindfulness throughout the day. I felt more aware of and connected to the life around me.

I also was able to look upon things I’d ordinarily catastrophize and instead experience anxiety but with clearer thinking.

I think an aspect of this gratitude was seeing myself connected to “life” which is vast. It allowed me to transcend myself, see myself as part of something bigger. It also made problems appear smaller by comparison.

Its amazing the experiences you can have when you know how to use your attention. When you live with Neurodivergence the message you often receive is that you’re lousy when it comes to attention.

Nonsense! You’re being criticized because you don’t attend well to things that don’t spark your curiosity.

You can learn to discipline your attention so the things that need your attention get it. 

I’m going to stick with this and see what happens next.

If you have thoughts or questions about this, share them on the discussion thread by clicking here

If you rely on urgency and adrenaline to increase your focus there’s a better way

People with Neurodivergence often rely too much on adrenaline to enhance their focus.
This is a reason they’ll overschedule themselves. Being busy increases pressure, and urgency which increases adrenaline.
Procrastination is great for this as well. The time pressure triggers an adrenaline surge.
This is NOT a healthy long term strategy though.
Adrenaline is great for fight-or-flight when you need to focus on a threat and rally large muscle groups to protect yourself from death.
What do you do with all that adrenaline when you just plan to sit and write a paper? A paper cut won’t kill you.
The adrenaline you have pumping through your veins is improving your focus. It’s also increasing your heart rate, raising your blood pressure, causing muscle tension throughout your body, slowing your digestion and heightening your anxiety.
Adrenaline is also a stress hormone that can lead to chronic illness over time if it stays in your system too long.
Also keep in mind that increased anxiety makes memory worse. So whereas you’ve increased your focus with the adrenaline, you may also experience increased memory problems.
What’s the alternative?
I’ve experienced that learning to calm your anxiety increases focus, enhances memory and decreases the amount of stress hormone swimming through your blood stream.
This is the healthier alternative and something I can teach you how to do.
It doesn’t require you to load up on medication either.
It’s a matter of realizing you can shape the lens through which you see the world. The rough edges can be softened when you know how to work through the hard stuff without reliving it.
Learn to understand what drives your anxiety and unlearn it so its replaced with calm and focus. All without the need for constant adrenalin.
How’s that sound?

Why behavioral approaches are a problem

One reason its so difficult for adults to be correctly assessed for ADHD or Autism Spectrum challenges, is because the diagnostic criteria where designed for assessing kids who haven’t spent their lives learning how to mask yet.
Clinicians need to receive A LOT of instruction about those of us who fell through the cracks and went about devising strategies to manage life. Not all of those strategies are healthy mind you.
They may include denial, projection, blame, self-medication or distraction for example.
On the positive side there’s reminders, mentors, organizers, lists and more.
What I really wish is that the professional world in general would STOP treating these conditions like behavior problems.
It would be like calling grief a crying problem. As long as the crying has stopped so has the problem. Yeah! It doesn’t work that way.
Suppressing a behavior may be no more a solution than clamping a lid on a pressure cooker down a little tighter.
Living with these conditions can cause a cascade of affects in the way you feel about yourself, others and the world around you. Behavior alone doesn’t give you insight into all of this.
You can’t resolve it with a few executive function skills. But this is exactly what many behavior focused professionals try to do.
They work to consequence someone into normalcy instead of teaching them how to effectively communicate their needs AND the way they need them met.
These approaches are biased toward the needs of everyone else.
No wonder so few with these challenges reach their potential.
I’ve found the right relationship dynamic between parent and child or teacher and child can calm everyone down and establish the trust needed for each person to grow.

Rest is the foundation for your next action

“Rest is the foundation for your next action.”

That’s what I told a group today as we discussed self-care.
Every muscle contraction, breath and ocean wave has a break, a pause before the next.
We also pause while speaking. A way of resting the voice and tuning in to curiosity for better listening.
You may also take a minute to think about something. Not even to actively work it through, just to sit with it.
Waiting in stillness until an insight presents itself.
Rest can be an instant of darkness as a lightbulb flickers, or a refreshing nights sleep.
It isn’t the opposite of value, work or productivity on its face.
Rest is a phase of surrender that frees you to gather your resources for the next best action.
To keep going without resting is to fight for diminishing returns.
The signs are all around you that rest is a natural ingredient in the movement of your life.
Pauses/Resting everywhere, varying lengths helping set the tempo of life.
Feeling off balance? Perhaps a little more rest will help you find your rhythm.