Is Activation “Seeking System” Dependent?

“New” Ideas Illuminate Old Realities
I think I might be in love!

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
In support of the ADD/EFD Basics Series

Swooning over Jaak Panksepp: ACTIVATION ideas
(from cruelty-free experiments exploring animal emotions)


Jaak Panksepp, the father of Affective Neuroscience, is a very interesting “pioneer” intrigued by the neuro-scientific underpinnings of both human and animal emotional responses.

He has written a fascinating book with a slightly daunting title, The Archaeology of Mind: 
Neuroevolutionary Origins of Human Emotion.

Don’t let that stop you. It’s an “accessible to more of the general public” version of ideas he put forward in his considerably more “academic” offering entitled, Affective Neuroscience, published in 1998.

This long-awaited second publication is his updated attempt to share his life’s work – since the 1960s – the results of his cruelty-free animal experiments that led to identifying what he calls the seven networks of emotion in the brain: SEEKING, RAGE, FEAR, LUST, CARE, PANIC/GRIEF, and PLAY.

He says he uses all caps because these networks are “so fundamental that they have similar functions across species, from people to cats to rats.”

If the name sounds familiar

Those of you who are also regular readers of Discover Magazine may recognize Panksepp’s name from Pamela Weintraub’s feature article on “the rat tickler” entitled Humanity’s 7 Primal Emotions from the May 2012 issue.

Readers who were smart enough to start listening to The Brain Science Podcast when I first introduced it (or to download the pdf transcripts) might have been treated to three different samplings of Dr. Ginger Campbell’s excellent interviews of Panksepp (one a “replay” of an interview from her other podcast, Books and Ideas).

The rest of you – don’t feel left out – I’ve included links to these gems and others in the Related Content ’round the ‘net section below (a section found at the bottom of most of my articles.)

“Brothers under the skin”

You will learn that Panksepp decided, after mapping “brain firing” in laboratory animals for decades, that he could come to no conclusion other than the acceptance of the reality that humans and animals share a similar emotional make-up.

An idea not always embraced by some of his scientific colleagues, he believes that his work proves that his seven networks of emotion in the brain are common to ALL mammals, great and small.

Obviously, he’s convinced me! 


Those of us who have lived closely with our furry friends probably needed no convincing anyway.

You would never be able to convince most of us that our animals do NOT have emotions! But you know most of those science-types — skepticism is in their DNA. Until something is proven scientifically, journal-published and replicated, it’s merely an unsupported theory.

Panksepp is a rare and outspoken voice in the science field, I suspect only partly as a result of his many years of experience exploring the neuro-similarity between human and animal emotional responses. He calls for respect for the reality that animals DO feel, not only pain, but emotions like fear, anger, loneliness, caring, grief, excitement and joy.

He is a long-term ethics advocate as a result. He champions kindness, and urges the field to rethink the way that laboratory experiments are designed. He knows from experience that it is possible to develop methods that do not cause animals pain and undue distress, yet continue to get credible results from valuable and much needed animal research.

There’s a lot more to love about Panksepp’s work — click the links I have provided below to find out for yourselves.

THIS article, however, is going to give you just enough background to begin to explore the first of his seven primal emotions: SEEKING – because I think it provides a clue to our struggles with ACTIVATION.

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Goals drive habit formation

What is it that you really want?
(What habits need to be in place to obtain it?)

©Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from the Time & Task Management Series:
Habits, Decisions & Attention-5

This article walks you through the process of change with specific examples from my own life.  Yep, knowing what to do and DOING what you know are two completely different things!  I’m hoping reading about my own current process (and challenges) will better explain how you can work on your own. 

I believe you’ll find it worth the time it takes to read it — and if you can stay tracked well enough to click a few of the internal links and read those too (now or later), I believe you will be rewarded with a more than a few functional dividends.  Doing it in a vacuum is doing it the HARD way!

Good-bad_HabitsGood Habits are useful “in order to”-s

We don’t replace bad habits or set good habits in place for their own sake.  If we’re smart we work on habit management because good habits make it easier for us to take consistent action toward something important that is currently tough to actuate.

What is it you really want?  What’s the goal?
For me, that’s the ability to FOCUS intentionally. 

The biggest challenge for this ADD Poster Girl is distractibility. I juggle A LOT of what I callinvisible balls” – environmental stimulation that neurotypical brains filter out automatically.

Those of us with executive functioning disorders and dysregulations have impaired filters, so we expend unnecessary cognitive energy “juggling.”  That makes it harder to focus, prioritize and activate.

I’m big on what Andrea Kuszewski (self-described science nerd, Aspergers coach, and card-carrying member of Team-ADD) calls “attention allocation.” I call it Intentional Attending.

Neatness counts.  So does organization.

So habits that make those elements a no-brainer to keep in place are key — especially now, following almost three months with my dominant hand and forearm in a cast, when I wasn’t able to do even the simplest thing to clean up after myself.  I count on my systems to do what I do — and many of the systems I have come to count on suddenly disappeared when I was mugged and my hand was smashed.

So the woman who founded The Optimal Functioning Institute™ is back in the trenches with those of you have never really taken the time to develop your systems optimally – so that you can FUNCTION optimally.

It won’t help any of us to deny our challenges — but it really won’t help to agonize over what’s making things more difficult.  We need to dedicate as many brain cells as possible to making things easier.

Reflect & Recognize, Strategize – and move ON!

It won’t be easy, and when you first start the systems development process it may seem unnecessarily complicated, but it’s essential.  And it will certainly make life easier going forward. You don’t want to spend the rest of your life spinning your wheels, do you? Follow along as I walk you through the process.

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AHAs! and DUHs! — HUH?



I could’a had a V-8!
They don’t SAY “duh!” — but they might as well have

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

click image for bookpage

click image for bookpage

Duh!s and Aha!s

Aha! seems to have worked its way into the blogging mainstream.  You’ll see it used as a noun – an Aha! – and pluralized, used as a category – your Aha!s.

Duh! not so much — even though it will probably turn out to be the more useful of the two (at least it will if you adopt the manner in which I encourage you to reframe its meaning).

You’ll run into aha!s all over the web — so let’s begin with the concept that’s not quite so common.


Duh! is usually used to comment on an action perceived to be foolish or stupid (like “I left the keys in the ignition – duh!“), or in response to a concept perceived to be blatantly obvious (like “Science “proves” men and women are different – duh!“).

Even though they are frequently meant to be funny, I call those old paradigm duh!s.  The coaching reframe is used as a distinction to move life forward.  It lets us all off the “stupid” hook. 

I want to encourage the use of the term as a light-hearted reminder that knowledge is a term meaning little more than a holding tank of information provided or discovered.

None of us are born knowing everything we need to know – even the Einsteins among us. 

  • We learn it when we learn it, and not one moment sooner.
  • Let’s take the shame off “not knowing” so that learning becomes fun again.

The ADDCoach Coaching duh! used to lighten the mood following a sudden realization or understanding of a concept or procedure that the person with the insight might otherwise be tempted to believe should have been obvious;

A good-humored reminder that all learning is a good thing – once clarified, duh!s underscore how the understanding of one simple thing can change how an individual thinks about things or tackle tasks from that point forward.

© from Madelyn Griffith-Haynie’s upcoming Coaching Glossary

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ABOUT Distinctions & Definitions

Defining our Terms
Learning when and why they’re useful

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

Introducing the Distinctions & Definitions Series

click image for source - in a new window/tab

click image for source – in a new window/tab

Through the years I’ve become known for my love affair with words and, to my clients and students, for my facility with definitions and distinctions.  I truly love the specificity of the English language — and I like to share. regulars have probably noticed that more than a few of my articles offer, in addition to the content of the articles themselves, a definition of a term or two that I’m not sure all of you will find familiar.

I also tend to explain terms that I have coined — especially those that have become part of the ADD Coaching lexicon. These include words and terms we coaches use in a manner that is slightly unfamiliar, inviting consciousness to the conversation.

Occasionally I offer a definition of a word or a term I have coined that has not been adopted by the ADD Coaching field in general — those that I use in my writings, or in the coach trainings and other groups and classes that I offer from time to time.

For example:

Alphabet City — Note the slightly lighter color of that term, by the way – more dark grey than the black of the text that follows.  That’s because it is a link, in this case to the article that explains the “Alphabet Disorders” concept.

Unless you choose to focus there, it remains quietly out of the way of your thoughts as you follow mine.

Place your cursor over the link (but don’t click) and watch what happens. 

Did you hover long enough to see a little box pop up with a bit of information about what to expect when you click?

THAT’s how the links work on this site, for those of you who haven’t read the explanation on the skinny sidebar, always there to remind you  ====>

Most links on open in windows or tabs of their own, so that what you were reading before you clicked awaits your return exactly where you left it. No need to search for some glimmer of recall that might remain frustratingly illusive.

Anyway . . .  some of you may dimly remember seeing, at the top or bottom of a particular definition, something like the text below:

© From my upcoming ADD Coaching Glossary

I’ll bet you’re waiting for my definition of “upcoming”

UNTIL my dominant hand was smashed in a mugging, leaving hand and forearm cast-immobilized and my ability to type or do much of anything at all dead in the water for almost three months, I was on-schedule to announce a publication date this year

Life kept dishing it out, and I am now well over EIGHT months behind on everything.  To maintain what’s left of my sanity I have decided I must push this particular project down on my to-list, postponing publication targets until late 2015.

So I want to tell you how I’m going to handle sharing definitions and distinctions meanwhile.

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Changing a habit to change your LIFE

Habit Formation Pragmatics
(Like, how LONG do we have to do something before it becomes a habit?)

©Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from the Time & Task Management Series:
Habits, Decisions & Attention-3

Out with the old, IN with the new . . .



“Everybody knows” that, according to established learning theory, it takes approximately thirty days of daily practice for a new behavior to become a habit. Right?


Google will tell you that it takes somewhere between 21 and 28 days. Various blogs and websites will cite various numbers, somewhere between three weeks (21 days) and five weeks (35 days).

Did you know that, until 2009, there had been
no scientific evidence for anybody’s numbers.

The 21-day myth that reputedly started the process of conjecture is frequently blamed on a plastic surgeon, Dr Maxwell Maltz.

Maltz noted that amputees took, on average, 21 days to adjust to the loss of a limb.  He proposed that his 21-day observation indicated that people would probably take 21 days to adjust to most major life changes.

In 1960, Maltz published that observation, his conjecture, and his other thoughts on behavior change in the blockbuster hit Psycho-Cybernetics.

That particular book, selling over 30 Million copies, greatly influenced most of the motivational speakers in the “self-help” field. Well known authors and gurus like Brian Tracy and Tony Robbins (even Zig Ziglar) have frequently made reference to content from Psycho-Cybernetics.

The reality that Maltz actually reported that it takes “a minimum of about 21 days” got lost as more and more people repeated content from his book, whether they’d actually read the book themselves or not.

Before long the relative became repeated as an absolute:
“It takes 21 days to form a new habit.”

  • Enter the age of the Internet and the popularity of blogs and blogging, and repetition was substituted for research.
  • Codicils to the process of habit formation were tacked on, and the time-frame was lengthened by a week.
  • Evidence to the contrary was dismissed, usually by saying that if the individual didn’t repeat the exact same action for thirty days without exception, it wouldn’t work unless s/he started over again – that it had to be thirty days in a row.

I’ve been guilty of passing that myth along myself – usually adding that “it takes those of us with Alphabet Disorders longer to get those thirty days IN!”

“If fifty million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing.”

~ Anatole France

Only in 2009 did anybody publish the results of a STUDY of habit formation — reinstating its relativity and disclosing an average almost three times higher than what was commonly reported.

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Brain-based Habit Formation

Habits and the Dopamine Pleasure/Reward Cycle
(change your habits, change your LIFE)

©Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC from the Time & Task Management Series: Habits, Decisions & Attention-2

The Power of HABIT

Charles Duhigg, in an award-winning book entitled The Power of Habit, published in 2012, reminds us that transforming a habit is rarely easy, quick, or simple — but it is POSSIBLE.

I’ll go him one further.

As long as you will follow a simple 4-step procedure as you set your habits in place according to what science has learned about how the brain works, it is PROBABLE!

Now that science understands more about how patterns and pattern-recognition impact the the human brain (a pattern-recognition “machine,” after all), it is possible for any one of us to transform our entire lives through the power of habit.

In other words, we now know why habits develop, how they change, and how to build and rebuild them to our exact specifications — and feel GREAT about doing it.

Yea verily – even those of us who are citizens of Alphabet City can take advantage of the power of habit to change our experience of living.

What’s Possible?

Click the book jacket above to read a brief excerpt on the NPR site that tells the story of an small-town army major, a self-described “hick from Georgia” who almost single-handedly stopped a pattern of escalating riots in an Iraqi village, simply by analyzing the patterns that produced “the riot habit” and making ONE fundamental tweak.

“Understanding habits is the most important thing I’ve learned in the army,” the major in the excerpt linked above discloses. “It’s changed everything about how I see the world.”

  • What might be possible in YOUR life if you understood what the major knows about the neurology and psychology of habits and the way patterns work within our lives, businesses, and social groups?
  • What if you understood how to apply what you’ve read here on about the needs of neurodiversity to the neurotypical advice about motivation and habit formation — so that you could tweak the “standard” information that dominates the info-market to make it all work for YOU?

Take a moment to really think about THIS:

What might your life look like one short year from now if you actually applied what you learned here, step by step?

  • Would you be healthier?  Wealthier?  Happier with your marriage and family life?
  • Would you finally find the time to write that novel, or start that new business, or to take the necessary steps to move into that lakeside house you’ve always dreamed about?
  • What WOULD you do, tweaking the old expression slightly, if you understood how to set it up so that you could not fail?

That’s exactly what this Series is offering you — right here and at no charge what-so-ever until January 2016, when it will become available only in a paid format by eBook subscription.

For those of you who want to add velocity to your progress (or who need the structure of a little nudging along the way), I will soon be announcing a TeleClass that will expand on the principles offered for free, and serve as a MasterMind Group to keep you going — but I’m getting WAY ahead of myself here.

For right now, keep reading — and do the exercises that will be included as we move through the articles that explain the dynamics and outline the process.  Take advantage of this opportunity while its still free for the taking.

I’ll be working right along with you as I recover from the mugging incident last December, and redesign my own life.

So let’s get to work.  What’s going on in that brain of ours that keeps rotten habits in place, and how can we use that understanding to transform our lives?

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Habits, Decisions and Attention

Why Crazy/Busy People NEED Habits
. . . Making friends with setting them in place to serve you

©Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from the Time & Task Management Series:
Habits, Decisions & Attention-1

Another adorable Phillip Martin graphic

Another adorable Phillip Martin graphic

Say hello to the HABIT habit!

It seems to me that every March tends to be “habits” month around the blog-o-sphere. Good habits, rotten habits, lapsed habits; developing new habits, tweaking old habits, breaking bad habits — I always seem to run into a bunch of “habit” posts every March.

Why is that?

I’m guessing it’s because there’s been just enough time since New Years for practically everyone to have fallen off the Resolutions Wagon — except, that is, for the few disciplined and rare individuals who made it a point to develop new HABITS as structures to support their new goals.

Or maybe its just me. In any case, let’s jump on the bandwagon and explore the topic for a bit – starting with taking a stab at defining the term.

HABITS are actions or behaviors performed regularly and automatically – usually on a pre-determined schedule – bypassing the necessity of much real-time decision-making agita (and without a great deal of activation energy required).

Once we have developed a habit, we “just do it” – primarily because we have done it repeatedly in the past, usually in response to some sort of prompt that triggers the behavior, setting us up for a life that runs about as smoothly as life ever runs.

So how come we resist developing them?

Let’s face it – doing something repeatedly (and regularly) eventually activates our “I don’t wanna’-s.”  We like to think we prefer to hang looser with life — even though we’re not crazy about reeling from the chaotic state that living structure-free usually creates.

  • Putting things off until they reach some sort of crises point isn’t really a great system for grown-ups.  But deciding when and how to work everything we need and want to do into our crazy/busy lives is tough — especially for those of us with activation or transition troubles.
  • Having to negotiate timing, self-to-self, is annoying, yet do-it-now is seldom convenient.
  • Until the habit is in place, we have to decide to “make” ourselves do things, day after day after . . . I’m really not in the mood right now day!

Then there’s the parent trap. Since many of what could be excellent habits NOW were foisted upon us as children, some of us have not treated those habits with the appreciation they deserve as a result.

  • Those of us who didn’t have the good sense to hang on to many of the habits our parents tried to instill in us have been making life harder than it needs to be.
  • Trust me – it took me YEARS to get over my “nobody tells me what to do now that I’m on my own” unconscious teenaged rebellion.  When I finally wised up, it took me a few years more to put those habits back in place.

False Economy


Let me clue you in on something I learned
the hard way:

The neurodiverse can’t afford
NOT to put habits in place.

  • There’s not enough time in anybody’s life to DECIDE about every little detail of life here on this strangely ordered planet the neurotypicals have set up where all of us are forced to live.
  • Especially not the way the ADD-brainstyle goes about deciding — agonizing for days as our brains search the known universe to make sure we consider every possible parameter of possibility first!!
  • If you’re a member of team ADD/EFD – or seem to get stuck (or simply worn down and worn out) by having to make too many decisions – it makes sense to try to expend as little effort as possible getting through your day by making a few choices “ONCE and for all” – which is where habits are golden.

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Executive Functioning, Focus and Attentional Bias

Attention must be paid
How come that sometimes seems
so VERY hard to do?

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from the Self-Health Series

Attentional Bias and FOCUS

“Executive functioning” is an umbrella term for the management (regulation, control) of cognitive processes,[1] including working memory, reasoning, task flexibility, and problem solving [2] as well as planning, and execution.[3] (also known as cognitive control and the supervisory attentional system) ~ Wikipedia

Central to the idea of “control” is the concept of intentional FOCUS.

Intentional focus means exactly that — you can focus where you want, when you want, for as long as you want — and shift focus to something new (and BACK again) any time you want. (see The Dynamics of Attending for the implications of on that idea)

Can anybody really DO that?

Those of us with Alphabet Disorders don’t usually kid ourselves that we are the absolute rulers of our skip-to-my-Lou minds. But even those of you who feel that you do fairly well in that regard might be surprised at how often your focus is skewed unintentionally through a concept known as attentional bias.

About attentional bias, Wikipedia says it is a term commonly used to describe the unconscious inclination to note emotionally dominant stimuli more quickly and prominently, effectively “neglecting” factors that do not comply with the initial area of interest.

The concept implies that stimuli that do not comply with the emotionally dominant stimuli will be “neglected,” reducing our attention toward a great number of the many things coming our way — and ultimately negatively affecting our ability to prioritize action in ways we might ultimately prefer.

Sort of, but not really

While it certainly seems to be true that anything that “hooks us emotionally” will pull our focus away from more neutral stimuli, other reasons for attentional bias exist.

More accurately, attentional bias describes the tendency for a particular type of stimuli to capture attention, the familiar “over-riding” the importance of other input.

For example, in studies using the dot-probe paradigm (a computer-assisted test used by cognitive psychologists to assess selective attention), patients with anxiety disorders and chronic pain show increased attention to angry and painful facial expressions.[2] [3]

But we’ll also see increased attention to an item written in a bold color (or in a person’s favorite color), to names similar to our own among a list of names (or that of a close relative), or a familiar sound mixed intermittently with less familiar sounds.

Scientists believe that attentional bias has a significant effect on a great many items we must deal with moment-by-moment, which tends to have an exacerbating impact on quite a few “conditions.”

Some of those “conditions” include depression, anxiety, chronic pain, eating disorders and other addictions, and many other areas that might not, at first glance, seem related – like task-anxiety and follow-through to completion.

Extensively explored by Nobel prize winner Daniel Kahneman and frequent collaborator Amos Tversky, the concept of cognitive bias explains something that most of us have readily observed, and frequently struggle to explain —

The actions of human beings aren’t always rational!

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PROGRESS, not Perfection

The Long Road Back:
Learning patience – Recovering Resilience

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from the Self-Health & Walking a Mile in Another’s Shoes Series

A Little Background click picture to visit source click picture to visit source

“The journey toward resilience is the great moral quest of our age.”
~ Andrew Zolli, co-author of
Resilience: Why Things Bounce Back.

Bouncing back myself

Regular readers know already that, between Christmas and New Years, I was mugged at gunpoint getting out of my van in front of my house, and that the thugs shattered my dominant hand. 

That left me pretty much helpless – and unable to work – until the cast came off in the second week of March. 

Since I work for myself there is no regular paycheck if I can’t do the work, so it’s been a scary time.

Only once my cast came off, about 75 days later, am I finally able to really concentrate on jumping through all the hoops necessary to put things back together – a DAUNTING idea! (See When Fear Becomes Entrenched & Chronic for just HOW daunting!)

Not only do I need to recover my sense of safety and security in my world and get back to work, I need to recover my STUFF!

  • The band of thugs made away with my purse, containing my make-up and favorite hairbrush, my brand new iPhone, the keys to house, car and storage space, and a-whole-lot-more, and my wallet (with all forms of identification, the plastic cards one uses for money these days, and all the merchant cards one shows to buy much of anything anymore).
  • They also grabbed my tote containing a number of things, the most devastating to my ongoing functioning being my datebook and address book.
  • It ALL needs to be replaced – starting with figuring out who and what I call to DO that – along with everything that expired while I was incapacitated (like my car insurance and tags, for example), and making sure all my regular bills are paid through the end of March.

If you’re one of my few neurotypical readers, you’re probably not envying my process, but my ADDers (etc) r-e-a-l-l-y get what a terrifying process that is!!

Spending a few weeks with my friends in Little Rock has been very healing, and getting back at least partial use of my dominant hand has made a huge difference.

Yet, I still have a long way to go before I will be able to say that I have climbed out of the hole I found myself in rather unexpectedly, almost three intermidable months ago.

I feel SO far behind, wondering if I will EVER be able to catch up!!

Since I promised to let you know what I am doing to continue to heal and how its going, I’ll check in every week or so with an article that will be a bit like a diary of my progress, coupled with any related insights, thoughts or ideas about executive functioning as I step back from the PTSD edge.

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When Fear Becomes Entrenched & Chronic

Chronic Anxiety & PTSD
Understanding Fear & Anxiety – Part 2

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from the Self-Health Series

When what happened leaves marks

broken-legIf you broke your leg, you’d go get it set, right?

Whether it was a little break or something catastrophic that required an operation and pins, you would feel “entitled” to go for professional help and would have no doubt that you needed it, right?

While you were in a cast, you’d probably have the good sense not to try to walk on that broken leg. Most of the people around you would be able to understand without explanation that you needed crutches to get around.  Right? It would go without saying that you had to take it easy while you healed.

EVEN if you broke your leg doing something stupid that was entirely your own fault, you would probably feel very little shame about having a broken leg – a little embarrassed, perhaps, but you’d still allow yourself to get what you needed to heal.

YET, when the problem is mental, we tend to try to soldier on alone. 

  • Maybe we think things are not “bad enough” that we are entitled to professional help.
  • Maybe the stigma still associated with the term “mental illness” stops us cold.
  • We probably find ourselves struggling with the concern that others might believe we are weak or over-reacting if we can’t seem to pull things back together alone.
  • Perhaps we have collapsed psychological difficulties with “crazy,” and we certainly don’t want to believe we are crazy!

The only thing that is CRAZY is denying ourselves the help it would take to manage whatever it is that we are struggling with so that we can get back to being our own best selves – and most of us are a little bit crazy in that way.  I know I am, in any case.

In one masterful stroke of unconscious black and white thinking, we label ourselves powerless when we are unable to continue on without help, struggling against impossible situations sometimes, as things continue to worsen — if we’re lucky. 

  • Because when things continue to get worse, it will eventually become obvious that we are clearly not okay.
  • We’ll eventually reach a place where it will be impossible to deny ourselves the help we need to heal.
  • If we’re not lucky, we are able to continue living life at half mast: limp-along lives that could be SO much healthier and happier.
  • If we’re not lucky, our mental reserves will be worn out by limping along, and we are likely to reach a place where it seems as if our dominant emotion is anger, or we will slide into chronic, low-level depression – or worse.

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Understanding Fear & Anxiety

Moving Beyond the Fears
and Anxieties that Keep us STUCK (Part 1)

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from the Self-Health Series

FEAR: The primal emotion most studied in neuroscience


The study of fear has consumed many hundreds of researchers for decades. The events following 9/11 and the war in Iraq has only bolstered this field of research. 

Finding new molecules that erase traumatic memories (or enable soldiers to keep from feeling fear) are research priorities in the United States.

~ Dream Life of Rats: Pure Science Specials (season one, episode six;
originally aired on 5/29/2013)


Platitudes Begone!

Troll the internet – or browse the shelves of your local library – and you will find a blue-million self-help offerings with advice to help you conquer “fear.” The majority of them hold out the promise that they can teach you to “feel the fear and do it anyway” or “stop fearing change to change your fear,” and other related blather. 

These ways of working may help with lack of activation or with task anxiety but they will rarely make much of a dent in fear.

They’re lightweights, those offerings – their authors really don’t understand the extent to which many people experience FEAR. Most of them are, metaphorically, pushing anti-heartburn remedies to help with heart attacks. They’re talking about situationally-induced moments of anxiety that our self-help culture mislabels “fear.”

If you are one of the many who are periodically frozen by anxiety disorders, reeling from a recent and dramatic accident, suffering from flashbacks related to PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), and other more extreme situations that prompted more extreme emotional responses, pouring through those offerings looking for HELP will only increase your feelings of helplessness, which will very likely increase your feelings of fear.

  • Throwing those simplistic offerings in the garbage is the first step toward real healing.
  • Understanding what’s going on is the second step.
  • Allowing yourself to reach out to professionals who specialize in PTSD or TBI is certainly worth considering seriously, and
  • Patience is the fourth key: giving your nervous system time to heal as you reframe your approach to life and de-condition your fear response.

By the way, if you are among the majority of folks who are currently stopped by one of those “situationally-induced moments of anxiety that our self-help culture mislabels ‘fear,'” the information in this article can help you, too (but you might want to hang on to those other offerings to read later).

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Repair Deficit

Domino Problems Redux?
When you can’t seem to FIX faster than things fall apart!

©Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from the Time & Task Management Series
Predicting Time to Manage Tasks – Part-III

300px-Domino_effectHOW can I catch-up before it’s all too late?

Domino problems are what I have named that frustrating but all too familiar situation where it seems that no matter what you do – or how long you agonize over what you CAN do – one thing after another goes wrong anyway.

In my own life and the lives of my neurodiverse clients and and students, there are periods of time when it seems like one little oversight or problem “suddenly” creates a host of others — as we watch in horror as our lives falls apart, each new problem created by the one before it.

“I drop out one little thing and there I am,” one client said tearfully,back in the hole again, with no idea how I’ll get out this time.”

“Everything seems to fall apart around me, and I shut down with the stress of it all,” said another.

Still another said, “My family is tired of bailing me out, and I’m tired of hearing them yell at me about it. I feel like such a loser.”

That’s the Domino Problem Dynamic in a Nutshell

And when something NOT so little drops out – our doing or Murphy’s – HEAVEN HELP US!

Why the name “domino problem”? Because the domino dynamic is similar to that activity where you set a row of dominoes on end, then tap the first one to watch them ALL fall, one at a time, as the domino falling before it knocks it down.

Domino Problems are a major contributor to so-called procrastination: we reach a point where we are afraid to move because we are afraid we won’t be able to handle one more thing going wrong!

I keep searching for a way to explain the dynamic, on the way to suggesting some ways to work around it before everything is in shambles at your feet. “Repair deficit” is my latest attempt.

Repair Deficit

The term may seem oddly familiar to those of you who “attended” the world’s first virtual Gluten Summit in November 2013.

Dr. Liz Lipski used the term as a way of explaining “increased intestinal permeability,” in answer to a couple of recurring questions:

  1. Why is it, if gluten is supposed to be so bad for us, that everyone who eats it doesn’t develop what is euphemistically called “a leaky gut” and/or other conditions which supposedly have gluten intolerance at the root of the problem?
  2. How come people can be healthy for years on the standard high-gluten diet then suddenly, in late life, be diagnosed with celiac disorder or something else attributed to gluten intolerance?

Lipski’s explanation of the repair deficit dynamic in the physical health venue ALSO provides a handy metaphor for the explanation of why some of us are able to swim to shore after our life-boat capsizes, while others go down with the ship — or why some of us “leap tall buildings in a single bound,” only to be stopped cold by something that looks relatively minor.

So stay with me as we learn (or review) a bit about digestive health, on the way to taking a look at how repair deficit situations operate in the non-food areas of our lives.

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Keeping up with the Treadmill Tasks

Didn’t I just DO that???
It CAN’T be time to do it again!

©Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from the Time & Task Management Series
Predicting Time to Manage Tasks – Part-II

treadmill_GreenSuitOver and over and OVER

Treadmill Tasks are those things that are never really done. No sooner do we put the task behind us than its evil twin materializes in front.

If we expect to eat every day, somebody has to fix the food. Then somebody has to clean up once each meal is over.

And then there is the grocery shopping, laundry, dusting and general digging out, taking out the garbage, making the beds, policing the bedrooms, and the bathrooms, and the living rooms, and the kitchens . . .

SOME-body has to attend to all that or everybody must live with the consequences of the mounting disorder and disarray.

When YOU are that somebody – especially if you are one of the citizens of Alphabet City – I’ll bet you frequently feel like your life is just one gigantic Groundhog Day to-do list.

I know that I do — far too many more days than I’d like to!!

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Moving from Black or White to GREY

Moving toward Balance:
How Much of a Challenge IS Getting to Grey?


by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
One of The Black & White topic articles from
The Challenges Inventory™ Series

As I implied in my introductory article, Black and White Thinking is probably the most insidious of the Nine Challenges identified by The Challenges Inventory™.

It’s like a VIRUS: it infects, proliferates, and spreads to others.

  • Until addressed and overcome, black and white thinking will chain one arm to that well referenced rock and the other to that proverbial hard place. At that point, every single one of life’s other Challenges will loom larger than they would ever be otherwise.
  • The good news is that turn-around is not only possible, with some concentrated attention to what’s going on, turn-around is inevitable.
  • With every teeny-tiny step you take into the grey – away from the extremes of black and white – life gets better, and the next step becomes easier to take.

By the end of this segment in the Black and White Thinking Series, what I want for you is to be in a place where you are ready to take the first step toward CHANGING what’s going on now by transforming your thinking – one small step for man, one giant leap for man-KIND!

Since awareness is always the first step on the road to change, let’s take a closer look, considering what well might have been a huge contributor to the development of what’s going on now.

No One is Immune

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How Long Do Things Take?

Predicting Time to Manage Tasks

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from the Time & Task Management Series
Part ONE

sand_timer_sWhat’s YOUR Tendency?

Procrastination Specialist Timothy A. Pychyl, Success Specialist Heidi Grant Halvorson, and a number of other helpful psychologists have written any number of great articles about planning and time management on their Psychology Today blogs.

Once you’ve read my take on the topic, be sure to click on some of their articles in the Related Links at the bottom of this article for their particular brand of explanation and help.

Those of you who find it easier to believe in and try techniques backed by “official studies” will especially love what they have to say.

As regular readers already know, I tend to put more faith in what science refers to as “anecdotal evidence”  — learning from what I have observed in my clients and myself, and what I have heard from thousands of ADDers who have attended conferences and participated in my support groups and workshops in the twenty five years I have been in the field.

As I expanded my evidence collection to include the experiences of the other citizens of Alphabet City (TBI, OCD, EFD, AS, etc.), I began to mentally record their experiences as well, and factor them in to my techniques and theories.

It doesn’t matter.  Your job is the same either way: check your gut to see what makes the most sense to you and try it on.  Tweak from there.

  • When something works well for you, enjoy the moment and stick the technique in your box of cognitive tools.
  • When it doesn’t, don’t despair – check out another tool.

But hang on to the first!!  Just because you need a screwdriver NOW doesn’t mean you won’t need a hammer later!

My take on Anecdotal

When the science supports what I see in the population, I quote it.  When it doesn’t, I ignore it or argue with it.

  • It makes no difference if 98 out of 100 people studied tend to do xyz if my client and I happen to be among the 2% who do qrs.
  • For years I struggled valiantly attempting to adopt “majority rules” norms — with little to no success and a lot of wasted life.
  • It took a long time for me to develop even a rudimentary feeling of entitlement to my own process, learning to close my ears to the words of the “experts” and neurotypical Doubting Thomases who kept telling me that I was only kidding myself or making excuses.
  • I was all too aware that my shoulders were battered and bruised from my attempts to force myself through doors that simply wouldn’t open for me.  I had to teach myself to stop banging on locked doors and look for another way to get in – and I’m still working on it.

I coach, train and share here on hoping to help others avoid some of the wilderness-wandering that has characterized much of my own life. And to remind myself of what I’ve learned.

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Requests That Get You What You Want

Surprisingly easy to Ace — even easier to flunk

©Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from the Self-Advocacy Series
in support of the Coaching Skills Series

Please Read This Article Now

The heading above is a clear and clean example of a request — there’s nuthin’ fuzzy about it!

  1. It’s short
  2. It asks directly for what it wants
  3. It’s respectful — and includes the magic word
    (“please” – for those of you who didn’t have that kind of upbringing)
  4. And it is clear about the time-frame expectation.

It is truly a request, not a manipulation attempt.

In no way is it:

  • nagging or pleading
  • shaming or complaining
  • explaining or justifying
  • intimidating or threatening

Nor is it gift-wrapped in emotional subtext

There is no:

  • anger
  • frustration
  • disappointment
  • pouting
  • or any other emotional technique most of us tend to pull out when we are hoping to get what we want

As a result, it does not automatically activate emotional reactions like:

  • hurt feelings and defensiveness
  • pleas for exceptions or understanding
  • resistance or opposition
  • angry retorts or the urge to argue

It also makes itself ridiculously easy for the person on the responding end to consider, because it is it clear what’s expected if s/he responds affirmatively.

Responding to a request

There are only three ways a person can respond to a request:

  1. YES – in which case the expectation is that they will do it
  2. NO – we all know the pros and cons of that one
  3. MAYBE/IF – renegotiating the task or the time-frame

What seems to trip people up emotionally is the lack of the realization or acceptance of the First Codicil of Requesting.

Requesting: First Codicil

If any one of the three potential responses
is not an acceptable possibility,
you are making a
DEMANDNOT making a request —
(no matter how sweet your tone of voice)

The rest of this article will continue to expand on the request process — in a lot more words with a lot more examples — and will make a strong link between messing up the request process and all kinds of life struggles and relationship troubles.

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When Memory Fails – Part 2

Memory Issues
& Alphabet Disorders

©Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, MCC, SCAC
When Memory Fails, Part 2


According to Psychology Today  –

Memory makes us. If we couldn’t recall the who’s, what’s, where’s, and when’s of our everyday lives, we’d never be able to manage.

We mull over ideas in the present with our short-term (or working) memory, while we store past events and learned meanings in our long-term memory.

What Science Says

Memory is dynamic and malleable – and it doesn’t NEED to decay with age.

Through the miracles made possible through our brain’s ability to build new neural-networks — neuroplasticity! — most of us can expect to remain sharp and efficient, lean, mean learning machines throughout most of our lives.  We can, that is, as long as we take care of ourselves.

However, researchers are quick to point out, just as keeping our “physical apparatus” strong and flexible requires good nutrition and hygiene, remaining well-hydrated, and making sure that we get regular exercise so that our bodies can continue to serve us well . . .

Keeping our BRAINS supple has its own set of nutritional requirements and, to maintain peak performance, our brains need even more water than our bodies.

Were you aware that 80% of your brain is good ole’ H2O??
(In case you were wondering, 60% of the remaining 20% is FAT – which is only one reason why extremely low-fat diets may be great for helping you get into your skinny jeans, but they’re LOUSY for the health of your brain!)

The brain’s need for exercise is frequently summed up in the words of an old platitude: use it or lose it!

Losing it ANYWAY

cracked mind-300x300Okay, it’s certainly true that our ability to “remember” weakens if we don’t exercise our brains or take care of our bodies.

BUT EVEN for those of us who are reasonably fit, responsibly fed, well-watered life-long learners, there are times when information seems to fall through the cracks in our minds.

Ask any relatively good student if there was ever a time when, after studying vigorously for a particular exam – and even though they KNEW they “knew” the requested information – they couldn’t supply the answer to one of the questions.

Most students will answer your question affirmatively, yet they are members of the community that “uses it” most deliberately, nearly every single day.

That reality underscores an important point in the understanding of memory dynamics: it’s not enough to focus our energies on keeping our ability to store information strong and vital.  We need to understand how to be able to retrieve the information reliably for our “memory” to be of any use to us.

Getting things OUT

The process of memory storage is an extremely important part of the equation, of course — but if our brain’s librarian can’t locate what we ask it for when it comes time to USE the information, what good is it?

So before we explore the process of moving information into long-term memory storage, let’s take a look at the ways in which our “neuro-librarians” deliver what we’re looking for once it is stored there.

The “regurgitation” portion of the memory process is a factor of, essentially, three different processes:

  • recognition
  • recall, and
  • recall on demand

Let’s distinguish each of them before we go any further.

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Self-Care Strategy Tips to get you through the holidays

“Non-Pharmaceutial Alternatives”
for ADD/HD, EFD, TBI (etc.)
— Holiday-management —

Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC ©1995, 2013
ADD Coaching Skills Series

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays?!


YES, I AM AWARE that in less than half an hour from the time this article auto-posts it will officially be Thanksgiving — and happy Thanksgiving, by the way.

(I’m expressing my extreme gratitude that
it’s not Christmas YET.)

My BIGGIST Boomer birthday is the Friday after the turkey blow-out, and I am taking it TOTALLY off (an entire no-blog weekend, starting Thanksgiving!)

Instead of a yearly reflection on MY birthday this year, I spent quite a bit of time reflecting on my father’s, November 20th (Homage to Brandy – the most amazing man I never knew).

But I’m giving each of you an early present, a jump-start (so that maybe THIS Holiday Season will be a bit calmer than the last). Wouldn’t it be lovely to be able to relax and enjoy it this year?

Happy EVERYthing!

Since Christmas is my thing, the name of that particular holiday will be featured most prominently in any of my winter holiday articles.

But take a look at what I’m suggesting, no matter which end-of-year holidays YOU observe:

Hanukkah – Kwanza – Solstice – Ramadan – Shawwal – Black Friday – Cyber Monday – St. Nicholas Day – Boxing Day – Christmas Card Day – New Years – Twelfth Night – Festivus – or even You’re Welcome Day, Fruitcake Toss Day or National Bicarbonate of Soda Day (which, according to the Holiday Insights website, actually exist, along with my personal favorite on November 9th, Chaos Never Dies Day – but most of you probably missed it!)

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Up all Nite? Sleep away the Day?

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, A.C.T, MCC, SCAC
ABOUT Chronorhythm Sleep Disorders – Part I

lazyMaryVictorianLazy Mary Will You Get Up?

You’ve probably heard that old nursery rhyme where the first sing-song verse admonishes Mary for being “lazy” because she is still abed, then sing-song Mary responds that, “No, no Mother she won’t get up. She won’t get up today.”

Um, just A BIT black and white perhaps?

As reflected in that early childhood ditty, from the point of view of a great many of the world’s larks, once they themselves are up-and-at-em, not only do they consider those of us still asleep lazy, their assumption seems to be that we intend to remain slug-a-beds FOR THE ENTIRE DAY!

At least that seems to the [lack-of] thinking behind the many ways in which they state their expectations to those of us who “refuse” to toe their normative expectation lines, demonstrated by bounding out of bed with the first rays of the sun, bright-eyed and ready-for-bear.

A little empathy and understanding, please

I’m wondering if their tune might change – even a little bit – if they understood that going to sleep and waking up at an hour the “majority-rules” universe considers decent isn’t as simple as it sounds for those of us with sleep TIMING disorders.

For many of us, adjusting our sleep timing to fit
majority-rules norms is a CAN’T, not a won’t.

Flip things around for a moment

Regardless of how many of you out-vote us on the “decent hours” referendum, we have as much difficulty adjusting to your sleep schedule as many of you seem to have adjusting to ours.

  • Many of you say you get too sleepy to remain awake at hours where many of us are highly alert, getting things done, or finally getting into the flow.

Unless it’s New Year’s Eve when you insist on keeping to your truncate-tonight to rise-early-tomorrow schedule, we do our best not to call you names and judge your party-pooper sleep preferences.

I promise it’s no fun, night after night, to be the only person you know who is wide awake once the rest of what seems to be the entire world anywhere near your timezone has toddled off to bed. Life get’s lonely.

And mean. The expectation that we will be awake and alert once YOU have had sufficient sleep is annoyingly inconsiderate, actually.

It’s worse at the other end of the day as you tut-tut-tut yourselves off to bed when we are finally wide-awake and fully alert.

  • The rest of you put yourselves to bed “early” with the realistic expectation that you will be able to fall asleep once you get there.

You seem to believe in your heart-of-hearts that little trick would work for us too, with seemingly no awareness of the reality that most of us have failed at our attempts at it many, many, MANY times.

Our brains and bodies are telling us that it is simply the wrong time to sleep!

  • What if we insisted that you go to bed in the early afternoon,
    hours before you feel the call to sleep?

A time or two to resolve your sleep-debt might be nice, but beyond that, I’ll bet you wouldn’t fall asleep, stay asleep or get restorative sleep either.

And I’m fairly certain you wouldn’t respond positively to our insistence that you stop in the middle of whatever you are doing to go lie down in a dark room with your eyes closed.

I suppose we could force you to lie there quietly for a solid eight hours —  but you still wouldn’t get a solid eight hours of restorative SLEEP.

Your brains and bodies would insist that it was the wrong time for it!

THEN how would you feel?

How would you feel about life and about us when you opened your eyes in the wee hours of the next day to our scowling faces?  What could you have done wrong in your SLEEP, right?

Would your groggy mind understand this logic? We are angry with you simply because you are not eager to bound happily out of bed when our clock insists that it is time for you to get up!

Would it make you feel any better, about life and about us, if we were to remind you forcefully that you WOULD have had enough sleep if you’d simply shut your eyes and counted sheep or something when we put you to BED!?

If you really tried to imagine yourselves into the scenario above, you’d have to admit that we’re a lot nicer to you about the sleep-timing mismatch than you’d be to us if the shoe were on the other foot!

The sleep-timing mismatch truth to tell, we’re a lot nicer to you than you are to us as it stands NOW – any chance we could improve on that sorry state of affairs?

Maybe if we take a closer look at what’s going on here . . .

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November 24 is N-24 Awareness Day

A SHOT at Fixing Broken Sleep Clocks

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Another article in the Sleep Series

“Too many people don’t care what happens

so long as it doesn’t happen to them.”
~ William Howard Taft


Your chance to step up and make a difference

We have known for DECADES that as many as three quartersof those of us here in “Alphabet City ~ 75% ~ have chronic problems with sleep and sleep timing.

Many of us have trouble falling asleep almost every night — until and unless we are, literally, exhausted.

Some of us continue to have trouble letting go of the day even then.

Almost all of us, EVEN when we are well rested, struggle to come to alertness when we awaken, regardless of what time of day that might be — frequently for well over an hour or more after first opening our eyes.

Our eyes may be open, but our brains are still half-asleep
— almost every single “morning” of our lives —

Were you aware that, for longer than the Baby-Boomer generation has been ALIVE, there has been only asmall pocket of concerned individuals — dismissed as mavericks, complainers, enablers, alarmists, incalcitrant slug-a-beds, fringe-scientists — who have been interested enough in the quality of the LIVES of those who were so affected to lobby for efforts to understand why?

As I wrote in materials for the world’s first ADD-specific coach trainingback in 1994, almost 20 years ago now with numbers like 75%, if this were heart disease (or any other population), I’ll bet you that MOST of the scientific and medical community would have been ON it!

By supporting the recently formed non-profit, Circadian Sleep Disorders Network, together we can finally CHANGE that sad reality.

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Sound Sensitivity and Sensory Integration

Too much to process —
too much to THINK through

©Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
All Rights Reserved
Sensory Defensiveness Series – Part 1

Sound Sensitivity and Sensory Integration: Too much to process – too much to THINK through

“I have been talking and writing about sensory problems for over 20 years, and am still perplexed by many people who do not acknowledge sensory issues and the pain and discomfort they can cause. 

A person doesn’t have to be on the autism spectrum to be affected by sensory issues.”
Dr. Temple Grandin, The Way I See It

OURSELVES, growing older

My father “Brandy” was an amazingly healthy man for most of his 90+ years on earth. His mind stayed sharp right up to the end, but his body grew weary as the years went by — little betrayals and injustices to a man who was once strong and active. His once keen eyesight was the first to fade.

When I was just an undergrad, I remember his telling me that “his arms were no longer long enough.”  Now that I am older than the age he was then, I know just what he means: focal length. Presbyopia, they call it.

As the eyes grow older, the cornea becomes less flexible. It can no longer “squeeze down” enough to sharpen close-up focus.

  • I don’t think he ever really made friends with his reading glasses, though I’m sure he was grateful for anything that allowed him to continue to read.
  • I know I am – although I miss the days when I had the sharpest eyesight of anyone anyone knew, near or far.
  • I had no idea of the extent to which my cognition was linked to that sharp eyesight, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

As my father grew older, the world became louder – to everyone around him.

As he aged his hearing began to fade as well, so everything he listened to was LOUD — television, talk-radio, music – anything, really.  Although certainly understandable, it was also certainly annoying to those of us with normal hearing.  The volume he could tolerate hurt my ears, sometimes – even through the phone.

Have you ever been around someone with hearing challenges?

  • If you have, you know exactly what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, go turn on the TV or radio right now — and turn it w-a-y UP.
  • NOW try to concentrate on reading this article.
  • Keep reading, and give it at least a full minute before you turn it off or down to the level of background music.
  • Whew!  That WAS annoying, wasn’t it?  How much do you recall of what you read?

Wouldn’t it be awful if, for some reason, you were unable to turn the sound back down?  How long do you think you would be able to tolerate it calmly?

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The Gluten Sensitivity Summit Speakers Schedule


© By Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, A.C.T., MCC, SCAC
Self-Health Series

click image for source

click image for source

Quickie Update:

Below is the list of speakers who will be presenting for FREE during the online Gluten Sensitivity Summit.

And it’s NOT too late to register below. 

Although you will have to purchase the downloads if you want to hear the days you’ve missed – as you’ll see in the Speaker Schedule below, there’s still A LOT more to come you can access for free.

If this is the first you are reading about why YOU might be interested in attending this amazing Summit (which began on Monday, November 11th and will continue daily until the following Monday)  — CLICK HERE for my introductory article & registration link.

The rest of you already know about this comprehensive collection of experts sharing the latest gluten-related information, generous enough to give us all what amounts to a free one-hour consultation.

Summit organizer Dr. Tom O’Bryan of asks the questions we would ask if we were there. — with new content available for free, every day for a solid 8 days — through Monday, November 18th, 2013. 

If you registered when I first announced the Summit, you listened for free from the very beginning.

BUT DON’T WORRY – the cost to download the complete set of ALL the sessions – either before they actually air or after the fact – is among the most reasonable of any Summit I’ve ever attended: video, audio and transcript all for one low price, by the way.

  • For those of you have already signed up – please take this as a reminder to continue spreading the word. SHARE with your social networks (buttons below) or reblog. Like I said in the last Gluten Summit post — it doesn’t cost a dime to become known as a resource!
  • If you know all about it, but haven’t registered YET, jump on it!

for the Gluten Sensitivity Summit registration page
& more information

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More info on the free Gluten Sensitivity Summit

Possibly LIFE changing?

© By Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, A.C.T., MCC, SCAC
Self-Health Series

click image for source

click image for source

Did you register?

If this is the first you are reading about why YOU might be interested in attending this amazing Summit (beginning on November 11th, 2013)  — CLICK HERE for my introductory article & registration link.

The rest of you already know about this comprehensive collection of experts sharing the latest gluten-related information, willing to spill their guts for free during an ongoing, recorded Summit of interviews — with new content posted every day for a solid week — beginning on November 11th, 2013. 

SAY WHAT? Give up grains! Are you NUTS?!!

Hold that thought just long enough for me to give you the registration information and links – then I’ll let you in on MY thinking in this regard.

If you get in at the very beginning, you can listen for free.  But don’t worry – the cost to download the sessions – either before they actually air or after the fact – is among the most reasonable of any Summit I’ve attended.

  • Some of you have already signed up – so take this as a reminder to continue spreading the word. SHARE and reblog – it doesn’t cost a dime to become known as a resource!
  • If you know all about it, but haven’t registered YET, there’s still time.

for the Gluten Sensitivity Summit registration page
& more information

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Life, Death, Mental Health & Sleep

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, A.C.T, MCC, SCAC
Another Article in the Sleep Series – Video below


I’ll Sleep when I’m Dead . . .

That’s how I began Sleep and Cognition,
an earlier article in the Sleep Series.

I went on to say:

In my hurry-up-there’s-so-much-more-to-DO experience of living, almost everything auxiliary to my current attempt to focus frequently seems like a necessary but unwelcomed interruption to what I liked to think of as “life” — as annoying as ants at a picnic.

But I know better now where SLEEP is concerned!

WHY we need sleep

Yes, sleep deprivation makes us drowsy and unable to concentrate.  It feels lousy when we struggle to keep our eyes open. But that’s not the half of it!

A LOT happens during that prone period where it seems to us that nothing at all is going on. We need adequate, high-quality sleep for our nervous systems to work properly.

As science conducts increasingly more sleep studies, it has become clear that sleep deprivation leads to impairment of our memory processes, physical performance, and intellectual prowess (leading, for example, to a proven reduction in the ability to carry out mathematical calculations).

Extreme sleep deprivation leads to hallucinations and an impaired ability to regulate mood. 

But that’s not ALL

Animal studies have shown that sleep is necessary to remain physically healthy and, in some cases, to remain alive.

  • A rat’s average life span is 2 to 3 years; rats deprived of sleep live for only about 3 weeks.
  • They also develop abnormally low body temperatures, along with sores on paws and tails, most likely developed as a result of impairment of the rats’ immune systems.

In humans, it has been demonstrated that the metabolic activity of the brain decreases significantly after 24 hours without sleep. Sleep deprivation results in:

  • a decrease in body temperature and an increase in heart rate variability
  • a decrease in white blood cell count, which correlates to a decrease in immune system function
  • a decrease in the release of growth hormone which, in children and young adults, takes place during deep sleep — and, among other problems,
  • a disturbance in the production and breakdown of proteins (in most bodily cells) – normally carried out during the deep sleep phase.

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Everything you ever wanted to know about SLEEP


Another of Martin's wonderful educational drawings, of a man in bed, distracted from sleeping by a stream of light

Phillip Martin, artist/educator


Well, everything I’ve already published on SLEEP here on, anyway
and that’s quite a lot
(all linked below)

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November Summit on Gluten Sensitivity – No Charge!

Could it Change your LIFE?

© By Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, A.C.T., MCC, SCAC
Self-Health Series

What’s eating you just might be what you’re eating!

no-gluten-symbolDr. Charles Parker (The New ADHD Medication Rules) just sent me an email with a link — to make sure I didn’t miss the chance to learn what experts working in the field have to say about gluten sensitivity.

Apparently there’s an amazing Summit of experts in
gluten-related research willing to spill their guts
– November 11 through November 17 –
online, thanks to the wonders of the internet!
(registration link below)

 I decided to post the registration information here on so that you have a chance to find out what all the shoutin’s about concerning gluten sensitivity right along with me.

Gluten, for those of you who are unclear, is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye.

WHAT? Give up grains! Are you NUTS?!!

I know – it sounds crazy, right? Isn’t bread supposed to be the staff of life?

Yet I’ve heard a lot about the increasing number of problems doctors in-the-know are finding that have been traced back to gluten sensitivities.  Some of these include life-long health issues that cleared right up when gluten was eliminated from the diet of those who were suffering.

At a recent conference, I also heard some amazing stories from colleagues who’ve gone gluten-free — and they looked GREAT, btw! (which means younger and thinner, with clear eyes and glowing complexions, to name four)

Still . . . give up grains? 

  • No toast – cereal, cakes, cookies?  Can one even live without pasta?!!
  • Maybe this idea is a bit extreme – perhaps another wonder-diet of the moment?

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The ADD “ADHD” Club is Open for Membership – No Application Needed

ADD-HD Awareness Ribbon

Welcome to the Party – BYOB (brain!)

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
In support of the Brain-Based Coaching Series
An ADD Awareness Post — PASS IT ON!


Attentional Deficits:
NO ONE is Immune

As I said in Types of Attentional Deficits:

EVERYBODY living in an industrialized society in our CrazyBusy world will have Challenges with attention and focus, and ANYBODY anywhere who has current health challenges of any type will find themselves included in one of the three main categories I introduced in that article.

  • We ALL experience attentional deficits that cause problems in our lives, making it tough for us to stay intentional long enough to reach our goals.
  • Whether physical, neurological, or situational, when attentional challenges rear their ugly heads, deliberate strategies must be consciously employed to make it extremely easy for us to attend, register, and link for memory.
  • Otherwise, the chances are good that we will have little more conscious awareness of what’s happening in our own lives than a sleepwalker dreaming about being awake!

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Predict it to Police It, Police it to PLAN it


Post-itsOvercoming the
Limitations of the
Post-It Note™ Brain

A Source of Struggles
in Alphabet City

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Part of ADD Coaching Skills Series

Dr. David Eagleman, author of Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain, has studied time perception for over a decade.

According to Eagleman and his lab, we humans are more than passive observers where time is concerned.

We are not merely watching the river of time flow by as if time happened TO us, or we happened IN time.

As with visual illusions and perceptions, science is learning that our brains are actively constructing time.

Re-engineering Brain Resources

In Eagleman’s words, “It turns out that [time perception] has everything to do with novelty, and with how much energy your brain has to expend.

So, when you can predict something, not only does your consciousness not come online, but [the event] feels like it goes [by] very fast.

  • So, driving to work [seems] very fast; but the very first time you did it, it seemed to take a long time because of the novelty, AND
  • the amount of brain-power you had to burn the first time you did it — before you were able to predict it.

Essentially what prediction means, if it’s something you’re doing a lot, you’re actually reconfiguring the circuitry of the brain.

  • You’re actually getting stuff down into [your brain’s sub-conscious] circuitry, which gives you speed and efficiency, but at the cost of conscious access.
  • So, if you’re learning to do something new, like playing tennis or riding a bicycle or something, at first you have to pay a lot of conscious attention
  • After a while you don’t have to, because you’ve changed the circuitry of your brain — but at the cost of being able to consciously know what you’re doing.”

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ATTENTION on your driving saves $$ and lives

Check out additional info in the comments too – in answer to a great question

driveBrainYour Brain REALLYglobe2_100
Can NOT Do it!

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
From the What Kind of World Series

Heads Up!  The information reproduced below is NOT new news – yet things are getting WORSE!

Science has been studying the driving/multi-tasking dangers for years now, publishing their findings in scientific journals.

FINALLY, it is getting some serious attention from the mainstream press!

MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) did us all a huge service by getting laws on the books that cracked down on drinking and driving. Briefly, our roads were safer and traffic deaths went down.

Despite their efforts, however, we are all now at greater risk than ever because of mobile technology.

  • You probably figured out on your own that dialing, texting,
    or updating your Facebook status while driving is a seriously stupid idea.
    After all, you’d have to take your eyes off the road.
  • BUT WERE YOU AWARE that, according to scientific reaction-time studies, talking on a cell-phone while driving – EVEN hands-free – is riskier than driving with a blood-alcohol content over the legal limit?

DON’T DO IT – and don’t let the driver of a car you ride in do it either.

Just Say NO!

Those of us with attention deficits to begin with really need to heed the warning – and that category includes ALL teens, by the way, whose prefrontal cortices aren’t yet fully developed.

We simply can’t take the risk that we will act on the impulse to answer that cell phone – turn it OFF or hand it to a passenger to tell callers you are not available while you are driving.

Don’t even chance it. Make it a habit by making it your POLICY.

The lives at risk are not ALL yours to gamble!

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My Top Ten Tips to Improve the Quality of Your Care

HOW to give feedback to Doctors & Therapists
that will increase your odds of
getting what you need

© By Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, A.C.T., MCC, SCAC
Foundational Concepts in the Self-advocacy Series
Improving the Quality of Your Care Part II

Excellent FeedbackFeedback is Essential

Continuing with the theme begun in an earlier article, In Praise of Complainers: Reframing Complaining, where I underscored the importance of feedback to getting our needs met when things were NOT hunky-dorythis article wraps up the focus on getting our needs met with our care providers, begun in Part-I of this article.

HOW we provide feedback – and to whom – makes a difference.

After a quick review of a few important ideas from Part-I, I will expand on the ideas begin there, chunked into a listing of my Top Ten Tips — developed through over 20 years of working with ADD/EFD clients.

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