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 today!

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.

Let me clue you in on what I learned:  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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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

wallpaperweb.org: click picture to visit source

wallpaperweb.org: 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

fear

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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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

Nov24~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
“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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Life, Death, Mental Health & Sleep


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

liftarn_A_person_sleeping_90x90

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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How to live a life that doesn’t suck


from Selorm Nelson - click graphic to read

from Selorm Nelson – click graphic to read

Does anybody REALLY live
“a LIFE they LOVE?”

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
A Walking a Mile in Another’s Shoes Post
Part 1 in a Series

I know, it’s a bizarre way to begin

It is an ESPECIALLY bizarre question out of the metaphorical mouth of a coach.

For those of you who aren’t yet aware, “life” coaching is a profession renowned for holding the “Live a life you LOVE banner aloft (above a table marketing miraculous services that will transform your life with the click of a PayPal button).

I’ve used the phrase myself – more than a few times.  It seemed a handy “short-hand” in my attempt to describe the benefits of coaching. But today I’m giving that hyperbole a bit more thought.

Maybe it’s because I’ve been under the weather all week and I’m now in the grouchy phase where I’m feeling sorry for myself – but I think the topic merits some frank discussion, don’t you?

Because I think we’re focusing on the wrong objective, which will continue to lead us astray.

I’m coming to believe it’s a set up, actually — for an expectations mismatch that will make us truly miserable, regardless of what our lives look like at any particular moment.

If it works for you, carry on. I’m all FOR hyperboles that work, but I’m not sure this one does.

I’m wondering if it’s time to move on to something that works better with the way our brains are designed. Do your best to read with an open mind.

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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!

braincogs

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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Forgetting and Remembering


When Memory Fails

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
From the ADD & Memory Series
Forgetting and Remembering Part 1

Red telehone with memo

Dreamstimefree

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
There are three harbingers of Old Age:

one is memory loss
and I forget the other two.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

What IS Memory, anyway?

All kidding aside, when we think about human memory loss, what is it that we think we’re losing?

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BACK – and still deciding


What Are You Doing for the Rest of your Life?
by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

QuestionMarkGuyThat IS the question, isn’t it?

After spending A GREAT MANY minutes of my life creating a great many articles that could be autoposted while I went “away” so that I could focus on myself alone for a while, and. . .

After leaving my earlier
See You In September post . . .

I attempted to abandon my hyper-focus on current endeavors to investigate a single question:

What do I want to DO with the rest of
the minutes of my life, given the options
now available to me.

I’m coming to believe that is NOT the question that will yield fruit for me.

  • I am not unsatisfied with what I DO. In fact, I love what I do.
  • I believe it is a large part of what I’m here TO do – my purpose, if you will.
  • Secure in that awareness, I suppose I am more fortunate than many who are still trying to figure out what they are here to DO.

Different questions, different directions

I have come to believe that I need to focus more on my “environment,” so to speak

  • WHO I do it for and with
  • Under what circumstances
  • WHERE I AM while I am doing it
  • What is missing from my experience of doing what I love, and
  • How I’m going to keep a roof over my head
    and food in my belly while I am doing it.

I am, and will be, sharing my process because I now believe that is the crux of life satisfaction for YOU, too.

But whether you find value in the sharing or not, and whether or you ever let me know whether or not you do, it helps me process to write it down and share it. And so I will.

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The Impulsivity Rundown™


Widening the gap between Impulse and (re)Action

(from an upcoming book, The Impulsivity Rundown © - all rights reserved)

Impulsiveby Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Part of The Challenges Inventory™ Series

Garden-Variety Impulsivity

Let’s be really clear about the focus of The Impulsivity Rundown™.

While ADD is included among the list of diagnostic Impulse Control Disorders, we’re NOT going to focus on the more extreme end of runaway impulsivity.

Impulsivity that leads to the kind of serious harm where you are likely to spend some time in an Institution, or spend more than a few years on an analyst’s couch, or wind up on a first-name basis with every Police Precinct in your area, is beyond the scope of ADD Coaching or this Series — things like:

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A lever for when you are REALLY stuck


Keeping on Keeping ON it

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
An article in the Org&Task Series

ReadTree“Having come to the conclusion that there was
so much to do that she
didn’t know where to start,
Mrs Fowler decided not to start at all.

She went to the library,
took Diary of a Nobody from the shelves and,
returning to her wicker chair under the lime tree,
settled down to waste what precious hours
still remained of the day.”

~ Richmal Crompton, Family Roundabout

The secret of getting ahead is getting started.
~ Mark Twain

Ay, there’s the rub!

Have you ever had a day – or a series of days – when you simply couldn’t seem to get started doing much of anything?

CLICK HERE for an article on Activation that will help you begin to understand that dynamic.

The article below will give you something to try that might actually get you going.

It works for me most of the time, anyway.  I call it The Backwards To-Do List. 

But first, let’s talk for a minute about the downside of goals and goal-setting.

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This is your Brain on Sleep – Stages of Sleep


Cycling through the Sleep Stages
Part of the Sleep Series

© by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, A.C.T, MCC, SCAC

“Sleep is not a luxury or an indulgence but a
fundamental biological need, enhancing 
creativity,
productivity, mood, and the ability to interact with others.”

~ Russell G. Foster, a leading expert on chronobiology

zzzzz_in bed_blue 298x232Gettin’ those Zzzz’s

Until the mid-twentieth century, most scientists believed that we were asleep for approximately a third of our lives — experienced, primarily, in a uniform block of time that was the opposite of wakefulness.

THAT was pretty much it.

Their assumption was that sleep was a homogeneous state.  It’s most salient feature was considered to be the fact that you were NOT AWAKE.  Duh.

The main side-effect of sleep deprivation, so it was believed at the time, was that you got sleepyOh my.

  • It was assumed that we needed some sort of down-time to recharge our batteries somehow.
  • There was so little curiosity about sleep, very few scientists felt that it was worthy of the time or money for research.

In the 1950s, the breaking news from one of the few sleep labs was that sleep actually consisted of two distinct states:

  1. Rapid eye movement sleep [REM], which distinguished dreaming sleep, according to what they knew at the time
  2. AND . . . the rest of it!
    (imaginatively referred to as “non-rapid eye movement sleep” [NREM])

You probably already know that REM sleep was so named because it was noticed that the eyes moved quickly back and forth under closed eyelids – rather like they might if the sleeper were speed-reading a teeny-tiny English-language book.

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Commitment to Transition


CoinFlipFlip a Coin

© By Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, A.C.T., MCC, SCAC
Excerpted from an upcoming book; all rights reserved
CLICK HERE to begin at the beginning

We start small

We begin with the tedium of to-dos – because the lessons learned will generalize to the bigger changes and transitions that we all must face.

Meanwhile, we must all learn the ways in which we, uniquely, “chop wood, carry water.” ~ mgh

Chocolate or Vanilla?

To keep this process as simple as possible, we are going to forget about troubles with the Gap in this article, and work with only one of the other two transitional modes.

ChocVanCone

The initial step, once you have made your list so that you can work with your own personal and specific examples, is to agree to work on improving one transitional mode at a time.

If you’re having difficulty going into, you can’t simultaneously master the re-orientation of coming out of.  You’ll be left not wanting to do anything except sit in your boggle room and cry (or drink!)  Sound familiar?

Pick one mode and let’s go.

In the mode you’ve selected, write down ten specific tasks that prove extremely difficult (or nearly impossible) for you – even if you feel like an idiot to admit to yourself or anyone else that you can’t manage it like “everyone else.” 

Don’t switch to examples for the other mode – we’re cleaning up one neighborhood at a time.

Next to each one of your ten items, write down all the different activities, mental and physical, you go through to get from A to Z.  Below is an example to give you an idea of what I mean by that assignment.

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An Open Letter to Sleep Sites EVERYWHERE


Asking for a Legitimate Place at the Table

© By Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, A.C.T., MCC, SCAC
In support of the Sleep Series

Click to buy this t from BuzzyMedia

Click to buy this tee-shirt from BuzzyMultiMedia

As requested, in support of the relatively new Circadean Sleep Disorders non-profit, the following letter was sent directly to kjones@sleepfoundation.org — but it COULD have been sent to almost every “official” sleep site on the internet.

So posting it here on ADDandSoMuchMore.com is my answer to the dilemma of how to do exactly THAT.

I have edited and formatted (adding some headings and graphics) to make it easier for ADDers to read on a blog, and making it more relevant for sending to ANY sleep site.

If *you*(or anyone you love) struggles with falling asleep and waking up “at a decent hour,” the information included below could possibly change your experience of living.

I hope someday to be able to say that it is widely available.

Please feel free to reblog (or resend), or to take the time to cannibalize or edit, using primarily your own words — but please DO pass it on.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
“It takes a village to educate a world.”
~ mgh
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Transition Tamer: Beware the GAP!


Transitions:
Into, Out of
&
AROUND
The Gap
 

© By Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, A.C.T., MCC, SCAC
Excerpted from an upcoming book; all rights reserved
CLICK HERE to begin at the beginning

We start small

We begin with the tedium of to-dos – because the lessons learned will generalize to the bigger changes and transitions that we all must face.

Meanwhile, we must all learn the ways in which we, uniquely, “chop wood, carry water.” ~ mgh

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Transitions: Divide to Conquer


The Great Divide

© By Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, A.C.T., MCC, SCAC
Excerpted from an upcoming book; all rights reserved
CLICK HERE to begin at the beginning

We start small

We begin with the tedium of to-dos – because the lessons learned will generalize to the bigger changes and transitions that we all must face.

Meanwhile, we must all learn the ways in which we, uniquely, “chop wood, carry water.” ~ mgh

Come, Stay or Go?

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Non-Profit Supporting Fractured Sleep Clocks


Chronorhythm Sleep Disorders are SERIOUSLY understudied – overlooked
PLEASE help spread the word about CSDN — reblog, link, talk about it on chatlists ~ thanks!

Stepping into the Void:
The Circadian Sleep Disorders Network

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

Broken ClockBroken Sleep Clocks

As many as three quarters — 75% — of those of us here in “Alphabet City” have chronic problems with sleep and sleep timing.

Most of us have trouble falling asleep at night unless we are, literally, exhausted. For some of us, not even then. Almost all of us struggle to come to alertness when we awaken.

Are you aware that, until now, there has been
no concerted effort to understand WHY?

Chronorhythm disorders – the disorders of sleep timing – have long been the unloved step-child of sleep medicine.

A relatively new Non-Profit organization, the
Circadian Sleep Disorders Network
has been formed to change that sad reality.

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HIGH Interest Charges on Sleep Debt


You don’t wanna’ have to pay
the interest on Sleep Debt!

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

According to the authors of the website Talk About Sleep:

BigYawn“At least 40 million Americans suffer from chronic, long-term sleep disorders each year, and an additional 20 million experience occasional sleeping problems.

These disorders and the resulting sleep deprivation interfere with work, driving, and social activities.

They also account for an estimated $16 BILLION in medical costs each year, while the indirect costs due to lost productivity and other factors are probably much greater.”

They go on to say that “the most common sleep disorders include insomnia, sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome, and narcolepsy,” which is an indication of how LITTLE research has been done on chronorhythm disorders.

But you don’t have to have a diagnostic sleep disorder of any kind to experience the negative effects of sleep debt. In fact, most of us in industrialized society are chronically under-slept, which means that most of us have racked up sleep debt to a significant degree.

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Sleep Timing Disorders & More Laws of Photobiology


More Laws of Photobiology

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Part III of a three-part article in the Sleep Series
Click HERE for Part II

pdclipart.orgLET’S REVIEW what we learned in Parts I and II:

• Time cues are what keep our body clocks aligned with the rest of our 24 hour world.

• In order for our sleep-wake timing to cooperate with our planet’s day/night cycle, our biological clock seems to need regular environmental time cues — like sunrise, sunset, and/or a stable sleep-wake routine.

• The successful shifting of “native” circadian rhythms to those that coordinate with earth’s 24 hour day is calledentrainment.”

• One of the most important reasons for regulating our sleep schedule is to stabilize the quality of LIGHT to which we are exposed.

• In order for work-arounds (and treatment protocols) for circadian/chronorhythm dysfunctions to be successful, it is helpful to understand and cooperate with what are sometimes referred to as the basic laws of photobiology.

Photobiology is the scientific study of the interactions of light (technically, non-ionizing radiation) and living organisms.” ~ Wikipedia

• Visible Light Regulates — The therapeutic effects of light depends upon the wavelength transmitted to the brain through the eye’s retina — visible light is the primary regulator of the human circadian response.

• Only light that is absorbed will have an effect – and it matters what kind of light is absorbed when.

Visible light is absorbed through through chromophores in the retina.

It “communicates” with the body through two primary pathways to the brain from the retina to the optic nerve: one that governs visual perception and response, and the other that governs “neuro-behavioral” responses, along with hormonal and circadian functions.

WE LEFT OFF WITH THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT:

• Circadian entrainment is most sensitive to stimulation from light in the blue spectrum, but until 1998, Science had no idea how that happened.

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Sleep Timing Disorders and LIGHT


Obeying the Laws of Photobiology

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Part II of a three-part article in the Sleep Series
Click HERE for Part I

Diagram illustrating the influence of dark-light rhythms on circadian rhythms and related physiology and behavior. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The influence of dark-light rhythms on circadian cycles, and related physiology and behavior. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Keep in mind:

Time cues are what keep our body clocks aligned with the rest of our 24 hour world.

In order for our sleep-wake timing to cooperate with our planet’s day/night cycle, our biological clock seems to need regular environmental time cues — like sunrise, sunset, and/or a stable sleep-wake routine.

The successful shifting of “native” circadian rhythms to those that coordinate with earth’s 24 hour day is calledentrainment.”

Although light is not the only factor acting on our circadian rhythms, many researchers consider it to be the strongest cue for entrainment. Its entrainment effectiveness, however, can be altered by a number of other factors.

  • Regular exercise, for example, when coupled with appropriately timed light exposure, results in a slightly stronger entrainment response.
  • Certain music and supplemental Melatonin (taken at the right time) have also demonstrated a positive effect on entrainment.
  • Stress, on the other hand, weakens the entrainment effect, as do some medications, nicotine, alcohol (or sudden withdrawal from either)

In the rest of this article, we’ll focus primarily on the mechanisms of light entrainment.

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Owls, Larks and Camels


“Early to bed, early to rise,
makes a man stupid and blind in the eyes”

~ Mazer Rackham (from Orson Scott Card‘s book “ Ender’s game“)

NiteOwlandMoonNormal cuts a Wide Swath

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

Normal Circadian Rhythms

Among people with healthy circadian clocks, there are “Larks” or “morning people” who prefer to sleep and wake early, and there are “Owls” who prefer to sleep and wake at late times.

But whether they are larks or owls, people with normal circadian systems:

  • can wake in time for what they need to do in the morning, and fall asleep at night in time to get enough sleep before having to get up.
  • can sleep and wake up at the same time every day, if they want to.
  • will, after starting a new routine that requires their getting up earlier than usual, start to fall asleep at night earlier within a few days.

For example, someone used to sleeping at 1 a.m. and waking up at 9 a.m. begins a new job on a Monday, and must get up at 6 a.m. to get ready for work.

By the following Friday, the person has begun to fall asleep at around 10 p.m., and can wake up at 6 a.m. feeling well-rested.

This adaptation to earlier sleep/wake times is known as ‘advancing the sleep phase.’ Healthy people can advance their sleep phase by about one hour each day.

24 hours a day isn’t “normal”

Researchers have placed volunteers in caves or special apartments for
several weeks without clocks or other time cues. Without time cues, the
volunteers tended to go to bed an hour later and to get up about an hour
later each day.

These experiments demonstrate that the “free-running” circadian rhythm in humans is [greater than the earth’s 24 hour cycle – anywhere from 24:15 to 25 or so a day].

To maintain a 24 hour day/night cycle, the biological clock needs regular environmental time cues, e.g. sunrise, sunset, and daily routine.

Time cues are what keep our body clocks aligned with the rest of the world.

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Sleep Basics affecting Sleep TIMING


Sleep is a many splendored thing

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Part I of a three-part article in the Sleep Series

Courtesy of artist-educator Phillip Martin

Courtesy of artist-educator Phillip Martin

For most of the history of mankind, human beings divided life itself into two parts  — awake and asleep.

Other than cultures who were into dream interpretation in a big way, most people didn’t think much about sleep beyond that idea.

Most of us still don’t think about it much, unless we are forced to do so because we are having trouble sleeping or trouble staying awake.

Early to Bed, Early to Rise

Until the widespread availability of the electric light bulb, only beginning to come to public awareness around the dawn of the 20th century, most humans set their sleep-wake schedules in reaction to the availability of light, truly believing that they had made a pragmatic decision.

Oh sure, way back in the day somebody had to stay awake to protect the sleeping tribe, and many warring tribes chose to attack under cover of darkness, but there wasn’t a whole lot that the others could DO once darkness descended.

So they went to bed.

If they thought about it at all, most people probably believed they fell asleep quickly because they were exhausted from the demands of life in the primarily agrarian lifestyle of most of the human race for centuries. Little did they suspect that the reason sleep came so easily was a factor of what we call “entrainment to the light/dark cycle,” aided by the structure of their regular schedules.

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Expectations set by appearance


The comments to this post add content – don’t miss ‘em!

DeceptiveAppearances

original source unknown

Getting PAST the Visual?

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
A Walking a Mile in Another’s Shoes Post

A recent conversation on a TBI article, Laughter is Brain Injury Medicine – Relieved it’s not me … new what?  launches a conversation that deserves an exploration here — thus, the article below.

(Regular readers have probably noted that Edie, a TBI advocate, frequently comments on the articles I put together to help, primarily, a readership that has attentional struggles and challenges. I comment on her blog as well.)

I hope you will take the time to investigate Brain Injury Self Rehabilitation, the blog sustained by the life experiences and research of former nurse Edie Flickinger.

MUCH of the information that she shares about Traumatic Brain Injury is also relevant to the rest of what I call “the alphabet disorders” population: ADD, EFD, ASD, MDD, BPD, OCD, ODD, etc.

Appearance Expectations

In her article, Edie’s point about appearance expectations (they look good, therefore we expect them to “work good”) is something I had never really thought very deeply about in terms of its impact on the functioning of those whom I have coached and trained — at least, not quite so consciously.

Sometimes Size DOES Matter

BigLittleI have long observed certain manifestations of that particular “expectations set by appearance” dynamic with adults and groups of children.

I have repeatedly noted the greater number of frustrated adults when kids who are much bigger or taller than same-age children struggle with accomplishment (even when a “big” kid performs at a higher level than his or her peers.)

People subconsciously expect a particularly “big” kid to be able to do (or learn, or already know) what they would expect of a child several years older.

If the child performs at an advanced level cognitively or intellectually, it frequently seems to be taken for granted, even discounted (in a manner similar to the way we admonish bigger kids not to physically bully those who are smaller or frailer).

Should the “big” kid be even the slightest bit delayed in development, adult concern can be intense!

“Little” kids (most often if they are female), seem to get a “pass” on functional or behavioral issues more frequently than their “standard-sized” same-age buddies as well — an example of the same dynamic from the other end of the see-saw.

But I’ll bet Edie is absolutely correct that many of our expectations of what a person “should” be able to handle functionally and intellectually are set by appearance standards, regardless of age. After all, we do “dress for success!!”

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Mind, Body, Heart and Spirit


“Extreme” Self-Care Coaching Lab:

Tending the Mind, Body, Heart and Spirit

by Peggy Ramundo, BS, A.C.T., SCAC
Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Speaker’s Content ACO 2013: Part 1

Extreme Self-Care is simple, but not easy
What Is It?
Putting your Self at the TOP of your To-Do List!

What follows is a synthesis of Conference Binder materials and Speaker’s Notes from the Coaching Lab presented during the  ACO Conference in Atlanta: April 2013

Extreme Self-Care

Extreme self-care is the foundation of a fulfilling life. To experience a high quality life, you need a “high quality you.” The only way to BE at your very best is to DO the very best for you — by making the quality of your life your #1 priority.

Extreme self-care means making intentional decisions about what you want — what brings you peace, joy, and happiness — getting into the zone, where you are in energetic alignment with your Highest Good.

  • It is about turning a deaf ear to the Shoulds espoused by others and by your own Inner Critic.
  • It is about giving yourself permission to “just say no” to those people and things that drain your resources of time and energy and ramp up your feelings of overwhelm.

Why It’s Essential

Remember the instructions flight attendants give passengers traveling with children regarding what to do in the event of a decrease in cabin air pressure?
Put the mask over your nose and mouth first and then over your children’s.

The reason, of course, is that you can’t help anyone else
if you are gasping for air yourself.

“Life is similar: while suffering, suffocating, starved, sapped, or scared,
we are in no condition to assist
[a client or] a friend in need,
much less be able to take pleasure in the moment.

Simply put, healthy “selfishness” is necessary for bringing joy
to others
as well as to ourselves.”  ~ Marcia Reynolds

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Reflections on my return: ACO Conference 2013


I’m B-a-a-a-ck!

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

It was WONDERFUL!

Peggy Ramundo and I just returned from co-facilitating the coaching lab at the SIXTH Annual ADHD Coaches Organization [ACO] conference, again in Atlanta. ANOTHER great experience to reflect upon, now that I am home and almost unpacked.

Start saving NOW to BE there next year, in Phoenix, Arizona
May 2, 3, and 4, 2014 (pre-conference sessions May 1st)
Mark your calendars, and add a line-item to your budget.
[CLICK HERE for the 2014 Conference Page on the ACO website]

I am so grateful to have had another wonderful chance to swap expertise with my colleagues as I got to connect with many whom I’ve known for years, had the opportunity to meet many of my virtual colleagues “live and in person” for the first time, and to be introduced to many more I hadn’t had a chance to meet in any venue. What a feast!

And we had a BALL!

Again, I must second Dr. Charles Parker’s comment in last year’s post-conference article on his Corepsychblog, “If you are an ADHD coach and haven’t yet connected with the ACO  . . .  now is the time to get on it and get cracking.”

CONGRATULATIONS to the 2013 Conference Chair, incoming president Joyce Kubic (mentored by last year’s chair, Judith Champion), current president Sarah Wright, each of the presenters, the entire conference team and all of the on-site volunteers tasked with keeping the balls in the air in Atlanta.

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Leaving for Atlanta: ACO 2013



CrownePlaza_Atlanta

It’s almost here -
will I see you there?

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

I’m leaving Cincinnati on Wednesday morning – yeah, THIS Wednesday morning, April 10, 2013.  Yiikes!

At almost dawn this morning, after packing and repacking all night, I finally had to give up and go to BED, even though I still haven’t streamlined my travel wardrobe enough to get it into one single suitcase.

Isn’t that the ADD way? 

What IS it about going away that makes it so hard to decide what to wear?  So many possibilities, so little time . . . (It must be figuring out the shoes, right?)

To make sure I arrive with my head on straight, this will be my last trip to ADDandSoMuchMore.com until my return a week from this Wednesday. Take advantage of my blogging hiatus to catch up on some of the articles you may have missed.  There’s LOTS here I’ll bet most of you have never seen.  Click around — it will be brand new to you!

Back on the Speaker’s Circuit!

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Working with Impulsivity


Peeping at the gap between impulse & action

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Part of The Challenges Inventory™ Series

(from an upcoming book, The Impulsivity Rundown © - all rights reserved)

Peeps

The Marshmallow Study

No, he didn’t use Peeps, either like the ones in the photo above OR those in the Easter Basket that I couldn’t resist as I drafted this article, but the well-known longevity study of the relationship between self-control and life-success, initiated by Walter Mischel in the late 1960s, is often referred to asthe marshmallow experiment” or the marshmallow study.

Why? Because marshmallows were one of the treats that were used to test the ability of preschoolers to delay immediate gratification in anticipation of a greater reward.

Additional research with the original participants examined how well a preschool ability to delay gratification predicted the development of self-control over the life span.

It also examined how closely self-control related to successful outcomes in a variety of  the venues of life.

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Science and Sensibility – the illusion of proof


The Illusion of Proof


© By Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, A.C.T., MCC, SCAC
Foundational Concepts of the Intentionality Series

Observation, Anecdotal Report and Science

love-hate-relationship

I have a love/hate relationship
with science.  

I’m hoping to encourage the readers of this blog to develop a similar approach to what we like to think of as “proof.”

I’d like to convince you of the wisdom of stepping away from black and white thinking to embrace the possibility of the pragmatics of gray.

(By the way, the perils of  black and white thinking is one of the most useful concepts I write about, so if you haven’t clicked over to read, don’t miss it!)

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