Executive Functions & YOU


Executive Functioning
for Optimal Functioning™
What’s involved and what can go wrong?

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
another part of the Executive Functioning Series

MORE folks on Team EFD than folks with ADD/ADHD

The executive system is a carefully orchestrated combination of processes that, together, merge and mingle to make us human and to make us, well, us!

These functions continually work together to help us manage hundreds of cognitive and practical tasks of life, day in and day out.

Not only that, they do it in the blink of an eye, and primarily below the level of our conscious awareness. At least, they do it that way when everything is on board and working “normally.”

New here? Read What ARE Executive Functions? for more description & detail.

The area of the brain that makes possible many of the wonderful cognitive abilities differentiating humans from the rest of the mammals is the frontal third of the outer layer of the human brain, referred to as the pre-frontal cortex [PFC], right behind the forehead:

  • the last part of our brains to evolve,
  • the last part of our brains to develop in the womb,
  • and the last part of our brains to mature as we grow up

And it’s fragile

The PFC is especially vulnerable to damage — both before and after birth.

The living brain is soft, floating around inside a fluid filled environment keeping it from bumping up against the inside of a hard skull that, in turn, is protecting the fragile brain itself.

Your PFC can be injured very easily bumping up against that bony skull, even when no direct hit to the head was involved in the original incident.

Anything that makes the brain “slosh around” in the fluid in a manner that causes it to come in contact with the skull results in at least minor brain damage, and the PFC is often involved.

Read: How Do Brains Get Damaged?  Is YOURS?

THAT means that in addition to individuals with disorders, stroke or some type of substance-promoted damage affecting the PFC, anyone who’s been involved in almost any sort of accident is likely to experience brain-based executive functioning challenges of one sort or another.

It also means that most adults have at least a few EF issues, not only individuals with:

  • mood disorders (anxiety & depression included)
  • autistic and attentional spectrum disorders
  • TBI/ABI,
  • Parkinson’s
  • dyslexia & dyscalculia
  • more than a few neurological conditions such as
    sensory integration disorders 

in fact, almost all of what I refer to as the alphabet disorders — as well as, currently, MOST of us over 45, as the memory centers begin to age.

So what does THAT mean?

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Surviving Cancer – a celebration


30th Annual National Cancer Survivors Day
June 4th, 2017 — 1st Sunday in June

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

Just a quickie to honor fellow survivors

Although I recently made the decision to post only twice a week, on Mondays and Fridays, I couldn’t let today pass without some sort of announcement that might serve as encouragement to anyone still fighting.

Cancer is not always fatal.

My own 5-year clear was decades ago now.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

From my June Mental Health Awareness Calendar:

30th Annual National Cancer Survivors Day
Sunday, June 4th, 2017  (First Sunday in June)
The Official Website: National Cancer Survivors Day
Improving Cancer Survivors’ Mental Health

As a melanoma survivor myself  — several decades clear now and one of America’s more than 15.5 million cancer survivors — this is indeed a day to celebrate (and pray that lives & research funding will NOT fall victim to short-sighted budget cuts)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As an American, I plan to celebrate today by writing to the policy-makers and members of the Appropriations Committee advocating that the budget for medical research and health-related concerns be increased — in strong opposition to the $billions$ of dollars the current administration includes as cuts in their proposed budget.

Won’t you join me?

It is unconscionable to attempt to balance the budget by putting the lives and health of MANY MILLIONS of American citizens at risk.

Making Sense of Remission

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How well do you REALLY function?


Soldiering ON with less
than Optimal Functioning™
when we could REALLY have a much easier time of it

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
part of the Executive Functioning Series
May is Mental Health Awareness Month!

Do you suffer from boiling frog syndrome?

You’ve probably already heard the story about cooking frogs by putting them in cold or tepid water, then slowly bringing it to a boil — even though they would have jumped out immediately if they were suddenly thrust into hot water.

Other versions of the story assert that, as long as the temperature increases slowly, the frog is able to adjust its body temperature to remain comfortable — until it ultimately becomes too weak to jump out before it’s cooked.

Just a myth, but apt

According to an interesting article on Wikipedia, neither version is true, but the analogy is perfect: as things slowly but steadily worsen, most of us adjust and accommodate, even when we could find ourselves in much better situations if we’d only react more quickly and reach out for help.

  • In my 25+ year coaching career, only a rare few individuals ever reached out for help or brain-based information until they were practically desperate, and almost all had been leading what I call “limp-along lives” for years.
  • More than a few had been taking pricey vacations or eating lunches in restaurants to get away from the stress of the work environment, or indulging in daily caffeine fixes at several dollars a pop, still convinced that they couldn’t afford coaching fees — until they felt they “had no choice.”

For YEARS it only made sense in the context of Boiling Frog Syndrome.

Even if they were cracker-jack “over-achievers” when they were younger, they contributed their functional and cognitive slow-down to aging
. . .  or the demands of parenthood
. . . or the increasing complexities of modern life
. . . or the rise of social media expectations

. . . or anything other than being flat-out worn down by repeated, unrecognized struggles with Executive Functioning they never understood how to overcome.

So What Goes Wrong?

It’s mentally and physically exhausting to continue to swim upstream.

  • As long as you are swimming with the current you get carried downstream with much less thrashing about on your part.
  • Not only that, when you’re swimming upstream, if you stop stroking for even a minute, your life goes backwards.  Nobody can keep up that kind of effort.
  • Before you realize it you are swimming alone, unhappy that life is so much work, but not really expecting it to be easier because you’ve always had to “work twice as hard for half as much” — or so it seems to you in your most private of thoughts.
  • You begin to believe that everybody struggles in the same fashion, but suspect that the others are somehow better able to cope than you are.

But it doesn’t have to be that way

It recently occurred to me that many people don’t reach out for help, perhaps, because they have forgotten (or have never really known) what effective focus and follow-through look like.

They’re falling victim to “that happens to everybody”
or “this is the best I can expect from myself” thinking
to explain and attempt to accept their various challenges.

Things can get WORSE as time goes by . . .

because each new skill must build on the ones before it.

If you never learned to add or subtract, multiplication and division would remain a mystery.

If you never really mastered basic arithmetic, how could anyone expect you to do well as you moved through school?

Similar to moving from basic arithmetic to higher math, learning how to manage life’s many challenges is also an incremental, multi-stepped process.

So, for the next few Mondays, I am going to detail the problems many of my clients had been putting up with because ““that happens to everybody,” and do my best to explain what’s behind the struggle — in the hopes that I will finally inspire more of you to spend a few months working with me to turn things around before you feel like you are about to crash and burn.

Lets START by taking a look at some of the problems
that are NOT “normal” functioning.
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What’s my Style?


Interpretation vs. Replication
How do I choose to dress myself today . . .
and how does that affect my brain?

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from the Brain-Based Series
2nd Collaboration with
Jodie’s Touch of Style

Mom Jeans?

Some of you may not have heard the term, and many of my female readers may have heard it often enough to shoot on sight.

Even if you’ve never been aware of the concept of “Mom Jeans” before you read it here, the Moms with teen-aged daughters anywhere near their size don’t need a definition:

If your daughter hasn’t already tried to abscond with your favorite pair of jeans, put them in the Mom Jeans pile, meaning, according to the Saturday Night Live sketch, “Over the hill, lady, just give it up!”

Related Video: Original Mom Jeans Parody

Apparently, 7-9″ zippers are verboten, since waistbands are not allowed anywhere near anyone’s natural waistline anymore.

Even those styles that first came out as “hip huggers” many decades ago ride too high to please teen-aged fashionistas or the networks today.

Still unsure of their own opinions, the kids band together to undercut everyone who no longer has (or never had) the body to dress like they do, and the networks seem willing to do practically anything to curry favor with this demographic.

Something similar seems to happen every generation. We Boomers, remember, turned a skank eye on all of the preferences of the grown-up population when we were teens: “Don’t trust anyone over 30!”

Nobody’s Safe from Censure

Even Dads make good Mom Jeans targets!

Get real. Bodies change as time goes by.
Priorities change too.

Moms & Dads agree

Working hard to be able to send the twins to college somehow totally eclipses spending time in the gym to keep those washboard abs in show-off shape.

Paying for braces for those teen teeth means that questions about fashion are likely to be replaced by far more practical concerns:

  1. Does it fit at all?
  2. Is it clean enough?
  3. Does it need mending?  Or ironing?
  4. Can I breathe in it?

And who cares anyway?

When grownups start dressing to please the average teen (or Madison Avenue Marketing Exec), the world will be in worse shape than it is already.

Everybody knows they won’t be pleased until they are decades older themselves, no matter what we choose to put on our bodies.

And aren’t we pleased as punch that we are no longer in the throes of a time when fitting in with the in-crowd – or rebelling against them – was all that mattered?

Still, being comfortable in our own skin doesn’t necessarily mean giving up, giving in, freezing solid in time, or attempting to keep up with the Joneses’ kids.

Change your Clothes, Change your Brain

So I am continuing the 3-part series with Fashion Blogger Jodie Filogomo of Jodie’s Touch of Style.  We are using the various ways in which women play with the idea of  fashion at different points of their lives to illustrate the importance of play, choice and change to healthy brain aging, taking advantage of the miracle of neuroplasticity.

Just Tuning In?

Jodie models looks and clothing more likely to appeal to 40-50-somethings, her  stepmom, Nancy is the 60’s model, and her mom, Charlotte is the 70’s model.

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Change your Clothes, Change your Brain?


Fashionistas & their Opposites
A brain-based look

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from the Brain-Based Series
Collaboration with
Jodie’s Touch of Style

Fashionistas First

You’ve seen them on television, on the internet, in the tabloids, maybe even in your own neighborhood, right?

Whatever we think about how they put themselves together, we tend to notice that we see them in a different outfit every time we see them – even if we see them several times on the same day.

Many of us who like to think of ourselves as serious thinkers love to make fun of them.  We frequently believe they’re vapid, self-focused vanity plates wasting time and energy on items that don’t make one whit of difference.

And we’d be wrong.

They might not be changing the world, but they certainly are changing their clothes!  And that’s not such a bad thing, you’ll come to find out as you keep reading.

Frozen Fashionitas

Most of us have met at least one of these ladies.  A perfect example is the college beauty queen who hasn’t changed her style since her heyday, despite the fact that she is now middle aged or older.

Her hairstyle is practically the same, often chemically processed at considerable trouble or expense to remain exactly the same color.  Her wardrobe usually has a slightly “Delta Dawn” feel to it – frozen in time.

Youngsters sometimes point them out in a manner you wish they wouldn’t, and often at the top of their lungs, “Look Mom – that old lady looks just like Aunt Theresa!”

Another example is “Sensible Susie.”

She has decided what is appropriate and what is no longer suitable for any number of reasons: since she’s gained or lost weight, now that she’s older, the kids are in middle school, her husband got a promotion — whatever!

She may well be right, but the problem is that she turns what might have been a good idea into a rule book from which she never varies.

She may be easy to shop for, but nobody would ever accuse her of being “fashion forward,” and she’s often one of the first to point out the supposed flaws in the outfit of a contemporary.

Make way for “Matching Molly”

My own grandmother could have been the Matching Molly poster girl.  If an ensemble was purchased as an outfit, the various items might as well have been sewn together.

Suggesting to her that she could wear the jacket from Outfit A over a dress – or with the skirt from Outfit B – was practically enough to give her apoplexy.

She had a fit if I mixed and matched in my own wardrobe too, especially with items that she had given me as birthday or Christmas presents — there was no such thing as “separates” in my grandmother’s closet or her world view.

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10 Simple Coaching Questions to Consider


10-Step Coaching – NOT just for ADD
Things to think about that can give you a Brand New LIFE

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Another coaching article for Counseling Awareness Month
Reflections: edited reposting


Begin with a pen, pencil
(or crayon!) and a pad of your favorite paper — or your favorite software on your computer (whatever you believe works best for YOU – but I promise it will work best for your brain to do it on paper).

Find a comfortable place to perch
while you meander through the ten items below.

I promised you simple – but not easy – so plan on spending 30-45 minutes or longer – as much time as you can spare, but don’t try to squeeze it all in between activities and interruptions. You need to get into a thinking space and stay there, even if that means you take it in segments.

FIRST, gather everything you are going to need
so you’re not tempting to wander away mid-process:

  • Something to write with – and on – or
  • Whatever electronic toy you swear works better for you
  • Something to drink
  • Maybe something to snack on while you work

Adjust your clothing, if you need to.  Unfasten anything that needs to be looser. Kick off your shoes if you feel like it.  Squirm around until you feel comfortable in your own skin.

Take several d-e-e-p breaths, exhaling slowly, while you think about your life as it is RIGHT NOW, before you work your way through the list below.

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A Shih Tzu’s take on Brain-based Coaching


April is Counseling Awareness Month!
and I can tell you all about how great coaching works

Guest blogger: TinkerToy

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

People coaches and dog coaches have a lot in common

And so do their clients! We all like treats and fun and attaboys — and we all hate the nasty voice!

Some coaches do that tough-love thing, but Mom doesn’t believe that the nasty voice ever works.  It just makes us too scared to keep trying.  She doesn’t even do the nasty voice when she tells me no.

And we all LOVE it when we can suddenly do something we never could before — it’s just that the things that 4-legses and 2-legses figure out how to do are different.

Mom coaches over the phone and I hang out in her office and listen in. She says the only reason I’m allowed to stay around and eavesdrop is because I can’t tell anybody except other dogs.  They don’t care anyway – they don’t even know these 2-legses.

But I’ve learned a LOT about 2-legs coaching that way, and Mom decided to let me tell you some of her coaching secrets (besides fun and laughing – there’s always a lot of that when she coaches).

FIRST you have to be ready, willing and able

Even the coaches who don’t know the first thing about how the brain works say that, but I don’t know why any coaches put it that way – kinda’ dumb if you ask me. What makes more sense is able first, then ready, and willing last of all!

When I was hardly bigger than my mom’s two fists I wasn’t able to do a lot of things I can do now easy-peasey.

Even once I got a little bigger, my tiny brain was still learning about things like eating crunchy food and running.

It took a while for my brain to be ready before it could even think about being willing to learn to do more – like where it was okay to go to the bathroom, and tricks for treats.

Not that babies are looking for coaching – that would be silly – but when grown up two-legses are sick, or in the middle of something they don’t need help with, or recovering from an operation, they might not be ABLE to add coaching to what they have to manage right then.

My Mom wants me to be sure to add that anybody who’s an active addict will never be able until they are clean and sober for at least a year and working a program. 

She says that first they have to be available for change, with a mind that’s not cloudy or thinking about drugs and stuff.

Next you have to be ready

The time has to be right and you have to make room in your days.

  • I’m never ready when I’m really sleepy, for example, not even to play some of my favorite games.
  • I’m not ready when other dogs are around either.  We all  have to have private time with our coach to be able concentrate on what were up to.
  • And I’m never ever gonna’ to be ready to cut back on my time with my fans at my Cheers bar (where everybody knows my name), even for all the best treats in the world!

Some of my mom’s earliest clients didn’t seem to be ready to make room in their schedules at all — not even for all of their appointments over the phone.

They kept missing them over and over – or calling to say that something had come up, like it was the very first time instead of mostly.

They kept themselves too busy to have time to even think about coaching tricks during the week, or do even the simplest coaching homework – like making a list of their challenges or something – and they weren’t ready to say no to something old  to make room for something new.

They just weren’t ready period, no matter how much they said they wanted their lives to be easier and better.

Poor Mom had to tell them to come back when they were ready. Even when she first started out and really needed the money, she never kept coaching anybody she couldn’t help.

Like CATS, for example – most cats don’t want to be ready.
They practically dare you to try to make a difference with them.

Different Rates

Mom does whatever she can to make coaching affordable for most anybody who really wants it, but she gives me the family discount (meaning free, since I don’t have any way to get money anyhow I barter with kisses).

But sometimes 2-legses haven’t made room in their budgets for their coaching fees – or else they spent the money they set aside on something they suddenly decided they simply had to have.

That meant they couldn’t keep coaching long enough for things to turn around in their lives (even for group coaching, which doesn’t cost as much as coaching with Mom privately).

That’s another way you have to be ready – for about six months for most 2-legses, according to Mom – which sounds long but really isn’t when you consider that your whole life can be more fun after you pick up a few new tricks.

Anyway, you can keep coaching for as long as you want once you know the basic tricks – even years for some of her clients.  There’s always more to learn, and she really helps 2-legses get things done from week to week, so life moves forward easier and faster.

Last but not least you have to be willing

Mom says that mostly means it has to be your own idea.  It won’t work if you’re doing it because somebody else decided it would be good for you, for example – or threatened you into it.  You probably wouldn’t let it work – like those cats.

Dog clients don’t have to worry about the next part, but 2 legses also have to be willing to tell the truth to their coach, even if that means they have to be willing to feel a little embarrassed sometimes (like when I get caught tearing up paper, for example – whenever it tempts me the room is covered in confetti before I can stop myself).

And you have to be willing to keep getting back on the horse – even though I don’t know if you have to actually be able to ride a horse to be able to get a coach.

I don’t think so, but I’m not really sure about that part.  You can ask my mom before you sign up for it, anyway.

The fun starts once you decide you are able, ready and willing!

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April 2017: Mental Health Awareness


Special days & weeks in April

Along with Advocacy & Awareness
for mental health related issues
(and a calendar for the month!)
Posting a day late so nobody shouts, April Fools!

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Part of the ADD/ADHD Cormidities series

Online Marketing Gurus extol the effectiveness of piggy-backing posts
onto particular events – how about one or several of the ones below?
They make GREAT writing prompts!

It takes a village to transform a world. ~ mgh

Mark your blogging calendars!

Many days of the year have been set aside every month to promote awareness or advocacy of an issue, illness, disability, or special-needs related cause.  It has – or will – affect most of us at some point in our lives.

The World Health Organization [WHO] has identified mental illness as a growing cause of disability worldwide.  They predict that, in the future, mental illness – and depression in particular – will be the top cause of disability.

That’s globally, by the way.  There has been an 18% increase in depression alone in the decade from 2005 to 2015.

Awareness Helps

In addition to a calendar for the current month, each Awareness post offers a list highlighting important days and weeks that impact and intersect with mental health issues.

Included on every Awareness Month list at ADDandSoMuchMORE.com are awareness and advocacy reminders for health problems that intersect, exacerbate or create problems with cognition, mood, memory, follow-through and attention management.

There are quite a few events in April, so I haven’t lengthened the post by adding text to explain them all.  Instead, I have added links to related posts, blogs and websites with explanations, for those of you who are interested in learning more – or considering blogging about these issues (make sure you come back and leave a link if you do).

If I’ve missed anything, please let me know
in a comment so that I can add it to the list below.

May 2017 be the year
when EVERYONE becomes aware of
the crying need for upgraded Mental Health Awareness
especially at the top!

Stay tuned for more articles about Executive Functioning struggles and management throughout the year (and check out the Related Posts for a great many already published).

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Recent study shows ADD *IS* brain-based


Not really “news” but . . .
FINALLY convincing evidence

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from the Brain-based Series

Researchers show that critical areas of the brain are smaller in ADDers, proving that the oft-marginalized and scoffed at condition is indeed a brain-based disorder.

Imaging Study Shows Structural Brain Differences

According to a new report funded by The National Institutes of Health [NIH], MRIs of more than 3,000 individuals provide further evidence that those with ADD/ADHD have structurally different brains than those with “vanilla” brains (no ADD/ADHD/EFD ‘mix-ins’)

The differences were more pronounced in children than in adults, but they clearly support the assertions that ADD/ADHD is a developmental brain disorder, NOT simply a “label.”

Related Post: ADD or ADHD: What’s in a NAME?

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Why we hate to change our minds


The Greater our Investment
The greater the likelihood
we will hold on to ideas that don’t serve us

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Foundational Concept of the Intentionality Series
Opinions vs. Facts

Sometimes people hold a core belief that is very strong.  Presented with conflicting information, accepting the new evidence would create a feeling that is extremely uncomfortable (called cognitive dissonance)

And because it is so important to protect that core belief, they will rationalize, ignore, and even deny anything that doesn’t fit with the core belief.~ Franz Fanon, Free Your Mind and Think

Confirmation Bias

There has been a great deal of research and writing on the implications of the concept of confirmation bias. I have often referred to the concept here on ADDandSoMuchMORE.com, so many of my regular readers are already familiar with the expression.

Given today’s political climate, I believe it is time to review a few ideas
as we all attempt to make sense of what’s going on.

Some of you will recall seeing the information in the box below – but I believe it will be useful to take a moment to reread it as an introduction to this particular article.

Confirmation bias is a term describing the unconscious tendency of people to favor information that confirms their hypotheses or closely held belief systems.

Individuals display confirmation bias when they selectively gather, note or remember information, or when they interpret it in a way that fits what they already believe.

The effect is stronger for emotionally charged issues, for deeply entrenched beliefs, when we are desperate for answers, and when there is more attachment to being right than being effective.

How it tends to work

Human beings will interpret the same information in radically different ways to support their own views of the themselves. We hate to believe that we might have been wrong — especially when we have invested time and energy coming to a decision.

Studies on fraternity hazing have shown repeatedly that, when attempting to join a group, the more difficult the barriers to group acceptance, the more people will value their membership.

To resolve the discrepancy between the hoops they were forced to jump through and the reality of whatever their experience turns out to be, they are likely to convince themselves that their decision was, in fact, the best possible choice they could have made.

Similar logic helps to explain the “Stockholm Syndrome,” the actions of those who seem to remain loyal to their captors following their release.

©Dogbert/Dilbert by Scott Adams — Found HERE

Adjusting Beliefs

People quickly adjust their opinions to fit their behavior — sometimes even when it goes against their moral beliefs overall. We ALL do it at times, even those of us who are aware of the dynamic and consciously fight against it.

It’s an unconscious adaptation that is a result of the brain’s desire for self-consistency. For example:

  • Those who take home pens or paper from their workplace might tell themselves that “Everybody does it” — and that they would be losing out if they didn’t do it too.
  • Or they will tell themselves, perhaps, “I’m so underpaid I deserve a little extra under the table – they expect us to do it.”

And nowhere is it easier to see than in political disagreements!

When validating our view on a contentious point, we conveniently overlook or “over-ride” information that is at odds with our current or former opinions, while recalling everything that fits with what is more psychologically comfortable to believe – whether we are aware of it consciously or not.

We don’t have to look further than the aftermath of the most recent election here in America for many excellent examples of how difficult it is for human beings to believe that maybe they might have been wrong.

BUT WHY?

To understand why, we need to look briefly at another concept that science has many studies to support: cognitive dissonance.

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Almost here: Group Coaching


A Process Designed to Support Clients
with all kinds of minds!

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

Does anything below sound like YOU?

  • Have you ever felt that you are essentially alone in your struggles with time and time-management, focus and follow-through as the result of PTSD, TBI/ABI, ADD/EFD — or brain-based struggles as the result of chemo-therapy or medication side-effects or chronic pain — or even something considered “normal,” such as age-related cognitive decline?
  • Do the people you love fail to really understand your challenges, so their suggestions & nudges don’t really help (and sometimes make things more difficult)?
  • Is there a pet project languishing on a back burner for FAR too long, but you can’t seem to “make” yourself get to it – or can’t find the time to do it amid the distractions of life’s many competing to-dos?
  • Have you accepted the dumb idea that your real problem is chronic procrastination because you have heard it so often it simply must be true – as you continue to struggle on in some attempt to just-DO-it?
  • Do you LIVE with someone who constantly lets you down, despite their assertions that they never intend to do so? Would you LOVE to understand how to “motivate” them and keep them on task to completion – BEFORE you give in to your impulse to strangle them?
  • Is your home or office so cluttered you rarely have the motivation to clean and organize, as day slips into clutter-mounting day?

Do you need help
you don’t think you can afford?

Would you love to hire a Sherpa: a highly-experienced, systems-development professional at the TOP of the field, but can’t fit the fees for one-on-one private coaching into your budget?

IN OTHER WORDS:

Do you need a little brain-based coaching to get to the point where you can afford brain-based coaching?

Have I got a Group for YOU!

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TIME to think about Group Coaching


Time Troubles and Coaching
For people who are “ALWAYS” running late and rushing around
— and the people who love them —
(who would like to understand how to change that sad fact)

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from the Time & Group Coaching Series

BEFORE  I tell you about the upcoming start of an affordable new Coaching opportunity designed to help you with A-WHOLE-LOT-MORE than time-management, let’s take a moment to chat about time itself.

Time can be MANAGED?

For over a quarter of a century now, I have been fascinated with anything related to the topic of the awareness of the passage of time. It has always been a mystery to me – and I now know that I’m not the only one with that peculiar problem.

Personally, I can’t recall a time when time made sense, except in the context of NOW and not-now.

Even when I explain it to someone who thinks they understand, it seems that nobody gets the implications. I am frustrated beyond belief when they continue to ask me time-based questions.

My secret fascination with the mechanics of time’s awareness began long before I first learned that I seem to be one who was born without that internal tic-tic-tock with which most people DO seem to have been equipped, part of the standard package.

I’ve been told I can’t get one now, even as an after-market upgrade.

Oddly, I have a great sense of rhythm – which is time-based – so I can change time-ING, but predicting how long something will take or how long ago a life landmark occurred is always beyond me.

Back in my acting days, when I had to do a 30-second spot and I was over or under by a few seconds, I understood how to tweak the cadence to end “on time.” But I never could stay tracked attempting to “time” much of anything for much longer than a minute (or “time” a dance number — I simply stayed in step with the music until it stopped).

Are YOU one of the time challenged?

None of us know what we don’t know . . . so how can we frame a question another will understand? It seems like magic when others are able to manage something in arenas where we are totally at sea.

The best analogy I’ve been able to come up with for a lack of time-sense is that it’s like trying to teach the tone-deaf to sing.

Friends who aren’t able to sing on pitch can’t tell when they wander away from the tune, and I have never been able to help them learn to do so.  They simply can’t hear it.

Unlike those who can’t match a pitch, however, I always knew there was some “secret” that others knew and I didn’t (and therapists have had a field day with this, by the way – “Madelyn, I don’t have answers for you!”)

I simply couldn’t imagine how to frame a question beyond, “How do you DO that?” or “What am I missing?” – which, I suppose, seemed more like feigned ignorance or an unwillingness to take personal responsibility to others. So I stopped asking. I hated the look on their faces, even when their responses weren’t cruel, and even though I understood they didn’t MEAN to be cruel.

Making sense of a lack of sense

I found out that there was such a thing as “a sense of time” in the same article I found out about adult ADD, published years ago in the New York Times magazine section – Frank Wolkenberg’s now landmark, “Out of a Darkness.”  I was 38.

My reaction to that particular aha! was, “Well, NO WONDER every one else can get places on time — they’re cheating!” (as if “a sense of time” was like having an exam crib sheet stuffed up their sleeves.)

Once I understood that some inner chronometer allowed others to somehow feel that time was passing (and how much time was passing, for most of them), I understood immediately that I had to stop attempting to “figure it out” and focus on easy-to-set alarms (one to STOP, to get ready for the next thing, another to begin walking out the door — etc.) That’s how I did it — and how I have to do it still.

I found it fascinating to hear that some people LOST their sense of time following a head injury. I know it must be frustrating for them, but at least they know how to explain what’s missing — not that it helps others to understand what they’re talking about or the extent of the resulting struggle one whit better.

Related Post: Lessons from the TBI Community

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Downloadable ADD-ADHD/EFD Coachablity Index™


ABOUT ADD/EFD Coachability

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

In early 1994, to better suit the needs and reflect the brain-based realities of individuals with Attention Deficit Disorders, Madelyn Griffith-Haynie requested and received permission from Thomas J. Leonard to adapt the Coachability Index© that he developed for Coach-U.

The language of The ADDCoach Coachability Index™ reflects the impact of the challenges of Executive Functioning Disorders on learning and accomplishment: brain-based struggles with short-term memory deficits, focus & decision-making, planning & follow-through, sequencing & prioritizing; activation & motivation, mood lability, time-sense & transition-facility chief among them.

© Don’t forget: Adaptions and/or duplication must credit both parties

How Coachable are YOU?

Although it’s been referred to as “ADD Coaching” since I developed and delivered the world’s first ADD-specific coaching curriculum several decades ago, it’s much broader in scope.

This is a particular type of brain-based coaching that works best for anyone dealing with Executive Functioning challenges and attentional difficulties: TBI, ABI, EFD, PTSD, OCD, ODD, SPD, ASD, PDA, PDD, MDD, MS, APD, and MORE.

While the magic of ADD/EFD Coaching is a product of the coaching relationship and it’s ability to compensate for unreliable executive functioning, it only works if and when clients are ready, willing and able.

Are you READY and WILLING:

  • to take the actions that will be necessary?
  • to make the changes that will be necessary?
  • to step, with power and ownership, into the life you were destined to live?

Heck yeah! Seriously, who says no to that?
Certainly not those of us who are struggling!
We’re always ready (for that last one, anyway)

It’s that “able” part that’s the kicker!

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Requests That Get You What You Want


requestSignRequesting-101:
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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Does the Fee FIT? – Part 5


Do you REALLY “get what you pay for?”

© By Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, A.C.T., MCC, SCAC
The final article in the 5-part Coaching Fit Series

Courtesy of Phillip Martin - artist/educator

Courtesy of Phillip Martin – artist/educator

Figuring out the fee

It’s finally time to wrap up the articles about determining coaching “fit.”  I saved the best for last – the question on everybody’s lips.

How much can you expect to pay for ADD Coaching?

Well, that’s a bit like asking how much you might expect to pay for a car.  It depends on what’s available, as well as what you’re looking for.  But I’ll do my best.

As in any other field, fees tend to correlate with the experience of the service provider. Brand new graduates generally charge the least, and the coaches with the most experience generally charge at the top of the range.

Fees also depend on how much time you spend with your coach — once a week, two or three times a month, monthly check-in coaching?  How long is each session? Services will be priced to compensate the coach for his or her time as well as his or her expertise.

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ADDer’s Got TALENT!


 Remember – links on this site are dark grey to reduce distraction potential while you’re reading.
They turn
red on mouseover (hover before clicking for a bit of info)

Getting OUT of our Boxes: Reframing “talent”

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

Grey_ACO_Book_Top

Getting ready for the 2013 ACO Conference in April

This year’s conference, again in Atlanta, will be the largest group of ADD/ADHD Coaches ever gathered. Come meet your colleagues and bask in the glow of ADD-literate transformation.

Over 100 ADD Coaches have already registered.  

We can make room for MANY more *IF* we have sufficient time to change the numbers with the hotel so that they can arrange the logistics BEFORE they sell the meeting and sleeping rooms to some other group.

CLICK over to ACO and register soonest!

A VERY different ADDed Attraction

Judith Champion (2012 ACO Conference Chair), Peggy Ramundo and I are organizing the first ACO Talent Show — this year in honor of the late Kate Kelly (Peggy’s You Mean I’m NOT Lazy, Stupid or Crazy?! and ADDed Dimension co-author).

Dean Solden (husband of Journeys through ADDulthood and Women with Attention Deficit Disorder author Sari) will be working his magic on the piano and acting as MC once more — as in the ADDA years, for those who remember those amazing (and hilarious) Talent Shows.

There will be a special video put together by comedian Rick Green (of ADD and Loving It fame), with edited out-takes from some of the footage from the original video that gained national prominence when it was featured on Public Television.

And YOU – let’s not forget to mention the STARS of this show!  

Come to the Cabaret!  Those of us who have been around practically forever are beyond eager to embrace our newer colleagues, and to reconnect with those we seem to meet only at conferences of this type.

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Endings and New Beginnings


 Rememberlinks on this site are dark grey to reduce distraction potential
while you’re reading. They turn red on mouseover.

Grey_ACO_Book_Top

Graduation for Another Class of
ADD Coaches

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

From 8:30 P.M. until a bit after 10:00 Wednesday night, January 9, 2013, Peggy Ramundo and I had another opportunity to witness Life Purpose in Action, as we attended the final class session of the 2012 Class of the ADD in the Spirit Coach Training.

The small class of individuals about to graduate delivered the content for us.

As always, we came away renewed, inspired, and grateful for the opportunity to be in a position to touch the lives of so many amazing human beings — and to step with them through the journey of training themselves to be of service in a field that didn’t even exist thirty years ago.

It is always fascinating to me to see how many different experiences result from the same training, additional examples of my firm assertion that “There ain’t no IS about ADD!”

Climbing up the Mountain, taking time to look DOWN

In addition to a group exam, one of the final assignments is a Personal Reflection Paper, where each student looks back along their training journey to see how far they’ve come, to attempt to determine what had been of particular value to them.

Wednesday night, they shared their papers with each other and with us.

Each has grown during the year they spent with us, each in his or her own individual fashion, and some in ways they were surprised to discover.

  • An individual whose pre-ASCT life had been focused more on pragmatics (who enrolled here in spite of  the spiritual focus of this particular ADD Coach Training) became fascinated by meditation and Tapping [EFT], now a regular part of life;
  • Another individual, with a background of spiritual training who came because of it, will be using skills learned here in the corporate arena in a traditionally non-spiritual field!

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Coaching Tips For Parents Of LD & ADD/HD Children


Artwork courtesy of Phillip Martin

Playing on the SAME Team
Guest blogger: Dr. Steven Richfield

A parent writes:
Both our son and daughter struggle with learning disabilities and Attention Deficit Disorder.

As they struggle so do my husband and I. Communication breaks down into arguments, problems arise in school and among peers, and we are often unsure of how to handle their emotional ups and downs. Any suggestions?

Children with LD and ADD/ADHD present unique challenges and rewards to parents. The vulnerability of a fragile ego, the unthinking behaviors rooted in impulsivity, or the steep decline of emotional meltdowns, can render even the most patient parent looking for tools and techniques to manage their child’s unpredictable behaviors.

These scenarios fall under the heading of what I have come to call the “Now, what do I do?” syndrome. It is a question echoing through the minds of all parents at one time or another.

As a child psychologist who trains parents who regularly witness these scenarios, I help empower parents with tools and tips to manage the emotional and social currents of ADHD and LD children.

Here are some to consider:

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SPARE me your surveys


“Squares and triangles agree: circles are pointless.”
~ source unknown

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


At the risk of being accused of bobbing while the rest of the coaching universe weaves, zigging while they zag, I have to ask: is anybody else confounded by the plethora of coaching field “opinion” surveys popping up?

What is it, exactly, they are trying to prove or disprove?   And why?

Perhaps THAT is the question!  

In any case, I find it disturbing.

More than a little dismayed, I’ve been watching the linear take-over of the coaching field for over a decade now — sharing my disdain with only the closest of friends and colleagues until this blog post. But when survey results are announced attached to a name like Harvard, I’m more than a little afraid.

I’ve always thought I could count on the Ivy League to turn out thinkers.

No general disrespect to Harvard intended — or to any of the other organizations undertaking these surveys — but it simply astounds me whenever anyone proceeds as if there might be some discoverable “formula” for anything as person-specific as personal and professional coaching.

Clients come to coaching desiring wild success
“outside” the box,
NOT to learn how to climb inside it.

Formulaic technique rarely yields much to tempt the grown-up palate.  And yet, humankind seems driven to make the holographic linear through quantification.

It matters not to me whether those “formulas” are framed as guidelines, competencies, or laws — or how much “data” has been collected in an attempt to “prove” the point of view of the authors — they have meaning ONLY as jumping-off points for discussions of why nobody follows them as written.

At least, in my opinion, nobody who delivers a quality coaching product attempts to follow them as written.  I tend to side with Solomon.

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Trusting YOUR Instincts about FIT – Part 4


You CAN Trust Your Instincts

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
The fourth article in the 5-part Coaching Fit Series

Listen with an Open Heart and an Open Mind

Listen to the coaches you interview with an open mind.  Expect them each to have certain procedures and standards you will be requested  to agree to follow if you coach with them.

A coach for whom “anything goes” will probably not be the best coach for you in the long run.  Listen to why they feel their procedures are important and what they are designed to accomplish.

THEN listen to your heart and instincts. 

Although NO relationship with another will ever be “perfect,” keep looking until you find a situation you can relax into, *especially* if you get the sense that you are being talked into something you’re not sure you want.

Don’t forget that you don’t have to be *right* about your instincts to keep looking. 

It’s enough that you don’t *feel* right.  Part of the process of coaching involves getting in touch with the truth of the fact that you CAN trust your instincts and that you CAN trust another to listen to some of the “dumb” things you do without making you feel, well, DUMB.

Nowhere is trusting your instincts more important than in the process of selecting a coach you will be trusting with your LIFE! 

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Coaches, Dentists, and FIT – Part 3


Coaches, Dentists, and FIT

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
The third article in the 5-part Coaching Fit Series

Every Coach is Unique

No two coaches will work in exactly the same way —

just as each dentist goes about things
a bit differently from the rest of his colleagues,

and just as there are specializations
within the field of dentistry.

For example:

  • Not all dentists are qualified to do root canals.
  • Some don’t specialize in them, so haven’t performed
    very many as a result.
  • For some, root canals are a practice focus.
  • Still others do root canals for other dentists.

I know which ones I’d interview about doing MY root canal!

What does THAT have to do with ADD Coaching?

ADD Coaching is a specialized skill requiring a LOT of knowledge beyond the basic coaching skill set.

If you are dealing with ADD, make *sure* any coach you hire is an ADD COACH, not just “a coach who knows about ADD” —

and certainly not a coach who knows little to NOTHING about ADD! 

  • The difference between an ADD Coach and any other kind is specialized training in Attentional Spectrum issues.
  • There IS no FIT if your coach knows little more about ADD than YOU do!

THEN you want to find the “right” ADD Coach.  You’ll check out their training, knowledge, and experience of course, but the main thing that will make a particular coach right for YOU is what we call “fit” in the coaching world.

The right fit will make all the difference.

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Shopper’s Syndrome and FIT – Part 2 of a Series


Fit-based Coaching 

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
The 2nd article in the 5-part Coaching Fit Series

Finding the RIGHT Coach for you

Dear Madelyn,

There is a lot of talk right now about how
important finding the right coach can be
to an ADDer’s overall success. 

How will I know what to look for?

And how will I be able to tell when
I’ve found the right coach?

Thanks,

 J.R. (Cleveland)

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A Bunch of Words about FIT – Part 1


I Don’t Tweet, Don’t Ask Me

© By Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, A.C.T., MCC, SCAC
The first article in the 5-part Coaching Fit Series

You can’t Tweet a novel.

Neither can you expand on a concept effectively when you are limited to a handful of characters barely greater than the number of tiles you might draw in the average game of Scrabble!

Since “profound relating” is at the very top of my personal list of Core Values, I find “Twitter expectations” more than a little unsettling — especially when they are shoved down my throat as THE way to reach your clients (or anyone else!)

I have been accused of a lot of things in my life,
but “brief” was never one of them.

As a result, most of MY students and clients are more likely to appreciate something with a little meat on its bones than to extol the virtues of “The Cliff Notes approach to idea dissemination.”

Some of us LIKE words.  Most of us who like words really don’t care much for “brief.”  It’s a matter of perspective and personal preference, not an addendum to Robert’s Rules of Order.  So when I hear apologies for the length of a post on blog after blog, I want to weep.

For those of us in love with language, LESS is simply … well, less!

It’s a matter of FIT.  And whether you are coach, client, or both, the concept of FIT is probably THE single most important coaching concept underlying coaching success.

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Distinctions: Coaching vs.Therapy


Some of the DIFFERENCES
between

The THERAPIST
and The COACH

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, A.C.T., MCC, SCAC
Dr. Lee Smith,
CTP, MCC  ©1994, ’95, ’02, ’11, ’15

Obviously, the well-being of the client is the context for this discussion, and determining what kind of assistance is appropriate is an important question.

Why?

Because most coaches are not trained therapists and most therapists are not trained coaches.  


•  For potential clients:
 the question is, Which do I choose and how do I decide?

•  For helping professionals: the issue becomes when, what, and to which professional to refer.

• When ADD is part of the picture, (or any of the Executive Functioning** dysregulations), the differences between an ADD Coach and any other kind of coach becomes important as well.

**(Check out the Executive Functioning LinkList
jump to the one you are most interested in reading,
or read them ALL – opens in a new window/tab)

Beginning at the beginning

Let’s begin the process of differentiating therapy and coaching by focusing only on the items in common with all coaches, without regard to specialties.

At the end of this article are some links that will help you understand some key differences that only comprehensively-trained, brain-based ADD Coaches understand how to work with.  In a future article I will address the issue ADD Coaching differences more directly.

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The ADD-ADHD Coachablity Index™


ADD Coachability

Click HERE for an updated version of this post,
including a download link to a printable pdf of the Inventory.

In early 1994, to better suit the needs and reflect the brain-based realities of individuals with Attention Deficit Disorder, Madelyn Griffith-Haynie requested and received permission from Thomas J. Leonard to adapt the Coachability Index© that he developed for Coach-U.

The language of The ADD Coachability Index™ reflects the impact of the challenges of Executive Functioning Disorders on learning and accomplishment: brain-based struggles with short-term memory deficits, focus & decision-making, planning & follow-through, sequencing & prioritizing; activation & motivation, mood lability, time-sense & transition-facility chief among them.

©Adaptions and/or duplication must credit both parties

How Coachable are YOU?

Although the magic of ADD Coaching is a product of the
coaching relationship and it’s ability to compensate for
unreliable executive functioning, it only works if and when
clients are ready, willing and able.

Are you READY and WILLING:

  • to take the actions that will be necessary?
  • to make the changes that will be necessary?
  • to step,  with power and ownership, into the life you were destined to live?

Heck yea!  Seriously, who says no to that?
Certainly not an ADDer! We’re always ready (for that last one, anyway)

Read more of this post

Reframing


 Remember – links on this site are dark grey to reduce distraction potential
while you’re reading. They turn red on mouseover.

Stuff series: Part 3

Escaping the Frame Changes the View

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

*attribution below

Changing the context

Framing (adding perspective)
Reframing (changing perspective)

Reframing is  a well-worn tool in a number of helping professions.  The fields that seem to advocate it most are Neuro-Linguistic Programming [NLP], therapy, and Coaching (especially ADD Coaching).

Reframing is on the Optimal Functioning Institute™ list as one of the Ten Basic Coaching Skills used Most Often with ADDers.  

Including Reframing on this particular list underscores the importance of the two most important ADD Coaching skills, normalizing (ADD affect) and endorsing (client actions, perspectives and talents).

But what IS Reframing?

In the coaching field, reframing is one of the Languaging skills that refers to a particular manner of speaking that allows an individual to escape black and white thinking boundaries so that a different conclusion can be drawn from the same set of facts.

That, in turn, changes the way the situation “seems,” in a manner similar to the way that reframing a picture impacts the look of the picture itself.

In other words, changing the context puts a statement or point of view into a different frame of reference; a “seeding” skill that fosters a shift, (paradigm shift, in some fields).
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10-Step ADD Coaching


Ten Things to think about that can give you a Brand New LIFE!
© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Another article in the ADD Coaching Series


ŒBegin with a pen, pencil
(or crayon!) and a pad of your favorite paper — or your favorite software on your computer (whatever works best for YOU).

Find a comfortable place to perch while you run through the ten items below.

Plan on spending 30-45 minutes – whatever you can spare, but don’t try to squeeze it in between activities and interruptions.

Make SURE you are comfortable

Identify any tight places in your body:

  • Roll your shoulders.
  • Let your head drop to one side, then the other.
  • Wiggle your toes or spread your fingers.

Adjust your clothing, if you need to.  Unfasten anything that needs to be looser. Kick off your shoes if you feel like it.  Squirm around until you feel comfortable in your own skin.

Take several d-e-e-p breaths, exhaling slowly, while you think about your life as it is RIGHT NOW, before you work your way through the list below.

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Change Requests & SuperSensitives


Bradshaw’s Change Model and Hypersensitivity
Guest blogger: Glen Hogard

Hypersensitivity: Anything from not being able to tolerate tight clothing or labels in clothing that irritate our skin, to light, temperature, or sound sensitivity, to heightened emotional sensitivity, we often have to find ways to cut down on our reaction or “over reaction” to a stimulus.

While heightened sensitivity can be a valuable benefit in certain areas of life as in jobs such as EMS technician, doctor, fireman, and even a writer, when it is extra emotional sensitivity it can make interpersonal relationships, especially intimate relationships, difficult if not balanced with ways to sooth our hypersensitive emotions.

While it’s easy to see how it affects us, it’s not so easy to temper.

In the 1980’s, before I knew about ADD/ADHD, I was taught a tool by John Bradshaw, a famous family systems therapist, while working with his first satellite center outside of his California facility in Miami. I worked then, as I have done for ADDA, as the volunteer coordinator for his then yearly or semi-yearly seminars hosted by a great therapist Joan E. Childs.

I’m sure there are other variations of this method in practice, but this is how it was taught to me. So here it is: The Change Model

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