This is my first attempt at blogging, and I’m pretty excited about it. We have a new website as well, and we’re hoping to interact more with those of you who take the time to look over the site. My intention is to answer questions that are asked of me, either by email, form submission or in person on a daily or weekly basis, and to write about subjects of interest to the ADHD community.
In early childhood, our ability to pick up on social cues is dependent upon the degree to which we devote our attention to noticing these cues. When an environment full of stimulation and often confusing information is thrust upon us, we tend to focus on that which is most urgent and pressing. If attention is limited, some things will go unnoticed. If our ability to filter out extraneous stimuli is lacking, we assign equal importance to everything that gets through, making it impossible to prioritize and process information.
When you have a lot of important things to do, it may seem impossible to prioritize. In fact, when everything on your list is a high priority, you may feel paralyzed, unable to make the choice of what to tackle first. This, of course, feels very bad indeed. So many tasks to check off that list, but no progress made.
Microsoft Word provides me with four definitions of the word overwhelm: 1. overpower somebody emotionally, 2. provide somebody with a huge amount, 3. overcome somebody physically, and 4. surge over somebody or something. A quick online search reveals the original meaning, dating back to the 14th century, was “to turn upside down, to overthrow,” which I much prefer, as it implies conquest and action.
While watching “Morning Joe” this morning, I was fascinated by a segment called “30 under 30,” featuring the latest issue of Forbes magazine’s list of the thirty most successful people under age thirty. Most were very wealthy, of course, and most made their fortunes in high tech or web based concepts.
If Superman had ADHD, boredom would be his kryptonite. On the flip side, interest would make him fly. As I’m prone to do, I looked up synonyms for boredom, which in itself is a boring word. I found the following: tedium, monotony, dullness, ennui and world-weariness. All of these terms evoke a strong sense that they should be avoided.
From the sundial to the atomic clock, humans have been obsessed with measuring the passage of time. Philosophically controversial, the idea that a sequence of events takes place, one after the other, and that we can accurately use the terms before and after have given time the status of a dimension. Physicists often use the term “spacetime continuum” to put their theories in context.
Laughter may be the best medicine, but a good workout is definitely in second place. Exercise improves mood, decreases anxiety and increases concentration. Breathing hard and sweating for an hour or so can do more for your productivity than any other form of therapy. Time spent exercising is time well spent.
If he was alive today, I’m sure Ben would have included women in his quote. His point, however, was as true then as it is now. But sleep is boring, right? I mean, even talking about sleep is a snooze. We’re supposed to spend a third of our lives in dreamland, which adds up to about 4 months per year. What does this prolonged unconsciousness do for us? Although it seems like a waste of time and productivity, even the most energetic souls among us must succumb to slumber to avoid fatigue, psychosis and ultimately, death.
First, a disclaimer: I’m a psychiatrist, not a nutritionist. I have a pretty good idea of what’s healthy to eat and what isn’t, but my purpose here is not to get specific about food. Rather, it is to give simple, practical advice for those who wish to maximize their ability to concentrate consistently throughout the day.