Get to Inbox Zero and Declutter Your Life

declutter your life

Get to Inbox Zero and Declutter Your Life

Last week I was on this productivity webinar with Justin Baeder, an ed leadership coach, on how to get to inbox zero. I realized then that taming the email monster was just a metaphor for decluttering your life. One principal had a mailstrom 13,000+ emails. Justin showed leaders how to get on top of their emails in just a few minutes a day and pumped out handy tips on archiving, deleting, taming the email beast. During the webinar, principals dumped daunting piles of dusty emails into archives, deleted, and zapped out their obese inboxes.

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch While Decluttering the Basement…

I listened to the webinar while cleaning out ancient, accumulated stuff from my basement- gear I no longer needed, toys from my daughter’s toddlerhood, sundry books long unread, and mysterious household items. I plunged old clothes into a Costco garbage bag to give to charity. (This week I’m rushing to complete mega tons of household tasks before the back-to-school rush starts). My husband and I aren’t hoardy- yet we’ve accumulated stuff over the years, thrown it into a pile on sleep-deprived, hectic days in an ever increasing Mt. Vesuvius of to-do piles. Every time I did laundry in the basement, the volcanic, strewn items taunted me with imminent sense of urgency to tidy up and defeated overwhelm in my hurry to grab a couple of items and bolt. My mother is a super-organized, analytical woman- and some of her zeal for organization rubbed off on me. Although my ADHD brain jumps all over the place, I enjoy and appreciate neatnik environments, and I strive to keep my work space pristine and clear.

volcanic messMy husband and daughter, on the other hand, are like messy leaf blowers–spewing disorder, volcanic clutter, and paper explosions in their paths. They also could care less if our house is orderly. Periodically Kevin will stomp through and bellow, ”What’s up with this mess?”—as if a sneaky tornado descended upon our home. He’ll pick up a few things here and there- and in a couple of hours, he’ll have resumed his usual unruly style of non-housekeeping. (Psst–when asked one-one, my messy family admitted that they do prefer things tidy. They just don’t naturally bother with organizational pursuits).

Anyhow, back to email and decluttering—

A few of the a-has from the webinar for me were:

  • If we’re not vigilant about deleting emotional, spiritual, mental, and physical clutter from our lives, junk/stuff/things/tasks will pile up into a scary tsunami of entropy.
  • If leaders don’t deal with toxic behavior and sociopathic spectrum sentient beings head-on, the septic poison they bring into an organization will undermine workplace morale, production, and well-being.
  • Avoid toxic people, frenemies, places, and things. Trust my gut- don’t even bother “archiving” the relationship. Delete!

And on the literal, practical sense, I learned:

  • How to snooze certain emails, schedule time to work on them, use Justin’s system outlined in his Future File Guide to learn how to keep your desk clutter-free.
  • To limit action items for team to one item whenever possible.
  • To keep emails short–people don’t read long manifestos or dissertation-style emails. Think: TLDR.
  • How to achieve inbox zero every day.

And it reminded me:

  • Only to process email 2-3 times a day at set times. Continue to use Evernote, a handy online and phone system for filing and storing practically anything online. (Note: you can even scan paper documents with your Iphone via Scannable and upload it to Evernote, from whence you can download as an attachment, send it to someone, etc. It automatically time, date, and location stamps, and you can create tags for easy searching).

P.S. Justin has several mini e-courses for school leaders on everything from High Performance Teacher Evaluation, an online membership group for educational leaders, coaching, and strategies for landing your next admin job. I’ve personally found the tips, courses, and community helpful in launching my admin career to the next level. (Side note: I didn’t receive any kickbacks or compensation for this—I just am excited about my learnings and wanted to share them with you).  🙂

 

Cream Rises to the Top, But Mediocrity Pushes It Out: Gresham’s Law

Gresham's Law

Cream rises to the top, but mediocrity pushes it out. Ever wonder why mediocre,  unqualified people get promoted? Especially in bureaucracies and dysfunctional companies?  This dastardly phenomenon can be explained in two words: Gresham’s Law. 

What is Gresham’s Law?

Here’s the super short Cliff’s Notes version:

In essence, Gresham’s Law is an economic rule that says that bad money drives out the good. If a government or organization prints and circulates bad money, then the bad currency will oust the good money that is worth more.   This economic principle was first named by Scottish economist Henry Dunning Macleod in 1857, for the sixteenth century Tudor financier Sir Thomas Gresham (pictured at left).  In 1519, Polish scientist Mikołaj Kopernik, (you may have heard of him as Nicolaus Copernicus), stated “bad (debased) coinage drives good (un-debased) coinage out of circulation.”

Now, look at Gresham’s Law on a bigger level, in a non-economic sense:

KardashiansIs there a good news only station on TV? I think you know the answer. Most people would rather watch disasters and drama on Fox News, complain about the state of the union with Glenn Beck, and smut reality shows than watch some show that only covered happy stories and positive, charitable acts. The majority of people would prefer to zone out in front of the Kardashian clan’s meaningless travails and Bad Girls Club than watch a stimulating biography of a successful person on PBS or a personal growth video. Mass mediocrity has driven out quality programming.

What do people tend to share in the workplace by the water cooler? Valuable information or idle gossip? The latter would be correct.

Michelle RheeHave you ever pondered why some lackluster loser is in a high-ranking “leadership” position? Or why mediocre, lazy dunderheads get promoted, despite negative morale with their underlings? Wonder why good people, creative stars get passed over again and again for promotions? Yep, you guessed it–Gresham’s Law.

bad leadershipIn a dysfunctional organization, a “leader” with poor leadership skills will hire a bunch of yes-men and women to surround him so she doesn’t look as terrible as she is. Anyone who raises the bar or excels gets pushed out by the company, or sometimes even shunned. Thus, the organization, gets worse and worse, little to no progress is made due peoples’ egos and power trips blockading and stonewalling innovation.

In order to “fix” a problem, mucky-mucks layer the already cumbersome inefficient organization with more and more directors, managers, commanders, and VPs of this and that. They create task force special operations, charts, and boring PowerPoints to show how they’re fixing a problem. In reality, most of the organization is working hard at not working, looking busy, and maintaining their territory in the overstuffed bureaucracy.

Peter PrincipleThis manifestation of Gresham’s Law can also be an example of the Peter Principle.

Does this all sound like an organization you know? 😉

 NOTE: Real leaders with higher levels of good leadership hire rising stars with potential and specific skill sets, who may even be brighter and better at their job than they are.  They value the human spirit of creativity, encourage their teams to strive for excellence, and value relationships.

What Can You Do to Fight Mediocrity and Gresham’s Law?

woman-hula-hoopAlthough you may be surrounded by a sea of incompetence, the best way to rise above the influence is to be a consistent force for good.

  • Remember you can only control yourself and YOUR actions–what’s inside your own hula hoop.
  • Be a force for good.  Those who are on the fence or who are looking for strong support and good leadership will be attracted to your work ethic, your spirit of excellence, and your positivity.
  • Do your best work, regardless of how downtrodden you feel.     Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters Colossians 3:23 (NIV)  When you focus on the work in front of you, and do it, as if you were doing it just for God, as an act of worship–that will make your work more pleasant and more meaningful. (Time management experts call that uni-tasking, which is way more efficient than mult-tasking).
  • God is in charge. He sees what you’re doing. He knows your heart.  He is the ultimate promoter.  Think of young Joseph, stuck in the dungeon. God saw his work, his leadership and promoted him to one of the highest positions in Egypt.
  • Keep your eyes, ears, and heart open to new opportunities.   A few years ago, when I was stuck in a dead-end job, fretting about finances, and the lack of fairness in the workplace, the Holy Spirit told me in His still, small voice, “I have paved the way.”  Whenever I began to worry about my dud situation, God reminded me that He had paved the way.  After a few months, a much more lucrative adventure appeared, I grabbed ahold of it with glee and gusto, and stepped into an abundant opportunity far better than my wildest dreams.

Fixed vs. Growth Mindset: Understanding Autism

understanding autism

Today one in sixty-eight children is born with a form of autism. Advancements in treatment, communication strategies, activism to increase awareness and acceptance of autism, and scientific research have helped educate the public, as well as medical and educational professionals alike about autism. Despite greater autism awareness, some educators, including seasoned administrators, still don’t understand autism.

My friend K. who has a child with autism said that there are two types of people in this world: people who “get” autism and people who still don’t. (Please note: she does not mean people who catch autism. She means people who understand, empathize, and take steps to accept people on the spectrum).

Among those who don’t understand autism there are two subtypes: people with a fixed, prideful mindset who think that they “get” it. There are also humble people with a growth mindset who don’t “get” it, yet they openly admit it and are willing to learn, like psychologist Carol Dweck’s Mindset.

Fixed Mindset
understanding autismK. states, “People who don’t “get” autism see kids with autism as behavior problems. People who don’t ‘get’ autism think more discipline would take care of ‘the problem.’ People who don’t ‘get’ autism think it is a parenting issue. People who don’t ‘get’ autism have not read a single book out of the hundreds available on the subject.

These people, often well-meaning educators, blame the parents, oftentimes the mother, for their child’s struggles with autism. They escalate kiddos with autism into TFM (total freakout mode– a very scientific term)- and mete out harsh, antiquated punishments to kiddos on the spectrum instead of using research-based de-escalation and crisis intervention strategies, such as Life Space Crisis Intervention (LSCI).

Such a toxic, fixed mindset and resulting actions harm students with autism. It can cost a rock-brained authoritarian educator his or her job. Worse yet, it could bring on a lawsuit for breaking federal and state laws protecting students with disabilities right to a free and appropriate public education (FAPE)!

Growth Mindset
Fortunately, most educators today don’t possess such a fixed mindset.  They don’t “get” it and are open to learning more about autism- that’s a growth mindset.  An accomplished teachers told me point blank that she didn’t “get” autism.

She asked me, the parents, and other professionals for input and suggestions for working with kiddos on the spectrum. When I provided her with instructional strategies and approaches for working with students with autism, she would actually use them! She also communicated frequently with the parents, realized that she needed to differentiate instruction more than unusual and provided the student with advocacy strategies. She held students on the spectrum accountable to high, doable standards AND provided them with the accommodations they needed to succeed. This teacher’s growth mindset allowed her to morph this year into someone who does “get” autism.

People who “get” autism can think outside of the box. People who ‘get’ autism try things another way. People who ‘get’ autism are accepting. People who ‘get’ autism are flexible, patient, and caring,” added K.

If you've met one child with autism, you've met one child with autism.If you don’t “get” autism, that’s okay. Just admit it. That’s the first step. Autism can be complex- as speech language pathologist Michelle Garcia Winner, author of Socially Curious and Curiously Social: A Social Thinking Guidebook for Bright Teens and Young Adults, has said, “If you know one person with autism, you know one person with autism.”

An Open Mind
Do you have a fixed or growth mindset?Want to understand autism better? Consider talking to the students’ special education teacher with an open mind. The speech language pathologist, school counselor, or school psychologist could likely also provide you with helpful input. Get to know students with autism. Adults with autism can also provide you with unique insights about the childhood autism. They are the experts on the autism experience!

If every time you speak to the student it seems that s/he spins out of control, consider learning de-escalation skills, or looking at what your own behavior is doing to provoke the student. Go to workshops on autism, read books like The Complete Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome or School Success for Kids With Asperger’s Syndrome: A Practical Guide for Parents and Teachers. Check out and check out resources from reputable sites like socialthinking.com or autismspeaks.org. When you admit you that you’d like to understand autism better to other professionals, it’s likely that they would be delighted to share their own expertise and resources with you.

I still have a lot to learn about autism- even though I’ve worked with students on the spectrum for a few years now. In fact, the more I learn about anything, the more I realize I have to learn! I pray that I can keep a fresh growth mindset for years to come as I journey from new administrator to veteran principal.

 

ADHD ABC|Z is for Zeigarnik Effect: Make Distraction Work for You!

Bluma Zeigarnik

What the Heck is the Zeigarnik Effect?

Bluma Zeigarnik Have you ever been interrupted so often that you don’t know what to start first, next or last? You’re about to make some copies for a lesson you’re teaching the next day, but a coworker stops by crying, and then you look up at the clock, just in time to pick up your toddler at daycare, so that you don’t pay the dollar a minute fine. During your drive to work the next day, you don’t remember all the tasks you completed right before your coworker-in-crisis ran up to your door. Yet you sure remember that you need to do that photocopying!

One day during your prep period, you zoom through all but one task on your to-do list… you were about to call a court social worker back, when a huge fight breaks out in the hallways,  and another kiddo pulls the fire alarm. When your husband asks you what you did that day, nothing stands out except the hallway tussle and the fire alarm pulling prank. And..drats, you didn’t get to make that phone call. That’s the Zeigarnik Effect.

This phenomenon first studied by Lithuanian-born Jewish psychiatrist and psychologist, Bluma Zeigarnik. While chilling in a Viennese cafe back in 1927, she noticed that waiters remembered incompleted orders as long as they were in the process of being filled, but forgot them right after they served.

Experience of the Zeigarnik Effect

As a mom and a teacher, I experience the Zeigarnik effect all the time, and I’m sure you do, too. I take the sweet potatoes out of the oven, turn on the dishwasher, and start to fold laundry. Then my daughter hollers for me from her room. The laundry-folding task looms above me like a grumpy cloud, but I have no recollection of the other chores I completed earlier.

(Because of the Zeigarnik Effect, that’s why you think you accomplished nothing all day, when in reality, you did–you just remember the tasks that you started and stopped all day).

If you work in a cubicle, you get zeigarniked (as I like to say) all day long–you start working on a project, then Herman the Time Hog lumbers up to your chair asking about data or Mediocre Mergatroid asks you to redo the curriculum for your training because it’s just not rigorous enough.

Using Zeigarnik Effect as a Teacher with ADHD

Interruptions zap my day like a meteor shower, plus I get zippy ideas all day long (and night, which is why I have a journal next to my bed). Anyhow, here are three tools you can use to make distraction work for you.

1. The Old Fashioned Sticky Note This is the good part! Pay close attention so that you don’t end up in sticky note hell. zeigarnik2 Grab sticky notes and smack them on a clipboard. A clipboard gives you immediate authority and then you can write your zippy ADHD thoughts down to your heart’s content.

Use ! to indicate a thought or tangential thought that you need to put in a mental parking lot (it could be a new invention, or to remind yourself to pick up dry cleaning, etc.)

 

zeigarnik1

Use ? to indicate a question you’re wondering about- or that you need to ask someone something.

 

2. Evernote

Use the Evernote app, downloadable in IPhone, IPad, Android, as well as a Google App for the desktop. I have used this app to do everything from take pictures of chalk talk, the board, writing a to-do list to share with my husband, to documenting graffiti (it can time and date stamp).  It will also automatically categorize notes by tags and categories. Great way to sort out ideas in that ADHD brain.

 

ADHD ABC| X is for EXtreme Consequences for Untreated ADHD

gambling with your life

gambling with your lifeX is for EXtreme Consequences

Despite all the creative, crazy, and wonderful quirkiness that I love about ADHD, there are a few tragic things can happen when ADHD is left undiagnosed, untreated, or ineffectively treated.  Approximately 9% of school-aged students live with ADHD. Yet ONLY 56% receive treatment for it (this includes natural remedies, behavioral interventions, counseling, etc.)

When ADHD is Untreated

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI):

  • Kids with ADHD have a 32% chance of dropping out. Students without any mental health impairment only have a 15% chance of dropping out.
  • About 50% of youth with ADHD get suspended, making them more likely to drop out.
  • 47% of incarcerated youth have an ADHD diagnosis.
  • 80-90% are significantly behind by the intermediate grades; 15% have learning disabilities (some professionals believe that this is higher).
  • More likely to get into auto accidents, DUIs, and speeding tickets
  • Youth with ADHD are at higher risk for substance abuse

gettingfiredBut wait…there’s more! ADHD doesn’t just disappear when a kiddo turns 18. Compared to their peers, ADDults (adults with ADHD/ADD) are more likely to:

  • Binge drink, overeat, abuse drugs
  • Gamble and spend impulsively
  • Get traffic violations for speeding, reckless driving, and car accidents
  • Drive drunk and get a DUI
  • Have employment problems, low job satisfaction, and underachieve
  • Get stuck in a low socioeconomic status
  • Smoke cigarettes

(Who smokes anymore except Mad Men actors? My gosh).

images (3)Just because you’ve got ADHD (or you just found out), doesn’t mean you’re sentenced to a life of gloom and doom.  

Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD) has a National Resource Center on ADHD.

Dr. Joseph Biederman, psychiatry professor at Harvard Medical School,  stated that ADHD may be one of the most expensive medical conditions in the United States. “Evaluating, diagnosing and treating this condition may not only improve the quality of life, but may save billions of dollars every year.” 

Wow. Is ignoring or not treating ADHD worth the gamble?

ADHD ABC| N is for Normal and O is for Ordinary

I tried to be normal once. Worst two minutes of my life.

I tried to be normal once.Have you ever thought, “Why can’t I just be normal? Why can’t I be like everyone else?”

I know I have.

Definitions for normal in Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary include: conforming to a type, standard, or regular pattern;  of, relating to, or characterized by average intelligence or development

Blah blah blah.  Now let’s see what ordinary really means.

As a noun, it can mean the regular or customary condition or course of things. As an adjective, it can imply routine, usual <an ordinary day> 3 a :  of common quality, rank, or ability <an ordinary teenager>  or :  deficient in quality

Some synonyms and related words for normal and ordinary include:

average, common, commonplace,  routine,  standard, standard-issue, unexceptional, unremarkable, usual 

why_be_normal_when_normal_means_averageDo you just want to be a normal person? Do you want to live an ordinary life?

Listen up. Now that you really know what normal means…do you really want to be average? Or worse…unremarkable or unexceptional?

The truth is–normal is a setting on a wash machine. Your ADHD is a divine present–you were designed to stand out, create, and infuse life into the world. Accept the gift.

P.S. I’ve found that posting inspirational quotes and spiritual wisdom in random places, like my purse, the car, my journal, etc. are powerful pick-me-ups. The two quotes below are rad reminders:

For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  Psalm 139:13 (NIV)

We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. Romans 12:6-9 (NIV)

ADHD ABC| J is for Jesus..Is God Mad at You?

307818_2286437433204_1016951790_2566347_383553368_n

307818_2286437433204_1016951790_2566347_383553368_nI thought God hated me.

Really. I thought He loved everybody except me.  He was mad at me. He wanted to punish me. I believed that Jesus was for the homeschooling minivan mafia and people who had cows and ducks decor in their cutesy country kitchens.

Wrong.

Jesus hung out with losers.

Look whom Jesus hung out with…tax collectors, prostitutes, fishermen… undignified people you’d probably find at the end of a bar that reeks of stale popcorn and cheap beer. His disciples weren’t exactly the finest frogs in the lake, either.

He wandered around the Middle East, talking to fallen women, raising the dead, healing the sick, walking on water, and knocking over a Moneytree franchise inside a temple.  Now, I’m not saying that He had ADHD, but Jesus was pretty hyper Himself. I’m sure a few of his disciples did. Who else would be up for adventure wandering around with a sandal-clad carpenter who performed miracles?

759660_15865636_bJesus hung out with people who felt less than, who were hungry for a change, and wanted to throw everything down to follow him to a new life.

I threw out my preconceived crazy notions about Christianity. God created all of me, with my zippy ideas and crazy curly hair. He delights in our quirks and loves us as we are. Jesus is there for us, always, always, always, to follow Him when we’re ready.

Why wouldn’t Jesus want to hang out with you?   Take a walk on the real wild side.  You are a treasure. And He’s not mad at you!  

 

 

 

P.S. I found this really cool video about Jesus…watch it below now.

ADHD ABC| L is for Like! You Can’t Please Everyone…

I like you!

I like you!You can’t please everyone, and you can’t make everyone like you. Katie Couric

Deep down in the core of every man, woman, and child–is an innate desire to be liked.   Of course ADHDers want to be liked by other people, and it’s often a more extreme need for us than our neurotypical brothers and sisters.

1. We want people to like us, even if we don’t like them.  Think of all the stupid stuff you did in high school to get attention.  One time girl with Janet Jackson hair in my ninth grade ancient civ class told said, “Some girl came up to me and said you were a bitch….”  I was devastated. I had worked so hard to make sure everyone liked me. I couldn’t believe that this nameless hater actually disliked me!

2. ADHDers only want to start and complete that we like. Do you live by the mantra, if it’s not fun, it won’t get done!  As a grown-up now, I’ve found ways to deal with that. I make myself finish a boring task by rewarding myself with something fun at the end, talking on the phone while working on a mundane chore, watching a movie while folding laundry, or enlisting a friend to come hang out while you work on them.

3. We like to work where we’re liked and appreciated.  A long time ago, in a septic school I worked at far, far away, the principal thought I was too creative, and I didn’t fit in with the cookie cutter staff.  Soon after starting the school year, I wilted and shut down. I would avoid the toxic teachers by eating lunch in my classroom.

If you’re imprisoned in an unhealthy work environment that’s draining the life out of you, here are a few strategies that can help:

a). Pray and journal

b). make sure your side of the street is clean, do a spot-check inventory on your behavior. If you’re being an obnoxious jerk, stop it already.

c). spot your workplace allies fast, and stick with them. If there are none, then so be it!

d). keep your mouth shut and document on

d). do your best every day, hold your head high, get lots of support outside of work, and smile.

e). look for a new job where your skills and talents will be appreciated. If you get a weird gut feeling about the place where you’re interviewing, do NOT take the job!

f). Do not cower before anyone, no matter how low you feel.

And remember what the ADHD Dr. Superhero tweeted…

If you try to please everybody, you will please nobody and get nothing done. You will be like a desperate politician running around appealing to every special interest group and lobbyist that drives to D.C. If you please yourself, then you will end up making a few friends along the way.

Since working harder on my personal growth than anything else, I’ve shed much of an unhealthy, extreme need for approval. I’m selective about the people I spend time with and the environments I’m in. I’m a much happier, more confident, and productive ADHD chica.

How about you?

ADHD ABC|I is for Intuition…and the Terrible Tale of My Twenties

the intuitive mind albert einstein

Intuition by Leah Piken KolidasThe intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.-Albert Einstein

For much of my twenties, I sped on a hell-bent mission to drown out my intuition. Almost whenever the still small voice inside me whispered that I shouldn’t go to certain soirees or establishments, I’d go anyway. Disaster usually ensued.

When I flew to Germany to interview for a telecommunications customer service manager job, the British interviewer did not meet me up at the airport like he said he would.

When I showed up for the interview at the appointed hour, I had a queasy feeling that this was not the workplace for me. The interviewer scrunched up his face while chain-smoking and making disparaging remarks about Americans.   In retrospect it seems odd that no one from the company took me out for coffee or a meal, especially since I had flown 5,080 miles (8175.47 km) across the Atlantic Ocean just to meet with them.

I was so determined to work in Germany at that moment in time that I ignored that feeling. I moved there two months later.   It ended up being one of the worst jobs EVER, EVER, EVER. On one of my last days there, he chased me down the hall, cigarette in hand, all the while shouting at me with his snotty British accent that if I quit he would hire a lawyer to hunt me down.

When I met my future ex in a bar, I had a gut feeling that I shouldn’t spend more time with him. Instead I started dating him.

After dating my ex-husband for a few months, my gut told me to break up with him. I eloped with him instead. When I tired of his shenanigans and verbal abuse, I wanted to divorce him. I got pregnant instead.  During the pregnancy, I could no longer ignore my intuition–I had another human being to consider- my yet unborn daughter.  When I was seven months pregnant, he became violent.  I left him and the country. When he pleaded with me to return, I listened to my intuition, and didn’t go back.

What Does this Terrible Tale of My Twenties Have to Do With ADHD?

ADHDers often have a gifted sensory system. It’s almost like we’re armed with prehistoric spidey senses, which came in handy dandy when our ancestors were off on a mammoth hunting expedition. Thanks to industrial noise, suppression of spirited children in the school system, and modern mistrust of anything non-scientific, ADHDers’ intuition gets suffocated and silenced.

Today so many people run around busy being busy, listening to the radio, watching TV, staring at their smart phones, or numbed out and dumbed out carbohydrates and prescriptive medication. How can you hear your intuition behind all that sensory overload?

How to Recharge Your Intuition

the intuitive mind albert einsteinDo you miss the still, small voice inside of you? Or do you think you’ve never heard from your intuition, and don’t believe in that poppycock? Listen–I’m not into that woo-woo New Age crapola at all and won’t tell you to wear purple robes in your basement or place crystals at strategic axes around your house. I am Christian, and definitely NOT of the Westboro Baptist ilk. I do believe that my intuition is a gift of the Holy Spirit (sometimes I call it the whoosh because that’s what it feels like inside of me).

Anyhow, instead of blasting off like a rocket in the morning and charging out of the house like an elephant on speed, consider rewinding a bit:

1. Go to bed earlier. Your senses will be heightened and you will be more aware of your surroundings.

2. Set your alarm for 15 minutes earlier. Actually get UP when the alarm goes off.

3. Take 5 minutes to read a short, positive passage from the Bible (like Proverbs, or the book of Matthew) or a personal development book if you are not a person of faith (something by Dale Carnegie is a great way to start). If you are reading for more than 5 minutes, great! If you you HATE READING, think about it. Are you willing to do something for 5 minutes a day if it will improve your life?

4.  Keep the TV, radio, internet, and Smartphone off. This is non-negotiable.

5. Write down 10 things you’re grateful for in a journal. It doesn’t have to be a major manifesto. Are you grateful for the gift of sight, your health, hearing, your family. Sometimes I put down that I’m grateful for food, shelter, gas in our cars, and my dog! This little list goes a long way. Even Oprah swears by it.

Have you lost touch with the still, small voice inside of you? Or do you feel pretty in tune with your intuition? 

 

 

ADHD ABC|G is for Geography…Why Do More North American Kids Have ADHD?

World_upside_down.jpg ‎(800 × 400 pixels, file size: 50 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg)

World_upside_down.jpg ‎(800 × 400 pixels, file size: 50 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg)Geography of ADHD

I have this theory that ADHD could be higher in countries with giant groups of immigrants (like the United States, Canada, and Australia) than in the rest of the world. Our  hyper, dreamy ancestors left the Old Country to chase the American dream. Most Europeans don’t move around that much– a lot of my German friends have stayed in the same town or village for generations.

ADHD Stats in the USA

  • In the USA, about 11% of children aged 4-17  were diagnosed with ADHD as of 2011.
  • ADHD diagnosis rates vary from a nadir of 5.6% in Nevada to a whopping 18.7% in Kentucky.  Why would that be? (Some say that it varies because of high stakes testing. In some states, the scores of children with ADHD are not counted. Or do a bunch of ADHDers really reside in the South? Does eating grits cause ADHD? Or?! ).
  • Latino children are less likely to have parent-reported ADHD.

 ADHD Stats Internationally

  • Certain countries, such as Italy, Sweden, and Iceland may have a lower prevalence of ADHD symptoms.
  • In France, the prevalence of ADHD diagnosis is much lower. A mere 0.5% of children have a diagnosis of ADHD and are on medication for it.
  • In Brazil, doctors prescribe physical exercise over a pill for ADHD.

Dr. Polanczyk et al. reported some fascinating facts about ADHD worldwide in PsychiatryOnline:

  • The pooled prevalence of ADHD worldwide is 5.29%.
  • The reported rates of ADHD for Africa and the Middle East are significantly lower than North America.

I could be wrong, wrong, wrong with this theory…it’s something I wonder about though, when driving around. I mean, what about our ancestors who came here under duress, because they were forced, like escaping war refugees or Africans who were chained in the holds of the evil slave ships? Or do kids present ADHD-like symptoms more in North America because recess, PE, and the arts have been slashed in so many school districts?

Why does North America tend to have a higher rate of ADHD? What’s your theory?