There's never been a better time to tune into our ADHD superpowers and strengths as we adapt to a changing world. Most importantly it's time to shift from feelings of shock and angst to recenter and move forward on ways to learn, grow and focus on intended goals. Kat's article below gives you some great tips for 'cognitive flexing' that can help with this.
Meanwhile, our Center has been working hard to create some affordable options to help you with personal growth and connectivity during the transition. Check out the new ADHD Classes, the upcoming topic-focused workshops, and two new coaching groups launching in August. Watch for our Weekly July Updates as we tackle (1) the new frontier of blended in-class and online learning for our students; (2) work from home tips and strategies to help with productivity, and (3) self-care and balance with work-life-parenting.
Peace and Grace!
Robin and Kat
Who's Up For A Little Cognitive Flexing?
By Katherine Jahnke
We are living in some extraordinary times as we attempt to adapt to the impositions and fall out of COVID19. And talk about a world turned upside down, our daily lives are topsy-turvy because our routines have been upended. I don’t know about you, but at times I have wanted to just stay in bed waiting for my “normal” life to return.
From a big picture view, human history has been peppered with many such periods of upheaval that have thrown the rhythm of life into the wind and caused much suffering and sorrow. And since this era is more connected than ever before in history, we feel the impact quicker than ever before. But take heart, because history also tells us that this too shall pass and we will come through this black hole again. Humanity is wired to endure!
But even in life before the covidapocalypse, our lives at home, at school, at work, and even at play were filled with unexpected events and changes. And change can feel uncomfortable when it causes uncertainty or risk which then causes fear to rise. We like to cling to familiar approaches like our routines. So when we encounter disruption to our normal structure, we get uncomfortable which in turn can increase our stress. These feelings will affect our overall mood which will then affect our behavior. Our natural human instinct is to avoid pain and upheaval by running away. Or like me, hiding in bed!
What we really need is to flex our cognitive flexibility power which helps us to be able to think and problem-solve by being able to bend and flex to change. Your ability to adapt and generate a variety of ways to view a situation or solve a problem is a valuable skill in so many areas of our life. We do better when we are able to “shift gears” at will to deal with the shift in our circumstances.
What if you presently find yourself rather rigid and struggle to adapt to transitions or new situations? Take heart, just like building muscle with exercising you can strengthen this skill with practice and it doesn’t matter at what age you start.
Science-backed exercises to strengthen and improve your cognitive flexibility:
1) Routine Flexing:
Start with your ordinary routines and do them in new ways. Maybe you take a new route to pick up your groceries or you try a new exercise routine on the internet. Start with small changes to ordinary routines to grease the skids and get some momentum. Optimally, you will get more creative with changing regular routines after some practice, but the ultimate goal is to start changing neural pathways in your brain and building that brain muscle.
2) Brains Need Recess Too:
Let go of long-held and outdated beliefs and think more creatively. Get into the flow and let your brain out to “play” with what’s possible. Allow yourself to start without the hindrance of old limiting beliefs and just flow!
3) Free Up Valuable Real Estate
Anxiety can be thought of as “future worrying”. And those anxieties take up prime real estate in the brain that’s better used for problem-solving capabilities. Be mindful of when anxiety is starting to creep into the neighborhood to take over and don’t get attached to it’s antics.
4) Find Your Tribe of Flexible People
Since we tend to take on the characteristics of those we spend the most time with, why not spend your time with the cognitive-flexible tribe? You will take on those characteristics of embracing new perspectives and be encouraged that there’s more than one way to look at life.
5) Old-Fashioned Elbow Grease
Technology has lots of short cuts to make our life easier. But easier is not always the best way to go. Add back some of the difficult to make that brain get stronger and keep a sharper edge. Learning through experience is a great way to sharpen that brain saw. For example, try navigating around a new area using a real map instead of the easier GPS maps. Or change to your non-dominant hand to do the usual routines, such as brushing your teeth.
6) Try Something New
New experiences create new connections in your brain synapses, which improves memory and learning. Learn a new language or a new skill. Since we are mostly stuck at home but still have the internet, we have a perfect opportunity to flex our muscles by trying something new!
7) Exercise? Really?
Yes, it really works to strengthen brain “muscles” too. Studies have shown after only 20 minutes of exercise, your brain releases serotonin, dopamine, opioids, endorphins, and endocannabinioids. All of this helps to grow and flourish. You can combine this with #6 above and get the double punch - learn a new exercise!
8) Use Your Funny Bone!
Here’s the fun in all of this. Find the humor in any situation and defuse the anxiety bomb before it goes off. When I pull in the humor, I am enabling myself to step back and get a bigger perspective on the situation without getting flooded by it. Laughter is the bomb to blow away anxiety and overthinking a change.
So go forth COVID campers and exercise those cognitive muscles during this temporary break from “normal”. I will leave you with a thought that has helped through my life’s upheavals and I hope it helps you too.
“Pain (and discomfort) is inevitable - learn to tolerate it!
Suffering, however, is optional!”
And the end to suffering begins with being curious, getting creative and experimenting with a cognitive flex strategy that you find interesting and potentially beneficial.
ADHD Coach, Texas
Managing Defensiveness and Other Pitfalls in ADHD/Non-ADHD Relationships.
Robin and Joyce were recently featured on the ADHD Essentials Podcast. hosted by Brendan Mahan. Among other things, they discussed the roles of blame, excuses, and defensiveness in relationships, the importance of being able to slow down & pause, improving our communication, and how couples can support one another. We hope you'll enjoy the conversation. Check it out here!
ADHD Classes in July and August, 2020
The Center has created a series of six live virtual classes to kickstart your ability to live well with ADHD. Each class is 90 minutes long and followed by a 7-day challenge and coach support to help you take your desired next steps. Choose from our Monday nights or Saturday mornings. Click here to check out the schedule and explore the classes.
ADHD Workshops - Starting Up July 22nd, 2020
If you have felt stuck in the wrong job or with figuring out what to do next in your career, you are not alone. This Colors of Your Parachute with ADHD is a career workshop designed to help you increase your understanding and awareness about what works best for you, and then explore your options for a better fit and career trajectory. The more you understand your preferences the easier it is to make career decisions and stay focused on the choices and actions to get you there. Click here to learn more.
ADHD Group Coaching - August 2020 start
Now registering participants for the Masterful Living Coaching Group beginning in August 2020. Ideal for those who are taking the ADHD Classes or have already done some work in learning about their ADHD and want to continue working on their personal goals in a small group mastermind and supportive community. Click here to learn more.
The Productive Days Coaching Group is designed for professionals and entrepreneurs who are looking for ways to hone their skills and develop their unique ADHD-friendly approaches to accomplish more in their careers or business. Participants will focus on their own goals while addressing challenges with focus, time management, planning and prioritization, task initiation, organization, situational overwhelm, and procrastination. Email Robin@ADHDcoach.life with your interest in the group. We are looking to form a weekday morning group or a Sunday afternoon group starting up in August.
ADHD Individual Coaching
Maybe one on one coaching support is more of your style. Or maybe you would like to chat before joining a group or workshop. Take advantage of our complimentary get-acquainted sessions to explore your needs and how ADHD and Executive Function skills Coaching may help you experience more of the life you are already Wired To WinTM.