Hi there! Got your attention? Ok, cool. So, as I said in my first post a few days ago, I’m reading a book about learning to manage ADD by +Jennifer Koretsky entitled “Odd One Out, The Maverick’s Guide to Adult ADD.” Before I get started I’d like to say that I will NOT be laying out her whole book in this or upcoming blog posts for obvious reasons such as copyright law, but beyond that this book is amazing and if the subject matter applies to you, then you really should read it for yourself. I’m just using this blog as a way of journaling and sorting my thoughts because I tend to remember things better if I put them in my own words. Alright, now that we’ve covered that, I want to talk about this idea of slowing down to speed up.
I have to admit that it really does sound backwards, but if you give it a chance, it might just make complete sense. If I am exhausted, physically and/or mentally, then it follows that I’m not going to have all cylinders firing. And if that’s the case, then just like with my car, I will be sputtering and sounding ridiculous and not making any real progress. If, however, my car’s engine is tuned up and purring like a kitten, then I can zip around town or down the highway or whatever in an efficient way and get stuff done! Ok, do I still have you? Your brain and your body are like your car. The author uses a number of metaphors in her book that are extremely helpful and this general idea definitely clicked in my head. Here’s the aha moment for me – if my car started making strange noises and wasn’t running efficiently I would almost certainly notice this right away and get it looked at. But when it comes to paying attention to myself, I’ve really been ignoring the signs and trying to push on through without getting an oil change, filling the gas tank or getting a tune-up. You get the idea. Now if I of all people am not paying attention to myself…who will? No one else knows exactly how I feel or what I’m thinking. How could they? It is up to ME to pay attention to what my needs are and take care of them so I can function well.
You know, I type words like that last sentence and I can’t help but think, well yeah…obvious! But how many of us do this? Whether you have ADD or not, most of us are not great about taking care of ourselves in many ways because we don’t pay attention. We’re just too busy running around! I know I have used the phrase, “running around like a chicken with my head cut off,” more times than I can count, and it doesn’t help if I just keep going and going! No! That’s it! I’m not going to keep doing this. It turned out it wasn’t that difficult for me to start noticing when my stress level was going up. You know how you suddenly see tons of red cars when you are thinking about buying one? Same idea – when you start thinking about how you feel when you’re all worked up and overwhelmed, then it kinda pops out at you when it happens.
But then what? The obvious next step is not to just say – ok, I notice I’m stressed out! No, the next step is figuring out a way to step back, slow down, and get it in check. When I was in law school I used to pride myself in my little mantra – “the only way to reduce my stress is to get stuff done!” Yeah…that did NOT work. When this all clicked in my brain I indulged myself in a little bit of pity I will admit. I was thinking, “oh I could have done so much better if I’d realized this back then.” But you know what, that is the past and I can’t change it. So, I’ve been figuring out ways to slow down to reduce my stress level so I can proceed through my days in a calmer and more efficient manner from here forward. Will I now magically be perfectly calm? Of course not, but I will get better with practice and I am already convinced that by taking some time daily to slow down I am able to function in a much better state of mind the rest of the time. Maybe so me people can do it weekly, but at least for now I definitely need to slow down daily. So yeah…slowing down to speed up? It’s not crazy talk. It works.
P.S. Here are some slow down ideas that are working for me: deep breathing when I feel my heart rate increasing, writing (such as this blog), knitting, taking walks and using the Wii Fit. What works for you?