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ADHD Coaching Author
October 2009


Article: Reduce Distraction - Increase Focus

Happy Halloween!
... has it really been a month! Seems like the end of the year is imminent; as a client commented yesterday, once Halloween has been celebrated the rest of the year seems to pass in a heartbeat.
For that reason I'll outline three 'grounding' strategies that you might find useful to slow down your perception of time flying! And the more you can 'be present' and 'in the day' the more easily you can manage overwhelm. Sadly many new clients say they feel at the end of most days that they haven't got much done; see if one of the strategies below helps. Staying grounded will cut overwhelm and reduce stress; which also helps you to be more focused and productive.
And the article this month is all about reducing distraction and improving focus with sound. Many of my clients have much heightened senses in general - often excellent auditory perception which results in exceptional musical talent. The good news is you can also use this innate skill as a tool to beef up your focus and reduce distraction....


"Happiness depends more on the inward disposition of mind than on outward circumstances."
- Benjamin Franklin

Reduce Distraction - Increase Focus


You're trying to concentrate...or fall asleep and you just can't focus on the task at hand? Do you find that foreground and background noise tend to switch places - and even if you're in a quiet room you can hear the background sounds so clearly it's distracting? Then play around with some form of 'white noise'. You can use your iPod, computer, stereo system or radio - or use a white noise machine.
Most people find words invite your brain to 'think about' what's being sung, so the lack of lyrics will help the sound 'become wallpaper' in your mind.
Check out white noise which you can download for free - great tropical rain forest sounds that you can use to lull you to sleep or perhaps focus on a task.
Another good option is a white noise machine. It will make enough noise to drown out, or absorb noises around you and replace it with a steady noise to enable you to focus fully on what you're doing.
I use this machine, not my ADD brain wired husband, to get to sleep. He snores like a bandit - bless his cotton socks - sometimes Coco sleeps in our room and she's a loud snorer too so between them it's like having a top of the line surround sound 'snoring CD' playing on high - this machine works like a dream so I can!!
You can check out some models here (www.naturestapestry.com/reviews.html) - I have the Marpack.
Also think about what STYLE of music you can play to help you get focused and follow through on a task. If you haven't tried this strategy you may be amazed at how easy it is to flow into a job you normally would find 'bored the socks off you'.
Start noticing what music is best for individual tasks? Begin to build up a dossier of ideal sounds for specific tasks. For example
trying to hurry through some housework try loud up-tempo jazz, being creative: inspiring classical music, sorting paper and bored to tears: music that feels fun and light (maybe couple this with a mantra that supports you - "I can do this with great ease and fun - I love being organized"), or want to unwind in the evening: blues or mediation DVD's.
Make this a fun project to compile your ideal support sounds - keep a list you can refer to when you find yourself stuck on a project. Christmas is coming up...maybe some CD's can go on the Santa wish list!!  

Three Grounding Exercises


To stop and notice the day passing, set up an alarm system (phone, computer , watch - maybe egg timer) to go off at regular intervals each day. Choose one of the following strategies to experiment with. I suggest you practice it for a week until it becomes 'installed' as a part of your modus operandi before moving on to practicing another. Of course mix and match and modify any and all to suit your particular style.
Try practicing these for at least 5 minutes - but again modify to suit yourself and depending on how often you do the exercises - I like to stop every 90 minutes for 10 minutes and do a mixture of breathing and yoga stretches.

 1. Lay on the ground or floor - close your eyes - feel the surface under your body - notice it under your head - relax your head - then move your attention down your body to your neck (like a progressive relaxation exercise) - again think about feeling the surface under your neck, move down to your shoulders, upper arms, upper back etc - feel heavy and relaxed - imagine your are sinking into the ground (in a good way)!! If you find it hard to stay focused you could try saying out loud the body part you are relaxing and how its feeling.
2. Square breathing -  close your eyes - breath in through your nose for the count of 10 - hold your breath in for the count of 5 - breath out through your mouth with a whooshing sound to the count of 15 - and hold your body empty for the count of 5 - repeat several times but don't hyperventilate - deeply relaxing and grounding.
(closing your eyes is an automatic 'overwhelm' buster on its own...)
3. Sit in a chair -  make sure your feel at firmly planted on the floor or ground -  close your eyes - imagine roots growing out of the souls of your feet and burrowing down into the ground - deep down and tapping into the heart of the planet - breath steadily and deeply into your belly - not high in your chest - and relax.
If you have a healthy pet, take the time today to notice how they live life. How they pace themselves. How many daily naps they intersperse between busy, often super efficient, spells of activity. They often eat at regular times - I can set the clock by my dog! Many will only eat what they need and leave the bowl half full. Often they have developed great structure and rituals to live their lives happily and with less stress. They get their needs met without any guilt - if my dog needs a walk I get 'the look' until I take her out. No energy is wasted lamenting the past or planning too far into the future - living in the day is key. I remember my dog eagerly running way ahead of me towards the bay for a swim. However if the tide was low it was too muddy and not possible. Just about the time she got to the water's edge, I could see if it was feasible - and if not I'd shout "no swim" - she would pause for a few seconds - tail wagging 100 mph - look out to the water - then do a 180degree turn and run back up the hill - tail still wagging @ 100mph - no depression - no angst - no whining 'why's this low tide happening to me' just pure joy to move onto what was possible in the next moment. They certainly are great role models!!
Use your pet as a reminder to judge how often you are in the past or future? When you notice Fido being in the moment ask yourself "where have my thoughts been for the last 15 minutes" start noticing to prime the pump to change, if need be.
If you'd like to work with me to reduce stress and overwhelm phone now for a Complimentary Consultation.
Lindsay Hilsenbeck
USA 510 669-1152

I plan to change from this E-zine to a blog in the new year.  I will write shorter 'bites' of information more often to make reading more ADD friendly; and a blog will allow a two way dialog so you can respond with comments and questions, should you chose to. 
I will let you know what you need to do to move over to this new format - we will have more flow, focus, and fun!!
Lindsay Hilsenbeck, ACG
Certified ADHD Coach
ADHD Coaching & Consulting
The nonjudgmental solution.

Organize.  Prioritize.  Optimize your life...

ph: 510 669 1152


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