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If Your Feelings of Overwhelm Have Kicked into High Gear - 081

executive function podcast Dec 19, 2020

Feeling overwhelmed isn’t automatically a positive or a negative experience; it depends on the emotion and on the meaning you give to the emotion you’re feeling.  You could be overwhelmed with gratitude and self-love or overwhelmed with grief and shame.

The meaning I give overwhelmed is that it implies “too much” or “more than someone can comfortably handle.”  Is that you?

Every time I imagine what life is like WITHOUT well-developed executive function skills before the pandemic, and then imagine it during this pandemic, the impact just 10x’d itself in terms of the negative overwhelm and impact that it is having on your lives.  And so many of you are telling me exactly that.

The good news?

Executive Function skills can be learned, no matter what age you are.  No matter where you are located in the world.  All it takes is the right training, strategies and support. 

In this episode Dr B talks about:

  • What it takes to stay out of overwhelming feelings
  • Strategies for shifting your feelings
  • The importance of celebrating your wins
  • Enrollment opening in January for the ADDventures in Achievement Foundational Skills 
  • Free Executive Function Training Series coming very soon

Developing your Executive Function Skills and shifting your limiting beliefs is the fastest and most effective way to overcome ADHD limitations, find focus, gain confidence, and newfound freedom in your life!

My mission is to put an end to the worldwide needless suffering of adults with ADHD and those with under-developed Executive Function Skills - whether from ADHD, chronic depression or anxiety, trauma, addictions, or chronic illnesses.  And, you don't need a formal diagnosis to know you need help developing these executive function skills in order to greatly reduce your suffering.

 

Full Episode Transcript If Your Feelings of Overwhelm Have Kicked into High Gear Episode #081

Today is Episode 81 with Dr B

Feeling overwhelmed isn’t automatically a positive or a negative experience; it depends on the emotion and on the meaning you give to the emotion you’re feeling. You could be overwhelmed with gratitude and self-love or overwhelmed with grief and shame.

The meaning I give overwhelmed is that it implies “too much” or “more than someone can comfortably handle.” Is that you?

It’s not difficult for me to understand how so many of you are experiencing feelings of negative overwhelm, especially during this worldwide pandemic, because I have spoken with many of you on the Waitlist to my program, or interacted with many of you in the Facebook group, Living Beyond ADHD. I want to know what your life is like right now, what you need to make it more manageable, and if what I teach is a good fit to help you.

It’s not like there wasn’t enough on your plate to manage with your work, family, personal needs, and now there’s changing routines, home schooling your kids, if you have kids, possibly working from home (in a shared space) and needing to set firm boundaries so that your work gets done; when you’ve never set or kept firm boundaries in your life. Seriously!!

And, if you were already living with and managing as best you could your ADHD, depression, anxiety, trauma, addictions, chronic illnesses and “ordinary” day-to- day challenges – that’s a lot on your plate!!

Every time I imagine what life is like WITHOUT well-developed executive function skills before the pandemic, and then imagine it during this pandemic, the impact just 10x’d itself in terms of the negative overwhelm and impact that it is having on your lives. And so many of you are telling me exactly that.

I know I’ve been erratic in the production of my podcast episodes and I’ve hired someone new to help me so I can be more consistent in my support of you, my listeners. I care about you and it weighs heavy on my heart that I haven’t been able to record regularly. I will do better moving forward.

Back to overwhelm. Your feelings of negative overwhelm most likely didn’t start with our current pandemic. Many of my students and those of you in my Facebook group, say that you are drowning in tasks and clutter and needing to manage your life more effectively. Most of you feel like you are fighting a losing battle and the struggle is eating up precious time away from enjoying time with yourself, your kids, your spouse or partner, and your friends – even if friend time is virtual right now. I hear you when you say you want to keep your job or get a new one, if you’ve lost your job. Many of you just want to enjoy life and be a better functioning human being.

I want to help you move from negative overwhelm to positive overwhelm or even neutral through the development of your executive function skills because if there was ever a time that we all needed these skills so we can navigate our ever- changing lives – now is that time.

If you aren’t yet a member of my Facebook group, Living Beyond ADHD, I highly recommend you get over there and ask to join. It’s a safe space, free of judgment, and a place where you can show up and interact with like-minded adults – laugh a little, learn a little and most of all be connected to a positive energy community. I also go live in the group every 2 weeks and answer questions posed by group members. It’s definitely worth joining us. And, if you need to start developing your Executive Function Skills, I have a free training coming soon. So, join that Facebook group and you’ll see the posts about the upcoming EF training series. You won’t want to miss it! I am aware that most prescribers, therapists, colleges, employers, counselors and more aren’t recommending executive function skills training. Perhaps they don’t even know it exists and what it actually is. Perhaps you are wondering the same thing. Or, how it ties in with feelings of overwhelm.

If you are a long-time listener to my podcast show, you know the expression – “there are no skills in pills” and that medication may be helpful for you, if that is what you choose for yourself – it just won’t be all you need. Once your Executive Function skills derail in their development, no matter the cause of that derailment, they don’t just start developing again when that cause is over. We each need to intentionally develop them or live without them fully developed.

To stay grounded and out of overwhelming feelings, you need to be able to:

• Have an accurate perspective on the circumstances of your life events, in order to make better decisions and know what you need to attend to

• Pause before you react so that you can engage your thinking brain and “act, not react” when you take action

• Shift from damaging ways of doing things you’ve used to cope for a lifetime and transition to more productive or effective ways

• Regulate your emotions so that the meaning you are giving to them and your life events is empowering rather than paralyzing

• Navigate your work and personal relationships with a clear awareness of who and how you are being and what is needed from you

• Get started with tasks and stay the course until you’re finished which requires you to prep first so that you can initiate properly

• Remember more than one piece of information at a time and integrate the many pieces that come to you through the day

• Plan and schedule effectively so that the outcomes you are seeking at home and work actually happen

• Organize and prioritize so that the flow of your thinking and the order you give to tasks is the most efficient for your desired outcomes

• Direct your focus so you consciously bring more of what you want instead of avoiding what you don’t want; what you focus on grows

• Track your tasks while you are doing them so that they turn out correctly and you don’t have to keep redoing your work

• Organize your physical things and give homes to all of them so that you can stop hunting and find them when you need them.

• Keep the skills and achievements you gain so that you can continue to live an easier life instead of starting over, again and again.

Are you wondering HOW you could possibly be able to do what I’ve just described when you’ve never been able to do them – not ever!! I’ll tell you –what you are capable of today, as you listen to this episode, is not what you are capable of for the rest of your life. You have amazing potential locked up inside of you, waiting to break free and be utilized; you just need to have the EF skills to live that life. And EF skills are skills that can be learned, no matter your age – 18 or 80 – it doesn’t matter. If you are willing to be a student of your own life and learn, you can develop your Executive Function Skills.

Are you wondering where the feelings of negative overwhelm come from and how you change them? Let me explain. Your feelings come from your thoughts. Change your thinking and practice reframing your perceptions and you change your feelings; it’s a much faster and more direct way to shift your feelings.

Consider what Mahatma Gandhi said:

“Your beliefs become your thoughts
Your thoughts become your words
Your words become your actions
Your actions become your habits
Your habits become your values
Your values become your destiny.”

So, if you want to pull the plug on your negative feelings of overwhelm, start with becoming aware of and examining your thoughts. What do you think about? What do you say to yourself about you? About your life or life in general? About your situation or circumstances? About how much you have to do or how far behind you say you are with your work or what you want to achieve in your life?

What thoughts would be better for you to be thinking than those negative and overwhelming thoughts? What type of thoughts would allow you to feel calm, relaxed, focused, grounded, and peaceful inside? Change your thoughts to thoughts that make you feel that way. Just like that?! Yes!! You are the thinker of your thoughts and since your thoughts generate your feelings, you have the power right now to change how you are feeling by changing your thoughts. The goal here is to release any thoughts that pull you down or paralyze you and replace them with empowering and uplifting thoughts.

Jim Rohn said, “for things to change, you have to change” – and what that means to me is that we need to change our sense of self (who we say we are), all the stories we tell ourselves (we make up all these stories anyways), and anything else that doesn’t support us living our best selves now.

For those of you who have been long time listeners, you know I am big on WINS and their importance in your life. There’s another important aspect to focusing on WINS and that is you are training your mind everyday to notice what is right with you, right with what you are doing and right in the world – in other words… WINS. And especially during a time in our world history when it would be easy to ignore what’s right or good or amazing – this is exactly what we need to be focusing on to keep the level of positives within us high, so it can offset the high level of negatives that we are bombarded with everyday.

Having a WINS mindset will transform how you experience your life, if you let it, even during very challenging times, like now. How you experience your life and the meanings you give the events of your life contribute greatly to the quality of your life. We don’t always have control over the events or experiences; however, we do have control over the meaning we give them.

We know that what you focus on grows and that it’s important to stand guard at the doorway to your mind and not let in things that don’t serve you. So why focus on anything but WINS? That way, you will continue to attract more and more WINS into your life all leading you to the state of mind and life you want.

You are a precious child of the universe; and are called a “human being” not a “human doing” for good reason. You don’t have to earn your value; you were born with it. Your value comes from “who” you are; not what you do. And if you need a place to know that is true, be sure to join the Facebook group, Living Beyond ADHD, so you can be with others who will celebrate yours WINS with you and affirm that you are more than okay as you, the “human being.”

So, what’s it going to be for you today? If you’ve joined our Facebook group and started participating or watching the replays of the live Q & A videos, that’s certainly a WIN. If you started practicing a new, positive habit, that’s an awesome WIN. And if you committed to start eliminating negative thoughts from your mind, one thought at a time, one day at a time, that’s a fantastic WIN. You get the point; celebrate all of them. And none of this “half-hearted celebrating”; you’ve got to mean it. Exaggerate your emotions. YES!!! WOW!!! AWESOME!!! Be sure to celebrate your WINS – big and small – because celebrating daily builds consistency and makes a faster difference in your life.

How much time do we have? Not much. So, let’s get to it. Now back to being an adult with ADHD or under-developed executive function skills in today’s world.

So, where are you going to start with your Executive Function skill development? Are you going to externalize your thinking so you can see what you are thinking and work with it that way? That’s a real thing you can start doing today! Are you going to commit to doing one thing a day and follow through and do it, hence teaching yourself about the importance of keeping your word? That’s a real thing too and something you can start doing today! Are you going to set a realistic goal for yourself as a direction to move in, and then stay faithful to your goal every day? Come on…you know this is also something you can start doing today!

And to support you in improving your EF skills, you are going to want to look at your self-care and probably improve on that as well. Restorative sleep, exercise, hydration, oxygenating your brain, nutrient-dense meals, and more.

I want you all to know that there is real hope for resolving the challenges you are experiencing with negative overwhelm and other challenges from under- developed Executive Function skills.

The widespread needless suffering of millions of adults around the world has to stop, and I am doing what I can to stop it with this generation; with us. And if you want to see a doctor for a diagnosis because it’s important to you, and will help you to understand the events of your life, then by all means do so AND… it doesn’t mean that you can’t start helping yourself right now because these are the same skills you will need to develop with or without a diagnosis.

The essential skills I’ve talked about today are what we all need to thrive as adults in today’s world. If we can’t plan, organize, prioritize, get started and keep going until the end, or regulate states of overwhelm and analysis paralysis so we can more easily make good decisions and know they are good decisions, it’s going to cost us dearly.

Slow down and become a student of your own life. Understand what you need to succeed with the multi-faceted brain you have. Take action on what you learn about yourself. This is the lifework that lies ahead for you if this is your time.

You came to this lifetime with an empowering gift, and I would love it if each and every person on this planet were able to express his or her unique, empowering gifts freely, without the threat of being shamed or criticized. Let’s put an end to that stigma once and for all.

A Favorite Quote:

Mother Teresa said,

“Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.
Life is beauty, admire it.
Life is a dream, realize it.
Life is a challenge, meet it.
Life is a duty, complete it.
Life is a game, play it.
Life is a promise fulfill it.
Life is sorrow, overcome it.
Life is a song, sing it.
Life is a struggle, accept it.
Life is a tragedy, confront it.
Life is an adventure, dare it.
Life is luck, make it.
Life is too precious, do not destroy it.
Life is life, fight for it.”

What this quote says to me is “if it is to be, it’s up to me.” Whatever quality of life I want, certainly one free of negative overwhelm, then it’s up to me to do whatever it takes to bring it to life. I am 100% responsible, 100% of the time.

Are you willing to slow down enough to study your thoughts and start eliminating those that are creating your feelings of overwhelm and replace them with empowering and purposeful thoughts that help you becomes the highest and best version of you? I hope so.

Whether you’re learning from my podcast episodes or live videos or working with me directly, you are in my world and I’m here to serve your needs. So be sure to reach out and get your needs met. It’s up to you to take action so things can change for the better for you.

Be sure to check out the show notes to learn about all the great resources I’ve created for you. And definitely make it a priority to join the Facebook group – Living Beyond ADHD – so you learn about the upcoming free executive function skills training series.

If you enjoyed today’s episode or any of the other episodes, please share this podcast show with others, as well as rate the show. If you’d like to do more, write a thoughtful review on iTunes so I know I’m meeting your needs. It doesn’t have to be anything lengthy; just a line or two of how the podcast is helping you, if it is.

It means a lot to me to know your life is getting a little bit better every time we get together. Be sure to check out the show notes for the many opportunities available to you as well as ways we can work together and stop your needless suffering. You will find solutions to the challenges you are experiencing, and I would love to help you realize a new freedom, that is…if that’s of interest to you. Thanks for listening… Until the next time… Bye for now…

Resources referred to in this episode:

• Living Beyond ADHD Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/livingbeyondadhd

• AIA Executive Function Foundational Skills Program & Waitlist: https://www.drbarbaracohen.com/AIA

• Free PDF - 13 Signs Weak Executive Functioning Is Holding You Back: https://www.drbarbaracohen.com/Executive-Function

 

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