Blog

Featured

Perspectives, Life, and ADHD

Hi. I am Sarah D. Wright, a professional personal coach specializing in working with adults who have attentional issues. Welcome to my blog.

The title of this very first post is Perspectives, Life, and ADHD because I think perspective is often what it’s all about. Like those collages of little photos arranged so that together they make a larger image, the angle or distance from which you view the image makes all the difference in what you see. Up close, your attention is captured by one or just a few of the smaller images. You have no sense at all of the bigger picture they contribute to. Take several steps back, and you may not be able to clearly see the little images, but the larger images becomes clear.

I find perspective is very valuable when living with ADHD. For instance, if we focus on what we can’t do or at least can’t do easily, then we stop noticing what we can do. If we ignore what’s easy for us and only value what’s hard, then we turn our backs on our gifts and try to be what we’re not.

I hope with this blog to share various perspectives on Life and ADHD to inform and challenge and entertain you who visit.

If you want to learn more, feel free to contact me.
I’ll be happy to hear from you.

TADD Talk: ADHD Coaching Matters

As part of ADHD Awareness Month 2014, the Attention Deficit Disorder Association (ADDA) created TADD Talks, where selected experts were recorded Talking about ADD each day for the entire month! TADD recordings are about 10 minutes long, so they can easily be enjoyed every day. That being said, I was honored to be asked to give one of ADDA’s TADD talks. You can listen to the talk on ADHD Coaching Matters here. I hope you find it interesting (and useful)!

Don’t “Should” on Yourself

On September 25th, 2014, Margarita Tartakovsky posted another great article at PsychCentral on Adult ADHD. For it she interviewed both me and Dr. Ari Tuckman. Here are the first few parapgraphs:

Adults with ADHD often hold all kinds of “shoulds.” These include everything from I should be able to remember that to I shouldn’t need a pill to do what I’m supposed to do to I shouldn’t need all these reminders or alarms, according to Ari Tuckman, PsyD, a clinical psychologist who specializes in ADHD.

Other common beliefs include: I should be able to do this by myself and I should be able to do it that way, said Sarah D. Wright, a life coach who specializes in working with people who have attention disorders.

“These statements aren’t helpful because they put a value judgment onto a factual matter,” said Tuckman. That is, they assume that you should be able to do something you can’t do.

You can read the rest of this great article here:
Adults with ADHD – Shrinking Shoulds

Keep Your Brain and Body Fueled!

Whether I’m reading about the best way to manage weight, anxiety, focus, will power, etc., it often cycles back, in part, to nutrition. And not just what you eat, but how much and how often.

Just about everything I’m reading talks about how a relatively steady supply of glucose is the best way to keep your brain and body working optimally. Too much glucose, and insulin quickly pulls it from your blood into fat reserves, making you hungry again quickly and thwarting your diet. Too little glucose, and you set yourself up for brain fog, irritability, impulsiveness, and anxiety.

So how to hit that happy medium in glucose supply

You probably already know that you should avoid processed foods. Two good rules of thumb apply here: (1) stay away from the middle of the grocery store, and (2) stay away from “white” foods like white flour, white sugar, white rice, and white potatoes. Instead, eat more slowly digested foods like whole grain, whole fruit, and whole vegetables. Include moderate amounts of protein and healthful fish and vegetable oils.

Maybe what you don’t know is that you should also not eat too much at any one sitting, or go too long without eating at least something. Dr. Barry Sears, originator of the Zone Diet, suggests that the average person aim to eat no more than about 400-500 calories at a time, and go no more than 4-5 hours during the day without eating.

To help you stay within those guidelines, all you have to do is learn to estimate volumes. Then, using this Calorie Density Chart I created (if you pass this chart or idea on, which I hope you do, please mention my name and include a link to this website. Thanks!), you can easily estimate how much “fuel” you’re taking in at any one time.

Calorie Density Chart

Each of these portions is roughly 100 calories:

Ounces Volume Food
1/2 oz 1 Tbl FAT (butter, oil, mayonnaise, peanut butter, etc)
1 oz 2 Tbl SUGARY FOODS (sugar, syrup, honey, dried fruit) and
FATTY FOODS (olives, nuts, cheese, bacon)
2 oz 1/4 Cup LEAN MEAT (Large egg, 1/2 chicken breast, small steak, small fish fillet, 3 slices ham)
4 oz 1/2 Cup STARCH (cooked rice, pasta, legumes, potatoes, corn)
8 oz 1 Cup FRUIT (50-150 calories depending on fruit) and
DAIRY (1% milk, yogurt, kefir, etc)
16 oz 2 Cups VEGETABLES

Manging Adult ADHD

Margarita Tartakovsky, Associate Editor at PsychCentral.com, has written many excellent articles on ADHD. She’s just completed two more. I’m telling you about them because in doing her research, she interviewed me and several of my colleagues.

The first one, 10 Daily Habits That Help You Manage ADHD, was posted last week.

The second one, Fidgeting Strategies that Help People with ADHD Focus, was posted today.

Check them out!

Get Back to Basics

This month, I was again a guest expert at ImpactADHD.

This time the focus was on brain health and my article was titled Get Back to Basics: 3 Great Ways to Live Better With ADHD. Here’s the first part of the article:

When it comes to ADHD we hear a lot about neurochemicals, but did you know that to function well, our brains need plenty of glucose, oxygen, and sleep? Eating, exercising, and sleeping therefore make a big difference when it comes to living well with ADHD. And when we eat, exercise, and sleep properly, the additional benefits play out in those all-important neurochemicals—and in our bodies—as well.

You can read the rest of the article here.

7 Tips for Finishing What You Start

Earlier this year I was interviewed by Margarita Tartakovsky, Associate Editor at PsychCentral.com, for an article on how to finish what you start.

The article was posted today. Check it out!

Adults & ADHD: 7 Tips for Finishing What You Start

Because of the nature of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), adults with the disorder quickly lose interest in what they’re doing. The ADHD brain gets bored easily and needs novelty (this helps to boost dopamine levels, which are low in people with ADHD).

Of course, this doesn’t bode well for wrapping up tasks.

The need for newness also means that adults with ADHD often start many different projects and simply get too busy to finish them all, according to Sarah D. Wright, a life coach who specializes in working with people who have attention disorders.

Plus, they can get stuck on a task, because they’re unsure of how to move forward, she said.

In order to finish what you start, it helps to have support and get clear on the parameters of your project. Below, Wright revealed how to do just that, along with other specific tips for following through.

1. Work with a buddy.

It’s a lot easier – and more entertaining — to complete tasks when you’re working with someone else. For instance, you might ask a family member to help you do the laundry or cook dinner.

2. Have a body double.

This is a person who works alongside you, but isn’t doing the same thing. Rather, they’re “doing the behavior that you want to emulate,” said Wright, also author of Fidget to Focus. She gave the example of a couple doing household chores on Saturday morning. The wife works on organizing the closet, while her husband works on the yard.

3. Race the clock.

“Set yourself a time limit to get work done,” Wright said. For instance, set a timer for 15 minutes and see how many emails you can get through or how much of the bathroom you can clean. Make it a game to see how quickly you can accomplish each task, she said.

4. Create reminders.

Find ways to remind yourself why you’re doing the task in the first place, Wright said. Why is accomplishing this important? Why does it matter? For instance, as a reminder, you might print out an image or place a sticky note on your computer.

5. Have a clear finish line.

Before you start a project, get clear on what you’d like to accomplish. For instance, “cleaning the garage is too nebulous a goal,” Wright said. Get specific: Do you want to clean the garage so you can park your car? Do you want to create shelving and organize your tools and other items? Do you want to get rid of everything?

In other words, she suggested asking yourself: “What do I want the end to actually look like before I go in there to make something happen?”

6. Start small.

Starting small is a more manageable way to work, Wright said. It feels great when you accomplish something, and it helps you gain momentum. For instance, if you’re working on your garage, again, maybe your goal is to clear off the worktable.

7. Know when to move on.

Sometimes, finishing a project just isn’t worth it. “Sometimes, the best thing is to cut your losses, and move on,” Wright said.

For instance, she invested her time and money in a training program. In order to receive the certification, she had to complete a final project. She realized that she received everything she wanted from the program without needing the certification. So she didn’t do the final project. “This was the first time in my life that I’d chosen not to do something.” And she found it liberating.

When you’re trying to figure out if you’d like to finish a project, consider: “Is this still in line with what’s important to you and in helping you move you forward? Or is it time to cut your losses and move on?”

ADHD makes it much harder to finish what you start. Using strategies like the ones above can help with following through — when necessary.

Thanks, Margarita, for a great article!

A Brief History of ADHD (& ADHD Awareness Week)

During ADHD Awareness Week in October 2012, I was guest expert at ImpactADHD.

ImpactADHD® is a community of parents with similar circumstances who come together to support each other and learn how to take a coach-approach to raising your kids. Being part of a community that includes compassionate coaches helps us all stay the course, set limits, try new things, find acceptance, change our habits, laugh instead of cry, understand instead of yell. Thrive instead of just survive.

Read my article about the history of ADHD and ADHD Awareness Week here. You might just learn something you didn’t know!

The History of ADHD Coaching and the ACO

On December 29, 2011, I was interviewed by Jeff Copper of Attention Talk Radio on the topic of the history and evolution of ADHD Coaching and the ADHD Coaches Organization.

From the radio show blurb:

Join us for this episode of Attention Talk Radio. Host, Jeff Copper, interviews Sarah Wright, ADHD coach and former president of the ADHD Coaches Organization. The two discuss a brief history of coaching and the evolution of ADHD coaching and then have an in depth discussion around the history of the ADHD Coaches Organization, including its humble beginnings, the players and volunteers, and where the ACO is today. If you’re an ADHD coach or interested in learning about the ACO, this show is for you!

Listen to the interview here.