do you ever catch yourself in the middle of a workday doing your task, going about your business And then all of a sudden you have these interesting thoughts that come in, thoughts about I don't really want to do this. This work is not good enough. I could be doing it better. I've already procrastinated so many hours. I wish I had done it earlier. You get the point, the list goes on before you know it. You are down the well of this bear and negative self talk and that little monkey, the Gremlin, the inner critic, whatever you want to name it, is ready to unleash on you. Well did you know that with people with A. D. H. D. That is a common recurrence that happens of the negative self talk that we go through and we go through it pretty frequently and pretty intensely. So today in this episode I have the pleasure of speaking with an expert. He even has a whole chapter dedicated to this topic in his new book.
So without further ado I have the pleasure of introducing you to and welcoming back Dr ned Hallowell to the show. For those of you that don't know who Dr ned Hallowell is. Well. First of all you really got to know who he is because he is all about 80 HD and all expertise in the field of A. D. H. D. He is a board certified child and adult psychiatrist and a world authority on A. D. H. D. He is the founder of the Hallowell HD Centers in boston new york city san Francisco Palo alto and Seattle. I wish he was here also in Canada. He has spent the past four decades helping thousands of adults and Children live happy and productive lives through his strength based approach to neuro diversity and has a PhD in dyslexia himself. Doctor NEd Hallowell is a new york times best selling author and has written 20 books on multiple psychological topics.
And today we are going to talk about his new book 80 HD 2.0. He is also the host of distraction podcast. Doctor Hallowell explores with his guests how to better connect with others and how each of us can implement strategies that can turn modern problems into newfound strength. Let's welcome Dr neD Hallowell, let's get into it. Welcome to proudly 80 HD at work and in business. I'm your host coach Cathy Rashidian I help professionals like you understand the science behind your unique brain so you can unlock that inner genius, ready to transform your HD into your best asset. Keep listening. Welcome to another episode with Coach Cathy. Today I have the pleasure of having Dr ned Hallowell back on the show. It's an honor. It's an absolute pleasure. So here we are, we're going to pick his brain on 80 HD two dato.
A new book that's come out and I just finished listening to it because yes, I listen, I don't read, it just doesn't happen for me. Um So 80 HD two dot oh, written by Dr neD Hallowell and john j ready the subtitle, I love this. It's new science and essential strategies for thriving with distraction from childhood through adulthood. And I have to say after listening to a doctor, it was like a little mini handbook. I was like, everybody should have this. So welcome Doctor. Let's get into this. Thank you Kathy, thank you. And by the way, the american pronunciation of the title is A D H D 2.0. Oh, so you guys say dot Oh, and we say 0.0.0. All right. And you know, I think that's a bit of a tech in me because the former everything was dot something, so 0.0.0. There it is. No, there's a funny story. There is actually a woman in Kansas whose name is dot com. No, it isn't.
Yes. Her life changed a lot awhile ago. How did I not know about this? Amazing. It's Dorothy calm and she's called dot com. Of course, wow. Great! Well, on that note, folks, as we tangent into how could we not? Of course, let's bring it back. Let's bring it back. I am looking at this. I love the way that this book is structured because just just for a second, I want to give you an outline of this book. So we've got the trait in chapter one. Then we're going to talk about and not that we're going to go through each chapter here. I'm going to pick a few topics that I think are super key here. Chapter two talks about understanding the demon of the mind. We will actually dig into that one. Then chapter three is about the connection of the cerebellum. We're gonna talk about that a little bit. The healing power of connection. I often quote your doctor and your vitamin C and vitamin connect.
I absolutely love that whole concept. Then the chapter five talks about finding your Dwright difficult, which is like, it was fascinating. I actually just so you all know, I've listened to each of these uh segments like over and over and I've taken like notes. It's amazing. You're a dream reader. My gosh, I'm a nerd, I take notes. I like, I'm like okay. And then he said this and then I pause and I were not a nerd. That means you're curious and serious and you learned. And I think, you know, I mean my gosh curiosity is my top five strength. As I show you this, this sheet of my strength and values. We Yeah about that. That's common among people with A. D. D. You know, I still call it A. D. D. By the way. I know it's 80 HD is the new name, but that's okay. And then we're going to give and we're going to talk about another new name that you've come. So just to wrap up the chapters the environment, you guys talk about environment. There's talk about movement and exercise that the way you explain movement and exercise in that chapter really resonated with me because I have this love hate relationship with exercise.
I actually don't like to call it exercise. I call it movement because it doesn't trigger me. So. And then finally, you talk about medication blew my mind and just for the audience, I've been doing this work for about three years now and I've been researching three years, I've studied with the best of the best and I'm like then what are you gonna tell me different in this book? And then I was like shit, he told me some new things you know, here we are the doctor, thank you for the amazing work you guys put into this book. Like truly it's a handbook like I want to everyone that's listening to this just go get the book. If if anything this should be your first and for those that I work with are laden life diagnosed. This is the book to kind of get you up to speed with what the heck is going on and and added advantage for the A. D. D. Audiences of all my books. This is by far the shortest. Yes the manuscript I handed in was 200 was 125,000 words.
The book that got published is 48,000 words. So the editor had me do bariatric surgery on my my poor innocent manuscripts and sliced it apart. But it was in a good cause because now it's much more A. D. D. Reader friendly. You know it's very concise. Every chapter is very sinewy and you know nothing nothing extraneous and you know it is it is has the virtue of brevity. If you leave out the dependencies and the index it's only really about 100 and 20 pages long. There you go. So good for the brain. I love it. And even the audio was so like just spot on. Not too long, not too short. Just right. So on that note let's get into, let's start from the the new name. Can you give us some context on variable attention stimulus trait? Otherwise I have for years, even when I first learned about this condition back in 1981 when it was called attention deficit disorder, I've quarreled with the name because we have the condition myself, we do not have a deficit of attention.
If we did, it would be a form of dementia, which it certainly is not. We have an abundance of attention. We're just swimming in attention. Our challenge is to control it, you know, and that, you know, and we were talking about curiosity, we are so curious, we can't let any bit of stimulus go by without checking it out, you know? So we're like a dog on a walk, sniffing everything. We sniff everything we possibly can, you know, every tree trunk, every dandelion, every boss, you know, and the butt of the occasional passing dog. So we are very curious and and that makes us very so called distractible, but we do not have a deficit of attention, it's inaccurate, wrong, and it's so pejorative, you know, And then the term disordered, there are so many extremely effective, high achieving nobel prize winning people who have this condition that it's a disservice to call it a disorder. So I call it a trait if you manage it properly, it becomes an asset.
If you don't, it can indeed be a curse, it can be a horrible thing to have. And I'm in the business of helping people turn it into an asset, if not a superpower. So at the suggestion of a woman who worked for KQED in san Francisco carry feeble, she said, why don't you call it blah? And she came up with the term variable attention stimulus trait and I give her full credit for that. And the acronym vast is also quite appropriate because the condition takes in far more territory. Then the GSM list of symptoms possibly explores. And so it is a vast condition takes in every aspect of of your life. And if you manage it right enhances every aspect of your life now. It certainly can detract as well. But vast is neutral, It's neither laudatory nor pejorative, a variable attention stimulus trait. If you manage it right, it can become your superpower if you don't, it can end you up addicted in jail, unemployed, multiple divorced, marginalized, oppressed suicide ng you name the bad outcome, it's overly represented among people who have A.
D. H. D. But you name a good outcome, successful entrepreneurs Pulitzer prize winners, see you name a good outcome and I'll show you people with a. D. D. Overrepresented there as well. So if you take it seriously, if you take understanding it seriously as you do Kathy, you know, taking notes and writing things down, education is the key to turning this into a superpower. It doesn't happen automatically, believe me. I mean some people get lucky and they just stumble into it, but but more commonly to turn it into a superpower, you have to work at it, you have to study it, learn it, train yourself, learn new habits, uh get coaching, get the right diet, the right schedule, Narry the right person, find the right job, all those things and so it doesn't happen automatically. But what you're born with is the raw materials for greatness. You're born with the raw materials for just doing tremendously original and exciting things in life.
I love it. Thank you for that beautiful explanation and it takes me to and and it's just your last bit you're talking about where I want to go with this is epic genetics. And in the chapter where you talk about the demon, you start with talking about the epic genetics and some of us have these these genes that are kind of sitting there. Well, epi genetics is a wonderfully exciting new field and it really is about the influence the environment has upon genetic expression. Nothing is 100% genetic, even height. If you live in a cave and never get sunshine, you're not going to grow as tall as if you live outside in the sunlight. So even something as predominantly genetic as height has a, as an environmental impact influence built into it. And that's the field of epigenetic. How do we, how do we measure, assess, predict, regulate, control the impact of environment upon the genetics that you're that you're born with now, 80 HD is a highly heritable trait.
Hair. It'll just means you have the genes that predisposed to developing it, but it requires the right environment to draw it out in a good way and if you have the wrong environment it will draw it out in a really negative way. So if you grow up in a chaotic abusive situation of deprivation, poverty, you know, you're not going to do nearly as well. Nobody would whether they have the HD predisposition or not. Early deprivation and trauma predisposed to negative outcomes. Not 100% though. And I can incite my own self as an example of that no matter what it is, you can you can overcome it and turn it into something good. But the whole field of epigenetic has helped us in the world of ADhd by stressing that the proper environment, what I call a stellar environment leads to the best outcome. And the reason I went there is because in my mind I was late in life diagnosed and in my 20 years of corporate career I ended up at the right place at the right time.
I was in marketing, it was fast paced, it was all I. T. And technology. So I didn't know about my HD then I was just like we were talking about I've done this amazing career, done major things in Canada and in in the telco industry and consulting side. And and then when the baby came it's like oh okay here it is. The brain doesn't want to do this anymore. So let's go deeper into in the same chapter you talk about the task positive network and the D. Mn default mode network. You talk about them as in they're both good in their ways and then something happens and then there's this and the way the A. D. H. D. Brain wiring works. These two can can kind of not in tracked with each other very well. Let me explain it in simple terms and this is straight out of FmRI. So this is very reliable neuroscience, recent neuroscience.
When you're engaged in a task when you're doing something, you're writing a letter, you're painting a painting, you're drafting a proposal when your imagination is focused down in an act of creation of any kind can be planting your garden. Four different regions of your brain light up on the MRI scream and you know, you're so you're watching your brain as it operates. And in aggregate those four regions are called the Task Positive Network. The TPN. When you're in the task Positive Network you're working at your best, you're focused your creative you're taking advantage of the special powers that come with A. D. H. D. Okay when the task is over, those four regions of your brain shut down they go dark and instead in their place what lights up is called the default mode network for other regions of your brain and it's the seat of your imagination. But when the default mode network is not connected to a positive task in people with A.
D. D. It tends to send out a stream of horrible negative stuff. You're you're stupid, you're ugly, you're boring, you'll never amount to anything. Nothing's going to work out. Why do you even bother? What a waste of space you are. Life is stupid. Life is pointless. Why don't you just end it all? I mean just this just this rancid stream of negativity and and what's so pernicious about it is it holds your attention, see, contentment is too bland. You don't say she was riveted in contentment, but you do say she was riveted in fear, worry, self hatred, you know, it's absolutely gripping. So we stay there in this, in this place of self torture because it's so gripping and when something is gripping, you get the dopa means the dopamine hit that you get when something is really pleasurable. So there's there's a twisted kind of pleasure in this pain and that's why you what, that's why you stick with it.
And but it's torture. You want to break this habit. There's no, you know, some suffering is good suffering, lifting weights, studying hard, That's good pain, This is bad pain. There's nothing productive comes out of this. Even the pleasure you're supposedly having isn't pleasure, it's, it's painful. And so and so what you want to learn to do is don't feed the demon, don't feed the demon, I call the demon the demon. And how do you not feed it? You redirect your attention. I mean, this is hard to do. You're having to your having to redirect away from something that's gripping painful, but gripping so you have to redirect to something else. You have to, you know, pick up a crossword and start doing it or turn on loud music or go for a brisk run or, you know, start making chicken soup or you know, you want to engage your imagination in something else and get the bleeping demon out of your brain. And the only way to do that other than you're hitting yourself with a hammer is to, is to redirect your attention.
Don't feed the demon. It's not easy because you know we tend to stay you know it's like looking at a car accident driving past it. You keep looking at it even though it's horrible. Well this is your own minds car accident of your life and it's horrible. And you want to try to learn not to continue to look at it. Not to continue to. And people even people without A. D. D. It's the person who was hurt by another person 25 years ago in a bitter divorce. And he keeps going over and over. How could she do that or how could he do that? And they keep reliving it and as a as a sort of endless loop torturing themselves but it's gripping so they keep doing it, they keep doing it they keep doing it. And and the simple solution is so very difficult. Think about something else. don't tape. So so that toggle that that comes for those naturally to then go into their T. P. N. Or but you also talk about the default mode network has its benefit to of creativity.
Yeah. No it's the seat of the imagination. It's got to be connected through the TPN to be productive there. It is that I have a positive task. Otherwise if it doesn't have that connection then it just spews out the negative. No the demon like everything in A. D. D. It's it's it's a combination of a positive and negative positive. Yes that's the source of creativity, your imagination but the negative when it doesn't have a structured outlet then it produces horribleness. That's why I talk about in the chapter and find the right difficult the tremendous importance of having a creative outlet. The reason that I write so many books if I don't have a book going I get depressed, I need that structure. I need that creative outlet. And and you know, it's it's just discovered over the years and you know, I tell people I'm like a cow I need to be milked. Yeah. And you know, so so this creative outlet is really a kind of a biological necessity so that my default mode network can be heading, you know, offering up positive output instead of instead of horribly miserably negative.
Yeah. This is I think so fundamental because as I'm looking at all the self help books on my shelf, you know about how to quieten the chatter all of that once we understand the connection to A. D. H. D. Because I feel like some of these self help books have been written for neuro typical. But when you explain it this way then it made sense to me. And that's why when I talk to my clients it's like this is why you're ruminating. And here's the science behind it now and there's no philosophical like coaching technique. I mean there's some things that I do with them but sometimes it's just snap out of it. That's it, that's all I have to say to you. You know and it's that simple and I appreciate when I hear the science behind it. It makes sense now on the same note on the T. P. And also just to kind of balance the positive and negative. You talk about how we can end up into this hyper focus and how it relates to transitioning from task to task. How do you what do you suggest we do when we're in this like hyper focus and you're saying like that's when the TPN is activated and you're like really in there, what do we do to transition out?
Well, finish the task, you know I mean? It can take, you can be in that state all day, you know, some people call it flow. It usually lasts shorter than that though. Usually you can't sustain flow for you know much, I what I'm writing, I can't do it for much, honestly much longer than an hour and then I could come back and get into it. So so but but if someone interrupts you when you're in that state you can fly off the handle. Oh yes, get really angry because you're, it's like you're it's like oh it is interrupted, you know what are you doing? Why are you interrupting me? I'm in the middle of this. You know, it's it's very upsetting. We don't want to be interrupted in the middle of it. And the best thing to do is just to let it play itself out because it can't go on indefinitely. So then when people are video gaming, where are they at with that?
When it's like, yeah, there there there in a sort of a mindless version of, of flow. Mm hmm. They're they're very focused. But they're not being terribly creative. They're being marginally creative, you know, but it's more like the state you're in when you're driving down the highway and the arrow, the line, broken lines are sort of hypnotizing you and you're, you're still paying attention deriving somewhat. But your hip hypnotist. It's not a productive state. Okay. Any recommendation on how to snap out of it or just don't do it. Don't do it. I love your so direct. There's no, just don't do it. It's true. Sometimes some of this stuff like there is no magic tool or a magic pill that I can give my clients, I'm like, it's just is. But the more we educate ourselves like this with these kind of conversations, then I call it, then you become really a conscious choice. You're consciously making choices throughout your day.
Do I want to be in hyper focus? Do I want to sit here and ruminate for three hours? Fine. You can do that too. Right. Right. But like lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. So you want to avoid the things that will tempt you and at the same time don't engage with the things that will bring you down. So last point let's go to the last point, sara bellum and as I said folks, I'm not going to cover the whole book with him because I want you to go pick it up yourself audiobook or physical book. I'm actually going to pick up the physical book now because I need to write notes in it. So it's like this is getting expensive with the audio and physical at the same time. So why should we, what is the cerebellum in our brain? What's this function and why does it matter for A. D. H. D. Please? Yeah. I just had an A. D. D. Moment when you said Sarah bellamy envisioned a woman's name. Sara bellum. Yeah. Someone from the deep south cerebellum. But no this is C. E. R E. B E L. L. Um And it literally means little brain and it's a region at the base in the back of the brain, right on top of the spinal column that occupies only 10% of brain volume but has 70% of the neurons in the brain it's packed and until recently nobody knew how tremendously important it was.
But thanks to jeremy schlomann and his studies at Harvard Medical School, that's S. C. H. M. A. H. M. A. N. And jeremy shaman. He's he's really put the cerebellum on the map and what he's shown is that it is not just an organ for regulating balance. We always knew it was important for that but in fact it's richly connected to the frontal parts of the brain where all the stuff that we think matters in higher cortical function happens. Executive function, decision making priority. Prioritization, telling the differences between perceiving similarities, appreciating, irony, regulating mood and emotion all of that. Uh The cerebellum is is very involved in that. And the practical application of this is we we there's good evidence that by stimulating the cerebellum you can bring about positive changes in A. D. H. D. And and how do you do that? Any exercise? The challenges balance will stimulate the cerebellum.
So for example, if you if you just get dressed without sitting down, put on your underwear and socks without sitting down and undress the same thing, standing on a wobble board ending on one leg and then standing on one leg with your eyes closed when you close your eyes, whatever you're doing becomes more difficult to balance because so much of balances external externally mediated. So and if you, and if you, there's actually a program developed by a guy named Win for Door in England where he he has a graduated series of exercises. And if you do them for 10 minutes twice a day in 3 to 6 months, 80% of the people who go to his program get get improvement in their 80 HD symptoms. I think it's the best non medication treatment for A. D. H. D. That I know of. And it's why people with this condition are drawn to sports like surfing, skiing, skateboarding, trampoline, any any gymnastics, anything that challenges balance we naturally love because it's really good for our brain.
Amazing. Amazing. I have a mini trampoline and ever since you've you've I've heard you talk about this. I you know I stand with one ft and then I'm closing my eyes like I'm just playing with it. And I love one thing you said in your book it was about shift changing it up like one day do this the next day, do something else like 30 days of yoga. I know that some things you can just make a habit like just get dressed without sitting down. That's it, dressed and undressed. Without sitting down, do it near your bed in in case you fall over. But it's just a few seconds and it's not only good for your balance, it's good for your core. So it's a quick little core exercise to to that you can do at the start and the end of every day. Absolutely. And then if you go to the gym, you had a third time of getting undressed and dressed in. There you go. And I like how weaving it into your life. So it doesn't have to become this like exactly or a thing. And when it becomes your, we're the masters of avoidance and procrastination.
So absolutely. When it or we'll find a way not to do it. Exactly. Two words of routine and structure. I'm like, you don't swear, why are you swearing? Why are you using those words? Right. And for me it's about rhythm and momentum. What's the rhythm of my day? What momentum do I want to get into? That's really good. Yeah, it's easier, right. The last chapter of the book is called Find Your feel and make it real. And that's based on a golf swing. But that's all about momentum. It's all about rhythm, it's all about cadence, it's all about getting into a way of going through the day where you almost don't have to think about it. And by the way, that's cerebellum mediated. That's all the cerebellum is the seat of automaticity. Where a thing where, you know, you can play a piano piece and not have to think about what keys you're striking. Amazing, or you can ride a bike and not have to think about how you're balancing. I like that. Thank you so much, Doctor. So, before I lose the attention span of my listeners, is there anything is there one thing that I that you would have wanted to say in this, in this audio that you want to capture?
What's well love. Love. Love is the answer. You know, connection is the answer and today's world is is perilously disconnected. So reach out to friends to neighbors to and not only do people, two dogs pets, to nature itself, reach out to nature, connect with nature to works of art, to beauty, to music, causes were very mission driven. We people with a. D. H. D. You know, so have a mission. Sounds like you and I are on the same kind of mission to try to bring this condition too greater awareness. So all this connection of this other vitamin C vitamin connect and at its most condensed, we call it love. But then as it spreads out, it tenure weights and you know, I just call it connection. So connection drives pretty much everything that's positive in life and disconnection lies behind most of the bad stuff we see makes so much sense. Thank you for that. And folks just so you know, Doctor Hallowell from time to time shows up on clubhouse and by now you've heard me talk about clubhouse, it is my social media of it is my go to social media and part of it is because you have conversations like this, it's natural.
I don't have to do my makeup, I could be in my jammies, it's great and you go to Catherine holds a room about 128 questions and she facilitates that very beautifully. So I'm, I'm there, I'm also part of the 80 HD entrepreneurs club. I'm one of the moderators there. So from time to time we hold rooms and we talk about 80 HD and entrepreneurship. And recently I've been doing some rooms with my Persian community where we talk in Farsi and yeah and it's so amazing because I've been wanting to be with this community for so long. I just didn't know what the venue was. And through clubhouse here's this community that mental health stigma and we're digressing for one second. I just want to plug this in about different cultures and how they see A. D. H. D. Right in my community 80 HD is like this you're broken. And so for me my mission is to be in my Iranian community to say we're not broken were actually pretty damn smart and here's how we operate the more I can be of service to that community.
That's what I do in clubhouse there. There is one thing about clubhouse is when we're holding these spaces for mental health, you better know how to manage that conversation and the skills because there's some heavy stuff that gets shared publicly. There's emotions that come up and it's really important. And even for the cause, for those of us listening to this and you want to be an advocate of A. D. H. D. Please do your homework. So, you know, when you want to defend it in in effective ways, not in this like combative ways of well get used to it, this is me, there's a nicer way to write doctor, what do you say about that? Oh, you're so right. And one of the, one of the things we 80 years need to work on is not shooting from the hip, not being combative, not, you know, I watched out for this and myself all the time because my first instinct is just to say no, you know, or that's wrong or off of your head, you know, and that's extremely counterproductive and you know, so because what we want to do is engage and discuss and dialogue and not alienate people and come off like some hot headed because we are, we 18 years were basically hot headed.
So we have to absolutely, you know, and you know, the good side of hotheaded as we're passionate, but the downside is we can be obnoxious and you know, turn people off and so we have to, I have to work on, you know, you know, considering I never forget this woman who was an executive and she just wasn't rising in the company. And then, and then she shot up to Executive VP. And I said, what happened? She said, I finally she said, I'm a recovering self righteous bitch, good one. She said, I used to go into a meeting with the sole purpose of being right. Yes. And I do all my homework. But then someone told me, you know, your way of being right is to make other people feel wrong and people don't like that. They don't like being humiliated and you know, so she said once I learned that and I learned to listen and I learned to treat opposing points of view with respect rather than ridicule and domination. I became executive VP.
You know, and I think for those of us with a D. D. It's an important lesson that being right is way overrated. And I think part of that dog as I see my my clients is that they can see the solution much quicker than everybody else. So they latch on to that. And it's like, okay, I know you see the solution, but here's a couple of steps we need to take to influence with integrity. I call it as I put this like bam and then there and then regulation, right? And then people don't want to agree with you even if they know you're right. Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah, awesome. I mean clearly we could talk for hours doctors. So thank you so much for your time and all of this wisdom. Again, folks get his book. This is the one book I want you to get and study the other books, you know, whatever I mean. They have their space. But this this is the latest one that I really liked, the way both doctors have packaged it up.
I thank you from the bottom of my heart Doctor. This was amazing. Thank you Cathy. You're a real blessing. Absolutely. Until next time folks keep on shining.