3/26/14

What Tina Fey & Improv Can Teach about Saying "Yes and...!"



I was listening to the audiobook of Tina Fey's memoir Bossypants, when Ms. Fey started to describe how improv comedy has influenced her daily life, "As an improviser, I always find it jarring when I meet someone in real life whose first answer is no. 'No, we can’t do that.' 'No, that’s not in the budget.' 'No, I will not hold your hand for a dollar.” What kind of way is that to live?"

As someone who prides herself on saying "yes" to new ideas, "yes" to new challenges, and "yes" to new forks in the road, this struck me as the only way I know how to live. We ADHD'rs, whether we like it or not, see opportunities where others see only walls. It's why "no" often rubs us the wrong way. We hear "no" a lot, in fact. Especially in childhood before we've learned to effectively articulate our "out of the box" ideas. We often feel misunderstood and assume that "no" is a reflection of the flaws in our character.

Take a breath. Sometimes "no" is simply brought on by someone not yet having that "aha!" moment and got your vision. So don't turn your back on "yes." As ADHD'rs, the #1 Rule of Improv ("Yes and") is actually one of our core strengths and an example of how we collaborate well with others.

When it comes to improv comedy, "Yes and" means accepting what your fellow actors have introduced to a given scene and then building on it. Ms. Fey explains, "If I start a scene with 'I can’t believe it’s so hot in here,' and you just say, 'Yeah…' we’re kind of at a standstill. But if I say, 'I can’t believe it’s so hot in here,' and you say, 'What did you expect? We’re in hell.' Or if I say, 'I can’t believe it’s so hot in here,' and you say, 'Yes, this can’t be good for the wax figures.' Or if I say, 'I can’t believe it’s so hot in here,' and you say, 'I told you we shouldn’t have crawled into this dog’s mouth,' now we’re getting somewhere." In my opinion, "Yes and" is a truly valuable form of active participation. With "Yes and" you do not halt new contributions, but advance what you and others are creating together. We ADHD'rs are masters of extrapolating, of web-thinking. "Yes and" is simply our way of social brainstorming.

In "The Tao of Improv: 5 Rules for Improvising Your Life," Robert Taibbi LCSW, offers 4 more rules of improv that can bolster your daily life:
Rule #2. Act / React.
Rule #3. You can look good if you make your partner look good.
Rule #4. Be truthful, be vulnerable.
Rule #5. There are no mistakes.
Improv is about being present and open to what you and others offer, day in and day out. While we all have our moments of rigidity, the least you can do is take a deep breath (perhaps a day, week, month, or year later) and promise to be more fluid in the future.

Do you recognize the rules of improv in your daily life? Which do you feel is the most valuable? I'd love to hear your thoughts. Comment below or send me a note at WriteToJulianna.

Want more ADHD Strengths & Super Powers?



3/22/14

What's the Connection between ADHD & Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)?

Hey, guys. Long time no see! While I can't promise to post as frequently as I used to, I am still here to answer any questions you may have.

I can promise to post when I'm struck by something that I feel should be shared with my fellow ADHD'rs. In this case, the connection between RLS (Restless Leg Syndrome) and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyper-Activity). About a week ago, when I was experiencing those creepy-crawly sensations often associated with RLS, I scoured Google for answers to whether the was a link between the two. Both ADHD and RLS, at face value, concern an uncomfortable physical sensation and inability to remain still. They also affect one's ability sleep. Although I have never been diagnosed with RLS, I have often wondered if it's something I have wrestled with or if the symptoms I've experienced are simply another sign of my ADHD. After all, I get those "creepy crawlies" after a week without exercise or exhausting the extra physical energy that comes with ADHD.

Well the universe - or online marketers - must have sensed my question, because this morning as I perused the Huffington Post, I scrolled down to find this article: How Your Depression or ADHD Might Be Restless Leg Syndrome. While I am no way suggesting that your ADHD might be RLS, I think it's a good idea to stay abreast of these developments and research. After all, for many of us, it takes our entire life to master ADHD and harness it's many qualities to our benefit (...I'm looking at you, my ADHD super heroes). If there's information that can better inform our journey, why not read, ruminate on, and question it?

As someone with ADHD, have you experience symptoms of RLS? How have you dealt with them? I would love to hear from you. Comment below or email me at WriteToJulianna.

For more information about the possible links between ADHD and RLS, see the articles below:
ADHD or RLS?...or Both? by Craig B.H. Surman MD
Diagnosing the Wrong Disorder by Vatsal G. Thakkar
ADHD and Coexisting Conditions: ADHD, Sleep and Sleep Disorders





9/10/13

ADHD & College: During Life's Major Transitions, Keep Active

Here at Living, Learning, & Writing with ADHD, we focus a lot on the energy of ADHD. This is fueled by my own need to keep my excess energy in check. On weeks that I skip my usual runs, swims, dance & fitness classes, my body simply feels out of whack. Bees seem to buzz under my skin, my legs twitch and kick under the covers at night. I feel extremely restless.

What's great about the hyperactivity of ADHD is that it's hard to be in poor physical shape. You're always moving, squirming, fiddling, jumping...You experience much of the world through your body. The downfall is that you must maintain an active lifestyle, despite time constraints and other priorities.

Susan Martin recently reached out to me about the below graphic (scroll down), which got me thinking about my own transition into college. What fitness regimes did I maintain? Which did I let slip? What was the effect?

In high school, I was a dancer, a cheerleader, a runner. In addition to these, I also lived in the walkers' city of New York, where rarely a day passed without going a mile on foot. This all changed when I moved to Waterville, ME, for my first semester at Colby College. Used to the seasonal routines of sports and dance practice, I hadn't considered what life would be like without these activities built into my schedule. I hadn't realized the loss I would feel without the athletic center as my second home.

Although I dabbled cheerleading in college (it wasn't as rigorous as I expected), participated in the Colby Dancers troupe for a semester or two, what I turned to in college physically was running, biking, yoga, and gymnastics (something I had pursued intensely up until high school). My exercises differed. There wasn't the community of the teams I had graduated from, but I realized that being physically active was deeply ingrained in my sense of wellbeing. When I founded the Gymnastics Club during my junior year, I rediscovered a community of athletes, who cheered on each tumbling pass or swing on the bars, and I made a priority of keeping up that activity as part of my weekly routine. In fact, it's an activity I continue today at New York's own Chelsea Piers.

While your physical sports, hobbies, and exercises likely differ from mine. I hope you keep up your own active routines throughout every major life transition. It's easy to shrug them off, thinking you're cured of that old restlessness you experienced as an ADHD child. But at least in my experience, that never truly goes away.

What activities keep you active in your daily life? And how do you manage to stay active during life's major transitions? Do you (and your body) feel the need to move each day as I do?

Comment below or send me a note at WriteToJulianna!

Here are some tips from Susan Martin and TheBestColleges.org to get you started on the right foot...

The Best Regimen for College Fitness
created by TheBestColleges.org

For more information about Exercise & ADHD, check out these posts!
ADDaptations: Exercise Your Way to Calm
Olympics 2012: Which Sports Can Someone with ADHD Excel In?



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