Focus on Your Reaction

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Mini-upsets can erode the foundation of a relationship

 

It’s not the big stuff that typically destroys a relationship. It’s often the little things that happen repeatedly, over an extended period of time, which tend to eat away and then destroy the foundations upon which a relationship needs to flourish. We refer to these “repeated” events as mini-upsets. When they happen the first time they often seem insignificant. When they occur with mind numbing regularity the effect can be overwhelming.

Mini-upsets can occur dozens of times throughout the day in a relationship that involves a partner with concentration issues. The partner often forgets to do something; breaks a promise, arrives late or leaves too early, forgets an appointment, or makes another big mess. When confronted with their action they think that simply saying, "I’m sorry," will somehow make everything magically O.K. It’s difficult to hear their “I’m sorry” when the same actions continue to occur.

Those annoying little actions tend to add up. While no single act is a big deal, when all the mini-upsets start piling up and multiplying – Watch Out! The relationship is at risk!

Over time, the mini-upsets start to feel like termites ferociously eating away at the foundation of a relationship. The result is a relationship filled with holes and destroyed one small bite at a time. The partner without concentration issues begins asking the question, “if I can't trust my partner with the small, everyday tasks, how can I depend on them for the important things in life?”

That question, if left unanswered, magnifies the attention on the partner with concentration issues unreliable nature and creates distance as well as resentment. If unchecked the resentment can cause the relationship to collapse or implode. Adding to the problem is the fact that the partner with concentration issues is often oblivious to the resentment and thinks everything is fine. What an unpleasant shock when confronted with a mad spouse who has finally had enough!

Focus on Your Reaction

Attempting to change a person with concentration issues does not work. If it were possible you probably would have done so by now. The real question is what can you do to alter the effects of their mini-upsets? Knowing that mini-upsets have an enormous impact on your relationship and that they are a part of their personality, the only thing you really have control over is your reaction.

A key element of controlling your reaction is to establish the habit of really talking to your partner every day. As you talk you should learn to accentuate what they do right. Let them know how much you appreciate their uniqueness or the way they do those things you really appreciate. Do not be condescending and only tell the truth as you express genuine appreciation. Controlling your reaction is vital when events occur that really cause upsets. The feelings that go along with big upsets must be expressed but in a way that is not damaging to the partner. Be sure to leave out absolutes (you always do this or never do that); avoid negatives (why don’t you think before you do something?) and don’t bring up the past (you did the same thing last month!). Instead, tell them you need to talk about something that happened and then gently explain how you feel. The purpose of talking is not to condemn or bring up a laundry list of things done wrong. The purpose is to bring awareness to the situation from your perspective and lovingly talk about the repercussions of the event. A Real World Example So what would control or your reactions look like in the real world? Let’s say you came home from work to find that your spouse had started planting some flowers along the walkway in the morning. Apparently halfway through the project they suddenly decided to go into the kitchen to bake some bread. The flowers that were planted look like they may survive but the ones that were left in the cartons have wilted in the sun and look like they won’t make it. Dirt from the planting project is all over the sidewalk and the gardening tools are scattered on the lawn. Water from the hose that was left on has created a small stream that is flowing down the driveway into the street. It’s a mess and your blood begins to boil. Inside the house there is the aroma of freshly baked bread with a hint of something burning. Apparently the timer wasn’t set again even though you have explained the importance of that important tool many times. Your spouse is tired but happy with all that was “accomplished” during the day. You approval and appreciation is all that is missing! While the results may not be what you want or expect from an adult, your spouse really has worked hard all day and is eager to share the “results” with you. Your choice at this point is whether to focus on the mess or the intention behind their action. Dare you burst their bubble by saying something critical now? You know from experience that it could literally be days or weeks before the flower mess is even addressed. You groan inwardly wondering if this is going to be a repeat of last year when the same project was left unfinished all summer long? What should you do? How do you turn this into a positive? Now is the time to focus on YOUR reaction. To turn a negative into a positive it helps to express heart-felt appreciation. Look at the things that were accomplished and more importantly the intentions that were behind them. Tell your spouse the flowers that were planted are beautiful and will be a colorful addition the yard. Let them know the bread smells wonderful and you’re looking forward to eating it warm with butter and a smile. Follow up with a suggestion that after dinner the two of you could go outside and spend time together finishing up the planting. The positives are accentuated. Your spouse is appreciated. The mess provides the two of you ‘together time’ and by the end of the day, it can be all nice and neat. Will it happen this way every time? No. But every time you focus on your reaction you can use it to create something wonderful and productive. Let us reiterate: You Aren’t Going to Change Your Spouse. They are what they are. You are what you are. We all are what we all are. Focus on how you react to each situation. Focus on you! Learning to look at situations a little differently; addressing a problem with kindness and love, can make all the difference in the world when it comes to rebuilding your marriage. Don’t let the mini-upsets of a partner drive you crazy or cause you to give up on your relationship. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and don’t think you can make it work by yourself, get outside assistance from a professional. You can get the results you want. Start by being patient with your partner and also learn to be patient with yourself.

 

 

Make Room For The Small Stuff Too!

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Each summer, John and Mary fought about running the air conditioner at night. He assumed that if Mary was cold, she would simply put on extra blankets. He felt it unfair if he wasn’t able to sleep in a comfortable environment. Like many people, Mary was embarrassed by her needs, but at her wit’s end, finally gained the courage to tell John, “It’s not the temperature I can’t deal with, it’s the many sounds of the A/C turning on and off all night that is keeping me awake!” Mary is very sensitive to every sound in the house at night.

The reason Mary felt embarrassed was because she thought her request was too eccentric to share and she didn’t want to sound needy or whiny. But once John understood the issue, he quickly put insulation in the A/C closet and closed the bedroom door at night.

Sometimes embracing the small stuff can really bring a couple together. When you’re not willing to be open with each other, your relationship will be far more challenging than it needs to be.

As a partner in a relationship, sometimes you need to just accept what seems like an odd request; you don’t need to understand everything. As the partner with the request, you need to be willing to trust your partner. If he or she loves you, they'll want to help you with your problems and challenges, even if they doesn’t totally understand your condition.

For any relationship to be successful, each person needs to be willing to give the benefit of the doubt as much as possible. If something in your relationship, living situation, or environment is causing stress, don’t assume it’s too small of an issue to bother the other partner about.

Instead, make room for the small stuff too!

Easy Ways To Prioritize Your Partner

Tips To Help You Build And Maintain a Relationship With Your Partner – Even When Life Gets In The Way

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Think about the Top 5 Most Important Things in your life. For many people, that list includes things like job, partner, kids, parents, siblings, friends, or pets.

Now, think about what those things have in common. With the exception of “job,” most of the things on that list are relationships that require some maintenance in order to keep them healthy (and even at your job, there are relationships to maintain, such as a positive rapport with your boss and getting along with coworkers).

When we don’t make our relationships a priority, we’re not focusing on the things that we say matter most to us. And the relationship that we are most likely to neglect with another person is the one with our partner.

How does this happen? We likely spend more time with our partner than anybody else. Not only that, but we also CHOSE our partner (whereas we didn’t choose our family of origin, our coworkers, etc.). So, how is it that we come to neglect that relationship?

It’s pretty easy, actually. Between raising children, long days at work, maintaining other relationships, and trying to just squeeze in a bit of time during the day to focus on our own mental health, it can be very easy to stop prioritizing our relationship with our partner.

But, fear not! Here are a couple of fast, easy ways to show your partner how much they mean to you:

Spend Time Together – WITHOUT Distractions

Do you have a weekly Date Night? If you can, make this a priority! Schedule time with your significant other away from everybody else to go out and do something fun together. This helps you create memories, remember what you like about each other, and spend positive time together. One tip? Don’t talk about bills, chores, or other stressors – just focus on each other and the present moment.

If a whole Date Night isn’t a possibility, you CAN still take 20 minutes at the end of each day to put down your phones, hold hands, and truly connect. This can take place outside watching the sunset or in a peaceful space in your house after the kids have gone to bed. Again, don’t talk about bills, chores, or anything that could cause conflict. Instead, focus on sharing about your day and truly engaging.

Take Time To Appreciate Each Other

So many times, we can be quick to criticize and slow to offer praise when it comes to our partner. It’s easy to remember all the times a partner forgot to take out the trash or pick something up at the store. Instead of looking at and focusing on these negatives, try taking the time to really look for what your partner IS doing.

For example, did your partner unload the dishwasher – and does he always unload the dishwasher? Tell him thank you! Give him a hug. Show him through his love language just how much it means to you. Does your wife cook dinner multiple nights a week? Shower her with praise for her hard work getting a hot meal on the table – many days, it’s not easy.

These small tasks may just look like daily chores from a glance, but they can actually be seen as small acts of love to help build and grow a relationship and a household. When you view these chores as acts of love, they help you see your partner in a healthier, more positive light. And, by praising your partner, you build them up by showing them that what they do really matters. This nurtures the relationship and helps it become a healthy space.

Need some help making your relationship a priority? We can help. Learn how we at Couples Success can help you build a healthier, happier relationship here: https://www.couplessuccess.com/about-us

Relationships And Bee Stings

Group Of Friends Celebrating Birthday At Home

Group Of Friends Celebrating Birthday At Home

Suzie’s husband planned a long-awaited birthday party for his wife. Surrounded by friends and family, Suzie enjoyed great food and friends, the perfect day. As she was refilling her iced tea, disaster struck. A bee stung Suzie’s foot, and the painful sting caused her foot to swell. Her husband rushed her to a doctor for treatment.

If Suzie focuses on the pain of the bee sting instead of all of the good food and great friends, how will she feel about her birthday party?

This is like any relationship. In any part of life, there are fun times and good experiences mixed together with occasional bad experiences and disappointments.

Dwelling more on the pain and disappointments creates powerful resentment, and we may wish we were not in the relationship. The good news is that you’re in control of what you’re focusing on.

By choosing to focus on the positives, you can make your relationship much more pleasant, leading to even more positives to focus on! You’ll be easier to live with, and your partner will appreciate being with you even more.

Start by trying this for just a few days. When you finish something, look back and notice the positives of the experiences. Don’t pay attention to any of the negatives, but instead focus only on the positives. After a couple days of doing this, see if your attitude towards those around you – especially your partner – has improved.

If you can re-write your stories, focusing only on the good times and the positive qualities of your partner, your relationship is likely to become stronger and happier.

Stop Taking the Bait

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When arguments create a “High”

The apparent desire to be angry and provoke an angry response in others can result from someone with concentration issues is having a biological need for stimulation! According to psychiatrist Daniel Amen “Being mad, upset, angry, negative, or even oppositional immediately stimulates the brain’s frontal lobes…These behaviors can produce increasing amounts of adrenaline in the body, stimulating not only heart rate, blood pressure, and muscle tension but also brain activity.”

The important point from the quote is that an argument can create an adrenaline rush and a resulting buzz or “high” in a person. While that may not make sense to most of us, it can be a common occurrence for someone in a relationship involving concentration issues. A person may initiate an argument just to get an adrenalin rush. Here’s a quote that describes how the person on the receiving end of the argument feels: “my husband gets his adrenaline kick but I just plain feel kicked.”

Dr. Robert Wilford and Dr. Sarah Ferman have many experiences with this type of activity. Shared below are a few examples of the situations that result when a person desires this adrenalin rush. Being aware of the situations that cause these types of arguments, and the forces that are driving them, will hopefully prevent you from “taking the bait” and learn how to incorporate solutions that result in a more peaceful life with your partner.

It’s Kimberly’s Fault!

For Kimberly the hardest thing to understand about her husband was his apparent desire to be angry. He wanted to be angry and he would always find a way to make his anger her fault. He would provoke her incessantly and when she finally lost her temper he would accuse her of having an anger-management problem. The baffling part of the relationship was that no matter how accommodating she was, how hard she tried to avoid doing things that would make him angry, if he wanted to be angry, he would always find a reason. Kimberly would end up feeling ashamed yet defensive because “Most people have no idea how determined someone can be at provoking others.”

For Lucy it was “Let’s have a problem”

Lucy operates a business with her husband. She sums up her situation in this way: “Every morning, it’s as if he can’t start work until he puts his mark on my day the same way a dog marks his territory.” Lucy’s husband would actually get energized by obsessing about imaginary business problems until Lucy’s energy would get ground down to nothing. It took years for Lucy to realize that her husband desired the negative focus and the resulting energy buzz. Unfortunately, by the time she understood what was really taking place, her husband had sabotaged their best business opportunities and now they struggle to hold on.

Shelby’s Mr. No!

Shelby says her ex-husband frequently went into an automatic “No!” mode just to be contrary. “I could ask nicely or blow my stack and it made no difference. The whole point was that he refused to do anything I asked no matter how I asked. Take out the trash; come to dinner, or even the important things. I called him Mr. No.” Being disagreeable and constantly refusing your partners requests is also a tool to increase adrenaline in the brain. For their partner it results in constant yet subtle stress.

Proving that Madeleine’s wrong!

Madeleine described her situation with this example: “If I just casually mentioned it’s hot outside, my husband would insist its not hot outside!” What made matters even worse was the fact that he would then spend hours attempting to prove her wrong. Even the safest of topics would unleash a verbal storm. A friend once commented that Madeleine’s husband would argue with a brick wall. “Thank God that the behavior went away when he started legitimate therapy!” Madeleine’s story ends on a happy note. She recently noted “He even has actual conversations now; you know, the back-and-forth kind, instead of delivering monologues.”

Randi’s request for help caused arguments!

Randi was simply asking her boyfriend for more help around the house. His response was way out of proportion to the request. “You just think I don’t do anything, but I do things that you don’t even notice.” When Randi asked him for specifics, he said that he “takes out the garbage and, oh, other things that he can’t think of right now.” Then he got very worked up, dramatically sighing in exasperation, before launching into a lengthy lecture that “It takes two people to run a household, you know.”

Randi’s boyfriend wanted to make the issue about her. While that may not seem very stimulating, the adrenaline kick comes with the challenge of mounting a good defense against the “accusation”. “It’s amazing” Randi noted, “he really thinks I’ll be fooled into believing him if he’s insistent enough, and darn it, for too long I was.”

Couples Success offers solutions

It’s hard to believe that arguments and fighting can actually make some people feel calmer. Until you understand this type of behavior it’s easy to be baited into an activity that has perceived benefit on one side but harms the person on the opposing side who doesn’t understand what is really taking place.

The key take-away from these stories should be this. The more you understand these behaviors and begin to stop “taking the bait,” the better you’ll become at preventing the arguments and fighting that have nothing to do with legitimate issues. They have everything to do with subconsciously seeking stimulation.

 

Same House, Different Beds?

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When tempers run hot, communication goes cold. But, before all is lost, there are ways of stifling the fuse of an argument and understanding our partners.

After a long day of work, the only thing keeping Jennifer going was knowing that tonight was date night. She began the preparations for dinner. The vegetables lay chopped, the chicken thawed, and all she needed was the dinner rolls that Vincent picked up from the store.

... Or, at least that he should have picked up from the store.

But, unfortunately, Vincent had a long day of work too. And all he was looking forward to was kicking up his feet for those few precious minutes he gets before dinner. Now, Jennifer didn't say anything at first -- after all, they were just dinner rolls. But as they sat down for their special evening together, Vincent asked a simple question that lit the fuse to an unfortunately unforgettable evening.

"Babe, where are the dinner rolls?"

Jennifer clenched every muscle in her face to keep her jaw from dropping in sheer disbelief.

"I asked you to pick them up from the store today, remember?" She responded

"Really, but you always pick up the dinner rolls," Vincent retorted.

Jennifer lost her appetite for the evening. She picked up her plate, ignored her husband, and began cleaning up. The silence continued for a few moments, but for the couple, it felt like hours.

"Alright," Vincent caved in, "what's wrong?"

Jennifer couldn't believe her ears. Exasperated, she responded.

"You knew I was working late today, and I made that entire meal... I asked you to do one thing, and... ya know, you could've thought to yourself... you could've said, 'ya know, Jen's had a tough week. Why don't I bring her some flowers when I stop for the dinner rolls.'"

"Flowers?" Vincent stared at his wife in confusion, "You hate flowers! You told me they're impossible to keep alive, so why bother!"

"This is not about the flowers, Vinny. You... you're just not... you're not getting it." Jennifer was beginning to lose her calm as she continued, "It's not about the dinner rolls. It's not about the flowers. It's just about... I mean, how many time do I have to drop hints about the ballet?!"

Shocked at this new information, Vincent quickly came back firing, "the... the ballet? I hate ballet! We've talked about the ballet -- we agreed there's no way I'm going to see a bunch of dancing dudes in leotards!"

"This isn't about you loving the ballet! It's about the person you 'love' loving the ballet and YOU wanting to spend time with them!" 

------

It's clear Jennifer's temper has flared since the start of this night, and this fight is far from over. But in those few short moments, things went from irritating... to Vincent sleeping on the couch for the foreseeable future. 

Now, every couple is unique -- no argument will be the same or stem from the same root issues. Yet, we can learn from Jennifer and Vincent's fight. There are a few key takeaways all couples should recognize when signs of an argument pop up.

Say What You Mean, Mean What You Say 

The majority of this conversation has Jennifer continually saying, "It's not about..." and, it was frustrating standing there, trying desperately to explain something to her husband, and Vincent is genuinely trying to understand her, but they just can’t connect... it's like they were speaking two different languages.

Love Languages.

Jennifer is speaking one love dialect and Vincent is speaking a different one. Both are missing each other in translation. But as a spouse, it is our responsibility to learn the love dialect our spouses, understand it, then speak it to them. According to Gary Chapman, there are 5 Love Languages (take the quiz to find yours){{hyperlink to https://www.5lovelanguages.com/profile/}}.

  • Words of Affirmation: Hearing the reasons behind that love sends spirits skyward. Insults can leave someone shattered, and they are not quickly forgotten. Kind, encouraging, and positive words give life to someone like this. 

  • Receiving Gifts: The perfect gift or gesture shows knowledge, care, and sacrifice. A missed birthday, anniversary, or a hasty, thoughtless gift would be disastrous. But, so would the absence of everyday gestures

  • Physical Touch: This language isn't all about the bedroom. Hugs, pats on the back, holding hands, and thoughtful touches can all be ways to show excitement, concern, care, and love. Physical presence and accessibility are crucial. While neglect or abuse can be unforgivable and destructive. 

  • Quality Time: Nothing says, "I love you," like full, undivided attention. Distractions, postponed dates, or the failure to listen are especially hurtful. Sharing quality conversations and quality activities show someone how special they are. 

  • Acts of Service: Anything to ease the burden of responsibilities will speak volumes. Laziness, broken commitments, and making more work for someone says their feelings don't matter. Finding ways to serve speaks volumes to the recipient of these acts.

 

When it comes to our lovely sample couple, Jennifer's Love Language would be Acts of Service. She works long hours and often feels under-appreciated. So, kind gestures that make her life easier are exactly what she needs. And, while we can't completely tell from the conversation, Vincent could probably use a few more Words of Affirmation from Jennifer.

It is imperative that couples talk about their love languages. This will help you better understand what is needed in regards to feeling loved.

What to Say Instead 

Once we learn our significant other's Love Language, we can slowly start to understand each other. For example, when Vincent proclaimed that Jennifer always bought the dinner rolls, he should have recognized the stress his wife was under and apologized with:

"I'm sorry for forgetting to pick up the dinner rolls. I know you had a long day today, and I was wrong for assuming you would pick them up. How can I make it up to you?"

It’s important for Vincent to validate his spouse's feeling when he did what he did (or in this case, didn't do). We often apologize for the action but fail to reach the heart level by validating the other's feelings.

Next, Vincent accepted the responsibility of his (lack of) actions. Those three little words can mean so much: "I was wrong." But, so many of us struggle to get them out.

Finally, Vincent should have offered to find a solution to the situation... or at least offer to make the situation better. While we can't change the past, we can always adjust our actions to create a better future.


How Resentment Undermines Relationships

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Three steps to resolving resentment with your partner

Randi was simply asking her boyfriend for more help around the house. He responded with a loud burst of emotion: “You just think I don’t do anything, but I do things that you don’t even notice.” You might say Randi got emotionally body slammed for making a simple and reasonable request. Randi tried stepping back, cooling down her approach, yet any further attempts at communicating were shut down as her boyfriend continued to get super worked up, let out an emotionally charged sigh of exasperation, and then launched into a lengthy lecture about how “It takes two people to run a household, you know.”

Randi retreated from the onslaught once again, with a sense of frustration. This same scenario seemed to play out any time she asked for help. The frustration finally boiled over into tears as she shared her story with us realizing just how strongly this mutual sense of resentment was taking hold in her relationship.

How Resentment Begins

When you feel wronged or misunderstood by another person it’s normal to feel a sense of frustration. If your ability to express feelings of frustration are restricted or limited, resentment can surely develop. Resentment gets worse when the initial feelings of frustration are magnified by the continual inability to express your feelings. Resentment can undermine a relationship when it creates a sense of bitterness with a spouse or romantic partner. Left unchecked, bitterness creates ….

How We Use Resentment

Resentment serves as a defense for us against feeling the real pain that underlies being let down by your partner. Instead of being forced to feel the authentic pain in that moment, we instead assign it to someone or something outside of us. This usually ends up being your partner. Projecting our painful feelings onto someone else, will temporarily allow us to avoid the real pain underneath the experience.

When a solution for the pain is not forthcoming, and we feel like there is no place for us to safely express our deeper feelings, we blame our partners. After all, it‘s much easier to be resentful towards someone else. Resolving resentment or preventing it from occurring in the first place is vital. Unresolved resentment will continue to build and ultimately becomes destructive to a relationship.

How to Resolve Resentment – Understanding the Cause

The first step in resolving resentment is to be willing to understand the initial cause. Resentment is happening because we let someone we love hurt us in a way that we are sensitive to. It’s as if our partner has found our emotional soft spot and just hit us right where it hurts.   When this happens, our instinct is to protect ourselves from more hurt and pain. One of the quickest ways to do so is to disguise the hurt by draping it in anger and offendedness. Doing so, gives the person hurting a temporary sense of relief.

The deeper underlying feeling is still there, but now it is hidden away inside us. We must be able to look under the surface of the resentment and find out what caused the initial pain or frustration.

Often there is a core feeling that is not being acknowledged and certainly not being shared. These core issues often are things like feeling abandoned, left alone, hurt, neglect, not good enough, unworthy of getting your needs met. Once the core issue has been identified, those feeling must be worked through and experienced fully. This step is painful and often involves tears. It is an important step and requires that you truly engage. Once you are willing to feel and process the underlying feelings of hurt you can then move on to the next phase. Resolving Resentment: Taking Back Your Power

Once you have identified the original painful feelings, you must then be willing to understand what part you have played in contributing to the pain of the situation. This does not mean that you take full responsibility. Accepting all the blame and making the situation entirely your fault is not a solution. Just as it may not be entirely your fault, it is also not entirely the fault of your partner.

Assigning fault is just another way of avoiding having to face something that doesn't feel good. The trick here is to understand that in the moment your survival at least emotionally felt threatened. As a result you buried away the painful feeling and now it is time to retake a look at what really happened.

When you acknowledge that your decision to defend yourself in that moment was your choice, now you are taking back your control.

You can only change your own feelings about something when you are able to “own” what that feeling is. Once you own you retake ownership of your feeling, , you are taking back your personal power to affect change.

If you believe the situation had nothing to do with you, then you are denying yourself the power to create change or alter circumstances. If you can recognize that you played a part in stuffing down your real and deeper feelings in that situation, then you will be better able to recognize your power to prevent it from reoccurring in the future.

Understanding Your Partners Unique Perspective

Your partner has a different and maybe an out of the box style of thinking that is easy to be critical of or quickly dismiss. The next step in resolving resentment is to resist the temptation to reject your partners particular state of mind and dig a little deeper and see if in fact your partners response does in fact have some merit.

It is always helpful to remember that we typically afford more leeway to investigate the thoughts of a stranger than we do to that of our partner. It can be very helpful to keep in mind that each of us has a unique perspective on life which influences our actions. Your partner’s actions are ultimately consistent with their unique perceptions, habits and relational skills.

There might even be a lack of relational skills that needs to be addressed.

Having “Room” To Share Your Deeper Feelings Minimizes Resentment

For a relationship to be successful there needs to be “room” to share deeper feelings without the fear of recrimination. Sometimes this is not possible in the heat of the moment. For many successful couples this means having the ability to revisit a situation once each partner has cooled off and has better perspective.

Is is easy to need to be right in the moment. It helps to acknowledge that your partner is doing the very best he or she can from their unique perspective. Perspectives can also create limitations that influence your partners actions at the same time your perceptions limit you.

Instead of simply letting your partner’s perspective create resentment in your relationship take the opportunity to create a shared understanding of your deeper disappointments with your partner, especially in situations where upsets or misunderstandings create the possibility of resentment.

Three Step Formula for a Shared Perspective!

Here is a quick and powerful formula for creating a shared perspective with your partner.

Find a time when the two of you can spend about 15 minutes in a calm and relaxed place. The location should be free of distractions like cell phones, interruptions or noise.

Explain to your partner that you would like to take a few moments to discuss an event that took place recently. Let them know that you will not be pointing fingers at them or placing blaming. Instead you simply want to share with them a plan that will create more harmony for both of you. Let them know all they have to do is listen and either agree or disagree once they hear your plan.

The Three Step Formula

Here is the 3 step formula of that will guide your conversation with your partner:

  1. When you

  2. I felt

  3. What I would like is

In an actual discussion it would go something like this:

  1. When you were late for my birthday dinner…

  2. I felt like I wasn’t special or valued on a day that’s important to me…

  3. What I would like is when we agree on a time for a special event like a birthday, you would do your very best to be there on time or let me know if you’re delayed..

If the formula is done gently, and with zero blame, it makes it easy for your partner to respond with “yes, I can do that!”

That’s it! At that point you have a shared perspective of a situation that would normally cause resentment caused from dramatically different perspectives. It’s a simple way to get your feelings heard while also increasing your partner’s knowledge and insight about your needs. The goal should be less frustration or the resulting resentment.

Are You Willing To Resolve Your Resentment?

Resolving resentment requires that you are willing to express your true and honest feelings with your partner. It also requires that you are willing to forgive them for what they have done in the past that may have simply been the result of their unique perspective on life. They were probably completely unaware of their actions causing you pain.

A partner with a a very unique perspective may seem “wrong” to the other partner. Wrong or not, it is what guides their actions and that may result in your resentment. You must be willing to forgive your partner for acting consistently with their perspective in the past. You must also be willing to resolve the situation by created a shared perspective that will support your relationship in the future. Resolving Resentment Releases You From Pain

Remember that forgiveness primarily benefits you. Forgiveness is a choice that you make to let go of your resentment. It is a choice to free you from recurring painful circumstance and allows you to make a plan to prevent those situations from occurring in the future.

Today, consider resolving your resentment so that you can move forward in your relationships as well as your life. You might be surprised by how much better you feel when you choose the Three Step Formula for resolving and preventing resentment.

Communication – The Key to Keeping Your Relationship Healthy

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Communication Technique Overcomes the Cycle of Surprise, Reaction and Resentment

All relationships can be challenging at times. If you are in a relationship with a partner you most likely realize that it involves challenges. Living with a partner can be an exciting journey full of positive experiences. Relationships can also fall into a vicious cycle of surprise, reaction, and resentment. The key to overcoming what is often a vicious cycle is open and positive communication.

Communication will help you avoid getting stuck in a vicious cycle by learning to recognize what’s taking place at a personal level. If both people in the relationship can communicate and understand the other person’s feelings, the relationship can be a fantastic, healthy experience for both partners.

Let’s go over the steps of the cycle.

SURPRISE:

While surprises in a relationship are often fun or unexpected delights, repeated surprises can be viewed as upsets or erratic behavior. Often this behavior in a person can be viewed as inconsistent, erratic, undependable, and unpredictable. Unexpected behaviors can leave the other partner feeling shocked and confused.

One of our clients shared this example: "I sent my husband to the store for orange juice and he came home with a patio furniture set he found on sale - and of course no orange juice! We already had perfectly good and almost new patio furniture!" Living with a partner sometimes involves this sort of surprise or seemingly irrational behavior. It is vital that you to learn how to control your reaction to the behavior. How you communicate when surprised can make the situation better or worse!

REACTION:

Life with a surprising partner can be overwhelming because of an unending stream of surprises. You can find yourself constantly reacting to their latest unexpected behavior. Some couples talk about feeling like there are so many mini-crises each day, all they do is exchange negative reactions! One partner feels surprised and upset while the other partner feels attacked and defensive.

The surprised partner can make a simple request that triggers an emotional firestorm. What they didn’t understand was their partner was already feeling overwhelmed by life and a simple request was too much to handle. The key to breaking out of this cycle of reaction is to stop the anxiety that goes along with it. For the family unit to return to harmony, you have to find a way to diminish anxiety through positive, open communication. Look for ways to preempt the cycle of reactivity by being aware of what triggers resentment.

RESENTMENT:

Resentment starts to build as both partners experience the exchange of pain in the form of disappointment, criticism, defensive responses and anger.

For example it’s common for one partner to believe that it’s easier to do all the work by themselves. It seems it’s the only way to make sure there are no surprises and to guarantee the work gets done. If you want it done right, do it yourself! Right?

Wrong! While this approach may seem to work for a while it will ultimately lead to destructive resentment in the relationship. What happens is the exciting partner – having no idea they are doing less and less – becomes less helpful while the "I'll do it myself" partner is burdened with doing nearly everything.

It will then be easy to view the excited partner as helpless, useless and having a life of doing nothing, something the other partner can only dream about! They become increasingly resentful and the adventurous partner remains clueless. If they become aware of the resentment they often don’t understand where it’s coming from. To them it appears that everything’s getting done just fine!

Use the Three C’s Technique to Break the Cycle!

Hopefully, by recognizing the cycle of surprise, reaction and resentment, you and your partner can break out of it. We regularly see this pattern when we work with couples. It’s a self-perpetuating cycle that’s vicious and can destroy relationships by eroding the foundations of trust and dependability.

The key to overcoming the downward cycle, as it is in any relationship, is good, open communication. In our clinic we use the three C’s technique as a powerful communication tool. The three C’s are Connect, Correct then Connect again. Here are the details:

  1. Connect - when you connect first with gratitude and praise your partner will be receptive and not defensive. Defensiveness is the enemy of good communication!

  2. Correct - focus on a single incident while being specific and quick in your delivery. Use a neutral and matter-of-fact tone of voice. Corrections should offer directions.

  3. Connect again - using praise and hope for the future cite something positive and uplifting or offer a gesture of kindness like a gentle touch or a quick peck on the cheek, to reconnect with your partner.

By maintaining good communication with your partner, and keeping your focus positive, you can work together to manage surprises in a relationship and keep them from causing a full blown relationship crisis.

Rediscover Your Heart's Desires

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Are you actively putting your hearts desires in alignment with your choice of action every day?

If we’re not careful the world will fill our lives with busyness. This can result in a full life but not necessarily a fulfilling life? For a truly fulfilling life you must align your desires with the actions you choose!

If you have lost sight of your hearts desires or if you’ve lost your passion then how you spend your time and energy will reflect that!

Is it your time and energy spent on the Internet? Have you fallen in love with the mindless distractions of a computerized companion? The internet is just one small example of how choosing something out of alignment with your heart’s desires can quickly distract your attention and waste valuable time with unfulfilling activity.

Life is filled with things that rob us of living a fulfilling life. If you’re not vigilant they will clutter your relationships and fill your life with activity that lacks any real accomplishment.

We are challenging you to spend a few minutes each day really focusing on what you desire in your relationship. There is a great adventure in living your life as if your relationships really were the most important thing in your life. Read that last sentence again, it just might be life changing. Read it and ponder just how different your life would be if you really did put your partner first in your life.

Think about your where your daily choices are taking you and ask yourself if you are choosing to be in the driver’s seat or sitting in the back seat letting busyness or someone else determine where your life is going.

What would your days look like if you could take back control of your life and your relationships?

Do you have the will to live the life you say you’ve always wanted or are you choosing to give priority to actions that are counter to what you really want?

Here’s a small exercise that is simple to implement and can have dramatic results.

At the close of each day reflect on what choices you made since you woke up that morning. Were your choices in alignment with the desires you have in your heart?

If they were out of alignment what choice could you have made instead? Set a goal to make the appropriate choice the next day. As you do this simple exercise each evening your choices the following day will tend to be more deliberate and less a result of outside influence or bad habits.

The most tragic betrayal is when your heart and your head are in conflict throughout your day. You and your partner, as well as your family, suffer when you make choices based on habit or with little conscious awareness!

There is no need to stay unconscious any longer.

A life well lived - one filled with love, integrity and passion, is a tremendous life. Creating a life deliberately: of your own accord; of your own wishes; is central to living a fulfilled relational life.

Breaking the Cycle of Negativity

Writing positive and negative aspects of life on virtual board.

Writing positive and negative aspects of life on virtual board.

Researchers have demonstrated that negative thoughts or experiences have a much greater effect on our mood than positive thoughts and experiences. As an example, imagine how differently you would feel if you found a piece of jewelry or lost a piece of jewelry. The stress of the loss is typically far more dramatic than the joy of a sudden find.

Do you feel like your relationship is locked in an endless cycle of negativity? Are your only thoughts about what’s NOT working in the relationship? It’s So Easy to Get Stuck on the Bad! It’s easy to get swept up in a tornado of negativity if you’re in an relationship that is falling apart. If you don’t break out of the tornado, you may find your relationship being swept away from negativity. It’s important to realize that negative events have a much greater impact on everyone’s brains than positive events do- that’s everyone's - not just yours.

Negativity in a Relationship

If we think more about the pains and disappointments in a relationship, we soon begin to resent our partner. We may start to wish we were no longer partners!

In contrast, if we change our focus and dwell on the good times as well as the positive qualities of our partner, the relationship is likely to become stronger and intimate.

Every relationship has fun times and good experiences mixed together with painful experiences and disappointments. It comes down to what you focus on?

“The brain gives more attention to negative experiences over positive ones because negative events pose a chance of danger. By default, the brain alerts itself to potential threats in the environment, so awareness of positive aspects takes deliberate effort.” Nicole Force, M.A.

Why do we focus on the Negative?

The mind has a built in bias to respond to negativity more than it responds to positive. Our need to focus on the negative and forget the positive is an evolutionary carry over from our ancestors who lived in very dangerous circumstances. During their time if you remained focused on potential threats and dangers, you were more likely to survive. Better to be alive and negative than dead and positive.

This focus or “negativity bias” is no longer productive. We live in a world of cooperation at home, in the workplace, and in social environments. Focusing on the negative is now destructive and can cause be harmful to a relationship.

Remember the Good in Your Relationship

Actions fix broken relationships not intentions!

Actions fix broken relationships not intentions!

To counteract our natural predisposition to negativity here’s a great way to change your focus to the positive by asking these questions: • What first attracted you to your partner? • What good experiences have you had together? • What are your partner’s greatest strengths? • What do you enjoy doing together? The Bad is Limiting

When we focus on something the feelings that we attach to it will grow. If we focus on the negative parts of your relationship, then we “choke out” our ability to remember the other areas of our relationship that may be good. What we take action and focus on the positives and the memories that bring a smile to our face, our feelings are more productive. Focus on the good, and you open up a world of new thoughts and feelings.

The story we continually tell ourselves is the story we come to know, believe, and experience in our lives and relationships.

Actions fix broken relationships not intentions!

Couples Success is here to break the Natural Power of Negativity that has covered and hidden the true passion and intimacy that brings relationships together.

The Partner Trap – The Vicious Cycle of Surprise, Reaction, and Resentment

Man and woman split on sides, bridge through separation crack. Concept 3D illustration.

Man and woman split on sides, bridge through separation crack. Concept 3D illustration.

 

Key Points: All relationships have difficulties, but being in one with concentration issues presents its own unique challenges. At best, living with an affected spouse can be an exciting journey, filled with positive experiences; however at its worst, the relationship can devolve into a vicious cycle of unpleasant surprises, intense reactions, and deep resentment. This is a cycle we refer to as the Partner Trap, and we’d like to discuss it with you here. We hope you will recognize it if and when it happens, and provide you with some great tips on how to get out of it! You may already be caught in the Partner Trap right now. If so, we are delighted that you’re reading this and sincerely hope you find the help you need.

Let’s take a look at this dynamic.

SURPRISES (of the very unpleasant variety!):

While surprises in a relationship can provide moments of unexpected delight, they can also have a very negative effect when they come as a result of erratic, unpredictable behavior. One client explained this situation. "I was in the middle of making a recipe that called for orange juice. My wife said she’d go to the store for me to get it, and off she went. A while later she returned. And what did she bring home? Patio furniture! And we have perfectly good patio furniture already! She totally forgot all about the orange juice and had to go back to get it. I could have been furious, but I chose another way."

This unpredictable behavior is what we call a ‘mini-betrayal’ and is typical of someone with concentration issues. (And quite frankly it’s very typical for the non-affected person to become upset when they occur.) In these instances, what’s most important is to know how react appropriately. Although blowing up and giving a lecture may feel like a normal reaction, it really won’t get you anywhere. Let’s read on and get for insight into this dilemma.

REACTIONS (how each partner may feel):

Some couples have so many mini- betrayals throughout a normal day they say there is hardly time to react before they’re blind-sided by another one! Let’s take the orange juice incident for example.

The affected person didn’t understand that coming home without the orange juice was a problem. She thought she was doing something wonderful for her hubby by surprising him with this new treasure and was excited to see his oh-so-happy reaction. However, hubby needed the juice for the recipe so he could finish up. So when she walked in with her latest find, he was surprised all right, but in a very unpleasant way.

‘Jolted’ or ‘stunned’ would more adequately describe his feelings, and he was able to tell her so in a quiet, non-threatening way. At the end of this chapter, we will explain the healthy way this husband chose to respond.

Here’s another mini-micro betrayal scenario which ends in a much different, very harmful way:

A wife, who does not have the condition, makes a simple request of her affected hubby. What she doesn’t expect is the loud, emotional outburst because he was already feeling totally overwhelmed by life in general. Whew…talk about being blindsided…that really seemed unfair! She let him have it; lock, stock and barrel. Their words were loud and unkind and they went to bed mad. In the morning, although they weren’t yelling anymore, they were giving each other the silent treatment, which lasted all day.

The wife was so mad she could hardly think straight. ‘How dare he talk to me that way!’ she thought over and over to herself as she went about her business. Hubby, on the other hand, had all but forgotten what he did wrong. ‘I don’t know what she’s so upset about this time,’ he thought, ‘but I’m going to avoid her like the Plague!’ Remember: people with the condition think differently than those who do not have the condition. You are not going to change him or her!

So…how do you deal with this?

RESENTMENT:

Resentment builds as one partner thinks the other is purposely causing disappointment and chaos or over-reacting in a critical and angry way.

THE FOLLOWING IS A COMMON ERROR: DO NOT DO THIS:

One unhealthy way to try and break the negative reaction cycle is for the non-affected partner to assume all of the household, relational and/or financial responsibilities. You cannot do everything by yourself! Sometimes it seems as though the only way to get things done is to do it yourself. You may think that since you can’t count on him to finish a task, or do it right, or to remember what he promised in the first place, you’ll just do it yourself. You’ll do the cooking. Cleaning. Laundry. Shopping. Balance the checkbook. Pay the bills. Take the car for repairs. Make the appointments. The list goes on. ‘He can just sit around all day and do nothing,’ you say to yourself. ‘I don’t need him and the messes he makes. I’ve had enough!’

Meanwhile, your spouse doesn’t understand the problem. The messes made do not look like messes to him. The unfinished projects do not look like unfinished projects to him. The house does not look like a tornado hit it, even though there are garbage bags of stuff sitting around and the garage looks like one gigantic, hodge-podge toolbox.

So while you cook and clean and run to the store, fix the drain and pay the bills all by yourself, he’s doing his thing, not really aware that there’s a problem. He’s happy in his world…EXCEPT that he knows you are not happy. He doesn’t understand why. When he asks, he gets yelled at and criticized, so he doesn’t ask.

He simply does not understand.

So the two of you go about your day, together but not together, and the division between you widens. …As the old saying goes: If you want it done right, do it yourself.

Right?

NO!

This approach may seem to work for a little while, but soon leads to resentment. When the non-affected spouse does more and more, the affected partner does less and less to help out. In our practice, we often see this self-perpetuating cycle destroy relationships. It eats away at the core of trust, dependability and safety that the couple needs to survive.

SO, WHAT’S THE ANSWER?

Once you and you and your spouse recognize that you doing an unhealthy song and dance routine, it will be easier to break away from it. The key is good, old fashioned, open communication. By continually sharing honestly with each other, you will find it possible to manage those unpleasant surprises and to keep them from becoming gigantic crises!

What do you share? And how do you share it?

Remember back at the beginning of this chapter, when the wife went to the store to get orange juice and came back with patio furniture? How do you suppose hubby felt when she didn’t bring it home? A very unpleasant conversation could have taken place, but the hubby did not want another fight. What he wanted was for things to work out, and this is the healthy response he chose.

Instead of getting all bent out of shape, he realized the situation was what it was and could not be altered.

Prudently he explained to his wife that while the furniture was indeed nice, what he really needed right then was orange juice. Asking if she would please run back to town and pick some up, he stated that once he was finished with the recipe, they could sit outside on the new furniture together and talk about what they could do with the patio furniture they already had. (He would work the conversation around to discussing whether or not they should keep it or return it.) That husband wanted to keep the marriage alive and functioning as productively as possible. He understood his wife’s quirky disposition and accepted it.

Was it always easy? No. Was it easy to accept? No.

But what he understood is that it was always do-able!

And that is where he had learned to put his focus. On the positives; the possibilities! When you take responsibility for your own actions and reactions, and are aware of your spouse’s feelings and worth, the relationship can be a fantastic, healthy life journey!

Being Open About Your ADHD

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Being Open About Your ADHD By Robert Wilford, Ph.D. and Sarah Ferman, LMFT

 Do you ever hold back about sharing that you have ADHD? You aren’t alone. If your parents weren’t sure how to handle your diagnosis, you might have been conditioned from childhood to not bring it up. Some well intentioned parents tell their children not to disclose their diagnosis for fear others will discriminate against their child.

Many people hold back from telling others because they don’t want to be treated differently. No one likes feeling judged by others. Some fear that knowledge of their condition might cause people to feel sorry for them. Some people hold back because they are ashamed of the impact it has on their lives. There also might be fear that even if you tell someone in confidence, they might pass it on to others to whom you might not have the chance to offer a further explanation.

Still others just can’t face having another conversation explaining whether it is a real condition – and not a result of bad parenting, a poor diet, or media hype. In this country, we’re culturally conditioned to work hard and make our own way in the world, so saying that you have a mental health diagnosis might feel like making an excuse for what you’re doing. Revealing you have the condition can feel like a risky task indeed!

Sharing that you have concentration issues with your friends, families and co-workers is a very private, personal decision between you and the people with whom you choose to share with. Here are a few reasons that you might want to consider the benefits of being open with others.

Secrecy Increases Shame: Keeping a secret has a dark side – it can leave you feeling like there is something you have to hide, or that there is something wrong with you.

Secrecy Walls You Off: Deciding to hold back from someone you know, you build a little wall between you and that person. The longer the wall stays in place, the harder it becomes to disclose the truth. While the other person might remain oblivious, worrying about being discovered can become a burden for you. Relationships with secrets require much more work.

Secrecy Inhibits Growth: It’s much more difficult for you to educate yourself if you aren’t open to acknowledging that you have it. Asking questions of an expert, sharing experiences with other people who have this and learning strategies to work with your strengths and weakness – all of these require that you are open and willing to disclose your diagnosis.

Secrecy Robs You Of Authentic Understanding: If the people you’re around don’t understand, they are left to make sense of you and your behavior without any clue of what is really going on inside of you. Secrecy denies those around you from having the same kind of compassion or understanding for your mistakes that might otherwise had if you had given them the opportunity. For instance, colleges want to accommodate students with certain conditions, but you’ll need to disclose your status before they can help. It’s not that you’re asking for undue sympathy or an unfair advantage, it’s that you’re allowing others to help you as they desire to do.

Being Open About ADHD

Hopefully, you’ve seen some of the positive reasons to “come out” to your family and friends. If you do decide to disclose your diagnosis, just blurting it out there is probably not the best plan. Instead, try this thoughtful, three step approach to disclosing your status:

Take the time to do it right. Tell people when you have time to talk about it with them without feeling rushed and have time to answer their questions. There are a lot of misperceptions and inaccurate myths especially about adult ADHD! Many people will need time to fully understand just how this  manifests in your world and what it really means.

Get your own education first. Getting a good understanding of what it is, how it works, and be ready with this information The truth is that this condition affects everyone differently, so understanding your own symptoms is the foundation for understanding what your needs are and what type of support you require can empower you to be your own best advocate. There are tons of resources on the web, including on this site.

Ask for help. Part of coming out about your condition includes being able to know when to ask other people to help you out. Help can take many forms, including being understanding when you slip up with things like running late, needing extra direction as well giving you extra room when your running in three different directions. For people in relationships, it is especially important that you regularly visit this issue regularity so that you and your partner are taking charge and  so that this does not run you or your relationship.

Finally, if you do choose to share your condition with others, take a second and acknowledge yourself for taking one more step to being your best self.When you choose to be open about your condition, use your disclosure as a possible opportunity to increase understanding ab, and learn to ask for the right kind of help when needed, you are paving the way for others to do the same.

This article was inspired by a blog post by Peggy Dolane: g/blog/2010/08/16/coming-out-about-adhd/

 

Staying Quiet or Staying Married

View of loving couple sitting on couch

View of loving couple sitting on couch

Staying Quiet or Staying Married

Sometimes it can seem like no matter what either partner does it is just the “wrong” thing to do! So many people just stop taking action all together in a last ditch attempt to avoid failing once again.

That is when the real trouble begins. For many couples they just don’t know how damaging taking no action can be until it is too late.

You see, without action, your behavior looks absolutely aggressive and intentional and your words & promises come to mean nothing to your partner. These every day tiny acts of “micro-betrayal” quickly erode the foundation of love, trust and respect.

When your not taking action to keep your word, especially on the “small stuff, it can feel like you are being deliberately hurtful toward your partner - as if you’re trying to actively disappoint them. To make things worse, these disappointments are often followed by lots of stories and excuses and usually a lot of blame gets hurled around and that can be infuriating to both partners.

Micro-acts of betrayal are the most destructive of all. Too often these small every day let downs are quickly “swept under the rug” in an attempt to keep the peace. Like we said earlier, most couples talk about the big things. It’s those daily acts of disappointment that sit right below the surface that really threaten the integrity of your relationship.

Each time you don’t deliver on something that you agreed to do, or react in a way you agreed not to react, your creating negative feelings of resentment and mistrust in your relationship.

These negative feeling that collect over time seem to band together and end up creating very real barriers to communication, cooperation & intimacy. Behind all kinds of seemingly small every day-let downs are very real and destructive feelings.

Over time, these negative feelings collect like water from a leaking roof. Over time the roof begins to rot, and eventually comes crashing in around you often when you least expect it.

The good news is that roofs, like relationships are repairable, and are best fixed the minute a leak occurs.

If you want to revitalize your relationship then now is the time to start a dialogue about what’s getting swept under the rug in your relationship?

Today, right now, start paying attention to the daily details of your life and in your relationship. When inattentiveness or lack or concentration are factors in your relationship, then it is critical that you “Sweat The Small Stuff” and make your feelings known before it’s too late.

Remember that whatever you choose to stuff under the rug will grow and fester. In no time at all, and when you least expect it, you will find yourself stumbling and falling under the weight of all that stuff you shoved away.

Being successful with this condition means managing your interactions moment-to-moment and day-to-day. When you handle things as they happen, and don’t stuff your feelings under the rug, both partners usually find they hurt less and are able to live better.

Sure it is awkward at first, it is that way for almost everybody when they start dealing with things right as they come up. You might even feel like you are being a complainer. Well, unless you want your relationship to rot like a leafy roof, learning how to deal with your life as it comes along is a really great way to live!

Four Strategies to Overcome ADHD Procrastination

Man and woman negotiate

Man and woman negotiate

People with concentration issues naturally gravitate toward things that are fun, exciting and capture their attention. On the other hand they want a distraction or tend to procrastinate when it comes to doing activities that are mundane and boring. Getting distracted for hours, lost on the internet, stuck on the couch with the remote control flipping channels, or texting just one more friend can cause mayhem and destruction in the lives of people living with concentration issues. If you have this issue, or live with someone who does, then you know what I am talking about. It’s the inability to pay the bills, opening the mail, do laundry, or organize piles of papers in comparison to our ability to easily jump on the internet for an hour only to realize that 4 hours have passed! By then we are late for any number of appointments. Perhaps you have seen your affected partner say something like “just 5 more minutes” only to find an hour whiz by. This is just another day in the life of people like me who live with and learn with  procrastination issues.
This article talks about four strategies for doing what is fun and exciting while still getting the boring things done that are just part of life. If you’re familiar with the procrastinationI encourage you to read on and see which of these strategies can be incorporated into your life.
These four strategies are:
1. Know your “hot buttons” – using what you enjoy as a reward! 2. Negotiate a trade – establish a valuable trade to make tasks more interesting! 3. Just one per day – break big tasks down to 10 minute mini-tasks. 4. What’s in it for me? – turning the unbearable into a bearable activity!
Let’s get started!

Know your “hot buttons”

Face it, the reason that many people who procrastinatedon’t attend to the things that need to be done is because those tasks are often boring and no fun. Who wants to organize a stack of important papers when there’s internet surfing to be done?
To minimize procrastination you have to KNOW YOUR HOT BUTTONS! Hot buttons are those things that get us motivated to act, they excite us just thinking about them. Now don’t get me wrong, these don’t have to be extravagant things. They are just those things that you really enjoy most and you would be willing to reward yourself with them if you do something boring like opening up the piles of mail that wait by the door.
For example, some people love to take a cat nap during the day. I am one of those folks. For me there is nothing better than some sunlight coming through a window along with a gentle breeze and 20 minutes of free time in a squishy chair with nothing to do but let my mind wander. It’s the procrastinator’s version of power napping. Others may like the internet and would take on a task for say 20 minutes of unbridled surfing on the net or catching up on Facebook. By first knowing what your hot buttons are you have tapped into a powerful resource for getting things done in your life. Take a minute and ask yourself “what are my hot buttons?” and then use them as a reward for doing the not so fun tasks of life. With your personal hot buttons identified, you have a powerful bargaining chip to assist in another strategy in the battle against procrastination. The second strategy is to negotiate a trade with yourself in advance of taking on a necessary but easily delayed task.


Think of it like the situation in an open air market where you see something that really catches your eye. You ask the merchant “how much is that amazing treasure?” to which he replies “it costs 2 hours of doing laundry to purchase this”. Inwardly you say to yourself “2 hours of laundry is way too much to pay for that”! You respond to the merchant “how about 10 minutes of laundry, would you take that?” To which the merchant says “if you give me 20 minutes of laundry you can have this treasure!” “SOLD” you proudly exclaim. That treasure is your hot button activity and it has just been purchased by doing the necessary tasks of life that you tend to procrastinate doing.
In my case I would be able to take a 20 minute nap for every 20 minutes of doing laundry. That is how you negotiate a trade with yourself for doing something as boring as laundry. I challenge you to try this technique. Some of my client’s say they have become masters at negotiating themselves through great self-bargains. But what if there isn’t time for a bargaining session? What if you just have to get a really big job done? Well that is where the next two strategies come into play.

Just one-per-day!
This strategy is used when you feel like the task at hand is just too big to handle. To even begin the discussion of self-bargaining would surely cause immediate overload. For me this would be a task such as cleaning the house. This is something I appreciate when it’s done but I procrastinate getting started. I just don’t seem to delight in it like my friends and colleagues do. So what do you do when you’re faced with a big “have to” task.


That is when I pull my emergency procrastination buster ripcord and commit to the “one-per-day plan”. The idea behind one a day is to break the ominous task of house cleaning down into mini-tasks that I can do in as little as 10 minutes a day. By doing some small part of the big task, I end up making great progress by the end of the week.
For example I might say to myself “O.K. you only have to do one 10 minute house cleaning type activity today and I’m off the hook for the rest of the day!” I like being off the hook and it’s a great antidote to Procrastinator’s guilt! So in my case I grab the laundry basket and begin the hunt for dirty dishes. Yes, I did say laundry basket for dirty dishes. I have found that a plastic laundry basket is the ideal holder for cups, glasses, plates and other dishware that finds itself into the most unlikely of places. It’s usually big enough to hold my dirty dishes as I move from room to room, and yes, it’s a little quirky, but that makes it tolerable. Plus it decreases the likelihood I will drop something or have to endure a disaster! My plastic (washable with a hose I might add) laundry basket protects me.
So with my basket I collect dishes for about 8 minutes, I then take one minute to put them in the sink and run some water over them and finish up by throwing my laundry basket back in the garage. There - my once a day obligation has been fulfilled and I am free from guilt for the rest of the day. Each additional day of 10 minute activity results in a clean house by the end of the week and minimizes procrastination!

What’s in it for me?


This last technique is used for those most dreaded of tasks. You know the kind; they are the tasks that no matter how much self bargaining you try to do, there is no hot button big enough to make them worthwhile. So you pull out all the stops and reach for the “what’s in it for me” strategy. The strategy is just like it sounds. You stop for a moment and ask yourself, “If I were to do this awful task, how could I possibly make it even reasonably bearable...what’s in this for me?”
In our house a most dreaded of tasks is cleaning the carpets. This is especially tough for because it requires planning, skill, forethought, and absolute follow through or you end up with wet carpets and furniture that has to stay outside because you didn’t plan your time well and the carpet doesn’t have enough time to dry.
So really ask yourself what could I add-on to make this task bearable? In our house that usually means running my time table by my  coach or if she’s not available, calling my partner to make sure I have thought the project through all the way. Once I am cleared for “lift off” I use “add-ons” to create an atmosphere that will make this formidable task bearable. You might be wondering what my “add-ons” would include. Here’s a short list: first the stereo gets turned up really load playing my absolute favorite CD (on repeat of course). Next I put in my two favorite videos into the player in the living room as well as the adjacent family room. This creates an added incentive to move from room to room and is my insurance policy that assures I won’t just do one room and then quit. Finally I get the dog involved. My 9 lb min-pin looks like a Doberman Pincer in a Chihuahua’s body with the spirit of a terrier. She gets hilarious when we start to move furniture and likes to growl at the carpet cleaning machine when it gets turned off. She insists on “protecting me” by following me everywhere while I am cleaning carpets. Add my favorite pair of shorts, a few ice cold coolers, and all of the sudden this once insurmountable task is getting done by answering the question “what’s in it for me?” Using my favorite things like great music, great video, one-on-one time with my dog and yes, a few ice cold coolers, creates a fun environment that makes it enjoyable to finish off a job.

To Summarize

So there you have it! Four strategies that help eliminate procrastination. It’s important to remember that when you’re living with or loving someone who procrastinates expect life to look a little different. That is what makes having this condition exciting. Learning your hot buttons, knowing how to negotiate a trade with yourself, breaking big tasks down into mini-task and answering the question “what’s in it for me?” will help you not only do what you love but also what you have to do. You will then be able to stop the frustration of procrastination.
We hope this article helps you put a different spin on the “have-to” tasks of life.

 

 

couple negotiating in a cozy cafe

couple negotiating in a cozy cafe

With your personal hot buttons identified, you have a powerful bargaining chip to assist in another strategy in the battle against procrastination. The second strategy is to negotiate a trade with yourself in advance of taking on a necessary but easily delayed task.

Think of it like the situation in an open air market where you see something that really catches your eye. You ask the merchant “how much is that amazing treasure?” to which he replies “it costs 2 hours of doing laundry to purchase this”. Inwardly you say to yourself “2 hours of laundry is way too much to pay for that”! You respond to the merchant “how about 10 minutes of laundry, would you take that?” To which the merchant says “if you give me 20 minutes of laundry you can have this treasure!” “SOLD” you proudly exclaim. That treasure is your hot button activity and it has just been purchased by doing the necessary tasks of life that you tend to procrastinate doing.

In my case I would be able to take a 20 minute nap for every 20 minutes of doing laundry. That is how you negotiate a trade with yourself for doing something as boring as laundry. I challenge you to try this technique. Some of my client’s say they have become masters at negotiating themselves through great self-bargains. But what if there isn’t time for a bargaining session? What if you just have to get a really big job done? Well that is where the next two strategies come into play.

Just one-per-day!

This strategy is used when you feel like the task at hand is just too big to handle. To even begin the discussion of self-bargaining would surely cause immediate overload. For me this would be a task such as cleaning the house. This is something I appreciate when it’s done but I procrastinate getting started. I just don’t seem to delight in it like my friends and colleagues do. So what do you do when you’re faced with a big “have to” task.

That is when I pull my emergency procrastination buster ripcord and commit to the “one-per-day plan”. The idea behind one a day is to break the ominous task of house cleaning down into mini-tasks that I can do in as little as 10 minutes a day. By doing some small part of the big task, I end up making great progress by the end of the week.

For example I might say to myself “O.K. you only have to do one 10 minute house cleaning type activity today and I’m off the hook for the rest of the day!” I like being off the hook and it’s a great antidote to ADHD guilt! So in my case I grab the laundry basket and begin the hunt for dirty dishes. Yes, I did say laundry basket for dirty dishes. I have found that a plastic laundry basket is the ideal holder for cups, glasses, plates and other dishware that finds itself into the most unlikely of places. It’s usually big enough to hold my dirty dishes as I move from room to room, and yes, it’s a little quirky, but that makes it tolerable. Plus it decreases the likelihood I will drop something or have to endure an ADHD disaster! My plastic (washable with a hose I might add) laundry basket protects me.

So with my basket I collect dishes for about 8 minutes, I then take one minute to put them in the sink and run some water over them and finish up by throwing my laundry basket back in the garage. There - my once a day obligation has been fulfilled and I am free from ADHD guilt for the rest of the day. Each additional day of 10 minute activity results in a clean house by the end of the week and minimizes procrastination!

What’s in it for me?

This last technique is used for those most dreaded of tasks. You know the kind; they are the tasks that no matter how much self bargaining you try to do, there is no hot button big enough to make them worthwhile. So you pull out all the stops and reach for the “what’s in it for me” strategy. The strategy is just like it sounds. You stop for a moment and ask yourself, “If I were to do this awful task, how could I possibly make it even reasonably bearable...what’s in this for me?”

In our house a most dreaded of tasks is cleaning the carpets. This is especially tough for people with ADHD because it requires planning, skill, forethought, and absolute follow through or you end up with wet carpets and furniture that has to stay outside because you didn’t plan your time well and the carpet doesn’t have enough time to dry.

So really ask yourself what could I add-on to make this task bearable? In our house that usually means running my time table by my ADHD coach or if she’s not available, calling my partner to make sure I have thought the project through all the way. Once I am cleared for “lift off” I use “add-ons” to create an atmosphere that will make this formidable task bearable. You might be wondering what my “add-ons” would include. Here’s a short list: first the stereo gets turned up really load playing my absolute favorite CD (on repeat of course). Next I put in my two favorite videos into the player in the living room as well as the adjacent family room. This creates an added incentive to move from room to room and is my insurance policy that assures I won’t just do one room and then quit. Finally I get the dog involved. My 9 lb min-pin looks like a Doberman Pincer in a Chihuahua’s body with the spirit of a terrier. She gets hilarious when we start to move furniture and likes to growl at the carpet cleaning machine when it gets turned off. She insists on “protecting me” by following me everywhere while I am cleaning carpets. Add my favorite pair of shorts, a few ice cold coolers, and all of the sudden this once insurmountable task is getting done by answering the question “what’s in it for me?” Using my favorite things like great music, great video, one-on-one time with my dog and yes, a few ice cold coolers, creates a fun environment that makes it enjoyable to finish off a job.

To Summarize

So there you have it! Four strategies that help eliminate ADHD procrastination. It’s important to remember that when you’re living with or loving someone with ADHD expect life to look a little different. That is what makes having ADHD exciting. Learning your hot buttons, knowing how to negotiate a trade with yourself, breaking big tasks down into mini-task and answering the question “what’s in it for me?” will help you not only do what you love but also what you have to do. You and your ADHD will then be able to stop the frustration of procrastination.

We hope this article helps you put a different spin on the “have-to” tasks of life.

When Traditional Therapy Fails Couples

Couple Discussing Problems With Relationship Counsellor

Couple Discussing Problems With Relationship Counsellor

It has been well-established that in a relationship with mixed-ADHD (one has and other does not), there are particular compromises which are required to be made so that partnership will be balanced. Say for an instance, a person without the condition might dislike washing clothes and so you never let them. In this particular situation, the partner without with the condition will be the one to wash the clothes and the other partner will compensate by just doing other chores. This is common with affected couples. There are some traditional therapy methods that are present to work with such kind of condition. However, you might ask if these kinds of therapies really work. Most traditional therapies don’t consider the concept that the ADHD brain actually works differently than a non-ADHD brain. This only means that when an ADHD person takes this kind of standard therapy, the approach is sure to fail. You need to take note that only professional therapists, who work with the condition truly comprehend what techniques really work in order to get rid of resentments, develop accountability and refurbish loving affection between partners. With this, affected couples are sure to manage their relationship well.

Each couple is distinct, but all of them are required to negotiate in order to avoid the cycle of nagging or resentment. It is important to manage or meet your expectations and maintain high level of communication in your relationship. However, how will you communicate if the issue is not a part of your relationship?

Of course, since both of you are being affected by the disorder, you also need to work together in order to work things out. If your partner is the one with ADHD, you need to understand him so well than any other persons around you. If you have perfectly done this, at least, there is a chance that your relationship will work out just fine. This is certainly one of the key elements that will let ADHD couples have an effective relationship.

The following tips may help couples to manage their relationship well:

  • Make sure to have a precise diagnosis.

  • After you’ve been certain of the diagnosis, you should learn all possible things regarding the condition.

  • It is effective for a couple to talk about their status. Therefore, you need to set up your time for conversation. This certainly involves the condition of the partner.

  • Couples must also try to speak out what they are thinking or perhaps anything inside their mind. The condition appears in various ways in different couples. Therefore, both of you must analyze how it appears between you as a couple.

  • Take note of your complaints together with your recommendations. This is an effective approach in order for you to not forget the things that you want to say about your relationship.

  • Create a plan for treatment. You may ask help from a professional, but it is much better if you will try to start it by yourself.

Why Did I Marry You Anyway?

Strengths or weakness concept.

Strengths or weakness concept.

Just like most things you are going to remodel, the first step is usually deciding what you want to keep and what needs to go. You decide together what parts you like and want to keep and what parts are seriously broken, not working, or you just don’t like anymore. Remodeling your relationship works in much the same way. In every couple there are going to be things that work, that you do well, or that just feel good. Knowing what those pieces are in your relationship that you want to keep is a critical step in the rebuilt process. If your having a hard time wondering what works or what are the good parts of your relationship, you can ask yourself this question: “What was it initially about your partner that you found so great that you ultimately decided to marry them?” These are usually a persons strengths.

Whatever is not working is what you will want to unplug from, demolish, and get rid of. You might even have some parts that you both agree are just so awful, that your going to get rid of them first, just so that you can see what things might look like with that ugly part of your relationship gone. These are usually your partner’s weaknesses.

Realize that most people remodel their relationship by just adding onto or building over what is already there that hasn’t been working. This is a little like trying to put frosting over a super burnt cake. It might look O.K. on the outside, but on the inside it is something that no matter how good it looks, is going to be awful.

So instead of just piling a bunch of new skills on top of your old broken down skills, we think of it more like you would when you see those professional home shows on television. They keep a few key items, then they take it down to the bare studs and floors carefully rebuilding from the foundation up. Getting rid of anything you know that doesn’t work, also opens up your ability to see any other issues or concerns that might have been covered up before.

Rebuilding your relationship works in many of the same ways. You can spend endless time, endless resources, and endless effort trying to force something to work right, and usually only end up being only raising your ability form zero to so-so.

When you of spend all that time, resources and effort trying to get yourself or your partner to make a weakness into a strength, guess what? Your using what is known as a “Weakness Based Approach” the name even sounds like a bad idea.

If you want to be super successful at remodeling your relationship changing your approach. Imagine a relationship based upon what your already good at and making it into something great. Basing your relationship your strengths, and not on your weaknesses is what is called using a “Strength Based” approach.

This is attractive to many folks because it makes a lot more sense to try and build upon the alive parts of your skill instead of fooling yourself into believing that you can revive the dead parts back into life!

Instead we work on what ever the good parts are that we can find in a couple no matter how small, we build upon that. We seek out the attributes that each partner brings to the relationship and seeks to turn something good into something great.

We all have attributes, some of which are our strengths, and we all have some things that we would not consider strengths. Some attributes are really strong while others are rather weak. Imagine a scale from 1 to 10 with one being very weak and a 10 being very strong.

Understanding the simple fact that it is just not realistic for all of our attributes to be rated at an 8 or a 9. That frankly the attributes that score an 8 or a 9 don’t really need much attention.

Our attention is focuses instead on strengthening the attributes that we are good at, turning a 5 into into an 8 or a 9 so that they offset our weaker attributes.

It is freeing to take a realistic look at our abilities and accepting the fact that trying to take a weakness or what we are calling a 2, and pull it all the way up to a strength usually results in only mediocre outcomes at best. Not to mention the endless amounts of time, resources, and energy to end up being an average 5 after all of that effort.

From those strength based places, we ask couples to do certain behaviors that build upon the good of a relationship, and in doing so, we restore trust, and put the “liking” back into the “loving” part of a relationship. Then we rebuild on these loving behaviors to restore and replace painful and hurtful behaviors with loving ones.

Story: Most relationships that are in trouble are like rose bushes that have gone wild and nobody has paid attention to them. Their branches have a lot of dead wood, and they are busy dealing with inflexible thorns, unnecessary growth and thorny rotted limbs.

How is it a good idea to try and use your weaknesses or the dead branches, to support all of the other alive parts of your rose bush?

We have found over and over again that couples that are living with concentration issues don’t waste time, energy and critical focus on the dead parts of each other’s rose bush.

Successful  couples are busy pruning and trimming off all the dead weight and instead are focusing their efforts on the alive parts of the relationship that are still alive. In doing so we can conserve vital energy to put into the parts of the relationship that can still grow, and can be trained to support other living and alive parts of the relationship.

Ask yourself the question: “What Do I bring To This Relationship?”- What contributions do I make to this relationship, emotional, financial, physical or other? Our advice to you is forgot about trying to turn your weaknesses intro strengths or as we say “Why spend your whole life trying to turn a 2 into a 5?” Instead why not think about turning a 5 into a 10?”

Resist focusing on what you don’t bring. Let’s face it; it’s easier to turn something good into something great. And that's a lot faster, better, and easier that taking a lifetime, if you are lucky, to turn a real weakness into strength.

We hope you can see why we have seen such great results using this “Strength Based” approach to grow the good parts of relationships, and remodel way couples experience each other.

 

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Partnership

Partnership

Instead Of Trying Harder, Try Doing Things Differently

Trying harder in a relationship that is affected by  concentration issues) isn’t always going to make things better. When couples feel like they are doing everything in their power to make improvements in their relationships and things stay the same—or get worse—it’s so easy to feel disappointed, hopeless, and even angry. Here is a quick tip to help you get back on the solution track.

Instead of just trying harder at doing what you have always done to try and make your relationship work, realize that if your going see things change, then both you and your partner are going to have to work differently. This means being aware of your particular type or symptoms, and understanding exactly how those symptoms impact each person in the relationship differently. Then using strategies that take those particular symptoms into consideration, both partners can work together in facing every day challenges.

Jan and Bob had been together several years when Jan noticed that no matter how hard they tried, it seemed like they were always half an hour late to wherever they were going. So after working with the couple, we suggested that Jan tell Bob that they had to be places between half an hour to an hour earlier than was actually required to be on time.

Jan also learned to switch up the time differentials for Bob so that when asked the question “what time do we really have to be there” Jan could keep a great poker face. It’s true that Bob never quite knew what time they “really” needed to be places, all he knew is that he was way less stressed about going places and Jan was too.

This is a perfect example of how instead of just turning up the nagging and yelling or pushing harder than you have to, this couple chose a totally different, more friendly approach, which gave them both peace of mind when going places together as a couple.

It’s easy for both partners to accept poor outcomes as a way of life, and then reinforce that helpless feeling with blame and excuses, all the while, never getting around to solving the real issue.

It’s easy for the partner to fall into a pattern of blaming their partner for all of the roadblocks and issues within the relationship. Often, the person with the concentration issues buys right in blaming him or herself, as they drown in a sea of helplessness. Neither of these options improves the relationship.

It’s extremely important that neither partner uses blame as an excuse to not move forward. Instead, stop in that moment and resist blaming and focus on working together to create positive change within the relationship by thinking creatively and differently.

Resist the easy route of just pushing harder against something that has not worked in the past. You don’t have to be like that fly who keeps hitting a closed window over and over again.

A note of caution is wise here: Beware of the “hostile take over”! It is an all too common error for the partner in the relationship to try and “take over” and attempt to teach the other partner how to properly do things in the relationship.

This can leave the partner with the concentration issues feeling unloved or defeated or worse yet they feel like they are an incapable child. As with any relationship, open communication about how to best contribute to the relationship is vital here, and couples living with this in their relationship keeping in mind each other’s capabilities and strengths is the secret to making life work together.

On the other side of things, the partner with the concentration issues may find themselves retreating to a place of blame because of past shortcomings and inconsistencies; which can lead to feeling defeated and afraid to try something new or different for fear of failure. Relationships respond to actions not intentions. Reminding both partners that trying something differently no matter how often can lead to success, stability, and a positive relationship is a very important mental step that needs to be taken.

Remind yourself and your partner that trying something differently is not an all or nothing scenario! Getting 50% or 70% more right than wring is still great progress.  The key here is keep tweaking your new and different solutions until you work out all of the kinks.  Keep the whole process moving by appreciating and congratulating each other every time something goes even just a little better. ‘

Always remember that, no matter how bad things have been, there is hope and a brighter future. Success increases when both partners make an effort to try doing things differently and switching things up, instead of attempting to just work harder at things that haven’t worked in the past.

When I'm Sorry Doesn't work

begging for forgiveness

begging for forgiveness

Made a mistake? Messed up again? Stepped your partner’s toes? If you’re in a relationship, you know how important communication is. Guess what? Apologies are an essential part of good relationship communication.

Every person makes mistakes, and it seems the closer people get, the easier collisions occur. In every relationship there are bound to be occasions for apologies. For some the mere mention of a apology conjures up thoughts of begging and pleading, While for others they seem to believe that just uttering the words “I’m Sorry” or its contemporary evil twin version “Oops, My Bad” will magically right any wrong ever committed.

The truth is that not too long and not too short seems to be the right approach. Couples who learn quickly how to exchange apologies are able to spend more time working together to create solutions and strategies and discover how to do better next time. That’s right less time begging and more time creating a solution is good advice when you make an apology.

For couples where one or both partners have concentration issues, things are no different. There will still be mistakes made, and there will still be a need for apologies. However, concentration issues can affect how to best make an apology.

Don’t make things worse by pouring on a long drawn out apology or begging endlessly for forgiveness. It only makes things worse! Don’t get lost in the million words, and your partner wants fewer words and more action.

If your partner is not ready to work on solutions and strategies right then, that’s O.K. too. Simply agree on another time to begin to work thing through. Remember that sometimes, the right action in an apology is to give your partner some space to process what happened.

***As a couple learn to exchange apologies quickly so that you can spend more time working together to talk it out, correct the mistake, and work out a strategy to do it better next time. ***

As always, communication and honesty are key. If you’re open with your partner about how you feel, and if you allow your partner to be open and genuine with you, the two of you can work through any situation.

Keeping the Spark Alive In Your Relationship

Loving couple sitting on couch

Loving couple sitting on couch

If at first, you don’t succeed, give it a little more effort and you might be pleasantly surprised! When initiating intimacy with your partner, you might find some initial resistance. This initial lack of interest should be expected given how our minds work.

For many partners especially those with concentration issues, getting started can seem overwhelming. Until the neurons of interest are firing the mind is simply not engaged.

How many times have you had to convince your spouse to go do something?   Only to experience that once both of you are out having fun, they tell you they are having “the time of their life and are glad you convinced them to go.

Guess what, initiating intimacy is really no different. Offer a little notice and a drop of persistence, and you might find that once your partner gets engaged in the dance of intimacy, they may soon discover that they too are “Having a really great time!”

Your CONCENTRATION ISSUES: Turning Struggle into Strength

sara_and_rob_photo

sara_and_rob_photo

It is often said that everybody has a little issue with concentration from time to time. Forgetting things, procrastinating, getting antsy or quickly jumping around between ideas are commonplace occurrences. But for the person living with this, these feelings, and others like it, are present nearly all the time. People are often losing hours of their day looking for lost items, like keys, wallets and cell phones, truly at the mercy of their own misplacement.

Forgetfulness, procrastination and lack of focus can range on a spectrum from mild to severe, but nonetheless, these qualities must be so severe as to impair a person's quality of life in order for them to be signs of truly having ADHD. If you have ever lost your keys or spent an hour looking for some misplaced paperwork, only to find it right where you first looked, you know just how discouraging it feels and how helpless struggling with concentration issues  can make you feel.

The Benefits of Learning to Work with Your ADHD

Although learning how to cope with concentration issues can be a struggle, this  can be one of your greatest life teachers if you learn to work with it. Unlike your neuro-typical friends, you have to be on guard and aware of your actions at all times. The ability to stay on task that comes so easy to others requires extra effort on your part just to get the same job done.

The benefit of this is that it gives you a different way of looking at things and experiencing the world. Embrace this positive aspect and it will help you cope with what may seem like a disadvantage when your trying your best to stay focused and in the moment. This usually means you are more creative in music, art and problem solving, are generally good salesmen and are in the company of many famous people They have embraced their uniqueness and are able to focus on the positive, aspects to bring about advantages. People aren’t neuro-typical are able to deal with critical crisis as they can think outside the box and see things from different perspectives to help solve very difficult problems.

They love to get feedback immediately about how they did. They are the sprinters in a race. They are quick off the starting blocks and are able to focus for a short race and love the immediate gratification they get when they cross the finish line. Sprinters do not need to plan out a strategy of winning, they don't need to figure out when to hold back and when to push forward, who to pass and when, all they need to do is go forward with enthusiasm and high energy. The plan is to cross the finish line as fast as possible. This is how it works best.. They love to go, jump in and do it and get immediate feedback about how they did.

Everyone's concentration issues effects them differently. Knowing your strengths will help you capitalize on the benefits you can receive. Knowing that you need help with follow through and completing tasks allows you to admit the faults upfront and make plans for someone else to pick up your slack if possible. Don't let this weakness hold you back from completing your day to day chores or your dreams in life. Embracing and learning from your uniqueness will better equip you in managing your daily life.

The Risks of Ignoring Your Concentration Issues

If you choose to ignore your concentration issues, your life can quickly become a series of small disasters. Simple slips of the mind, like losing your keys, may not seem like a big issue, but it is the constant obstacles created  that turns simple hindrances into serious problems that take away from the quality of your life. Here is another example of how something as small as losing your keys can snowball into a much larger issue.

Losing your keys isn't new, and that's how your day begins, which leads you to being late for work. You can't call into work to let them know that you're running late because you forgot to charge your cell phone, and your cell phone is the only place that you stored the number of your new job. In a hurry to your new job, you get a ticket for rolling through the stop sign, and you even saw the police car just up the road. Finally, you make it to your first day of work, beyond late.

Later in the week, you have to make a court appearance for the ticket you got rolling through the stop sign. You get a bench warrant because you lost your ticket and you can't find the paperwork for the court appearance. Finally, you find the paperwork and realize that you were due in court 10 minutes ago, and you were scheduled for work a half an hour ago. You call your new boss, thinking your work will understand. It turns out you have been late so many times in your first week that your boss has no choice but to terminate your employment. Now you can't even afford to pay your ticket.

Do you get the idea of the snowball effects? What started with losing your keys turned into losing your job. How would have this situation unfolded differently if you had structured systems in place to help you?

What if you had your own version of a brass-monkey key holder in your hall closet? What if you agreed to put important papers related to your car in your glove compartment? What if you placed your cell phone charger on top of your desk, so each night you would remember to charge it? With systems like these in place, you don't have to struggle.

You Can Be Successful and Have ADHD

Life with concentration issues don’t have to be a total disaster. You can be successful. While the symptoms are the same for everyone, some people find it easier to cope with their symptoms more than others. Often people with a caring, flexible and understanding support network find it easier to manage the daily demands of life.

You have to see this as a call to action and not as an excuse for forgetting things, misplacing things or for always being late. Eventually, you will realize that the little bit of extra effort that is required to avoid these mountain-like obstacles is well worth the extra five minutes it will take you to follow the simple and proven strategies that I'm going to show you to manage your symptoms.

If your whole life is spent looking for lost keys, rushing to find a lost cell phone, chronically running late or constantly feeling being behind in your work, you will find it nearly impossible to experience the good in life because you will always feel one step behind. There's good news: you don't have to live your life this way.

1. Creating Structure for Success

There are strategies you can implement to turn your struggles into success. In order to handle your day-to-day activities, you will need to put systems in place that are proven to reduce the number of hours a day spent chasing after the details of your life.  Once in place, these systems are not to be altered. Think of them as mandatory rituals for important things in your life. If you make the systems described in this article mandatory, you will reclaim hours of your life. It doesn’t take long for these systems to become a habit, and that habit becomes a pattern and that pattern quickly becomes a way of life.

Below are some simple, quick and proven strategies that you can apply today to improve your everyday life.

Life-Saving Rituals To Improve Your Everyday Life

Life Saving Ritual #1: Never Lose Your Keys Again

Never Lose Your Keys Again- If you spend valuable time hunting for misplaced keys try this: Get a nail or a screw in hook, find a place by your front door that you can clearly see as you enter or exit.  (This can later be traded up for a key holder if you like.)  Now find a yellow sticky note or piece of paper and write the words “Hang Up My Keys” in big letters on it. I know it sounds elementary but this stuff really works.  Now tape it above the hook or nail.  Be sure to tape your post it note or paper sign on the top and on the bottom.   Don’t rely on the post it note adhesive, as it will easily blow away when the door opens.

Now go get your keys (provided you can find them) and place them right now on the hook. This is their new permanent home. You must place your keys on this hook FIRST THING when you walk in that door.  That means you put your keys on that hook before you greet the dog, get the mail or run to answer the phone.  No matter what you know that your keys are only ever to be found on this hook and nowhere else.

Now when the inevitable happens, and your sitting on the couch watching television, and you notice your keys in your pocket, run like the house is on fire and put your keys back on that hook.  Remember that hook could save your job one day and keep you from getting arrested, yes that hook has that much power – but only when you use it!!

Life Saving Ritual #2: Find Your Wallet Every Day

If you are always misplacing your wallet or important things like cash or checks or other things in your pockets, I have the solution for you.

1. Go into the kitchen and get a medium size bowl, colored if you have it.  This bowl should be bigger than a cereal bowl and large enough not to look like a dish you just left out the night before.  This bowl could be end of forgetting your wallet at home or having no money on you when you run to get a video or head to the gym.  Just think what you could do with all of that extra time in a week.

Find a place by the door that is easily seen right as you walk in. Ideally you don’t want to put your bowl more than a few paces away from the entrance as this is stop two of your daily time finding ritual.

Now reach into your pocket and find your wallet. If you can’t remember where you placed your wallet, put something else in the bowl for right now- like your cell phone, or whatever else you find in your pockets.  (If you go off trying to find your wallet now like most of us, you will forget you ever read this life-changing paragraph, and won’t get back to your bowl).  This bowl can be traded up again for some fancy bowl of your choosing, but the life-changing event is to start using the bowl right now and not get lost looking at really cool bowls on eBay or amazon.com for the next four hours.

Use this bowl, use it every day as station number two of your end of day ritual.  Just like your keys who will never be anywhere but on that hook, so to will be all the contents of your pockets including your wallet never be anywhere but in that bowl.  If you ever sit down and notice you have junk in your pockets, rush to that bowl that instant and unload your pocket cargo.  Never tell yourself the lie that “I will do that in a minute!” Yeah right- like most of us, you will totally forget in about 10 seconds, or just keep telling yourself that until you believe it, and yes we will still forget.  Remember we are much better sprinters, go race win, do it now that is your new motto.

Just think, no more “Honey what did I wear last night?” or “Where did I use my wallet last” scenarios.  How much time would you save if you never had to rummage through your pants pockets convinced that you know “these were surely the pants that had on last” only to remember three hours later and after half a dozen “did I leave my credit card in your calls” that it is in your jacket pocket on the back seat of your car.

Just one day of not losing or misplacing your wallet is easily worth four hours of lost time, agony and frustration.  That is almost an entire half-day of time you get back!!

Many people with concentration issues live by the saying out of sight out of mind or as I like to say: If it’s out of sight, then I’m going to be out of my mind trying to remember it!  Use these tired and true visual cues and daily rituals to rid yourself of these deadly time wasters.

Now that you have your keys, you have your wallet, cash and other pocket cargo you would think you would be ready to go right?   The answer is almost. Let’s put one more ritual in place that will free you from having to speed to get to work on time, or have to make still yet another apology for being late to meet friends and family.

If you are a person who is ALWAYS LATE- you are not alone. Time is only an abstract concept at best..   We are not good at planning how long it takes to get places, or how long things will actually take, and this often results in our being late for things and that can often have devastating results.  Let me offer this proven suggestion that can mean the end of meaningless apologies for being tardy to the party, or late for date.  If you implement this ritual, you may never find yourself making that dreaded “hi, I’m running a little late” phone call only to arrive well past fashionably or acceptably late. Ready, here it is:

Life Saving Ritual #3: “The One Hour Rule”

Simply put, always allow one hour to get anywhere. If you walk out of the door with an hour go get everywhere, you can eliminate the stress of rushing to get to places on time. While a little stress can actually help  your mind work better, there is a point where the stress of rushing leads to being careless, that leads to forgetting things or getting lost or worse you get another ticket or in a car accident.

Get into the habit of telling yourself  “ I will need about an hour to get there”.  Yes, I did say an hour. This seems excessive, but think about it.  Last time you had to be somewhere on time, how late were you? Were you 15 minutes late for the fist thing, then that makes you late for your next activity, and in just a few hours, you are easily running an hour or more behind your life’s schedule. (Blue link schedule) One ticket alone can set you back 30 minutes of precious time not to mention countless hours of frustration thinking about how you should have given yourself more time (like an hour) to get somewhere.  Only to find that when you called your boss to tell them you would be late for work because you just got a ticket you underestimated the time it would take and were late to being late! I think you get the idea. Implement the one hour rule, and I think you will be surprised just how much of that hour gets used in getting to and from places, people and appointments.

There is one caveat that I talk about in much greater detail in my eBook. That is the time trap of thinking you have tons of extra time now that you have an hour to get to and from places. There is an undeniable temptation for most of us to see this hour an opportunity to squeeze in some little or seemingly little errand into that one hour of sacred travel time. It usually goes something like this” Well I am only going to the market to get a gallon of milk…. I will just drop this off at the post office on my way…it is literally right next door to the market…and after all it will only take 5 minutes extra and I will still have 55 minutes to get to the market, no sweat, easy as pie right…WRONG- if you have concentration issues, you probably have an uncanny ability find the only post office that does not have a drop off or self service window.  Instead you will find the only “wait in this line and pay to a real person” post office in your entire town…AND the line has only 1 person ahead of me, so you get into line.  Now you find that you recognize the logo on the persons jacket in line, wait that is the same Montessori school you have been looking at for your daughter…. only one quick question, and now your hooked. You start a brief and appropriate conversation with the person in front of you, meanwhile the only person being helped at the service window is looking to mail 15 dozen promotional packages to 15 different advertising agencies and each package is insured, certified and is taking forever to complete…. BUT you do see that they are just finishing up and your new Montessori friend is just picking up a package so you will be fine…. WELL, your luck is right on today, your new friends package is nowhere to be found, and when they gracefully step aside to allow you to buy one single stamp, they tell you they only have books of 20 stamps left and all you brought was 5 dollars, after all you were only going to the market to get some milk!!!  Does this sound familiar?

The moral of this story is:  Resist the temptation to add in “Just one more thing or one little stop”.  Treat your newfound hour as sacred, something to be respected and treated with respect. Time is tough for people with concentration issues, give yourself lots and lots of it and you will do great things, try to manipulate it and you will usually lose out.  The one exception that seems to work ok is getting gas. If you have to make a pit stop for gas, just buy gas, and try to pay at the pump. Today’s gas stations are really convenience mini malls of distraction selling everything from car parts, cloths to sunglasses and soda pop.  These distraction zones can quickly eat up precious time in your day.

Remember that every time you think about adding a stop, even for gas, you increase the probability that something can go wrong or some unexpected delay can occur and you run the risk of being late again.

Life Saving Ritual #4: “Forgetting things”

Those with concentration issues are not concentrating when they speak or when they try to listen. They nod their head and later find out they agreed to do something but they do not remember promising to do anything. Sometimes they can volunteer for a particular job or say they will be home at a particular time. When they do not come forward and admit their mistake but instead blame someone else for what they should take responsibility for their actions.

Life Saving Ritual Bonus: “Feeling like you can't be relied upon”

Forgetting things, running late, feeling like you can’t be relied upon is all damaging to your self-confidence and ultimately and are damaging to your psyche.  They erode at the confidence that comes with completing the task at hand in a timely fashion. This decrease in confidence begins to take its toll on you and others around you.  By getting a handle on the day-to-day details of life, your confidence increases and so does your performance. 

These are just a few of the things you can do today to get a handle on your concentration issues and reclaim hours of lost time in your week.  Just think how much time you will save, never having to look for your keys (3 hours gained) or having to search through your stuff and find your wallet (another 3 hours found).  If you only save 2 hours in being late, you will have easily gained 8 extra hours in your week. What will you do with all of that extra time?  You will have 8 extra hours to relax and enjoy the fun and creative parts of your life.  If you only implemented one of these strategies, you will have 3 extra hours to call your own.  Time is precious and it is worth a few extra minutes each day to get hours back to use as you wish, not to mention it will bring you great peace of mind.  Let me know what you think…give me feedback.