Sunlight, Mindfulness, and Dr. King
It’s good to be here two weeks in a row! 🥰
Tea I’m Drinking
Mmm… no tea or even hot apple cider tonight, I need to finish and send this and go towards bed. Not go downstairs and wait for water to boil. (Can’t really hear the teapot from my nook here.) Ah well.
What I’m Listening To
First, I Have ADHD #140: “Pay Attention to Your (ADHD) Attention with Dr. Amishi Jha.” This was so good! Definitely worth a listen. Kristen Carder (the host of the I Have ADHD podcast) and Dr. Jha, a neuroscientist, talk about what attention is, scientifically speaking, what the different types are, which types tend to be impaired or not impaired in ADHD, and what we can do about it. (Spoiler alert: mindfulness. That’s a big part of the answer.)
Secondly (although actually I listened to it first…), I listened to this episode of the ADHD Experts Podcast by ADDitude Mag on Revenge Bedtime Procrastination for ADHD women. Particularly on how to stop doing it. Since just… trying to stop isn’t gonna cut it.
I really like this podcast, generally speaking. The quality can be a little variable, since it’s a different expert every time. But this one exceeded my expectations. I think my favorite tip? I’d probably heard this before in some form or another, but somehow never put together quite like this — to help reset your circadian rhythms, go outside around sunrise and sunset.
I love that this is something positive to do, instead of just, you know, avoid screens in the evening. They talked about that a bit too, but yeah. Sunrise and sunset. Apparently the effect is best with no glass, no windows in the way. (Glasses are okay. As long as they aren’t the blue light blocking ones.) Apparently going outside to look at the light of the sunset can even protect a little against the effect of looking at screens later. Whoa.
What’s Saving My Life
So most days now, I’m taking a walk or two around our block. Maybe with a bit of slow jogging. Ideally somewhere around sunrise and sunset, but not necessarily. In reality, I rarely walk or jog anywhere near sunrise, even though at my particular location sunrise has been close to 8:00 a.m. for weeks now. I’m either trying to get kids out the door or probably sleeping. At any rate, I tend to look out a window at sunrise (if it’s vacation, as I turn off my alarm), and that’s something. I like it. A lot.
Which makes a certain amount of sense. Well, lots of sense. I mean, it’s getting a bit of exercise, it’s getting outside — a little bit of “green” time — it’s getting familiar with our new neighborhood, getting a bit of sunlight, paying attention to the season and weather, getting alone time and a friendly, gentle structure. There is literally nothing not to like.
Well. I mean, unless it’s cold out or something. But still. Seasons. Weather.
It’s a good structure to my days, the sun. Who would’ve thunk? 😉
What I’m Learning
Regular meditation and mindfulness practice (76 days, now!) are really starting to be helpful! 😊 Mindfulness has been shown through quite a bit of research to strengthen many of the very same areas of the brain that are affected by ADHD. People like to talk about how mindfulness helps you to pause before doing something impulsive, or how it helps your focus to improve.
What people don’t mention often, which I like even better, is that it helps not just your focus in the present moment, but the monitoring of your attention. As most people who struggle with ADHD know, hyperfocus can be a gift at times, but also a curse at many other times! I can’t count the number of times I’ve felt stuck doing something long past the point where it made sense to keep going, but couldn’t seem to get myself to stop. (Especially things like untangling a knot or scratching at dead and peeling skin…) Mindfulness practice works on monitoring the attention and gently bringing it back, it works on compassionate noticing, on observing with just a little bit of distance. All of that (and medication!) makes it that much easier to notice when I’ve lost myself in something, and to gently come back, maybe look into why I’m avoiding something else.
Hooray for not getting so lost in enjoying the present moment that I don’t learn from the past or delay gratification into the future! \o/
What I’m Reading
Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community? by Martin Luther King, Jr., written in 1967, copyright 1968, his last book.
I’d read some longer excerpts of his work before, but had never picked up one of his books. It’s really good. Of course.
“For the vast majority of white Americans, the past decade—the first phase—had been a struggle to treat the Negro with a degree of decency, not of equality. …
“When Negroes looked for the second phase, the realization of equality, they found that many of their white allies had quietly disappeared. The Negroes of America had taken the President, the press and the pulpit at their word when they spoke in broad terms of freedom and justice. But the absence of brutality and unregenerate evil is not the presence of justice. To stay murder is not the same thing as to ordain brotherhood. The word was broken, and the free-running expectations of the Negro crashed into the stone walls of white resistance. The result was havoc. Negroes felt cheated, especially in the North, while many whites felt that the Negroes had gained so much it was virtually impudent and greedy to ask for more so soon.”
Oof. Yes. “…the absence of brutality and unregenerate evil is not the presence of justice.” I wish this weren’t something we still need to hear.
What Else I’m Writing
About “Yarny Yarny Yarn Yarn.” 😁
What about you, what’s saving your life this winter? When is the sun rising and setting where you are?