On positive psychology - Martin Seligman

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Martin Seligman talks about psychology -- as a field of study and as it works one-on-one with each patient and each practitioner. As it moves beyond a focus on disease, what can modern psychology help us to become?

Talk by Martin Seligman.


George Carlin Philosopher

Henry Colman and Jenni Matz conducted the interview in Venice, CA on December 17, 2007. 

George Carlin who was one of the Great Philosophers of the 20th Century discusses the state of the world in the late 20th and early 21st Centuries. 

We are on a nice downward glide. I call it circling the drain. And the circles get smaller and smaller and faster and faster. And you watch the sink empty. Huish!
I then we'll be gone. And that's fine. I welcome it. I wish I could live 1000 years to watch it happen. From a distance - so I can see it all.
I remember back in the late 1990's, Seung Sahn Dae Jong Sa was answering questions after a Dharma Talk at Dharma Zen Center in Los Angeles. One of the students asked him how we could all work towards "world peace." Seung Sahn replied, "I think if you ask all the animals of the planet, they will say, 'world peace only possible when all humans beings are dead.'" 

Carlin plays with the same line here, and I am paraphrasing that it is important to save yourself and not the planet because the planet will still be here long after all the humans have died. And he really makes a point with this statement;
We have to change ourselves. And we'll never do that. Because of the dollars now. Cause everybody wants a dollar and a toy. Everybody's got a telephone that will make pancakes and rub your balls. So nobody wants to rock the boat. Nobody wants to change anything.
 Enjoy the wise ones around you while they are alive, because you will miss them greatly once they pass on.


Lisa Ling says the diagnosis of ADD has given her "clarity."

In discussing whether Lisa Ling was a CNN reporter...we turned to Wikipedia and found she was not a news reporter but did documentary type shows on CNN.

Surprisingly, this was part of the Wiki :

She has been diagnosed with attention deficit disorder.[32]
"Lisa Ling Reveals Surprise Diagnosis of ADD at age 40 - ABC News". Retrieved 3 November 2014.


Lisa Ling Reveals Surprise Diagnosis of ADD at age 40

June 16, 2014
As a veteran reporter who now has her own TV show on OWN, Lisa Ling has covered everything from criminal informants to exorcism.

It was while filming an episode of "Our America With Lisa Ling" on the topic of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), however, that she made a personal discovery.

"My head is kind of spinning," Ling, 40, said after receiving a diagnosis of attention deficit disorder (ADD) herself while the cameras were rolling. 

"But I feel a little bit of relief because, for so long, I've been fighting it and I've been so frustrated with this inability to focus."

Ling, the mother of one young daughter, says on the show that she had long suspected something was not right.

"As a journalist, when I'm immersed in a story, then I feel like I can laser-focus. But if I'm not working, my mind goes in every direction but where it's supposed to go," Ling says. "I've been like that since I was a kid."

Ling's diagnosis of ADD at age 40 is unusual, experts say, compared to the average age of diagnosis at seven.

"ADD is more accepted now than 10 or 20 years ago," said Dr. Edward Hallowell, a psychiatrist and ADD/ADHD specialist, who does not treat Ling. "People don't think of ADD in adults."

"The diagnosis can dramatically change your life for the better," Hallowell said. "You can go from languishing to succeeding at the highest level."

In a statement, Ling says the diagnosis of ADD has given her "clarity."

"While the diagnosis confirmed what I had always expected, I don't feel inhibited," she said. "Rather, I feel I have more clarity."

"Our America With Lisa Ling" airs Thursday at 10 p.m. ET on OWN.

Top Concentration Killers

Culprit: Social Media

Whether you're living with ADHD or just have trouble focusing from time to time, today's world is full of concentration killers. Psychologist Lucy Jo Palladino, PhD offers a few tips to manage distractions, starting with social media. It's easy to connect with friends -- and disconnect from work -- many times an hour. Every status update zaps your train of thought, forcing you to backtrack when you resume work.

Social Media Fix

Avoid logging in to social media sites while you're working. If you feel compelled to check in every now and then, do it during breaks, when the steady stream of posts won't interrupt your concentration. If you can't resist logging in more frequently, take your laptop someplace where you won't have Internet access for a few hours.

Culprit: Email Overload

There's something about an email -- it shoots into your inbox and itches to be answered immediately. Although many emails are work-related, they still count as distractions from your current project. You won't make much progress if you constantly stop what you're doing to reply to every message.

Email Overload Fix

Instead of checking email continuously, set aside specific times for that purpose. During the rest of the day, you can actually shut down your email program. This allows you to carve out blocks of time when you can work uninterrupted.

Culprit: Your Cell Phone

Perhaps even more disruptive than the ping of an email is the ringtone on your cell phone. It's a sound few of us can ignore. But taking a call not only costs you the time you spend talking -- it can also cut off your momentum on the task at hand.

Cell Phone Fix

Put caller ID to good use. If you suspect the call is not urgent, let it go to voicemail. If you're working on a particularly intense project, consider silencing your phone so you're not tempted to answer. Choose specific times to check voicemail. Listening to all your messages at once can be less disruptive than taking every call as it comes in.

Culprit: Multitasking

If you've mastered the art of multitasking, you probably feel you're getting more done in less time. Think again, experts say. Research suggests you lose time whenever you shift your attention from one task to another. The end result is that doing three projects simultaneously usually takes longer than doing them one after the other.

Multitasking Fix

Whenever possible, devote your attention to one project at a time, particularly if you're working on an intense or high-priority task. Save your multitasking skills for chores that are not urgent or demanding -- it probably won't hurt to tidy up your desk while talking on the phone.

Culprit: Boredom

Some of the tasks we have to do each day are more interesting than others. The boring ones may burn through your attention span in minutes, making you extremely vulnerable to distractions. Your phone, the Internet, even the prospect of dusting your workspace can seem tempting if you're bored.

Boredom Fix

Make a deal with yourself: If you stay on task for a certain period of time, you earn a 10-minute break. Reward yourself with coffee, a favorite snack, or a walk outside. Boring tasks are easier to accomplish when you have something to look forward to. This is also one case where multitasking may work well. Listening to the radio while filing receipts could help you stay put long enough to finish the job.

Culprit: Nagging Thoughts

It's hard to focus on the work in front of you if you're worrying about errands you need to run or housework to be done. Or perhaps you're hung up on a conversation you had yesterday, and you keep replaying it in your mind. Nagging thoughts of any sort can be a powerful distraction.

Nagging Thoughts Fix

One way to keep nagging thoughts from buzzing around in your brain is to write them down. Make a list of errands, housework, or other tasks you plan to complete later. Vent frustrations over an unpleasant confrontation in your journal. Once these thoughts are on paper, you may be able to let them go for a while.

Culprit: Stress

When you feel like you have too much on your plate, it can be hard to focus on individual tasks. To make matters worse, stress takes a noticeable toll on the body. You may develop tight shoulders, headaches, or a racing heart, all of which can chip away at your ability to concentrate.

Stress Fix

Learn stress reduction techniques, such as meditation. This can help you rein in stressful thoughts, so they don't demand so much of your attention. In one study, researchers found that people who took an eight-week meditation course improved their ability to focus. If you can't find a meditation class locally, look for one online.

Culprit: Fatigue

Fatigue can make it tough to concentrate, even when you have few distractions. Studies suggest too little sleep can sap your attention span and short-term memory.

Fatigue Fix

Most adults need 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Instead of burning the midnight oil, make sleep a priority. This will help you get more done during your waking hours. Also, pay attention to which times of day you feel most alert. Then you'll know when to schedule your most intense tasks.

Culprit: Hunger

The brain can't focus without fuel, so skipping meals -- especially breakfast --  is a top concentration killer. Research indicates short-term memory and attention suffer when you rise and shine but do not dine.

Hunger Fix

Keep hunger at bay and give your brain a steady source of fuel with these habits:
  • Always eat breakfast.
  • Eat high-protein snacks (cheese, nuts)
  • Skip simple carbs (sweets, white pasta)
  • Choose complex carbs (whole grains)

Culprit: Depression

Most people tend to think of sadness as the hallmark of depression. But the National Institute of Mental Health says difficulty concentrating is one of the most common symptoms. If you're having trouble focusing, and you also feel empty, hopeless, or indifferent, you may be experiencing depression.

Depression Fix

If you think you might be depressed, the first step is to talk with a doctor or counselor. Depression is highly treatable. Many studies have shown the effectiveness of antidepressant medications and certain types of talk therapy.

Culprit: Medication

Unfortunately, some of the medications used to treat depression can interfere with concentration. The same is true of many other drugs. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist to check if a medication or supplement you are taking may be affecting your concentration.

Medication Fix

If you suspect your meds are clouding your concentration, don't assume there are no other options. Talk to your doctor about adjusting your dosage or switching to a different class of medication. Do not stop taking your medicine unless your doctor tells you to.

Culprit: ADHD

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is not just a problem for children. More than half of kids with ADHD continue to experience symptoms as adults. The classic signs are a short attention span and trouble focusing on tasks.


If you have consistent trouble focusing, and you had attention problems as a child, ask a doctor or counselor about ADHD. There are ways to manage the condition, including behavioral therapy and medications.


Mindful Awareness

UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center

Mindfulness is making the news these days. It has been depicted in the media primarily as a tool to hone attention, to cultivate sensory awareness, and to keep us in the present moment.

Developing these tools takes effort and determination, but why is it we can sometimes be mindful without really even trying? Perhaps we were naturally mindful at points in life before we ever learned what mindfulness was. Maybe we feel naturally connected, present, and at ease in nature. Or we become mindful while talking authentically with a friend, or in the midst of music, art, or athletic activity.

Mindfulness is not only a meditation technique, but also a state of being. This state is available to anyone; it is a natural human capacity. Mindfulness practice, as a tool, is tremendously helpful to cultivate this awareness, and the state can arise at any moment. Mindfulness is also connected to a set of powerful outcomes: happiness, emotional regulation, compassion, altruism, and kindness.

We encourage you to attend an array of offerings to cultivate the moment-to-moment awareness, which is the foundation of our practice.


Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy can help prevent recurrence of depression.

Review finds mindfulness-based cognitive therapy can help prevent recurrence of depression.


  Quotes On Simplicity:

“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.”                                            ~ Confucius
“Beauty of style and harmony and grace and good rhythm depend on simplicity.”           - Plato
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” ~ Leonardo da Vinci
“Simplicity is the glory of expression.” ~ Walt Whitman
“Nothing is more simple than greatness; indeed, to be simple is to be great.”                  ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
“As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness.”                                          ~ Henry David Thoreau
“The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook.” ~ William James
“Progress is man’s ability to complicate simplicity.” ~ Thor Heyerdahl
“Reduce the complexity of life by eliminating the needless wants of life, and the labors of life reduce themselves.”~ Edwin Way Teale
“I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures.” ~ Lao Tzu
“Simplicity is making the journey of this life with just baggage enough.”                          ~ Charles Warner
“In character, in manner, in style, in all things, the supreme excellence is simplicity.”        ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
“Beware the barrenness of a busy life.” ~ Socrates
“The waste of life occasioned by trying to do too many things at once is appalling.”      ~ Orison Marden
“It is not a daily increase, but a daily decrease. Hack away at the non-essentials.”         ~ Bruce Lee
“Simplicity is the final achievement. After one has played a vast quantity of notes and more notes, it is simplicity that emerges as the crowning reward of art.”                          ~ Frederic Chopin
“Knowledge is a process of piling up facts; wisdom lies in their simplification.”              ~ Martin H. Fischer
“It is vain to do with more what can be done with less.” ~ William of Occam
“Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” ~ William Morris
“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.”   ~ Hans Hofmann
“There is no greatness where there is not simplicity, goodness, and truth.”                      ~ Leo Tolstoy
“If you can’t explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself.” ~ Albert Einstein
“Clutter and confusion are failures of design, not attributes of information.” ~ Edward Tuft
“Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify.” ~ Henry David Thoreau, Walden
“How many things are there which I do not want.” ~ Socrates
“Possessions, outward success, publicity, luxury…to me these have always been contemptible. I believe that a simple and unassuming manner of life is best for everyone, best for both the body and the mind.” ~ Albert Einstein
“Voluntary simplicity means going fewer places in one day rather than more, seeing less so I can see more, doing less so I can do more, acquiring less so I can have more.” ~ John Kabat-Zinn
“Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials.” ~ Lin Yutang
“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius…and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.”                     - E.F. Schumacher
“Be content with what you have, rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.” ~ Lao Tzu


Addiction: Gabor Maté

Canadian physician Gabor Maté is a specialist in terminal illnesses, chemical dependents, and HIV positive patients.

Dr. Maté is a renowned author of books and columnist known for his knowledge about attention deficit disorder, stress, chronic illness and parental relations.

His theme at TEDxRio+20 was addiction -- from drugs to power.

From the lack of love to the desire to escape oneself, from susceptibility of the being to interior power -- nothing escapes.

And he risks a generic and generous prescription:

"Find your nature and be nice to yourself."

Dr. Ned Hallowell guides us


Struggling with distractions in this amped up world? Renowned expert Dr. Ned Hallowell guides us through stories, guests, tips, calls, and lots of surprises too. If you’re pulled and prodded all day from many directions or tied to your smartphone and apps, this insightful and entertaining journey will help you regain control of your life in a fun and novel way. Give it a listen and … wait, did you see that bird?

Customer Reviews

A necessary topic!
So great to hear from Dr. Hallowell on a topic I think probably effects everyone! I know as a single Mom, I have a hard time staying away from my phone and focusing on my daughter! I look forward to hearing more.
Very helpful
I had heard of Dr. Hallowell and his work previously, but now I understand all the fuss. He was truly able to put the World of Distraction in perspective for me, explain how people easily lose focus, and offer some quick fixes on what I might want to consider to help me get past the anxiety I sometimes face at home and at work.
What a great resource!
What can I say- he is THE authority on this "disorder". He changed the direction of my life in an incredibly positive way through his books, seminars and from being his patient. I no longer live in Massachusetts so commuting thousands of miles for appointments is out of the question BUT now I have these fabulous podcasts to help keep me in check. Thank you Dr Hallowell! Keep them coming!
Distraction with Dr. Ned Hallowell
View In iTunes

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