Start small Do the smallest step that will get you started. For example: if you need to answer a difficult email, the first step would be to turn on the computer. Work it into your routine Tie a new, unpleasant task into your routine by adding it on to something you know you will do. For example: you could do stretches while watching the evening news. After I worked at my tasks yesterday morning, I thought that the reason I had gotten things done might have been because I worked in the morning, but it wasn't. It was because the television wasn't on. Now that Sunday night is over, am I bothered that I missed television? No. Why? I'm not concerned with what I'm not aware of. You can't miss what you never had. Two nights without any television whatsoever. It's amazing what you can get done without the television set vying for your attention. One neat solution to aimless channel surfing that may work for you is to cut off your cable or satellite provider and go back to receiving your channels the old fashioned way, off the air. With fewer channels at your beck and call, you may find channel surfing less tempting. Some cable and satellite providers offer their customers the opportunity to temporarily disconnect their service by going on vacation status. This is an excellent way to experiment with living without so many television channels. Feeding my soul with inspirational knowledge is the beacon in my life. I must stop depending on others for my safekeeping. I am no longer going to feel guilty for taking care of me.

I need to do my part by practicing self-care so I can be a greater example to my kids. I will learn to say no and not feel guilty. I cannot change my spouse, but I can change me. Giving to others gives me an amazing feeling that money can't buy. I will quit giving myself excuses for not eating healthy, not exercising, or not taking care of me. I will listen more to what my body is telling me and act on it. It's my responsibility to love myself regardless of my past. Chasing money isn't everything. Being an active part of my kids' lives means the world to me. My life is really a beautiful blessing, and now I embrace it. In order to get results, I must apply effort. I will treat my loved one special every day, because we never know when that last day is coming. My aha moment is my moment and is not meant for others to understand. I need to work on loving myself more so I can give more love to others. I'm not going to focus on the stresses of the world but create my own happiness and share it. All is not lost! The good news is that if you change how you think or what you do, then new, positive neural pathways are formed. The RAS in your brain becomes more aware of and tuned in to positive events and possibilities. When you continue using these new positive pathways, they become stronger and deeper. Eventually, they will replace the old ways of thinking and behaving.

You will have rewired - or reprogrammed - your brain. Imagine, for example, that you need to learn to use your left hand instead of your right hand to write with a pen. It will take time and effort, because the neural pathway for using your right hand is well established. But if you really want to do it, you can forge new pathways and develop a new way of writing with a different hand. The same is true for anything you want to do or any way you would like to think. Certainly it takes effort to change the way you think, but it is not impossible and it's never too late! I want to be clear that I do not have all the answers. Some of my many ADD problems are solved by the strategies, some I am still working on, and some I don't have a clue about. And we can only work on one or two things at a time, so it's a long term ongoing project. I didn't want to tell you that it's easy. There's a list of typical ADD problems on page 15; you might want to glance at that and see if any of it seems familiar. Or you might not; it could look pretty demoralizing. Fortunately, there's also an outline of coping strategies on page 18, and you might want to glance at that and see which ones you are already using. About the term itself, ADD, attention deficit disorder: the official term is ADHD, attention-deficit/ hyperactivity disorder. I prefer ADD; it's shorter and it best fits what I personally struggle with. So from now on, I will use ADHD only when I want to emphasize the hyperactivity aspect. The symptoms and problems of ADD are pretty common in humans; many people have some of them some of the time. The difference is that those of us with ADD have most of them most of the time, and they cause lots of problems for us, both large and small problems. If you have not been diagnosed, you may find yourself wondering if you have ADD. Once you get started on a goal, the next challenge is to stay on track.

It's easier to keep going when you have a plan and ways to stay organized. Elisa is really struggling with her pain. She has pain every moment of every day and it causes a lot of anxiety and frustration. She isn't sure why she is experiencing such intense pain, or why it seems to spread from her shoulders into other areas of her body. She also has burning pain in a band around her chest, at the level at which her spinal cord had been injured. When she talks to her doctors about her pain, they offer her more medication. She keeps taking higher doses of medication, but she isn't getting a lot of relief, and the side-effects from taking them are creating more problems. She is willing to try anything to manage the pain. This seems like a simple question. When you stub your toe or get a stomach ache from eating too much, the experience of pain is familiar and easy to understand. But what about when pain persists long after an injury? What about when the brain or spinal cord have been damaged? Is the sensation of pain easy to understand then? Why do I still hurt? What is going on in my body? Will this pain go away? At times pain can feel like an enemy, but it is usually a very helpful sensation. This chapter will explain the science of pain. As it turns out, the sensation of pain is very complex! Learning more about pain can help you to feel less afraid of it and help you live a more active and full life.

Pain is an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience; it is there to motivate you to change your behaviour so you stay safe. If you didn't feel any pain at all, it would be difficult to know when you are hurting yourself. The brain needs to be alerted if the body is exposed to anything dangerous, such as: touching something too hot, sitting for too long or overworking muscles and joints. If it's a strong enough suspicion, you don't need to diagnose yourself; you can get some professional help with this. Diagnosis is discussed on page 360. Our focus center is different. This is the hypothetical spot in our brain that has to be turned on in order for us to focus our attention on something. Our focus centers simply don't turn on like people's without ADD. Our lack of focus is our primary problem and the source of many of our difficulties, like procrastination, trouble setting priorities, trouble dealing with time, trouble finishing projects, perfectionism, and the inevitable demoralization. We have trouble starting something, staying with it and not getting distracted. We drift into dead ends and into unnecessary and fruitless pursuits and time wasters. All of this is due to our focus center not being turned on when we need it. Similar to the way television can lure you into aimless channel surfing, the Internet has the same ability to gobble up the free time that we can often better employ by being productive. In fact, the two are so similar in nature, that I could practically reproduce the previous section right here, merely substituting the word Internet, where Television would have appeared. Instead of doing that, I'll simply suggest that if surfing the Internet has been monopolizing your free time, then you may wish to begin monitoring how you spend that time. If your time on the Internet has gotten out of hand, then ask yourself the following: Do you turn on your computer the moment you come home from work and then immediately plunge into checking your e-mail? Do you spend more time communicating with friends online than you do self-communicating by assessing your own needs and seeing that they're taken care of first? Do you get lost in Internet chat rooms, or on social networking sites? Once again, as with aimless television channel surfing, the habit of aimlessly surfing the Internet comes down to the decisions that we make about how we will spend our free time. While it can be tremendously difficult to pull yourself away from your computer, the best way to deal with this foe to personal productivity is to avoid getting onto the Internet without first having taken care of a few pressing tasks.