This week I had an important telephone appointment, one that had implications for my career. We ADDers, especially inattentive types such as myself, can become anxious, even catastrophize, when faced with situations that are significant. Since we are highly imaginative, we can conjure up a lot of bad ways a situation might go astray and worry ourselves into quite a state.
Just a little of that kind of thinking can have a positive impact since it can push us forward, giving us energy and alertness to prepare for what is coming. For example, many performers say that if they aren’t a little keyed up, they can’t give a good performance. But it is possible to have too much of a (sometimes) good thing. Too much ruminating can get us so worked up that our brains seem to freeze, such that not a single useful thought comes to us when we most need useful thoughts!
Knowing these things and not wanting my brain to freeze (as it has on many occasions), I put several things in place so that I would be ready when the time of my appointment came: I consulted with colleagues who had been through the same experience, and they offered many good suggestions. I thought through what I wanted to have beside me during the appointment including my notes, writing materials, and water to drink. I considered the atmosphere in the room and planned for appropriate lighting and temperature. I eliminated possible distractions. This was all perfectly appropriate. But something was lacking.
As I was going through these preparations on the day before my appointment, a web site I follow posted a short film of baby seal pups cavorting in the water with several photographers. I watched the 5-6-minute video and was delighted by it. The seal pups were playing in the water just like puppy dogs, even loving having their tummies scratched!
I enjoyed the video so much that I sent the link to my grandchildren who I knew would enjoy it immensely. Then I had a bright idea! It occurred to me that viewing this video would be the perfect thing to do just prior to my important meeting. So, on the list of final preparations, I added viewing that video as the last thing to do.
Why did I decide to make that the last input into my brain before the time of my appointment? It was light and playful and heartwarming. It had a musical soundtrack that I knew would lift my spirits in just a few bars. I know how seriously I can take important events, and I was sure that both I and the person I would talk with would benefit from my loosening up a little. Immersing myself in something delightful would bring balance to my perspective and to the call.
The next morning as the time for the appointment drew near, I was happy to remember what I had planned for my last few minutes. At seven minutes prior, I started the video. It was refreshing to watch the frolicking seals and to listen to the joyful music. My leg was swinging, both feet were bouncing, and I even chuckled out loud several times. I made my phone call with a much more balanced outlook and a brain that was much more on line than I would have had had I allowed myself to catastrophize up to the last minute.
This is a strategy I’ve never tried before. It occurred to me to try it simply because the video reached me at the right time. I’m happy that I was able to see the possibilities in that video and to use it when it could inject some playfulness into a morning that could have been anxious.
So, I learned a couple of lessons:
- To be open to the possibilities around me. You never know what might enter your awareness and transform your experience, like a video of baby seal pups.
- To remember to be playful, to have fun. We ADDers can become so focused on our thoughts, all the ideas and impressions that occupy our brains, that we don’t remember to pause, take a deep breath, and be delighted.