Off to the Gym…the Brain Gym!
Hopefully not bloomers or a baggy “gym-suit” á la public school.
When I saw that Rick Green (of totallyadd.com), one of my favorite ADHD gurus, was teaming up with Brain Gym instructor Jill Hewlett of brain works global inc. for an evening of ADHD Awareness combined with cognitive fitness strategies, I was intrigued.
I spoke with Rick to find out a bit about the session, which is this Thursday, Oct. 21 @ 7:00 p.m. in Markham, ON (for more info., click HERE). I also spoke with Sharon Todd, Brain Works Global Inc.’s Director of Sales and Operations and Educational Kinesiologist.
Here’s what they had to say about the upcoming workshop and their experiences with Brain Gym and cognitive fitness strategies.
Interview with ADHDer Rick Green of TotallyADD.com, Internationally acclaimed Writer, Producer/Director and comedian
Zoë: With the cognitive fitness strategies you’ve done so far, can you pinpoint any tangible gains that you feel that you’ve made?
Rick: What I found was that it was actually calming. They get you more present. They break the circular patterns. It was the strangest thing to do, look up to the right, left, tap, look here, hum, say this, do that, it was a whole series of things, but at the end of it, it just broke the logjam.
Zoë: What role will Brain Gym play at your workshop?
Rick: They’re going to start things off with a couple of exercises to get everybody more present. When we take the break, they’re going to do an exercise to help people retain what they’ve heard. They’re doing a series of exercises that do everything from helping increase your comprehension to basically getting you to retain it better and so on, long-term, and working with memory, and so on, so they’re going to be doing their exercises around my talking about my ADHD and what I’ve found works for me.
The little I know about [cognitive fitness] and some of the exercises I’ve done over the years, I do know that it makes a dramatic difference. I haven’t [specifically] tried the brain gym stuff, so it’s going to be neat. I’ll be doing [the exercises] as well. I don’t want to know too much about it because I want to see how it works on me.
Zoë: What do you personally hope that the participants will take away from the session?
Rick: I think they’re going to come away with a number of tools from the Brain Gym as well as the stuff I’m going to be talking about. So I think there are going to be a lot of strategies and tools that they’ll take away.
The bigger context will be that there’s a lot that can be done. There’s no point in learning about tools if you’re never going to do them. It’s like going to a weight-watcher meeting, getting all the information and never doing it, and then continuing to eat because I believe I’m a lazy slob, it doesn’t matter, and blah blah blah… So, the tools themselves are as effective as your willingness to take them on.
Zoë: So how are you going to help us to be motivated to actually apply what we get in the workshop?
Rick: A couple of different ways. One is to see the ways that [ADHD] is actually costing you. Ways you will not have appreciated before.
My goal is always to leave people in a much better place than when they came in. And leave them with some power in their hands to be able to start doing things to take it on.
Interview with ADHDer Sharon Todd, Brain Works Global Inc.’s Director of Sales and Operations and Educational Kinesiologist
When I spoke with Sharon, I learned that she had been diagnosed with ADHD 15 years ago and, like myself, was very hyperactive. When Sharon was first diagnosed, she took a stimulant medication to treat her ADHD.
Sharon was told she metabolizes her medication quickly. She had her meds increased, but was told that because of her high metabolism, she’d have to start looking for alternative ways to manage her ADHD symptoms. This, combined with her desire to have children, led her to take a 3-day Brain Gym course.
Zoë: So what did Brain Gym do for you?
Sharon: I felt grounded immediately, as soon as I did it. It was amazing. It was like being on the drugs without the drugs. I’m not saying this is for everybody, but I haven’t been on medication for more than eight years now. I just use Brain Gym.
Zoë: Tell me about Brain Gym and how it can be applied to people with ADHD.
Sharon: Brain Gym is cognitive fitness. Your neuro-networks run throughout your entire body, not just in your brain. By doing movements that are integrative, you can actually connect all the parts of your brain so you’re using your whole brain. And what frequently happens with Attention Deficit Disorder, is that either those networks aren’t fully connected or they’re not very strong.
What Brain Gym primarily does is it removes physical, emotional and mental stress. So, by doing that, it allows the neuro-networks to make the connection so you’re using the whole brain. So, I could be fully connected after doing some Brain Gym and then all of a sudden somebody calls me and says, “You’ve got to be in an interview in 5 minutes,” then I go into stress, then I’ve lost connection, right?
Zoë: So then you can apply this technique to restore it, is that what you’re saying?
Sharon: Exactly. And Brain Gym can be used strategically based on the activity. That’s what I like about it. Before I started using Brain Gym, for me, when I was in school, math was a terrible topic. I couldn’t do math. I hated it. All my negative self-image stuff came out whenever I had to do it and I procrastinated.
However, when I became self-employed, bookkeeping became part of my role, and I used to, after I took the Brain Gym course, I would just specifically focus on doing the Brain Gym movements that were relevant to math activities.
And so, I went from being that person who procrastinated three-four weeks before doing my bookkeeping. In my head the whole time it was like, “Oh, you’re just going to make mistakes, it’s going to be awful, you’re not going to be able to figure it out,” to, “Ok, today I have to do bookkeeping. It’ll take me an hour, maybe two; maybe I’ll make a mistake but that’s ok because I’ve got somebody to help me.”
Zoë: How does Brain Gym help with the boring aspect of bookkeeping?
Sharon: It’s the attitudinal shift, it’s the self-talk. That’s what really changes. It’s just like, I don’t like going to the gym. But I go to the gym 3-4 times a week. I know that it helps me, and before I used to have discussions, when I first started going to the gym, about, “Oh I should go,” or, “No, I’m not going to go.” Now I don’t even have the discussion. I just know I have to do it. I’ll get through it. It’ll be done and then I can move on to other things.
There’s no connection or choice in it, I just do it and that’s just something I have to do.
INTERESTED IN THURSDAY’S WORKSHOP? Find more information HERE.
Kessler, Z. (2010). Off to the Gym…the Brain Gym!. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 27, 2015, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/adhd-zoe/2010/10/off-to-the-gym-the-brain-gym/