Do you feel like you’re juggling more balls than you can keep in the air? Are you becoming increasingly distracted, irritable, impulsive, and restless? Are you having difficulty keeping up with your work? If so, you may be experiencing what most working people have at some time or the other. It’s called Attention Deficit Trait (ADT) and you’re not born with it. It’s a “workplace-induced attention deficit caused by the constant, relentless input of information.”
Edward Hallowell, the psychiatrist who identified ADT identifies the symptoms as follows: “When people find that they’re not working to their full potential; when they know that they could be producing more but in fact they’re producing less; when they know they’re smarter than their output shows; when they start answering questions in ways that are more superficial, more hurried than they usually would; when their reservoir of new ideas starts to run dry; when they find themselves working ever-longer hours and sleeping less, exercising less, spending free time with friends less and in general putting in more hours but getting less production overall.”
If those symptoms sound familiar, now is a good time to take a deep breath. In fact, breathing and being aware of your breath and your body can be the first step in overcoming ADT. “Most people don’t realize that there is a reciprocal relationship between the breath and our emotions, and that improper breathing can create mental distress,” states Dr. Patricia Gerbarg who has studied the relationship between stress and the breath for decades.
I first read about ADT in a new book called “Real Happiness at Work” by Sharon Salzberg. I’m not finished with it, but so far I would give it RAVE REVIEWS!! I had the good fortune to be at a meditation retreat with Sharon in January in Massachusetts at the meditation center she co-founded in the 70’s. In fact, she is one of the first people who brought meditation practice to the West back then. She is a fabulous teacher and offers very accessible practices for bringing sanity back into the workplace at a time when it is desperately needed. One of the people that she interviewed for the book said “one deep, meditative breath can settle my mind before a meeting or even just checking an email.”
Get the book and practice more easy exercises to bring happiness to your workplace. Listen to some meditations on Sharon’s website or start here http://www.tricycle.com/online-retreats/real-happiness-work by listening to Sharon talk about “mindfulness and concentration.” She is doing an online retreat through Tricycle Magazine during February. The first week is free.