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ep.30: The Book That Changed My Thinking - Loving What Is

Can the way we question our thoughts really shape our emotional well-being? Let's explore the powerful teachings of Byron Katie's book, "Loving What Is."

Listen in as I share how this book revolutionized my approach to managing ADHD and discover the four critical questions that can challenge your automatic thoughts and potentially reshape your relationships and self-perception.

By questioning our thoughts, we not only enhance our executive function but also position ourselves to contribute positively to the world around us.

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What you'll learn:

  • Ways to manage ADHD and emotions by changing your thoughts

  • Byron Katie's four questions to reduce stress and improve impulse control

  • The importance of staying within your own business to reduce suffering

  • Strategies to avoid unnecessary conflict by questioning automatic thinking

"Stress isn't caused by events or people in your life, but by your interpretation of the events or actions."

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Click here to read the transcript:

Welcome to Learn to Thrive with ADHD. This is the podcast for adults with ADHD or ADHD-like symptoms. I'm your host, Coach Mande John. I'm here to make your life with ADHD easier. Let's get started.

All right. This week, I am sharing a book with you that really changed my thinking and I think it will change yours too. This is a book that every time I read it, I just feel more at peace. I feel like I have better control of my thinking. I feel like I love people more and care about the world more so it's one that I highly recommend, and it's called Loving What Is by Byron Katie.

Now, I will warn you it's a little bit out there at first. So, if you choose to read it just hang in there the concepts will all come together. So a quote here from her is when I argue with reality, I lose but only a hundred percent of the time. So how this helped with my ADHD? It improved negative thinking, and if you've done any kind of research, you know that kids, teens, adults with ADHD, we not only have more negative thinking, we also get more negative messaging.

So, that causes problems with relationships or thoughts about ourselves that aren't helpful. So, it can improve relationships and build trust. You can question your negative feedback that you get, slowing down your brain, understanding that you don't have to control everything. And this brought me more peace and calm, like I had told you before.

Reducing stress. When you are less stressed, your executive function skills automatically improve. This book reduces stress by. Understanding and mastering your own thoughts. So our thoughts are our interpretation of the world. Stress isn't caused by events or people in your life, but by your interpretation of the events or actions.

And if you're watching this on YouTube, you can see that I have the picture of the dresses, the famous picture of the dresses that we all. saw differently, whether you saw it as golden and cream or blue and black. It was our interpretation, right? It's the same with our thoughts. Two people can see the same event, hear the same things, and think two completely different things about it.

And the wonderful thing about that is. You can change your interpretation in order to feel better. So the four questions that she has you ask, so let's say you're thinking something that's upsetting you. Maybe you had a fight with a friend. Let's just go with that example and the friend said something to you and now you're thinking that they're mean or unfair or you're resenting them or whatever might be happening and you're having some sort of thought and you can ask yourself Is this thought true?

Can I absolutely Be sure that this is true. How does this thought make me react without this thought? Who would I be? So those are the four questions. So I have some hens here in, in the images on YouTube, but I have what I call the chicken story. And when I started in coaching and when I started. Applying the things I learned here as well, which was partly taught in coaching.

I really started getting a handle on my emotional regulation and my impulse control. And that was because I was now questioning my thinking. I wasn't automatically reacting. And so what I call the chicken story, a little bit gruesome, I'm sorry, but we have hens. We live here on a little farm and. We have these beautiful hens and I got kind of what they call a rainbow pack of them.

And so they're different colors and different breeds. And one of them died. It gets very hot here in the summer and sometimes chickens don't take the heat so well. And one died in the nest box. And I don't like to deal with dead things. And so I asked my husband, hey, tomorrow, when you go to work, can you take care of that chicken?

And I went out to collect the eggs the next day and I noticed that the chicken was no longer in the nest box, but it was just kind of shoved into the coop. And normally, my thought process would have been, why on earth did he do that? Why didn't he just take the chicken like I asked him to? I would have gone down this whole line of thinking, but because I had been learning to slow down my thinking and slow down my reactions and question my thinking, I looked at that situation and I went, gosh, I don't know why he would do that.

But he must have had his reasons. And so normally I would have, you know, made a phone call, asked him why he did that, been upset, you know, that kind of thing. And I just let it go. And I decided I'd just ask him about it later. And so he came home from work and I asked him, Hey, why did you just shove the chicken?

So, in this rainbow pack of chickens, we had two chickens that were identical and they died back to back. So one died one day and one died the next day. And so it wasn't the same chicken. It was a whole new chicken. But had I not questioned my automatic thinking, I would have. you know, flown off the handle or overreacted in some sort of way.

And so that's what I call the chicken story. I tell my clients about that all the time, but it's just kind of a funny story about how when we really start to investigate our thinking, we can see the world in a different way and it really helps us with our reactions. So, let's talk about projection. What this questioning does is show us that we can't always believe our interpretation of events.

And sometimes the turnaround, which we're going to talk about later shows that we are projecting ourselves onto others. What if my thoughts are true? Okay, so you might be listening to me and you might be going, okay, but I can't question all my thoughts. Some of my thoughts are just true. So what are examples of that?

I don't believe there should be world hunger, right? I don't believe there should be war. There shouldn't be pollution. Okay, so I can agree with you on these examples, but what if you are getting upset about war? What if you're getting upset about world hunger? It's just stressing you out. You're getting angry about it.

What if you're angry about people polluting the oceans and things like that? You don't need to be upset to be motivated to make a change. In fact, it's not actually useful for you to be upset about it. You're going to be far more effective. If you come from a place of thinking clearly and taking the small actions that you can take to make a difference instead of coming from the negative emotions.

So this reminds me of a story. I love Wayne Dyer's books. They're just very soothing and very interesting. And if you don't know who he is, he's an author. He's written a lot of interesting books and he was on stage. It was an interview with he and. Esther Hicks, and they refer to Esther Hicks is like Abraham, and he was on stage with her.

He was talking about seed. I can't even remember what it's called off the top of my head, but where they like engineer seeds. And he was very upset about this. You could hear it in his voice. He was kind of what I was talking about where you're like, what if my thoughts are true? He knew his thoughts about this situation were true and he was angry about it and it shouldn't be happening.

And the point she was making to him, and it was just interesting to see some such a thought leader like Wayne Dyer get angry and frustrated about the situation, but she was saying the same thing to him that we're talking about here, you're not as effective when you're angry. They're not taking your phone calls at the company when you're angry about these things you're spending your time ruminating or being angry or complaining instead of making the changes that you can make in the world.

So which is more empowering If I accept reality, I'll become disempowered is what you might be thinking. So tell me which of these sounds like you're doing more like you're empowered. I really shouldn't have lost my job. Or I lost my job. What can I do now? Obviously the second one, right? When you're thinking it just shouldn't have happened.

You're not going anywhere. You're just spinning your wheels. Welcome to reality. Whatever happened should have happened because it happened. We can't go back in time. We've not built the time machine to go back and make things that you feel shouldn't have happened, not happen, right? So no amount of thinking about the past is going to make any kind of change.

So what the work works on, and that's what Byron Katie calls this, is the work. It works on your work, family, relationships, world events, your thoughts about yourself, anything that's upsetting you in any kind of way. So another client story. I had a client that I was using this work on in kind of a roundabout way.

I was kind of working it into the other type of coaching that I do, and he was telling me about how he didn't like that he would get so upset about little things. And we discussed this and we discussed, you know, maybe other alternatives to his thinking about the things that were happening. And what he really didn't like, it was, there was kind of an automatic.

Being upset or snapping at his wife or that kind of thing. And he came back to me telling me about this situation where the cabinets were sticky and his automatic thinking was, oh gosh, why didn't she just wipe off the cabinets? Like why do I have to do this? You know, this was just the automatic thinking.

Super nice guy. We all know that we kind of snapped to these thoughts, right? Kind of back to my chicken story, is it, is it really something to get that upset about? But I did, or I normally would anyway. But same with the sticky cabinet story. And so because he had learned to start questioning his thinking, he, you know, came across that sticky cabinet and he stopped himself and he slowed down and he's like, what else could be happening here?

And he stopped himself and he thought, you know, she might've had our daughter. In her arms while she was trying to do something, or maybe his daughter reached up and touch the cabinet herself. And his wife didn't even notice that it happened. And he started going over, like, all these other possibilities that could have happened instead of the automatic thinking that would have upset him.

And so that was super helpful for him. And I always kind of remember the sticky cabinet story. When you feel better, you do better. This is something I like to say with all of us ADHDers, and I'm going to talk about it later. Our executive function skills work better when we are feeling better. So any way that you can adjust your thinking to feel better more of the time, it's only going to help you.

How much better will your brain function when you're not angry and frustrated? When you're not upset, when you're not sad, when you're not ruminating about things, how much better is it going to function when your mind is clear and you're calm and at peace? So here it has a quote from Byron Katie and it says, the only time we suffer is when we believe a thought that argues with what is.

When the mind is perfectly clear, what is, is what we want staying in our own business. Byron Katie in the book says that there's three kinds of business. There's my business, there's your business, and there's God's business. And so my business is obvious. That's my own business. When I'm in your business, I start worrying about what I think you should be doing.

And then there's God's business. And she uses God as whatever you decide that is, whatever's out of your control, whether it's nature or the universe, whatever that might be for you. And obviously we're in no control of that one, right? So we want to stay in our own business. It's the only one that we can control.

A thought is harmless until you believe it. And if you are listening to me on the podcast instead of watching on YouTube, what we have here is an adorable young lady with pink hair. And the reason I use this as an image is I tell my clients a story about believing what people say and sometimes believing our own thoughts.

If you were walking down the street and you didn't have pink hair and somebody said, I don't like your pink hair. You would just think that they're crazy and you would just keep walking along. It wouldn't really affect you in any kind of way. But if you did have pink hair and somebody walked up to you and said, I don't like your pink hair, you would probably be upset.

And why is that? It's because now it means something to you. Now you believe what they said. And it's kind of the same with our thoughts. Like our, Thoughts are not upsetting until we believe them, right? So, our thoughts strung together create a story and the stories that we tell about ourself can be useful or not useful, and what we can do in order to change those stories is start to change the thoughts.

So let's talk about buffering. Buffering is something that we can do to avoid our feelings, avoid stressful feelings, avoid any kind of negative feelings, and buffering can be lots of things. It can be overeating. It can be sex, drugs. Alcohol, it can be like minor things that you wouldn't really think are much of a problem like your phone or Netflix, or I don't know if I said overeating. What I like to say is buffering is a lot of the overings. It could be overworking.

It could be anything that you're doing to avoid your feelings that's going to give you a negative result in the end. If we are handling our thinking with this type of work, then we don't have to buffer. Then we get back our time, we get back our energy and we can use that on useful things that we enjoy.

So helpful tips. Start this work with someone you haven't totally forgiven. Do this work on things outside of you until you get the hang of it. Be sure to write it down. She gives you the example of like writing down everything that you're upset about. With this situation and be sure to go ahead and write it down because it will really slow you down.

Your brain can get ahead of you and kind of on to the next story. If you don't take the time to slow down and write it down and be open minded. So, what is the turnaround? So she has this thing where she says, judge your neighbor, write it down, ask for questions, turn it around. And the turnaround is where you take those same judgments that you took from this upsetting situation.

And maybe you're saying that this person is petty and they're rude and they are selfish or whatever. And you turn that around and you go, okay, what is the opposite of that? That might be true about them. Or you could turn it around and you could say, how is that true about me? Because, like we were saying with the projection earlier, we will often project ourselves onto other people.

And so a lot of times these turnarounds can be just as true about us as it is about them. We're all human, right? So why should you care about this? Why should you even do this work? You will slow down your thoughts and clean up your thoughts. This will make you calmer and happier. Being calmer and happier will improve your ADHD symptoms and you can reduce buffering.

Our thinking is everything. If we can clean up our thinking, we can use that brain space for all the wonderful things that we think about with our ADHD brains. And if you can think in the right direction, you can do absolutely anything. So again, the book is Loving What Is - 4 Questions That Can Change Your Life by Byron Katie.

And again, it has that quote, when I argue with reality, I lose, but only 100 percent of the time. So do you need some support now? Does this sound interesting to you? Are you ready to question your thinking, but you're just not sure exactly how to do it. You can work with me one on one. You can check the show notes or the description on YouTube.

You can probably click the little card on the YouTube channel. You can join the ADHD Academy. There's group coaching, courses, resources, and community. And when you work with me one on one, you actually get both the private coaching and the membership. So for being with me this week. I love sharing. Books that have changed my life, and I hope you enjoyed it.

See you next week.

Thank you for your time and especially your attention today. If you haven't looked into the ADHD Academy, you'll want to do that. This is my membership with bingeable courses, weekly live coaching, new courses every month, a community of like-minded people, and more. Be sure to head over to to get the details. See you next week.



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