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Getting the Purple Paperclip

So what’s up with purple paperclips? How often do you see them? To be honest, it is bigger than just purple paperclips though there is something very special about those.

What is a paperclip? By definition it is a bent metal object which holds things, particularly papers together. I focus on the, “holds things together” part.  During legal meetings it is easy to “fall apart” emotionally. One might lose their edge needed to make a point or reflect upon the subject being discussed. The likelihood of seeing paperclips in legal meetings is high. Staples are not often used because they mess up the corners of the papers, and it is much easier to pass papers around when not stapled. Paperclips are just so much better for legal and high-end meetings for paperwork. I use the visualization of paperclips to symbolically to remind my clients to breath, they are not alone, and that they are happy reminders to maintaining balance. When a paperclip appears it is a positive mental reminder of things we have discussed.  There are many other uses of paperclips in my practice, this is just one.

Now for the purple paperclip, it has a meaning. When you see a purple paperclip it means wealth and prosperity are heading your way. I know, it is an old fortune teller’s thing but just seeing one reminds me to keep focused. To not let frustrations and challenges get me down, forward thinking and a positive attitude bring wealth and prosperity. Creative Tidal Wave uses the purple paperclip as a symbol of how the principles and alternates presented can bring a positive impact to businesses. Positive bosses create positive employees which present positive atmospheres to clients creating a productive and prosperous business environment. This moves the business from a negative to a positive in many ways.

What objects remind you of positive thoughts when they mysteriously appear?

Find the purple paperclip

Find the purple paperclip

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The Sound of Happiness

While staying with my 91-year-old cousin, I noticed she hummed when she was moving about rearranging her pretties around the house. This reminded me of my Granny, when she was happy she whistled. Giving the topic more thought, I realized all the women of that era on my mother’s side of the family made a noise when they were happy. Several aunts would hum, another had a very low sing-song like sounds she would make while another older cousin would whistle tunes I am certain I heard sung on the Andy Griffin Show by the Darling Family. Sadly, no one in my generation does this. Not sure why we didn’t pick up on the happy sounds. Maybe it is due to the constant noise that surrounds our lives. Have you ever stopped to just listen to all the sounds? Over head lights buzzing, monitors from computers and flat screens humming, clocks ticking, air blowing from cooling fans on electronics, outside traffic noises, cell phone sounds, hand-held gaming sounds, microwave beeps, ice maker cubes dropping… the list is endless. We are bombarded with sounds every second even in our sleep. We barely notice them. I wonder if our brains are effected by all of constant sounds it is subconsciously interpreting? Wonder if anyone has ever thought of researching the effects of constant low-level sounds? Could this be a reason in our inability to concentrate? I realized how much I missed the soft sounds of my Granny’s whistling. Listening to my cousin’s humming as she went about her day was such a comforting sound. Her house doesn’t have all the gadgets and gizmos mine does. The sounds about her home are happy sounds as she goes about her routine. I wonder, if I turned off all the electronics in my house would I hum, or whistle?



Welcome back to Creative Tidal Wave! Lots of awesome things have transpired during the break. Cannot wait to blog about my adventures and new developments.

One of the oldest means of music and communication can be traced back to drumming. Recent studies have shown there are great benefits from listening and taking part in drum circles. Drumming effects alpha waves. Drumming is also an excellent group leadership and community uniting activity. The magic of a drum circle to unite bring all the participates in unison is a phenomenon worth experiencing. It is an ageless activity that people of all backgrounds and levels can take part in together to create one flow of positive energy.

This summer I reconnected with my drummer past. In high school, I was a mallet player on the drumline in the marching band. If you have never been around a high school drumline you may not be able to fully comprehend the magic that occurs when the drummers gather. It is a tribal inner connection which is brought about while drumming. It doesn’t matter which percussion instrument you play, it is being a part of the rhythm and beat created as a unit which brings upon the magical trance of the vibrations which radiate through out your body and soul. Yes, I guess one can say it is somewhat of a spiritual experience.

Over the past years I have experienced some trauma. I was aware there was some neurological damage which manifested on the left side of my body. Very slight but still I was aware something wasn’t right. It was very notable when I started back drumming. Over the past 4 months I have experienced a remarkable change. I do owe some of this to my fantastic drum instructor who has amazed me on inventing ways to work around some of my quirks. Working with the drums I have developed confidence, rehabbed my mind by rerouting the messed up wiring, and I have reset my inner rhythms. Now I cannot go very long without the need of chiming in by hand drumming various beats I hear in my every day life. This has been such a calming effect as well as one which has heightened my focus and awareness. The problems with my left hand are returning back to normal as well.

I was pondering what the outcome would be if drumming became a part of the school curriculum. I remembered back to my early childhood days when the arts especially music was a part of my weekly routine. Rhythm sticks, rhythm bands, listening to drum music and learning to tap out the beats, and the field trips to hear orchestras were all a part of my curriculum. In most schools today this doesn’t happen. I dug into more research to find early drumming experiences can have a positive effect on reading and behavior. Hmmm, could the solution to help struggling students be this simple?

Stay tuned to learn the secret of the paradiddle.

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Over scheduled child

As a parent of two active children, I understand the meaning of being an over scheduled parent. It is difficult to work 40 to 50 hours a week coupled with the duties of being a mom. Add to the work and home chores are the weekly activities. In today’s society we have a driving need to make sure our children are involved in as many sports and arts activities as possible to give them the edge in their future endeavors. Sports are different when I was a kid in the 70’s. Some children practice daily for hours to become world-class athletes at the old age of 12. It is the same for children with music practicing recital pieces for hours on end mixed in with private lessons and group sessions. The pressure to be the best at the age of 8 or 9 years old did not exist some 40 years ago.

Olympians are getting younger. The need to lie about age is a constant reminder of the need to compete for extended years. The same is happening in little league. I have heard of children being put on strict diets to make weight requirements to play recreational league football and wrestling. It amazes me what parents will do in the name of sports and the ultimate glory to win it all.

I believe another term for this madness to push children has been called the “hurried child.” The constant push to excel at all cost has caused many children to lose the best years of their lives, the careless days of fun and exploration as a child. What happens when we take away childhood?

I have witnessed the result of such pressure on children. There is an increase in suicide in children/teens who feel they have failed to meet expectations. The disappointment from a parent who is constantly pushing a child beyond limits is resulting in more failures than wins can make a huge impact on the emotions of a child. Stress injuries are on the rise in children where it was rarely seen before. Some of these injuries are life altering or worse, life threatening. The absence of age appropriate interactions often affects how children deal with problems later in life. The emphasis on personal validation  wrapped around a trophy or rank can cause the inability to find happiness without competition.

Don’t take me wrong, it is good for children to be involved in competitive activities. It is very important to take part in team and group activities in moderation. More so, it is good to be able to balance school and other activities of interest. Colleges do look for future prospects who can maintain good grades while participating in a variety of activities. Success such as excelling in a sport or holding leadership positions builds character. There are those rare exceptional children who are gifted. But we must realize not every child is or can be made into a super star.

Childhood is a time to explore and not worry about the pressures of adulthood. It is a time to  test limits within the safety of supervision. A time to learn how to interact with others via unstructured but monitored gatherings. It is a time to dabble in a variety of interest  without the fear of failure. Children need lengthy down time moments.

A hurried or over scheduled child finds it difficult to handle down time. This includes the excessive gamer children who must always be hooked up to some sort of gaming system constantly. I do consider those in this category because gaming is another form of competition. Children also get wrapped up in winning via thumb-play as much as they do a highly competitive sport but without the physical training which includes fitness.  Those of you over 45 years of age will remember creating games and never having a problem finding something to do after school when you were finished with your homework. We never had excessive ball or piano practice. We had a great deal of outside play or finding fun things to do indoors. We did not need to be entertained at all, in fact we just wanted to be left alone to explore and create. We sought time to disappear to find treasures often getting in trouble for all the holes we dug in the neighbor’s yard. We tested out agility by climbing trees. We would swing on our swing set for hours. We painted masterpieces in mud on the driveway then made to hose them off. We were inventors, dreamers, and no doubt testing limits daily with bending the rules.

I urge you to allow for some unstructured time for your child. If you are the parent of a super athlete or artistically talented child who is involved in competition, please find time to allow your child to have extended breaks. Create a balance. Challenge yourself to revisit those carefree days. You might need to show your child how to build a fort out of sheets on a rainy day. How to make mud pies, win a snow ball fight or the skills in staying dry during  a water gun battle are all things children should experience.  Just make sure there is time for fun creative childhood memories.

Please share some of your best outrageous childhood adventures.

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Environmental Impacts or Simple Causes for Frustrations

You are dining in a popular restaurant around lunch time but during the time between Christmas and New Year’s. Just a meal with a friend but with some business talk on the side. You notice both of you are getting very frustrated. It has escalated. If you have a background in environmental impacts you might have caught it like I did before it became an indirect disturbing emotional moment. People often will lash out at another for no known cause other than something is irritating but not obvious. Let’s look at the environmental impacts which might be causing the disturbance resulting in irritation.

To the left is a table of ladies who are obviously celebrating a gathering to exchange holiday gifts or maybe a birthday. To the right is a bar full of gentleman who are obviously not on the job because they have definitely indulged a bit more than normal at 12:30pm. The noise level of these two groups is escalating. Surrounding you are parents and grandparents out with children who would have otherwise been in school at this time. Normally at this time of day you have your business lunch folks or those grabbing a bit on the job. Little marketing and business tricks, keep the place cool and the music fast paced so people move in and out quickly. This  strategy could be a bonus if you targeting the business folks. It is a psychological trick to get people to eat faster. Business lunch crowd needs to keep up a fast pace and music can definitively shape that behavior. So back to the trouble spots. Fast loud music means the partying groups are getting so loud it was hard to hear. Loud people laughing and doing what loud people do often can upset kids causing them to become more irritable.  Irritable children scream or cry which makes parents raise their voices. Do you see a  cycle here? The other folks elevate their voices to talk over the party folks, crying children and upset parents so the noise level is steadily increasing as more people dine. All folks get anxious thus causing them to get frustrated but never aware it is due the increase noise levels. Oh, and not to mention being cold. Must note that the temperature dropped a few hours earlier from a warm spring like temperature to now a nice polar breeze.

What could management do? Well, someone needs to always be aware of the public dynamics happening, it could influence your bottom line. Because this wasn’t the typical week day lunch crowd the atmosphere should have changed to a night-time one. Slower music does calm the savage beast or lunch party crowd goer. Raising the thermostat a few degrees to welcome folks out of the unexpected cold helps as well. Since the restaurant clearly was divided, place the happy party goers to the right and the lunch bunch even those with kids to the left. I am willing to bet there would be an increase in appetizers,  desserts, and drinks bought that day because folks would have been cozy and desire more food while socializing. A few tweaks would have made a big difference.

Awareness is the key. Have someone who has experience in environmental studies to come into your work place to see where small changes can be made to help improve sales, staff or client behavior, or deal with some frustration to which you haven’t been able to figure out the cause. You might be surprised what small changes can do.

Tomorrow I will address another example of environmental impacts at the work place.

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Address the Stress

Apple pie

Apple pie (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Who cannot smile after viewing this picture?

The season is upon us! Finals for the high school and college crowd, the holidays with travel and extended family events, and the ending of another year. You might think I am jumping forward a bit but it is always better to prep for the oncoming season of stressors. We cannot change some events but we can lessen the stress factor. Another reason to reduce the stress is because it is contagious. Yes, your children, your spouse, your employees, and if you teach, your students will feed off your stress. The higher the stress the more it will affect your body. You become grumpy. You lose sleep. You can become depressed. Your immune system lowers its ability to fight illnesses. Your relationships suffer. It is a never-ending cycle of downward issues which build more stress.

Get started now to make this season a less stressful one. If you are a music lover, surround yourself with happy and peppy tunes. If you are a visual sort, surround yourself with color and fun pictures. Never under-estimate the power of the refrigerator gallery. Fill the space with pictures of fun memories and pictures of friends and family. Also fill your pages with doodles. Lots of fun doodles are pleasing to the eye. If you are a kinesthetic sort, have small baskets of hand fidgets to play with. Stress balls are great for such. Carry one in your purse or backpack. Other ways to reduce stress are sucking on mints, chewing gum, and revisiting the childhood favorites, lollipops. Another way is my filling your environment with wonderful smells. Aroma therapy works! Wonderful holiday smells will bring back fond memories. Fill your house will the smell of cinnamon, apple pie, or hot cocoa smells. If those aren’t appealing, go for the fresh pine or bring back the smells of summer such as fresh flowers or a nice ocean breeze. Whatever scent makes you happy, plug it in. Exercise is another wonderful way to reduce stress. Walking helps drain the stress away. Try yoga. Anyone can do it. You do not have to be able to twist and contort your body to receive the benefits of yoga. Meditation is another wonderful destressor.  There are wonderful DVDs and CDs with guided meditations. You can even download them on your phone or Kindle. Please remember to not use medication music or guided ones while driving. I have given you plenty of examples of great ways to reduce the stress.

At your workplace, add some color to enhance the visual needs. Add some calming music if you are allowed. Fill the air with fresh scents of the season. Not only will these additions help you reduce stress it will also enhance the attitudes of your employees and customers.

For kids, get them outside. A cool breeze and fresh air are good for everyone. Play is a great stress reliever. Often we over schedule children during the holiday with parties, sporting events, and family events. We forget they need down time to recoup and unwind. If a child is fussy, when was the last time there was a day when they had nothing scheduled? Find time to fit in family time. There is nothing wrong with lazy days. Not days filled with gaming but days filled with low tech moments to rest the eyes and sensory system. I am certain the universe will survive without the gamer for a day. Keep a record of the fast food meals. Too much junk food stresses the body. Make sure there are veggies and fruit each day. No, I do not care what the food folks say, ketchup is not a vegetable.

Be proactive! Get ahead of the stress by incorporating some of these strategies now instead of reacting. Try to find time for yourself to unwind. It is ok to say no. Keep the stress down so you can enjoy the season more. If you have special ways you reduce stress please share so others can benefit.

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Rethinking the healing process

Music guitar

Music guitar (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

Having spent the later part of the month of September in the hospital with my mother, I have come to the conclusion that the healing process can be enhanced with a few changes. Many things have changed over the years. Many hospitals have become art galleries. I have enjoyed the beautiful works filling the hallways and the various sculptures in the nooks and crannies. It is a positive pleasure to see such when a life is hanging on by the thread.

What I noticed was the lack of other positive sensory stimulation directed towards the patients. One night Mom could not get comfortable. The pain medications did not seem to work. Nothing could comfort her. I happened to have my Kindle which is loaded with a variety of calming music. I chose a Native Indian flute CD with nature sounds. I led her through a very short visualization. Had her close her eyes and listen to the music to help her envision a peaceful place. It wasn’t long before she drifted off to dreamland. The nurses and techs came by to comment on the peaceful music. Such an easy technique which works more often than not. With such a wide variety on the market I am certain there would be something to appeal to any and every patient. It also drowns out the beeps and whirls of the support systems. It drowns out the moans and other vocal noises of others which acts as a reminder to other patients of the pain and discomfort.

During my 8 night stay, I noticed my mother would ask for more pain medications when she could hear others in pain. She also would ask for pain medications when she got bored. Don’t get me wrong, she had some major surgeries which result in some ongoing pain but there were some patterns. She had a difficult time at night sleeping due to knowing the floor was short-staffed. She feared something would happen and no one would respond. Adding the calming sounds and tunes, she seemed to relax more with less fears.

In discussions with the nursing staff, people who have been in ICU for long periods of time have time awareness problems. Mom also had this confusion once she was moved to a step down unit. Of course rooms have information boards but the black and white set up is often confusing for patients who are on heavy medications. Every hour for several days Mom would ask me what day it was and what was important for that day. Knowing I was to leave her for a few days I was concerned how her constant need to know would affect the understaffed nurses. Being a believer in the Right Brain Business Plan by Jennifer Lee, I quickly drew out a creative calendar with visual cues in the drawings. Mom was missing certain activities because of the confusion. When Friday came around the date had a little football as the tittle, or the dot in the lowercase letter “I.”  Mom remembered to watch her beloved football games on TV that evening as well as stayed up to listen to the high school team scores on the news. These are things which make her happy thus keeping her focused on positive things not the pain. Each day a little icon represented  something she looked forward to on that particular day. So far it has been a big hit and helped her get her concept of time back without bugging the staff or causing great frustrations trying to figure it out on her own.

Maybe with a bit of expressive arts interventions recovery time could be enhanced. Reducing the need for pain medications is a big plus. Reducing mental and emotional anxiety makes for a peaceful floor for the nursing and tech staff. Do not wait on the hospital to carry out such, take the initiative to explore options trying different ones to see what works. You cannot take the pain and hurt away but you can take the attention away from it reducing frustrations.

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Time Out Twist We Can All Enjoy

Photo of Glitter Particles

Photo of Glitter Particles (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yes, you read that right. Time out is often a negative thing. I don’t know about you but for the antsy sorts and those who enjoy a moment of fit pitching during said Time Out, this can be a great alternative. Not an original discovery but one I have used with success.

Time Out Jars or, in a new forum I found this delightful name, Mind Jar.  This is a self-made project. It helps distract and gain focus during a short period after a misbehavior moment. In fact, I enjoy using it when my brain decides to run a muck. We all love snow globes. This works on a the same principle but with glitter. I use plastic bottles because at times students get a bit excited and knock things over. A broken glass container with glitter becomes a huge mess to clean up.


* small plastic jar the size of a baby food or small mason jar

* Glitter glue

*Food coloring

*Warm Water


Mix 1 tablespoon of glitter glue with 1 cup of warm water. These two measurements might change if you use a large jar. The ratio should be 1:1, so if you have a 2 cup jar then use 2 tablespoons of glitter glue. You can use any choice of food coloring but calming colors such as blue make a difference. Make sure you use warm water, it helps to dissolve the glue. Make sure to secure the lid tight or glue it in place. Sometimes I like to use decorative duct tape.

When a child needs a time out session, shake the jar. The glitter will take a few minutes to fall to the bottom. You might want to test this out, it will depend on the jar size as well. When all the glitter is at the bottom of the jar time out is finished. You will find children will calm down as they watch the glitter in the jar fall.

If you have  a new twist to this project, please share.


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Deadly Reaction

Pollen from a variety of common plants: sunflo...

Pollen from a variety of common plants: sunflower (Helianthus annuus), morning glory Ipomoea purpurea, hollyhock (Sildalcea malviflora), lily (Lilium auratum), primrose (Oenothera fruticosa) and castor bean (Ricinus communis). The image is magnified some x500, so the bean shaped grain in the bottom left corner is about 50 μm long. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sad story hitting the news today about a young girl who died from a bite of Rice Krispy Treats which was made with peanut butter. She was highly allergic to peanuts. Though she spit it out the toxin had already worked its way into her system. She went in to shock and died. We are hearing more and more about severe allergic reaction yet people still doubt the validity of them.

For years I have suffered from extreme allergies. Mine are more environmental in nature often not known until I am exposed to a chemical or something like large qualities of  mold. There were bullies in the workplace who enjoy “testing” my allergic reactions. I was made fun of when I reacted. It was embarrassing and I had large medical bills as a result of their amusement. I did report but when you work for the government in some places it isn’t taken too seriously until it is almost too late. My health will never be the same because of the abuse I suffered via the exposure due to the bullies in the workplace. Nothing much I can do because if you speak with legal folks, allergies and mold exposure, even with documentation, is difficult to fight in court unless you die from an exposure.

I do not know the details of rescue procedures for the little girl. Never without my Epi Pen now. Often when in a strange place I will tell someone who is not familiar with me I have a pen and where it is. I  wear a bracelet letting people know if I do go down due to a reaction I have a pen and other important information. When it got life threatening I began to take it very seriously. When the establishment would not hold people accountable for harassment and exposure I realized my life was endangered. It was up to me to make sure I was always ready. In my 40’s it meant a bit more to me than when I was in my teens and 20’s. Guess we think we can live forever when we are so young we are often careless. Know many children and teens over the years who refused to carry an Epi pen. It was difficult to find one near when things happened such as a bee sting. Over the years I have preached awareness and being proactive in regard to allergies.

I am highly allergic to an odorless substance, It is commonly used in every household and business. I get very little warning before reactions start. Sometimes my inhaler is enough other times it progresses to an emergency run to the hospital. People often tell me, if you cannot smell it you cannot be allergic to it. SO WRONG! It kills insects so why would you think it might not have the power to kill a person? Someone did spray my car for reasons I will not go into now. You do not understand fear until the moment you realize you are driving and an allergic reaction starts. Then, you realize someone had to have done this to you all-knowing it could kill you. A weapon few think about and one most medical people would not think to note as a cause unless the person survived to say it had happened on a smaller scale before. Like a simple Rice Krispy Treat at a party, allergies can be lethal. There was no malicious intent at the party when the little girl happened to bite into a treat. But we should always be alert of the remote possibility it could happen to an older person. We try our best to avoid allergens. I have yet to meet someone who enjoys an Epi stick, rounds of steroids and breathing treatments. Some reactions can cause other issues in the body lasting more than a few days. My reactions go into serious lung problems lasting up to a week with a hospital stay. Allergens can be lethal. The result of an exposure for some cannot be reversed even with an Epi Pen.

You might think it rude but ask guest if they have any known allergies. If you use strong chemicals or cleaning products in your home, make guest aware. Strong perfumes and body sprays can also effect people with allergies. If someone tells you they are allergic to something you are wearing do not get upset with them. Please understand there is a difference in not liking a scent than being allergic to one. You might save a life just by telling what is in the food you prepared or sprayed in the air. Please be considerate of those who might need to leave or move to a different area due to allergies. Again, they are not being rude just trying to save their life.

Allergies are disabling in certain situations. It doesn’t make the person any less of a being. Allergy medications can make a person groggy or a bit light in the head in nature. Do not hold this against them. Without the medication there might not be a tomorrow. Be alert to the needs of others. If you have a friend or family member with allergies, be aggressive in scouting out potential hazards. You might just save a life.


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Invisible Academy

What do ADHD, ADD, bipolar, despression, audio processing disorder, visual processing disorder, dyslexia, and learning disabilities all have in common? There are no outward physical traits to cue you in someone has these problems. If you line up people at business meetings,  ball games, in church or most any place, I doubt you could pick out folks who have these disabilities.  You would never know  unless there was a remote chance you were a well trained professional. Even with years of experience it would be difficult in most situations to pick out who had what. We all go through periods of extreme excitement or depression so one cannot be defined or labeled based upon one meeting. After an extended period it might be obvious something is a bit odd or different about a person but in general, these labels could be classified as “invisible” disorders.

What do you do if you have a child or staff with these challenges?  There are counselors and special interest groups who address needs but no one likes to be seen walking into a place with ADHD Workshop plastered everywhere . The truth is we do not want anyone to know if we have such disorders or labels, be it ourselves or our child. As employers we care not to think that “little Johnny” is now working for us and his ADHD is running everyone crazy. We do not like facing the truth because it makes us look bad in others eyes, so we think. We waste more time avoiding the situations. Life can be less stressful, more productive, and full filling if we only accept. Proactive intervention is the key.

How do you get help without making it obvious you are seeking help? You would be surprised at how often the solutions are just common sense things. Life has a way of distorting reality to the point we lose perspective. Don’t worry, it happens to us all. Sometimes we just need a fresh approach or our eyes and minds dusted out a bit so we can see the situation clearly. It is hard for parents to deal with what they think is horrible behavior when it is not out of the normal range just out of their comfort zone. We get busy often caught up in too much internet and media information that we blow the situation out of portion. We have lost track of what is normal to focus on what is the easiest. We often do not want to work for solutions. A quick fix is just that, a patch not a solution. Employers often forget the younger generation thinks and processes differently. The workplace doesn’t run as smoothly in 2013 as it did in 1978. Not because the old ways are out of date and useless or the employees are not as smart or focused, it is that life is different across the board, you must adjust. And yes, ADHD is in the workplace as well as a slew of other labels attached to workers. Seeking solutions via the arts can make a world of difference. A change in the music can increase productivity. A change in the color and visuals can calm or stimulate activity. A change in attitude and approach can reduce stress. Some thing as simple as doodling on a note pad when frustrated while figuring out a problem can stimulate solutions. Not only will it help people with challenges it will also boost others in the environment. It is a win-win situation.

Seek out creative options. There are plenty of creative options and hands on workshops which offer a different perspective to common issues. Also, these creative instructional workshop ideas can be applied to writer’s block, making life change decisions, overcoming a recent tragic event… the list is endless. Check out Artella Land and  The Muse Is In sites. Contact me at Creative Tidal Wave for simple alternatives.  Check out my Shark Like Focus blog entries for solutions.


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