Take Care Of Your Mental Health
People with ADHD often have mental health challenges, such as anxiety, depression , or addiction . As with sleep problems, these mental health problems can be both a cause and an effect of ADHD.
I was an alcohol and marijuana addict for all of my 20s. But much earlier than that, I was hooked on sugar and video games, which are two of the most common gateway addictions for young people. For any young person reading this, please know that your ADHD makes you prone to addiction so you should be wary about experimenting with drugs. Its far easier to prevent addiction by avoiding drugs entirely than it is to get sober after youve been hooked.
And for anyone reading this who is already addicted, know this: You can get clean, it wont be as hard as you think as long asyou fully commit, and being sober will make just about everything in your life easier.
Depression is also common in people with ADHD, and because depression makes everything harder, it makes ADHD more difficult to manage. In addition to getting help when youre feeling depressed, you can take steps toprevent depression when youre feeling good. Personally, I find it very helpful to spend time in nature, keep agratitude journal, listen to short stories , spend time with close friends and family, and hang out with my cat .
In other words,anxiety and ADHD are connected in a feedback loop that can easily become a downward spiral. Luckily, everything that improves brain health helps with both ADHD and anxiety.
Turn To A Fresh Page In Your Notebook
4 For the first project or task, write down the steps you must take before getting started. This might include supplies you need, an environment that needs to be prepared, instructions that need to be found, and so on. Do your best to write them down as fast as you can.
5 Repeat steps 3 and 4 for the next project or task until you have done this for all three projects.
6 Evaluate your work and write down a reflection in your notebook. Were you easily able to identify a preparation plan? Is anything missing? Did you have any insights or aha moments?
The joys of weeding! When you complete a task or project, make sure to throw or put away any materials, notes, supplies, alerts, and so on that were associated with it. This will help you reduce clutter and be less distracted whenyou start another task.
Get Back To Work On The Original Task
9 In your notebook, write a brief reflection on your experience. Were you able to use the breathing and distraction log techniques? Did the techniques help you get back to work? After completing this exercise, you may choose to do it again for practice, or you may juststart using the techniques in your daily life. Whatever is most comfortable for you is best. I wantyou to begin trusting your intuition and allowing your confidence to build. How to Sustain AttentionTo sustain your attention, it can be very helpful to use the traits and behavioral patterns thatcome with ADHD rather than fight against them. One trait thats common to nearly all peoplewith ADHD is the desire to seek novelty. One way to create novelty in your work is to mix thingsup by not working on the same project all day long. Granted, there are times when you mustgrind away on the same project all day, but hopefully, its not the norm. Lack of novelty oftenleads to boredom, and boredom leads to distractionso it helps to mix things up.
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Choose A Task You Already Find Easy To Focus On
2 Find a location thats fairly distracting. This may be a coffee shop, your office, or even your home with kids or roommates present.
3 Locate a dedicated distraction log and place it at your workstation.
4 Start working on your chosen task. After about 10 minutes of work, move on to step 5.
5 Intentionally allow a couple of distracting thoughts to come up. There are two ways to do this. You can simply let yourself become aware of the noise around you and think something like, Ugh, this is a distracting place. Ill never get anything done. Or you may think about a project at work or home that you need to do. Make an extra effort to think about some of the outstanding tasks for the project. I recommend noticing the distractions around you and triggering thoughts about a project to get the most practice from this exercise.
6 Use rhythmic breathing to calm your mind and help put you in a more focused state.
7 Write down in the distraction log the name of the project and the tasks you thought of.
Exercise What Are Your Options
1 In your notebook, list the three examples you used from the previous exercise, Linking Action and Outcome .
2 For each example, list at least five behaviors you could have chosen instead. If you get stuck, get creative. If one option involves calling aliens to come help you, so be it. The point is to free yourself up and be mentally flexible.
3 For each example, choose one of the alternative behaviors that would have led to a more positive outcome. Write down the positive outcome that the alternative behavior would have led to.
Pause and turn over stones. When you are presented with a challenging situation and feel the pull to act impulsively, pause. Use this brief pause to think of a few alternative paths that might lead to a positive outcome.Leave no stone unturned.
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Favorite Brain Hacksand More For Adults With Adhd
If you’re looking for a little bit of motivation to kick your brain into gear, this episode of Overcoming Distractions will help you give you a bit of a kick start. Dr. Lara Honos-Webb, author of Brain Hacks and several other books on ADHD is back on the podcast, and she is joined by Pen King. Both are co-founders of Bonding Health. Pen is also a partner in a venture capital firm which requires him to be on his game. Both Lara and Pen off of their advice for giving your brain a little hacking. Lara says some of the more important things to consider when we are not feeling 100% is to recognize our feelings, create some type of action steps and create a list of our needs. She also outlines several questions you can ask yourself to get you thinking clearly again. Those include: If I were more confident in myself, what would I do? If I were more driven, what would I do? If I were still age 10, what would I do? And more to get you thinking. Pen King discusses several things that he feels are important as a busy entrepreneur, including understanding the courage to move forward, being resourceful when you need it, and understanding how to use your energy when you have it. Learn more about bonding health here, which provides research-backed tools to help ADHD parenting. https://www.bondinghealth.com/
Living Working And Thriving With Adult Adhd
Itâs more than just being âhyper.â And girls are incredible at masking ADHD, which often means theyâll find out later in life.
Cleo team member Dani talks about her experience of getting an ADHD diagnosis as an adult.
Imagine living your whole life struggling to fit in, finding it difficult to understand your own brain and generally going out of your way to act ânormalâ like everyone else. Thatâs pretty much what it feels like to find out as an adult you have ADHD ð
Itâs more than just being âhyper.â And girls are incredible at masking ADHD, which often means theyâll find out later in life.
âBut what is ADHD?
ADHD stands for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Itâs a long, complicated title that gives no context. ADHD is different for everyone. And thatâs the thing: no two people with ADHD will experience the same symptoms or challenges.
âA total estimate of 2.6million people in the UK with ADHD â – ADHD UK
âItâs estimated that adult ADHD affects more than 8 million adults .â â Webmd US
Huge numbers, right? That many people are functioning and living with ADHD. Itâs not always about being hyperactive, having 0 concentration or not being able to sit still. Itâs not like the stuff you see portrayed on TV, and thatâs ok. We become aware of our own âquirksâ and how to use them to our advantage.
For me, Adult ADHD looks like thisâ¦
Do I have adult ADHD???????
So if your google search history looks like thisâ¦
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Does Reading Calm Adhd
It depends. Some people with ADHD find that they have trouble reading. This can be because they have trouble focusing or feel overwhelmed, which impacts reading comprehension. In this case, audiobooks may be a useful alternative to reading a physical book.
However, in other cases, you might find that reading calms the many thoughts swirling around in your head. Some people with ADHD experience hyperfocus and read an entire book in one sitting.
Outcome You Get Fired
5 After you practice tomorrow, write down what you observed about practicing the technique. Ive observed that practicing . . .
Remember to zoom out. Just like a camera, you have the ability to zoom in and see your situation up close, but that may prevent you from seeing the whole picture. Zooming out is another way of taking a step back and noticingeverything you are experiencing.
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Exercise Finding Your Plan B
1 Lin is running outside to call a cab for an important interview. She takes the elevator down from the fortieth floor, gets to the lobby, and realizes she forgot her phone upstairs, along with her ID badge. At first, she thinks theres no time to go back up, especially without her badge, and no way to call a cab without her phone. Or is there? How could she secure a cab another way? You have 20 seconds. Go!
2 Your seven-year-old son has a friend over for dinner after a playdate. Youre making a spinach, apple, tomato, walnut, and cheese salad when your son says, Dad, my friend doesnt eat green veggies. Can you adapt the dish youre making? You have 20 seconds. Go!
Exercise What Are The Consequences
2 Once you have listed all the possible consequences, choose which set of consequences you would want in that situation. Write down your decision with a short explanation of why you made it.
3 After youve done all the examples, reflect on your experience. Was it hard or easy? Did you feel pulled to think in the short term or the long term?
Out of the blue, you are presented with an offer from the owner of a competing company.EXAMPLE 1The offer is to double your salary if you come work for that company, but you must quit yourcurrent job before they will officially hire you. Will you take the offer?
You need to be up early tomorrow for a big dayyoull be showing out-of-town friendsEXAMPLE 2around your town. Its already one hour past your optimal bedtime when you see an online adthat says theres a free sneak preview of a new blockbuster movie available online beforemidnight. Do you watch it?
One day, in front of the grocery store, you meet a nice family thats giving away puppies,EXAMPLE 3kittens, and baby rabbits. They offer you the option to adopt one of the cute little pets for free andtake it home. What will you decide?Think about what someone else would say. Before you make an impulsive decision to receive an immediate reward, think of two people you respect, and ask yourself what they would advise you to do.
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Do You Think Your Examples Were Clearly Explained
In order to use metacognition, you need to take a brief pause. Try to decide on a few key areas in your life where you need to use metacognition in order to help improve your functioning and quality of life. By doing so, you will bemore likely to be aware in the moment and pause in order to think about your thinking .
EXERCISE SELF-MONITORINGUsing metacognition to monitor your thinking is key to managing your emotions. For example,imagine that you just waited 10 minutes for a parking spot, only to have someone sneak their carin front of you and take it. You might feel so angry that you want to scream curse words out thewindow, but you check yourself and decide to look for another spot, rather than embarrassyourself. You experience difficult or strong emotions, just as we all do. Being able to have somecontrol over how intense the emotions are and the effect they have on your behavior is critical toyour success. You need awareness of your emotions and the thoughts behind them in order tomanage them. In the next chapter, we will look more closely at emotions and techniques formanaging them. In preparation for that, and to further hone cognitive flexibility, lets try thefollowing self-monitoring exercise. While following the steps below, be aware of what you are thinking and feeling as you goalong:
Exercise Whats Your Plan
1 Find a place at home or work with very few distractions. You are going to be thinking fast and will need to pay good attention.
2 Decide on three projects or tasks you want to do, and write them down at the top of a blank page. They can be work related, such as producing a revenue report or building a cabinet, or they can be home related, such as cooking spaghetti or helping your child with a school project.
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The Surprising Advantages Of Having Adhd
People with ADHD are often more creative than neurotypical individuals . Theyre often funnier. They have more energy and vitality . Theyre more open to new experiences and better at spontaneity . And although they struggle to stay engaged with routine tasks, theyre capable of hyper-focusing on projects they care deeply about .
The long list of famously successful people with ADHD includes Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, and Salvador Dali , athletes like Michael Phelps and Simone Biles , actors like Emma Watson and Jim Carrey , musicians like Justin Timberlake and Dave Grohl , astronaut Scott Kelly , and entrepreneurs like Richard Branson .
That said, ADHD does come with its share of difficulties.
Use Executive Function Strategies
Another hallmark of ADHD is struggling with executive function . This means we have difficulty with things like staying organized, managing multi-step projects,overcoming procrastination, and being on time all essential skills for success in the modern world. So to thrive with adult ADHD, you need to have a toolkit of executive function strategies at your disposal.
The most important principle is to not rely on your memory. Instead, rely on reminders. If necessary , use a variety of overlapping reminders to ensure that nothing important is forgotten. I use Google Calendar to keep track of my schedule, but I also write out my schedule in a daily planner each night, and I have phone alarms for all of my appointments.
Also, like many people with ADHD, my mind buzzes with ideas: things I want to do, things I know I should do, things I have to do, ideas for creative projects, random thoughts that have no discernable purpose, etc. To make room for new ideas, I deposit any potentially useful ideas into actionable locations.
Blog ideas go into one Word document business ideas go into another. Tasks that need to be done today go on todays to-do list, tasks that need to get done this week go on a different to-do list, and ideas for the future go onto one of three to-do lists: Soon, Eventually, and Maybe. Often,these lists have categories, such as Projects, Chores, and Self-Care.
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Choose One Negative Thing That Consistently Pulls Your Attention
2 Write that negative thing down on a sticky note and place it on your bathroom mirror.
3 On a separate sticky note, write down where you want your attention to be instead, when encountering what you wrote in step 2.
4 Every day for seven days, read out loud the name or description of the negative attention grabbing thing in step 2. Then read out loud the name or description of the positive thing you wrote in step 3.
5 Repeat this process every seven days with a different negative attentiongrabbing thing. Over time, you will develop better awareness of where your attention is landing and gain some control over it.
Practice changing your work environment. You might find that a different location or environment, even as small as changing the location of your desk or cube, can help jump-start a change in attentional shift.
Human Nature Vs The Modern World
Human nature is a product of evolution by natural selection. As such, our brains are adapted to help us succeed at survival and reproduction in our ancestors environment. And that environment was very different from the one we now live in, as James Clear explains inAtomic Habits:
Similar to other animals on the African savannah, our ancestors spent their days responding to grave threats, securing the next meal, and taking shelter from a storm. It made sense to place a high value on instant gratification. The distant future was less of a concern. And after thousands of generations in an immediate-return environment, our brains evolved to prefer quick payoffs to long-term ones .
In our ancestors environment, it might have helped to have a wandering attention. It might have helped to be a little impulsive. It might have helped to have a brain that prioritized immediate returns over long-term plans .
But we now live in a very different world a world that rewards long-term thinking and self-discipline:
In modern society, many of the choices you make today will not benefit you immediately. If you do a good job at work, youll get a paycheck in a few weeks. If you exercise today, perhaps you wont be overweight next year. If you save money now, maybe youll have enough for retirement decades from now. You live in what scientists call a delayed-return environment because you can work for years before your actions deliver the intended payoff .
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