Sitting still is usually not conducive to focus in the ADHD brain. UNLESS the activity is so entertaining it releases the brain pleasure/focus chemical dopamine (video games anyone).
A common complaint of the digital generation when asked to do something they don’t enjoy is that it isn’t fun or its boring. Actually, many adults have the same complaint.
Who said it has to be entertaining to be worth doing?
You know what else releases dopamine? Movement, exercise, using your body in some way. Sitting around increases boredom because you aren’t generating enough dopamine.
Don’t run for the device to get your fix, get moving. Listen to music while taking a walk. Find entertainment in nature or a museum that requires you to walk.
Engage life for your fix of natures’ focus chemical instead of a device that encourages you to sit still and merely consume.
“If you went through what I went through you wouldn’t trust people either.”
“If this happened to you you’d be angry too.”
These statements sound familiar? Yes, I’ve felt that way on occasion. My concern is for the person who feels this way for years.
To hang on to the feelings experienced at the time of any emotionally significant event requires a great commitment.
A commitment to fear, blame, resentment and an unwillingness to forgive.
I see this in people with ADHD or Asperger’s who’ve encountered person after person who was ignorant or simply mean. That was my childhood experience and some of my adult life as well.
The solution isn’t to minimize it, ignore it or get over it.
One solution is to learn at a deep level that YOU are not the opinions of others about you. As Les Brown says, “Don’t let someone else’s opinion of you become your reality.”
This mindset requires a different kind of commitment. One in which you introspect often, get to know and love yourself as an imperfect human being who is on a journey to learn and grow by gathering wisdom from your experiences.
A journey in which learning is the measure of success. LEARNING, not avoiding hurt and not avoiding mistakes of any kind. This is important work and an act of self-love.
You can teach your child with ADHD all the skills you like.
But if they don’t believe in themselves they probably won’t use them.
Keys to believing in yourself:
🔑 Quit comparing yourself to others who aren’t walking your path
🔑 Practice self-compassion
🔑 Acknowledge your successes without minimizing them
🔑 Define success as progress instead of perfection
Many with ADHD get trapped in the thinking that they’d rather accomplish things perfectly or not at all.
That thinking leaves out the most important part, learning.
With our executive function challenges (i.e. self-reflection, analyzing the facts of the experience) it can be difficult to understand why our actions caused the results they did let alone how to adjust our actions for the next attempt.
This helps explain why many of us have difficulty learning from our mistakes and instead keep doing the same thing over and over again.
Here’s one solution. Your mind tends to process more slowly so give your mind time to work with what happened. Don’t settle for, “I don’t know” and giving up on problem-solving. Step away and let your subconscious work on it.
The answer may pop in your head later.
I’ve helped many clients get much better at this.
A more practical solution would be to review the scenario with someone and ask if they think you missed something.
We may be accused of lacking common sense in this instance. That isn’t the case at all, it’s an executive functioning issue and asking for help from others is a courageous move.
“Things will NEVER change.”
“It’s ALWAYS been this way.”
When you find yourself stuck in sadness, anxiety or in your thinking, chances are you’re practicing all or nothing thinking.
This is a common trap for people with ADHD and very important to become aware of for your emotional, psychological and relationship health.
Freedom and solutions are found in the gray and rarely in the extremes.
Many youth and adults with ADHD resist the idea of medication to manage the challenges ADHD can create.
Meds are historically associated with the treatment of illness, an infection you want to get rid of.
Mental illness, as a result, is so stigmatized in our culture the mere idea one may need to treat something mentally through medication can result in great fear and shame.
Though ADHD isn’t considered a mental illness, the idea of meds for treatment can make it appear so.
“There’s nothing wrong with me,” or “I’m not crazy” are common reactions.
What this expresses is, “My brain is me!” “If I take a medication for my brain it means something is wrong with me!” “I don’t want to change me!”
If I’ve learned anything it’s that my brain isn’t me. My brain is what helps bring me into the world. It learns language, remembers people and important things about them.
It reminds me of the values that connect with my spirit so I can live those values consistently. The better I can live my values the greater the impact I can make on the world.
If my brain or anything else results in me being inconsistent and unreliable. I’d like to do something about it.
I don’t take meds but my sons do and the results are miraculous. I use meditation and mindfulness to manage my ADHD.
The point here is to put greater importance on the results you want to create instead of protecting the mistaken belief that who you are rests solely in your brain.
So many adults with ADHD live with poor self esteem and a trunk full of painful memories that impact their ability to enjoy life.
Words like bullying, embarrassing, lonely and more are used to describe their experience of childhood. It was the same for me.
The good news is the past doesn’t have to equal the future. You can heal the past hurts to make room for happiness in the present.
It takes work but you owe it to yourself and to your kids to be the best you.
A few tips to get started:
- Write a letter to your younger self explaining how important it is to hang in there because of the things they’ll get to experience in the future.
- Give yourself permission to grieve your less than perfect childhood.
- Forgive the adults who didn’t know what they didn’t know.
- Remind yourself daily that you’re worthy of love and respect.
Decision making can be trickier when living with ADHD. Your tendency is to think in an all or nothing way. Even though you may be aware of the gray, it can be more difficult to find it.
I’m fortunate to have people in my life who excel in the gray. Well, it’s as strategic as it is fortunate. It’s essential to surround yourself with people who balance you out. You end up doing the same in return.
I’m also great with the details but miss the big picture.
Here’s the key to making better decisions. My black and white thinking is something I’m aware of and I know there’s information I forget to consider as a result.
So when I need to think something through I reach out to the people in my life to help fill in the gaps.
They don’t make my decisions for me, they help remind me what else I need to consider. Having them help me think more completely leads to better decisions.