16 Tips For Harnessing your (ADHD) Potential
The modern world can be a challenge for life with ADHD symptoms but it doesn't have to be and here are a few methods to improve your quality of life.
Do you think you have ADHD? Do you have really good days, and really bad days? Do you want more of the good ones? Most of us live our lives distracted so you're not alone.
One of the positive aspects of neurological differences is that we perceive, think, and behave differently to most people. We aren't given the tools or space to explore these in schools, but here is what I found.
Remember, you aren't alone. In our own way, we are all in crisis, but most of us experience it alone. Our modern world disconnects us from who we really are, our friends, our community, and the natural environment. Increasingly we are opening up and sharing our experiences and reconnecting with the things that give us meaning in life.
Try lo live a little like a hunter gatherer. Find a small tribe of people you trust. Have fun and share stories. Spend time outdoors - open up your senses to the smells, sounds, colours, and textures of nature.
A morning ritual is essential. I wake up at the same time every day. A good routine sets the tone for the day. A short period of serenity and self discipline leads to a better day. I meditate, do breathing exercises, take a cold shower, and spend time in the garden or going for a walk. I tune into temperature, sounds, touch, smells. I don’t turn on a screen until after breakfast.
Exercise without fail. We have to burn off energy more than most. Outdoors activities are preferable. This helps to calm us and process information and solve problems.
Find time to switch off, even if it's just 5 minutes. I meditate and read books. I also find time to lie down with my eyes closed listening to podcasts and music. Our senses become overloaded so shutting down one or two senses can recharge us.
Technology is a great servant so be the boss of it. Phones, apps, and social media is designed to be addictive. Be conscious of how you’re using them and how they make you feel, and adjust accordingly. I turned off all notifications, sounds, and closed all social media accounts apart from LinkedIn. I actively search for information and don’t like having it presented to me.
We are what we eat. We can have a high metabolism which means we burn off calories faster than most. Modern life encourages us to be mindless consumers of everything, and this is a real problem when it comes to food. Our brains already work differently and processed foods change our gut bacteria and brain’s neurochemistry. This can affect our focus, energy, sleep and many other things.
Prioritise good sleep because bad sleep opens the doors to a catalogue of problems. Most people take a good night’s sleep as a given, but not if you have ADHD. I go to bed at the same time each night, and never eat late. I try to avoid TV and screens in general. I need fresh air and a cool room too. I need to exercise and not be stressed before bedtime or I will have interrupted sleep. Sleep is the most important regenerative function of the human condition. It changes our brain, it helps our focus, memory, creativity, emotions, digestion, and much more.
Hang out with dream-makers. We are only as good as those around us. Follow the good people that believe in you and inspire you to live up to your potential. Ditch those who break your dreams. Dreaming is central to living with ADHD, don’t let people punish you for this amazing capacity.
Find good work which makes you want to get out of bed every day. Think about how these 3 themes intersect: 1) Experiment to find out what you love doing 2) Through experience work out what you are good at 3) Find people who are willing to pay you for it.
Try and avoid crazy relationships.
Don’t spend a lifetime trying to succeed at a job you will never be good at.
Curtail. Delegate. Eliminate. Life is too short to do things which have no value. Prioritise what matters to you…
Find your creative outlet. I had music, nature, and socialising. These allowed me to cope with the boredom of my job or stresses of homelife. Adrenaline fuelled physical activities might be your thing, or entrepreneurship, art, or gaming. It is normal to want to experiment, create, and experience life. ADHD needs this to escape drudgery, but often leads to a fulfilling career.
Grow a plant and keep it alive. Understand what it needs to flourish - light, nutrients, water, pruning. Some plants visibly change throughout the day and from one day to the next. So do you. Connecting with nature in this way helps you understand what you need, and how your bodily cycles work.
Medication can work but there’s always a but. Coaching, mentoring, lifestyle change, new experiences, different environments help to generate lasting change.
Start with one or two things and make them a habit. Look forward to them and build your life, learning, and work around the ones which really matter to you. It's in every one's interest that you are your best self.