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Table of Contents
- Embrace a Positive Identity
- Get a Physical Check-Up
- Let Your Strengths Shine
- Develop Your Weaknesses
- Fuel Your Brain With Proper Nutrition
- Exercise Daily
- Get Proper Rest
- Set Clear Goals
- Establish Productive Rhythms
- Reflect and Retool
- Use a Calendar
- Use a Digital To-Do List
- Work in Bursts
- Learn in Chunks
- Learn with Speed and Repetition
- Have Fun
- Turn Negatives into Positives
- Be Mindful
- Get an Accountability Partner
- Fight for Inbox Zero
- Consider Stimulant Medications
Let’s start off with this question…
Why survive with ADHD when you can thrive with it?
In our clinics, we have the joy of seeing children and adults thrive with ADHD. It’s not uncommon for us to witness individuals with ADHD for the first time begin to smile and feel proud of who they are for the first time.
Having experienced the pleasure of success, whether in academics, relationships, or performance at work, they begin to feel comfortable and confident in their own skin.
It is our desire that you, too, will have a similar experience on your ADHD journey. We’ve compiled 21 of our best strategies to help you flip ADHD on its head and turn your “disability” into an asset.
But before you get going on your journey, here are a few suggestions:
Think deeply about each strategy and apply them in a way that best fits your unique personality and context. Be open, know yourself, and adapt to what works for you.
As you begin implementing these strategies, expect to see progress, but don’t expect it to be a cakewalk. Change is never easy. Be patient with yourself and with your level of progress.
Anything worth accomplishing takes sweat and perseverance. When setbacks and lapses occur, which they will, and when you feel like nothing is “working”, stay with it. Do some tweaking, but stay with it. Don’t give up.
We are confident that if you make these strategies a part of your life, you will soon be sharing how your life has been flipped upside down for the better.
For motivation, make sure to read about these 21 ADHD Celebrities that have found a way to shine.
1. Embrace A Positive Identity
We rally around the belief that ADHD can be an incredible gift – we call it FastBraiin.
Your first step in conquering ADHD is to begin thinking about “it” differently and, therefore, to begin thinking about yourself differently. ADHD carries a negative stigma that destroys your self-image and paralyzes you with destructive patterns of thinking. It’s like a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you think your life isn’t going to amount to much, it probably won’t.
FastBraiin individuals tend to be creative and imaginative, personable and passionate, and outgoing and risk-taking. Those with ADHD / FastBraiin often become highly successful artists, athletes, entrepreneurs, and salespeople.
The first thing you need to do on this journey is to start defining yourself positively rather than negatively.
Do you have an “attention-deficient-hyperactivity-disorder” or do you have FastBraiin?
Spend some time journaling about the negativity that you have felt surrounding ADHD. How have you internalized that negativity and begun to believe it? How do you “see” yourself in a negative or positive way or a combination of both?
Now, turn the page and begin to write a new narrative. Write about how you are leaving the paralyzing stigma of ADHD behind. Imagine how things would change if you began viewing your FastBraiin as a gift rather than a disability. Write about how your self-image and outlook on life may change. Write about the new you, the positive you, the FastBraiin you.
Begin believing you have a gift.
Celebrate your change in identity by sharing this good news with someone else.
For more information, check out Are ADHD Kids The Future Of America?
2. Get A Physical Check-Up
ADHD is complex. There’s no real test for it, and there’s no real cure for it. What we know is that the manifestations of ADHD are due to a host of factors. Many of these factors may come from co-existing conditions.
For instance, a poorly functioning thyroid or low levels of vitamin D may be contributing to your ADHD symptoms. Mental health issues such as depression and anxiety may be playing a significant role.
We’ve had some clients who, when treated for these issues, experienced great relief from their ADHD symptoms. In some cases, their symptoms disappeared altogether.
It is critical on the outset of your journey that you see a medical provider and have him/her do a complete physical checkup, which includes blood work. Until then, you are operating in the dark, and no strategy can be truly targeted.
To see a list of FastBraiin locations and to schedule an appointment, click HERE.
3. Let Your Strengths Shine
Now that you have shifted your perspective on ADHD, and you’ve had a physical checkup, it’s time to look at your individual strengths. These strengths are the unique ways that your ADHD gives you an advantage in the world.
What are you good at? Take time to write this out. Invite a few people whom you know well to help you in this process. Ask them what they believe are your top three strengths.
Another way to ask this question is to consider your passions. What do you love? What do you wish you could spend all of your time doing? What drives you? Your passions may indicate some ways you are gifted.
After you identify your strengths, begin the process of figuring out how to develop these strengths. What is the next step? Maybe the next step is picking up a book on the topic, taking an online course, going to school, or even volunteering where you can put your strengths into practice? Maybe it’s finding a mentor, teacher, or coach who can help you.
Figure out what it’s going to take to develop your strengths, and go after it with all your heart.
For more on finding strengths, check out 5 Ways To Identify The Strengths Of Your ADHD Child.
4. Develop Your Weaknesses
Though you are developing your strengths, that doesn’t mean you completely disengaged from your weaknesses. Your weaknesses are still your responsibility, and they can plague you if left unchecked.
What good is a powerful and well-tuned engine if the tires are flat? What good is it to be wonderfully creative and yet lack the discipline necessary to develop your talent?
Becoming aware of your weaknesses is an important step toward gaining control over your life and letting your strengths shine.
Take time to consider where you are weakest. Be honest with yourself. There’s no reason to sugarcoat anything. Acknowledging where you are weak is just as critical as finding your strengths. Write them down.
What are the weaknesses in your relationships? In your learning? In keeping and performing well at your job? What are the three most debilitating aspects about you that you wish you could change? It may be illuminating to ask a few people who know you well and whom you trust to tell you what your greatest weaknesses are.
Once you become aware of your weaknesses, you have three choices: develop them, delegate them, or deny them.
Since denying them is not a good option, and most of us do not have the luxury of delegating, it is upon us to develop our weaknesses. This takes hard work, but the payoff is there. We see a great example in Pele, the world famous soccer player who forced himself to kick with his weak leg until both legs had equal ability.
You don’t need to become an all-star, but you do need to develop or delegate your weaknesses to the point where they no longer debilitate you.
For more on this topic, see 10 Tips That Address 10 Specific Weaknesses.
5. Fuel Your Brain With Proper Nutrition
An old proverb says “you are what you eat.” There is a lot of truth to that. The foods we eat have a direct bearing on how we feel and function. No wonder we feel like junk when all we eat is junk.
From a medical standpoint, your brain is an organ and it needs the proper nutrients to perform efficiently. Just as an engine needs fuel to run so that it doesn’t break down, so your brain functions poorly without the proper nutrition.
No need to go crazy, but shoot for a “whole foods” diet as opposed to anything processed. Go for vegetables and fruits, proteins, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats (nuts, seeds, avocado, and olive oil).
Consider ½ of your dinner plate filled with vegetables and fruits, ¼ protein, and ¼ complex carbs with fiber.
Decrease dyes, sugars, and white flour. Throw out the junk food. If it can last on the shelf for 5 years, it’s probably not good for you. As companies process and preserve these foods, they also strip them of their nutritional value.
Get the junk and processed foods out of your home. Don’t rely on your ability to withstand temptation because it will eventually wear you down. We all know how this works. Instead, do a full fridge and pantry clean out, and determine to limit what you bring back into your home.
Going overboard and getting super strict with nutrition rarely works. It does for some but not for most. In general, people who try to do too much too quickly, end up crashing and relapsing, with no long-term change.
Except for cases where there are allergies or other obvious negative reactions, it may be helpful to follow an 80-20 rule. Try to follow the guidelines 80% of the time, and allow for 20% exceptions to be made on the weekends, when eating out, or for special occasions, etc.
The conversation on nutrition naturally (no pun intended) leads to the consideration of supplements. Because our modern diet does not typically fuel our brains with what it needs, we are forced to look elsewhere.
And that elsewhere is supplements, which are an affordable and easy way to boost the brain’s nutrition. In particular, it’s important to make sure you are getting beneficial levels of Omega-3’s, B vitamins, vitamin D, zinc, iron, and magnesium.
Find a brand that you trust. Since the FDA does not regulate supplements, you do need to be careful. There are a lot of companies doing good, but there are also a lot of shams. Do your homework, and make wise choices.
What you read on the supplement label may or may not be what is in each capsule or tablet. This is not meant to scare you, it’s just a fact, and another reason to be discerning when choosing supplements.
In response to the confusion and uncertainty of the supplement market, we have developed our own line of FastBraiin Supplements. Working with a naturopathic doctor and a Ph.D. biochemist that we know and trust (who actually test their products for purity), we ensure that what our clients are putting into their bodies is safe, natural, and effective.
Apart from the general cognitive benefits of DHA and PS, we also developed Focus A which is a blend of natural ingredients that directly target increasing the brain’s ability to focus.
Vivalive was designed to boost mood as well as provide more restful sleep.
For more on nutrition, see 6 Foods To Be Sure To Avoid.
6. Exercise Daily
Most people know that exercise is important for good health, but not everyone knows how exercise benefits the brain.
Some studies have found that exercise can be as effective as pharmaceutical drugs in combatting mental health issues like depression, anxiety, dementia, and especially ADHD / FastBraiin.
Regular exercise increases your ability to focus and concentrate, clears foggy thinking, lifts your mood, and gives you an overall sense of well-being. It reduces anxiety, helps social interaction, and increases self-confidence.
The benefits of exercise can hardly be exaggerated. However, the problem is not usually that we lack knowledge. Most of us know we should be exercising. It’s that life and laziness often get in the way.
We know it can be hard, so here are a few suggestions to help you get moving and stay moving:
• Try to exercise 30 minutes a day.
• Any exercise is better than no exercise. Start with small, achievable goals.
• Consistency is better than intensity. Don’t kill yourself for one day, and then go without exercise for a week.
• Combine cardio and weights, either together or on separate days.
• Play a sport. Sports engage the brain in far deeper ways than does running on a treadmill. Sports may also help you to stay engaged and persevere in exercising.
• Exercise alone or in a group. Groups can help you stay motivated.
• Get outdoors. Walk. Run. Bike. Nature can have the effect of refreshing and calming the mind.
• Mix it up. Those with FastBraiin can get bored easily. Switch sports or activities before your boredom sets in and keeps you from a workout.
Once you start experiencing the significant effects of exercise, it will be hard to stop. Exercising will become a priority, not because you have to, but because you want to.
For more, check out How Physical Activity Improves ADHD.
7. Get Proper Rest
Proper mental and physical rest are critical for FastBraiiners to thrive. It’s common for FastBraiiners to get so focused they begin obsessing about their passions. This can be great, but it can also lead to burnout and exhaustion.
Mental rest means taking care of your mind by giving it needed breaks. When you feel mental exhaustion coming on, detach yourself from whatever is consuming your mind. You may find after resting mentally that you can approach the subject with clearer thinking and a fresh perspective.
Go for a walk. Practice daily mindfulness. Change the scenery. Do something new. Take a needed vacation. Spend time with friends. All of these can rest the mind.
Physical rest means getting enough, you guessed it, physical rest. Your body and brain need sleep to recharge and repair. Don’t burn the candle at both ends, or you will pay for it sooner or later with a decrease in productivity, mood, and overall health.
This also means avoiding screens late at night. Screens can disrupt your natural melatonin cycle and decrease your quality of sleep. Take advantage of recent advancements in technology that can automatically shift the color temperature of your screens based on the time of day. This can be helpful when looking at your phone or working late. Many phones have this built in, and for computers, you can download free programs like f.lux that can be customized to your schedule.
Physical rest also means watching what you put in your body. Junk food, caffeine, and sweets cause your body to have to work harder. They spike your stress hormone, cortisol, which literally puts your body under stress, making you initially feel awake and alert, but then later crashing and reaching for more caffeine or sugar. This can be a vicious cycle and leave you beyond exhaustion.
Biologically there is nothing restful about this cycle. Decreasing sugars and other junk food brings a sense of rest to our physical body, which in turn will bring rest to our mental state.
For more, read How Important Is Sleep For My ADHD Child?
8. Set Clear Goals
Setting goals are about setting the trajectory of where you are going in life. When goals are fuzzy or non-existent, you get distracted easily and can be left floundering. When goals are clearly defined and set, you can achieve focus of mind and clarity of direction.
Do you always reach your goals? No. And that’s okay. What’s important is that you are moving toward them.
You would be a fool to get in the car and start driving without knowing your destination. Yet that is what most of us do day in and day out, spinning our wheels not knowing where we are going. The net effect? Wasted time and energy.
Once we set goals, we can decide on a plan of reaching those goals. But first, we have to do the hard work of setting goals.
Don’t rush this process. It’s important you really think through where you want to go in life. Do a combination of long and short term goals. Life goals will lead you to think about what you want to accomplish in 5-10 years. Then, working backward, what is the goal 2 years from now that fits into your longer-term goal.
Break that down further. What’s your one-year goal? The sixth month, 3-month, or 1-month goals? These should line up with where you ultimately want to go in life.
And, hey, if you don’t know where you want to be in 5 years, no sweat! Nobody ever ends up there anyways. Just look at what you have before you. Maybe it’s simply getting an A on an upcoming quiz. That’s great. Start there.
These goals will guide you as you make hundreds and thousands of decisions on a daily and weekly basis. The idea is that you want to begin connecting the everyday decisions that you make now, to the short and long-term goals of the future.
For more tips, check out this post on Setting Goals.
9. Establish Productive Rhythms
So you’ve established your goals. Now you need to figure out how to get there. That’s what establishing productive rhythms is all about.
Productive rhythms are goal-oriented routines that keep us focused and heading in the right direction. They are critical for FastBraiin individuals who are easily distracted and knocked off course.
So look back at your goals. What’s it going to take to achieve them?
While establishing routines, make sure your routines are taking you in the right direction, but don’t become too narrowly focused in your approach. Think holistically. Consider routines for work, family, play, nutrition, exercise, and rest.
Most people default to a daily rhythm. That is fine, you need a daily rhythm, but also consider weekly or monthly rhythms. Sometimes people get overwhelmed trying to think they need to create the perfect day, and they end up trying to squeeze in too many activities, or leave off important activities for the sake of time.
Planning on a weekly basis allows you to focus on different things on different days and to carry out a more balanced, healthy, and holistic approach.
For more information, see ADHD Daily Routine: How To Build A Plan and Stick With It.
10. Reflect And Retool
In our day of speed, the critical rhythm of reflection is often lost. Reflecting can simply be thought of as intentionally reviewing the past.
How did the day or week go? What are three things you wish you could change? What are three things you can celebrate?
Were your emotions generally positive or negative? Can you pinpoint the triggers that brought about these emotions? What did you learn and how might you need to change moving forward?
As you reflect, it’s important to keep your goals in mind. Are you hitting your rhythms? If not, why not? And if you are hitting your rhythms, are they taking you in the right direction?
After you spend some intentional time in reflection, then retool.
What can you adjust to make your rhythms more effective or productive? How can you do it better next time?
Try to have a set point in your schedule to reflect and retool. If you just hope that it will happen, or determine to do it on the fly, chances are that it won’t happen. Instead, make it a priority.
Consider having a daily, weekly, monthly, and even a yearly rhythm of reflecting and retooling.
Though slowing down at times is helpful, check out Why ADHD Speed Is Good!
11. Use A Calendar
FastBraiiners can be notorious for forgetting appointments, deadlines, or meetings. This, of course, leads to great frustration and disappointment. Overcoming these tendencies can actually be quite simple. This is certainly an area, where with the right strategy and intentionality, you can get a huge reward on your investment. It’s like picking off the low hanging fruit.
It’s time to become best friends with your calendar. I know, earth-shattering, right? But you’ve got to get this. Don’t think you are above using a calendar. There’s the practical value of yes, writing down appointments so you don’t forget them, but there are also huge dividends mentally and emotionally.
When you use your calendar well, you free up valuable mental real estate that is otherwise consumed with trying to remember what’s coming or dealing with the consequences of having forgotten something important. Unburdening your brain in this way actually frees it up to be more productive.
You’ll also begin to feel more on the offensive, managing your schedule rather than being run ragged by it. This will translate into feeling more confident, more in control, and at peace.
Here are a few suggestions to get you started:
• First, determine to use a calendar (at least for more than one day!).
• Every time something comes up, put on the calendar. No exceptions. Don’t be fooled into
thinking you will remember it. You know yourself better than that.
• Set reminders (for digital calendars). Give a generous enough cushion, say 30 minutes in case you totally forgot that you had something going on. This will give you enough time to adjust.
• Begin every day by reviewing the day’s events. Then glance ahead at the next 7 days.
• Once a week review the month ahead.
For more, see 4 Tips To Avoid Overbooking Your Calendar.
12. Use A Digital To-Do List
Though you may not be able to hire a personal secretary, recent advances in technology afford you the ability to use certain apps as a high functioning digital assistant.
Why make your brain do more than it is capable of? Free your brain of the burden to remember what to do by utilizing a virtual assistant to-do program. Apps like Todoist and Omnifocus work great. They come with a plethora of features and can sync across multiple devices.
Use one of these apps as a simple to-do list or dig deeper into their nuances for a more complex strategy. It may be helpful to set up recurring tasks, reminders, and labels.
The more you invest in your to-do app, the more you will get back from it.
Here are a few suggestions:
• Brain dump everything you need to do. You may be surprised at how this simple step frees up important mental real estate that can now be devoted to accomplishing tasks.
• Organize your to-do list into categories — i.e. school, family, or work.
• Break down your bigger tasks into smaller tasks.
• Begin the month looking over your to-do list for the month. Pick out the top three most important tasks for the month. Prioritize accordingly.
• Begin the week looking over your to-do list for the week. Pick out the top three most important tasks for the week. Prioritize accordingly.
• Begin the day by looking over your to-do list for the day. Pick out the top three most important tasks for the day. Prioritize accordingly.
It may take a little time getting used to your new digital assistant, but once you get the hang of it, you will wonder how you ever tried to function without it.
To keep that To-Do List going, see How To Address Lack Of Motivation In ADHD.
13. Work In Bursts
Advances in neuroscience confirm that the brain can optimally focus for only a short period of time. For the ADHD / FastBraiin individual, the window of focus is in the 15-25 minute range. After that time, you can expect overall focus and productivity to greatly diminish.
A technique we love to use that addresses this reality is called the Pomodoro technique. It’s like interval training for the brain. Set a timer for 15-25 minutes (or whatever your maximum focusing time is), and work as hard as you can for that duration.
When the buzzer sounds, detach yourself from your present activity. Resist the urge to keep working. For the next 5 minutes, get up, stretch, take a walk, do pushups, make a phone call, or whatever. After 5 minutes, resume for another 15-25 minute session. This can be a wonderful tool to help you accomplish large tasks that feel overwhelming or to help break through procrastination or writer’s block.
Procrastination is really the brain’s way of avoiding pain. It puts off work because of the amount of work to be done, amount of resources needed, or because of the fear of failure. Pressure and anxiety can then cause the brain to shut down and perform at less than optimal levels.
When utilizing the Pomodoro technique, however, the brain shifts gears. It no longer focuses on the total amount to be done or total resources needed, but focuses on the 20-minute interval at hand, knowing that there will be an upcoming break.
The brain is in some sense tricked into working. You’ve distracted it from feeling overwhelmed and given it something it can do, with pleasure and reward in sight rather than pain. These 20-25 minute intervals then build on each other, compounding confidence and the sense of progress and accomplishment.
To use it for something like writer’s block, don’t worry about trying to write a great essay, just tell yourself to write “something” for 25 minutes. You’ll be surprised at how the words begin to flow. Perhaps determine a specific goal for each session like brainstorming ideas, writing an outline, or doing research, etc.
14. Learn In Chunks
Just like the brain can only focus well for a short period time, the brain can also only take in so much information at one time. Studies have shown that by breaking down material into smaller chunks, the brain can better digest, learn, and recall the material at a later time. Yet, we often disregard this fact and press on like our brains can handle it. This is an illusion. We think we are learning the material, but we aren’t.
The best method is to break your study material into chunks. Instead of reading the whole chapter, break the chapter up into parts, and study each part until you know it. When reviewing for the test, don’t try to review the whole semester’s material at once. Break it up into sections, and make sure you know each section before moving on to the next.
If you read straight through your notes, you won’t digest anything on a deep level. The brain needs time to slow down, focus, and process. When you read lots of material, the brain becomes scattered, trying to put too much together, and it’s hard for neural pathways to form.
That can be useful if you are just trying to get the big idea, but not for careful study. When you break learning into chunks, the brain has the processing power and bandwidth necessary to make important connections and to absorb the material on a deep level.
When pianists want to learn a new piece, they don’t sit down and play it from start to finish. Why? Because the brain can’t handle it, and they would end up making and internalizing lots of mistakes. Instead, they take one chunk and practice it slowly and correctly until it is mastered. Then they move on to another chunk, then they play the two chunks together. This process repeats until the entire piece is mastered.
The same principles that apply to learning music apply to learning any type of material or skill. Break up your study into manageable parts. Learn each chunk before moving on, and then combine them. You will be amazed at how much your brain retains. This approach may “feel” slower, but it’s far more effective in the long run.
Make sure to also consider your ADHD Learning Style.
15. Learn With Speed And Repetition
I drive a red truck. What do I drive? A red truck. What do I drive? A red truck. What do I drive? A red truck. What do I drive? A red truck.
If you want to revolutionize your learning process, begin utilizing speed and repetition. Think of forming memories like forming a roadway through a jungle.
The first time you read something, it’s like cutting down trees. The second time you read it, it’s like laying down gravel, and the third time, it’s like paving. Each time you rehearse information, you are actually building, establishing, and reinforcing neural pathways in your brain. They get stronger and clearer with each repetition.
When you fail to repeat, or the repetitions happen at greater intervals, the path becomes overgrown, making the “path” (or memory) fuzzy and less discernable.
We often tell our students to do a daily review of all the day’s material (that’s two times the brain sees it in that first day). Then over the next 4 days, the student is to quickly glance back over the same material. After 4 straight days of reviewing, your reviews can then be spaced out more. After a couple of weeks, all you need to do is take a quick glance over the material, and the memory is recalled and strengthened.
When test time comes, you won’t believe how prepared you will feel.
When trying to digest a book, try 2-3 quick reads in the same time it would take you to read it once slowly. While you scan, take special note of headings and the first and last sentences of paragraphs.
The last three strategies have centered on learning. Learn in short durations, learn in chunks, and learn with speed and repetition. Combine all three together for advanced learning and progress.
Oh yeah, and what do I drive?
For more on this topic, see Clearing A Path For Your Kids To Learn.
16. Have Fun
Re-orienting yourself into a mindset of enjoyment will allow you not only to have more fun but will also generate increased focus, creativity, and learning. Whether someone is taking a test or skipping class, both individuals are pursuing the same neural networks of pleasure and reward. One sees a reward for passing a test, the other sees a reward for hanging out with friends during school. But both seek reward, and their brains are literally “fired up” about it.
The more pleasure you find in an activity, the more engaged your brain will be. Period.
That’s great if you love what you are studying, but how do you leverage this fact when studying for a boring class you really don’t want to be in?
You have to “sneak” pleasure in by getting a little creative. Try redirecting your focus toward the learning process instead of the material. What you are studying may not be fun, but studying the learning process or making a game out of it can be wonderfully engaging. See how fast you can read and reread. Test out new learning or memorization techniques.
Another way to incorporate pleasure is to visualize the end goal. Focus on the joy of making a good grade. Think about the job or the career you are pursuing. Think about the freedom you will one day have with this knowledge, the people you will one day be able to serve, or the difference you will be able to make in the world.
Keeping these big picture and positive ideas before you will keep your heart and mind engaged, keep you having fun, and keep you seeking pleasure in the right direction (not skipping class!).
Having fun also means that you take time in your day to do just that. Have fun. Spend time with friends. Dive deeper into your favorite hobby. Try something new. Join a community center or volunteer for a cause you are passionate about.
For more on the importance of play, read Does Our Education System Cure ADHD or Create It?
17. Turn Negatives Into Positives
You’ve already found the positives in ADHD and are now walking in your new label, FastBraiin, but now it’s time to look for the positives in all of life.
Each of our journeys will have its fair share of mistakes and trials, but the question is, how are you going to respond when things don’t go your way?
Are you going to throw in the towel and quit, or are you going to press on? How you respond will make all the difference.
Of course, it’s easier said than done, but here are some helpful tips to consider as you re-route your struggles for the better:
• What can you learn from your situation?
• How are your skills or character being shaped?
• How can you improve for next time?
• How might this situation help you to help someone else?
• What are three things you can be thankful for in this situation? Life could always be worse.
• See the whole story. Imagine your life narrative in how you will come back and shine. Any good story has setbacks.
• Re-orient yourself around your major life goals and what you hope to accomplish.
Learning to shift your mindset in a positive direction when negative events occur will save you plenty of time and heartache, and will propel you toward your goals. The negative events in your life can often be the reasons that you end up succeeding!
And a final note, when you are going through trials, don’t go through them alone. It can be almost impossible to turn life around when it’s just you, and certainly, it’s more miserable that way. Instead, find someone whom you can talk with, and who can comfort and encourage you to get back on your feet.
If you are a parent, see How Having An ADHD Child Can Make You A Better Person.
18. Be Mindful
Developing mindfulness is critical to leveraging ADHD.And although it’s a simple concept, it can be hard to develop. The idea is to focus on “something” in order to not be focusing on “everything.” This, in turn, will calm the mind and body, and will foster a sense of peace, confidence, and focus.
Considering our modern pace of life and the constant bombardment of “noise” via social media and other outlets, mindfulness may be one of the most essential skills to develop.
Here are a few suggestions for practicing mindfulness:
• Count to 10 slowly. Do this several times and see how quickly your mind will lose focus and start thinking about something else. Simply bring your mind back and begin counting again. See how long you can keep the counting going. Don’t be afraid of stray thoughts, just try to passively observe them come and go.
• Focus on your breathing. Is it short and shallow or deep and long? Focus on the inhalation and the exhalation, seeing how smooth you can make your breathing. Consciously begin to slow down your breathing.
• Include counting in your breathing. Count your breaths. Or breathe to a count (i.e. inhale for three counts and exhale for six counts).
• Become mindful of your surroundings. What’s happening around you? What objects or people do you notice? What noises do you hear? What are the high pitch noises and the low pitch noises?
• Become aware of your body. What bodily sensations can you feel? Where are you holding tension? Mentally scan your whole body. Where are you making contact with the ground or chair? Is your breathing deep or shallow?
• Spend time journaling. What are your hopes and fears? What makes you anxious or excited?
• Set apart time every day to be mindful. Make it a part of your morning, midday, or nighttime routine. Also be ready to use it throughout the day whenever you start to feel anxious, like in the middle of an exam or a difficult conversation.
For more, see ADHD Relaxation and Mindfulness.
19. Get An Accountability Partner
You can’t do this alone. You need someone that’s on the journey with you. This may be a friend, a relative, a teacher, or a coach, but it needs to be someone you trust, someone you can share your heart with, and someone who can hold you accountable as you pursue your goals.
If possible, try to find someone who is going through a similar phase of life. That way, you can return the accountability and the benefits of such a relationship would be exponential.
Ask this person to commit to being in an intentional relationship with you. Decide on a weekly or monthly meeting where you can check in with each other. Share how things have been going. What has been a challenge? What has been a celebration? What have you been learning?
Use the time to ask for honest feedback. We often have blind spots. It’s vital that we surround ourselves with whom we trust to speak into our lives, to call us out on things, or to offer much-needed counsel.
Don’t be afraid of feedback; that’s how we grow.
It may be helpful to share with this person some of the major tasks or projects you have, and allow them to check in with you from time to time to make sure you are following through.
An accountability partner will help keep you on track and sustain you when you feel like quitting. He/she will become familiar with your tendencies and weaknesses, and will challenge you to get back on course.
They, in turn, also become a vital source of personal and emotional support.
We don’t naturally like to be accountable to others. But it’s worth it. Find an accountability partner, stick to your meeting times, and be honest and willing to listen.
If you are a parent, remember you are your child’s accountability partner. Check out 5 Ways To Be Your Child’s Hero.
20. Fight For Inbox Zero
ADHD / FastBraiiners do not thrive in chaotic spaces. Mental noise can overwhelm you and leave you paralyzed. Therefore, one of the goals of thriving with FastBraiin is to limit noise and distraction.
What better place to do this than with the email inbox. Often the inbox becomes a great source of noise, stress, and distraction. Overflowing or disorganized inboxes create a sense of panic and anxiety, leading to paralysis and unproductive habits.
Learning to control your inbox is a powerful way to limit extra chaos in your life and to begin moving toward a ramp of mental peace, organization, and productivity.
Here are a few suggestions to help you keep a healthy and controlled inbox:
• Have a set time during the day to sort your inbox. Don’t let the email avalanche happen. Turn off email notifications so you are not distracted throughout the day.
• Create one folder labeled “Needs Action”. As you are going through your inbox, and it can be responded to in 1 minute, take care of it then. If not, and it needs action, move it to the “Needs Action” folder. You will come back to it later. Otherwise, if it doesn’t need a response, archive it.
• Set a time to go through your “Needs Action” folder. Maybe this is once a day or a couple of times a day.
• Unsubscribe from all of your lists (except those that actually help you!). Otherwise, they are noise and distraction, and they need to go. Get rid of them.
• Fight for inbox zero every day. If it doesn’t happen, no worries, just try again the next day.*
Once you taste the joy of staying on top of your emails, there will be no stopping you.
For more, check out Two Irrefutable Best Practices To Manage Adult ADHD At Work.
21. Consider Stimulant Medications
We do not see medications as the silver bullet to thriving with ADHD, but we do see medications as a possible piece to the larger puzzle of taking care of our clients.
For some patients with particularly debilitating effects of ADHD or who need immediate assistance, the use of medication may be a wise course of action.
Sometimes alternative means of therapy, even when diligently implemented, are not strong enough to compensate for the very real struggles of some ADHD individuals. Relational difficulty, inability to focus, impulsivity, inability to pursue long-term rewards, and difficulty staying on task, focusing, or being organized, are all weaknesses of the ADHD individual, and these don’t go away overnight.
Patients can take months or years to work through some of these issues. Alternative therapies, while powerful in their own right, are more subtle and long-term oriented. Medications are powerful and fast acting, filling in this gap where alternative means can fall short.
Medications, however, are not to be taken lightly, and they can come with a host of unwanted side effects. Be mindful that not all medications work the same. They each have different side effects, and each may produce varying degrees of benefit. Therefore, medication should always be taken under the careful supervision of a medical professional.
Talk to your doctor if think medications may be a necessary part of your strategy. Your doctor should be able to tweak your medication and dosages to find the right combination, with the least amount of side effects and maximum benefit.
In our experience, medications alone produce very little. But when you combine them with alternative strategies like those in this ebook, along with professional counseling and educational coaching, the benefits dramatically increase.
For more on medications, please read Are You Treating ADHD With Medication? Here’s Why You Should Consider It.
We hope these 21 proven ADHD strategies will help you get on a path to thriving with FastBraiin. Keep in mind that you are unique. You know yourself better than anyone. If some of these strategies aren’t working, tweak them or drop them. That’s okay. Or add new ones. Just don’t give up.
We believe with all our hearts, and with the success stories of over 5,000 patients to back it up, that with perseverance and the right guidance, you can and will find your pathway to success.
We at FastBraiin are here for you. Our team of professionals would love to meet you and serve you in any way we can.
And most of all, we want to celebrate with you as you flip ADHD on its head.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Best of everything to you on your FastBraiin journey, and don’t forget to share!!
-The FastBraiin Team
*This document is in no way a substitute for seeing a professional medical doctor. FastBraiin will not be held liable for any outcomes under any circumstances as it is connected to these 21 ADHD strategies.