Archives for May 2010

Making Changes Effortlessly

I live in Montreal, Canada which is a bi-lingual city of French and English.  When I first moved here from England I really battled to learn French. I had many intense French classes, did hours of French homework which caused me lots of mental anguish.  However the other evening I have a lovely surprise. I had rented the Movie ‘Coco before Channel’ a film set in France. I sat down, started to watch it and then 30 minutes into the film I realized that I had been watching the movie in French and not my usual movie watching language English.  I was stunned and delighted. My French listening skills had improved enough for me to effortlessly watch a movie without even being aware of the language it was in. This was aided I am sure by the fact that the movie is set in France rather than the US or England

Me learning French, is a little like when you start to put into place new habits recommended in ‘Untapped Brilliance’ to help minimize your negative aspects of ADHD. At first it seems like a lot of effort to implement new habits into your life. Then, all of a sudden you realize you are doing it effortlessly and without being conscious of doing them! Ahh… what an amazing feeling.

ADHD Sleep Problems

Want to listen to this article?  Click here

ADHD sleep problems are a common complaint amongst people with ADHD. The four most common reasons of not being able to sleep when you have Adult ADHD are the following:

  • Some medications for ADHD, particular if taken later on in the day, make falling asleep very difficult.
  • Getting hyper-focused late in the evening. This results in losing track of time and climbing into bed much later than you would ideally like.
  • Unable to slow down brain in order to relax and fall asleep
  • Worrying about the day’s events or chores left unfinished.

When you are not able to get a good night’s sleep, you experience unpleasant symptoms many of which mirror your ADHD symptoms, such as

1. Anxiety

2. Difficulty concentrating

3. Forgetfulness

4. Hyperactivity

5. Increased distractibility

As an ADHD Coach I have identified 12 tips to avoid ADHD sleep problems

12 tips to get a good night’s sleep

  • Think of a realistic bedtime, and go to bed at the same time each night.
  • Wake up at the same time each morning, even at the weekend.
  • Don’t nap during the day.
  • Remember to exercise on a regular basis but not too close to bedtime. Physical exercise will make your body more tired and your sleep more soundly.
  • Do not drink caffeine after 3pm.
  • Do not smoke or drink alcohol. (alcohol increases the chance of you waking up in the night)
  • Take up meditation, and practice it for a few minutes in the evening.
  • Create your own bedtime routine, to send messages to your body and mind that you are winding down. This might include a bath, a cup of herbal tea, or glass of milk (calcium relaxes the body)
  • Turn off your TV and computer 2 hours before bedtime.
  • Have a fan, radio, or white noise machine if you find you need some noise to aid you falling asleep.
  • Think about which activities cause you to hyper-focus or really stimulate you. Then make a conscious effort to avoid them 2 hours before your ideal bedtime.

It takes time to change habits so that ADHD sleep problems can be a thing of the past, so be kind to yourself if one night you end up staying up late.

Radio Show 5/3 with Guest Bonnie Hutchinson

I was delighted to welcome a special guest Bonnie Hutchinson to the 2nd Untapped Brilliance Radio show to talk about how to meditate. Meditation is so beneficial when you have ADHD yet it is also very challenging so my mission was for listeners to learn how to meditate and to disperse any of their mental resistance around practicing it. Bonnie was the perfect person to do that since she is not only a meditation expert, and runs a highly successful company, but she also has ADHD. Bonnie has practiced meditation daily after purely by chance she discovered how it quieted her busy mind so that she could let her brilliant ADHD gifts shine through.

Here are 5 top tips from the show:

1) There is no right or wrong way to meditate. Personalize the meditation experience so that it works for you.

2) You haven’t ‘failed’ if your chattery mind keeps on chattering when you meditate

3) If you are resistant to meditating because you think it takes a long time, you can do a ‘power meditation’ for 5 minutes and get great benefits.

4) You can practice meditation no matter what your religious or spiritual beliefs

5) It’s OK to call “meditating” another name!

After the radio show Bonnie said she wished there had been more time to say that the key outcome to meditating is to calm your busy ADHD mind. However, if the word ‘meditating’ is off putting, or daunting to you, you can use another word(s) to describe it. For example: my ‘brain calming exercise’.

To listen to the show, and to practice a guided meditation with Bonnie click here!

Treating Adult ADHD with Meditation

treating-adult-adhdOne of the great ways of treating adult ADHD is to meditate. At first Meditation seems a contradictory activity for someone who has ADHD. Meditation involves being  physically and mentally still, two activities that are exceptional difficult if you have ADHD! However, there is a growing body of research providing evidence on the many  benefits of meditation for both adults and children with ADHD and with a little practice meditation is possible even for the busiest mind and the most energetic body

Treating adult ADHD using meditation has many benefits including

  • Increases concentration
  • Decreases impulsivity
  • Increases cognitive functioning
  • Decreases mood swings
  • Decreases stress and anxiety
  • Increase healthy sleep and self confidence

On an anecdotal  level as well as the benefits listed above,  advantages  my clients have reported include feeling much calmer even in highly stressful situations, having less anger out bursts (and as a result, improved relationships) and feeling more aware of the passage of time which results in being on time or even early for appointments.

Although meditation is a great way for treating adult ADHD (particularly when used with other alternative ADHD treatments)  a little while ago I invited mediation expert Bonnie Hutchinson to be a guest on my radio show. Here are Bonnie’s top 5 meditation tips when you have ADHD.

1) There is no right or wrong way to meditate. Personalize the meditation experience so that it works for you.

2) You haven’t ‘failed’ if your chattery mind keeps on chattering when you meditate

3) If you are resistant to meditating because you think it takes a long time, you can do a ‘power meditation’ for 5 minutes and get great benefits.

4) You can practice meditation no matter what your religious or spiritual beliefs

5) It’s OK to call “meditating” another name if the word alone sounds daunting to you,  for example: my ‘brain calming exercise’.

So why not start to include meditation into your daily life and start to experience some of these benefits yourself?

PS. If you would like to listen to Bonnie teach us how to mediate you can listen here

ADHD Diagnosis

A common sentence I hear as an ADHD coach is “I think I have ADHD, but I don’t want to get a ADHD diagnosis because I am scared I will use it as an excuse not to try and succeed in life anymore.”

Getting an official ADHD diagnosis doesn’t mean that a switch is flipped and you become such a different person that you don’t recognize yourself any more. You will still be you. Except now, you know why you are the way you are.

In my late twenties, I was officially diagnosed with severe dyslexia. The diagnosis was a huge relief to me as it explained why I found some things exceptionally hard and yet to others they seemed effortless. From studying or filling out forms, to giving the waitress my order. After being diagnosed, I continue to do those things and I still experience anxiety, discomfort and mental fatigue etc. However, I know rather than being ‘stupid’ it’s because I am dyslexic.

It’s the same when you have an ADHD diagnosis.  There is a huge feeling of relief that you aren’t “lazy” or “lacking in self-discipline” and “disorganized” or any of the other negative labels you have been giving yourself. You might have a disorganized living environment, but that is not because you are lazy, it’s because you have ADHD and being organized is a challenge.

If you are the type of person who asks the question “Will getting diagnosed result in me no longer trying in life?”, it means that you are a highly motivated and conciseness person who wants to be the best they can be. Rather than sabotage your efforts to succeed, a diagnosis actually allows you to be more successful as you know the reason behind certain behaviors and can learn techniques to manage those behaviors. In the long run you will see great results for the same amount effort AND feel a level of comfort and ease within yourself that you never had before.