Archives for 2011

ADHD Goals for the New Year


When we think of the New Year we automatically think about New Year Resolutions. However resolutions are usually a highly ineffective way to achieve what we would like in our life.

For example, if your new years resolution is to lose weight, or get fit, you will likely to do really well for the first few days or even a few weeks, eating an extreme diet or going to the gym every day. But then the resolution way of life becomes hard and boring and its more comfortable to revert back to old ways.  New Years Resolutions are based on pure will power, and without a compelling goal, or big enough why,  Resolutions will not be sustainable.

adhd and goals for the new year 2012However the New Year IS a great time to set goals. I have just read an inspiring book called ‘Taming Tigers, Do things you never thought you could do’ . The author Jim Lawless tells of how he achieved his goal of riding his first televised horse-race in the space of one year.  Before he set this goal for himself he had only been pony trekking twice!  In order to achieve this ambitious goal he had to get up every day at 5am to train, continue his day job, lose 1/4 of his body weight (jockeys are very light), move houses to be near the training ground, and give up alcohol (which can’t have been easy for someone that hadn’t gone to bed sober for 17 years).

It would have be extremely hard to do these things if Jim hadn’t had a compelling goal. This year when you are thinking about what you would like to achieve think BIG. What would you move heaven and earth to achieve?

Start with your big goal and then work backwards. You are much more likely to stick to a diet, declutter your house, get fit, etc. when the big goal excites you.

The sense of exhilaration that Jim felt when he completed the race was ‘ Absolute Elation’. Not only did he achieve his goal but he now has the knowledge that he can do anything that he sets his mind and this will stay with him forever.

When inspired ADHD adults can achieve incredible feats in a very short space of time, so can you. So your first action for 2010 is to create a compelling and exciting goal. Don’t worry about how you will achieve your goal, your only job today is to think WHAT you would like to achieve!




Embrace Your Achievements

Adults with ADD - Embrace Your Achievements  A friend and I meet regularly at a coffee shop that is a 5 minute walk from where I live. Because it is so close, I always leave it to the last minute to get ready. Then as I am speed walking/running to get there I say to myself ‘I will leave earlier next time’. I always arrive at the coffee shop on time, but a feeling bit hot and my mind is racing.

The interesting thing about this situation is my friend thinks I am very punctual. She often comments on it. Yet, because I have done all that rushing and don’t feel punctual, in this situation, I shrug that compliment away.

This is what adults with ADHD experience all the time. They accomplish wonderful things, degrees, promotion, awards, perform acts of kindness, receive compliments from their nearest and dearest, but because behind the scenes things were a struggle, you shrug those compliments and achievements away.

This results in a huge disconnection between reality and how you see yourself. This disconnect stops you from building up a strong self esteem, from reaching your full potential, allowing yourself to be happy, and even the quality of people you have relationships with.

What can you do to close that gap between your perception of yourself and reality?

1) Being aware of it is always the first step to change. So pay attention to how you feel about yourself and what you do and have done.

2) Write a list of 25 accomplishments
Everyone I give this assignment to always gasps because it sounds a lot, but it encourages you to dig deep and really think about what you have done in your life so far.

3) Create a Hall of Frame
Gather together all your certificates, photos of important events and other items that symbolism your achievements. Get them framed and hang them together on a wall in your home. This is powerful because every time you walk past the wall your achievements, they are there, loud and proud. It might take time for your subconscious to process them, but when it does a new you emerges.

4) Accept all compliments
When someone gives you a compliment, simply say thank you. Don’t explain it away. Afterwards, spend a few minutes processing it. For example, if someone says ‘you have an incredible general knowledge’ your immediate thought might be, well it’s because I sit and watch TV when I have 101 more productive things to do. BUT, rather than do that, begin to own the fact that you are very knowledgeable about a wide range of subjects.

5) Change the way you talk to yourself
You probably have a constant negative voice chatting away to you all day. Telling you mean put downs on how you look, what you said, and what you did.
‘When you catch one of those thoughts, flip it around. ‘I sounded stupid’ to ‘I did a good job’. ‘You look silly in that outfit’ to ‘this is my favorite jacket’. The more you do it, the more your positive voice over rides the negative and the better you will feel about yourself.

Interview with ADD and Loving it Star

While I was at the CHADD conference, I interviewed Patrick McKenna.

Patrick stars in the famous “ADHD and Loving It” documentary. As well as being incredibly funny, he is also very smart! In this interview, he explains that doing what you are naturally good at, helps your self esteem and allows you to be successful in your chosen field.

Another one of Patrick’s secret to success is to embrace and love all of who you are, including your ADD. Don’t worry about wasted time in the past . . . today is the perfect day to step forward and start implementing these suggestions.

I was particularly excited to talk to Patrick as a growing number of my clients realized they had ADD after watching the “ADHD and Loving It” documentary. They had always realized they were different, but didn’t know exactly why until watching the documentary. This is a common experience of people across North America… Patrick and his co-star Rick are changing people’s lives.

Want to see more interviews from the CHADD conference? Head over to: where myself and business partner Marcia Hoeck interview more experts.

Learn more about the FAB work Patrick is doing at Totally ADD!

How do I maintain focus in a high stress work environment?

How do I maintain focus in a high stress work environment?First it’s important to take care of yourself with the first 5 steps of Untapped Brilliance.
This means, taking Omega 3 supplements, exercise regularly, eat a healthy ADHD diet, daily meditation and get enough sleep.

People find this a boring answer, as it is information they have heard before and they were hoping for something new and sexy. However, the reason you have heard about these things before is because they work!

These actions provide you with strong and solid foundations. A building with strong foundations can survive adverse weather conditions. In contrast, a building whose foundation is weak or non-existent will crumble with a slightest puff of wind. When you take care of yourself with those 5 steps you will find you are able to focus, concentrate and emotionally able to handle your high stress work environment.

There are other things you can do too when you are actually at work:

1) Take breaks. If you are busy and stressed you think that working through your breaks will help. It doesn’t. Breaks help you to be   focused and on top of your game when you return.

2) Be in the moment. I know this sounds hard, but when you are mindful and focus on the task you are doing at that given moment, you will feel grounded and centered. You will get a  sense of job satisfaction and if at a later point you question if you did it or to a good standard, you will know you did.

3) Positive Affirmation. Have a positive affirmation that you repeat to yourself in times of stress. It doesn’t matter what that is, so long as it makes you feel good. A few examples would be…’I am doing really well’ ‘I work well in a busy environment’ ‘I am focused and grounded’

When you talk to yourself calming, kindly and positively you will notice a big difference on your physical performance.

8 Great Reasons to Exercise When You Have ADHD

1)      Increases Productivity

Billionaire ADHDer, Richard Branson, says that on days he exercises on he has 4 extra hours of productivity. Perfect proof that time spent exercising is an investment not an expenditure.

2)      Allows you to focus on the task at hand

Try this experiment, next time you are sitting down trying to focus on a task, but just can’t. Get up and do 30 push ups or go for a run around the block. Now, sit down again. I bet you are able to focus and get that task done in record breaking time! This is because brain activities (like focusing and paying attention) are fed with oxygen and aerobic exercise increases the amount of oxygen in the brain.

3)      Can replace stimulant medication

In his book, Spark: The revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, Dr John Ratey, says exercise can be a substitute for stimulant medication for some people or a complementary treatment for others.

4)      Reduces Depression

There is a large amount of research showing that exercise is very effective in treating mild to moderate depression.   Exercise seems to affect certain neurotransmitter systems in the same way that taking an antidepressant does. As one out of four ADHD adults suffer with depression, this is a great reason to pop on your sneakers.

5)      Helps anxiety

Anxiety is helped by exercise both immediately and in the long term. This is great to know since 50 percent of adults with ADHD also have an anxiety disorder.

6)      Improves learning and Academic results

When a school in Naperville included daily exercise in their students curriculum weight loss problems went down and Academic achievements up.

7)      Aids Sleep

Getting regular exercise improves the quality of sleep, helps you fall asleep quickly when you climb into bed and reduces sleepiness during the day.

8) Increases Confidence

Research from the Journal of Health Psychology showed  when  people with low self confidence exercised their self esteem improved. This is brilliant news as many adults with ADD have low levels of self esteem.



Check out another article about ADHD and Exercise

The ADHD mindset for success

Did you know your mindset can either help or hinder your ADHD symptoms?

The online definition of mindset is, “The set of beliefs a person has which affects the outcome of all their endeavours”.

Which means, if you believe because you have ADHD you can’t do x or y, then guess what?

You can’t. BUT, it also means that if you have ADHD and you believe you can do Y and Z then you can! It’s a self fulfilling proficiency.

When I walk people through the 11 steps of Untapped Brilliance, I get 2 responses. The first is “Ok sounds great, it might be a bit tricky for me, but I am ready for change so I will do it”

OR the second, which is a lot of ‘yeah buts’. “Yeah but, that won’t work for me” “Yeah but, I tried that, but I couldn’t stick to it” “Yeah but, I don’t like structure” “Yeah but, I am different to other people”

While of course, I prefer to hear the first response, people in the second group can change their mindset to one that will allow them take consistent actions that will help their negative
aspects of ADHD.

If you are in the second group, think of a saying or phrase that you will say every time you find yourself thinking something negative about making changes.

For example, I love exercising every day.

I am so proud am cooking healthy meals for myself every day.

I am now creating happy habits

What you choose has to resignation resonate with you, make you feel happy when you say it (not filled with dread or anxiety) and be believable.

These sayings when you say them often, will retrain your mind, from its negative default setting to one that supports a new way of life.

Not only will you feel better because the running commentary in your mind is more positive, you will also feel good because are taking actions on things that are helping your ADHD.

If you need help working on a new ADHD mindset email me at

6 Tips to Navigate ADHD Support Groups

Attending an ADHD support group can be a wonderful experience.  You meet people who know what it’s like to live with ADHD without you needing to say a word.  You feel understood and more comfortable with the members than even people in your family.

Unfortunately, not all ADHD support groups are like this, in fact some can be very depressing. People (usually one or two members dominate the meeting) talk about how awful there life is with ADHD.  How they have no money, a bad job, a string of failed marriages etc, all because of ADHD.  You’ll leave the meeting feeling unsettled and low.

However, it’s not just ADHD support groups that can be depressing, there are 1000’s of problems people encounter and a support group for every one of them.  There seem to be 2 types of support groups, ones that provide a supportive healing environment and offer solutions to challenges.  Then ones where people have a good moan, week after week, and enjoy being defined by their problems.

If you are reading this then you are almost certainly a proactive person and would enjoy the first option!  Below are 6 tips to navigating ADHD support groups.

6 tips to navigate ADHD support groups:

1)      Monitor how you are feeling during and after the meeting.  If you are feeling sad or uneasy that is a sign the group doesn’t match your approach to life.

2)      If you have a bad experience at one group, search for another one.  Great groups do exist!

3)      Don’t feel you have to attend every meeting.  If the group meets every week, yet that feels too much for you make a personal commitment to attend once a month instead.

4)      Attending a support group doesn’t have to be a lifelong commitment.  If you have attended for a while, but are no longer getting value, it’s fine to stop going.

5)      If you meet one or two special people at a group you can keep in touch with those people independently of the group.  Having friends who understand you is always a good thing.

6)      If you are craving a group of supportive ADHD people, but can’t find a group in your area..start your own.  It’s not as hard as you might think.


Mindful Meditation

Ever since I became an ADHD coach, I have been on a constant
quest to find ways to make meditation easier for adults with ADHD.
Why? Because  although meditation for adults with ADHD sounds
like a contradition in terms, it can be highly beneficial.

Meditation does wonders to minimize the negative
effects of ADHD.

  • It increases concentration.
  • It decreases impulsivity.
  • It increases cognitive functioning.
  • It decreases mood swings.
  • It decreases stress and anxiety.
  • It promotes healthy sleep and self confidence.
When that happens, you feel happier, and more

in control of your life. Plus the gifts of ADHD can shine brightly.So I want to share this great audio with you.

A few weeks ago collegue Marcia Hoeck and I interviewed fellow
Montrealer, Dr. Joe Flanders who specializes in Mindfulness
Meditation. He explained how to use Mindful Meditation to your
advantage when you are an adult with ADHD.

What Marcia and I learned, along with our hundreds of listeners,

1) Why Mindful Meditation is so powerful, and the science behind it.
2) How easy it is.

3) The best time of day to practise it.

4) You don’t have to sit still.
5) How it helps stress and anxiety, confidence, and much much more.
Perhaps the most powerful message of all was that you haven’t failed
if your busy mind jumps around.

Dr. Joe uses the analogy of working out at a gym.Every time your brain jumps to another thought and you bring it back, it is as though you have done a rep with your weights. This is a good thing.

He also walks us through a 5-minute meditation so you can practise
all the new tips straight away. So if you struggled with meditation

in the past,  with these simple yet powerful strategies you won’t any more!!!

If you have any questions just let me know!


Do Adults with ADHD experience stress more than non ADHD adults?

A few weeks ago  I wrote an article about how, when you are experiencing stress in your life, your ‘normal functioning’ is reduced. The most dramatic personal experience I had of this was when  I got divorced and my short term memory disappeared. If you missed that article you can read it here.

This topic touched a nerve because I was inundated with emails from my readers telling me how much that topic resonated with them. Thanks I always love hearing from you!!

A common theme among those emails

1) How validating it is to know that is a connection between ADHD and Stress
2) It doesn’t take ‘much’ stress to effect you.
It’s point number 2 that I am talk about now.
Do Adults with ADHD experience stress more than non ADHD adults?

Do Adults with ADHD experience stress more than non ADHD adults?  Yes, I believe they do. Living with ADHD is stressful in itself.  Plus managing your ADHD symptoms in order that you can function well in the world takes a lot of effort. Then, if a life stressor, big or small, is thrown in the mix, since you are already pulling out the stops to handle regular life, the new stressor is going to knock you off course. Here are 15 examples of life stresses, in no particular order:1. Death of someone you love
2.Divorce or breakup
3. Losing  job
4. Time in jail
5. Work
6. Children
7. Injury or illness
8. Money worries
9. Communiting

10. Studying for exams
11. Moving homes
12. Extended Family and in laws
13. Marriage
14. Pregnancy/Infertility issues
15. Retirement 
Another reason why ADHD adults experience stress more than there non ADHD peers is because they are typically highly sensitive people. Some people with ADHD wear their hearts on their sleeves and others have developed a hard outer shell, yet underneath they are very sensitive. There are many wonderful traits to being sensitive, but there are downsides too. For example, if there is a thunderstorm the highly sensitive will jump at the loud thunder and their nerves will feel shaky for hours later. If they get into an argument with someone they will be able to stand up for themselves at the time, but feel emotional drained and take days to recover. This isn’t a bad thing, but it does help to explain and find yourself saying ‘it doesn’t take much to throw me off course’.

When you feel stressed your ADHD symptoms get worse here is what to do:

1) Don’t judge yourself. It doesn’t matter how much little or much stress you can tolerate. Practice talking kindly to yourself. Being judgmental with yourself makes you feel even worse and takes longer for you to recover.

2) Don’t compare yourself with anyone else. Comparing yourself to others is another guaranteed way to make you feel bad about yourself. Besides you might get knocked off course more easily than your neighbour, but you will have strengths they don’t have.

3) There are some actions you can take to help your stress AND your ADHD learn what they are. here ADHD and Stress