Archives for November 2015

ADHD During Transitions

LuggageGuest article by Bonnie Hutchinson

What are transitions and why does it matter?

Transitions are the “times between” – after you know something is changing but before you know how it turns out.

For example, if you’re moving to a new home, the transition time is from when you know you’ll be moving, through packing and relocating, until you feel settled in the new home.

Transition times can be triggered by something external. Moving from high school to college; changing job; illness or injury; relationships changing or ending – those are events that create big changes. During the transition, we have to let go of one reality and adjust to a new one.

Transitions can also be triggered by something internal. For example, in adolescence, the transition from childhood to adulthood triggers physical, emotional and mental changes even if nothing changes in the child’s outer world.

Why this matters is that, during times of transition, we can expect more chaos and confusion, more volatile emotions, more difficulty thinking. We often face situations that are not just out of our comfort zone but out of our competence zone – we really are out of our depth for a while.

Why it matters is that, despite the stressors, times of transition can be times of greatest creativity, when new opportunities emerge and we discover gifts and talents we didn’t know we had. The core opportunity of transition times is that we move to a new level of development.

What does this have to do with ADHD?

  1. Those of us with ADHD tendencies may experience frequent transitions. We have a tendency to flit from one thought to another and one activity to another. With the best of intentions, we may forget important things like where our keys are or that it’s time to pay the phone bill.  Because of those tendencies, we may experience more career changes, more relocations, and more crises caused by forgetfulness. All of those may create more transition times than many people experience.
  2. We may not realize we’re in a transition time.   Some of the symptoms of ADHD – forgetfulness, difficulty focussing, losing track of time – can also be indicators that we are in a transition. Since we’re used to chaos, we may not even notice that something is different. Or, if we notice more ADHD-like behaviours than usual, we may think we are regressing. In reality we may be transitioning to a new level of development and just haven’t adapted yet to our new self.
  3. Transitions may interfere with ADHD coping strategies. We all have routines that help us with ADHD tendencies – using a timer to snap us out of hyperfocus; making sure we always put the keys in a certain place; asking other people to help us organize.  In times of transition, when much is changing around and within us, we may not be able to use these routines. That can throw us off our stride.
  4. We may be more adept than others at dealing with transitions. On the flip side, we ADHD people may have an advantage during times of rapid change. Compared to people who are used to an organized life, a certain amount of disorganization and stress feels “normal” to us! We may be better equipped to roll with chaos.

Four tips if you know you’re in a transition.

  1. Be kind to yourself. Don’t expect yourself to be as good at anything as you usually are. (Don’t worry, your skills will come back.) Be even more attentive to the basics: diet, exercise, sleep, all the things you know help your ADHD symptoms.
  2. Create temporary ADHD coping strategies. Think of routines that are going to be disrupted (for example, during a move you won’t have the same place to put your keys). Then think of how you can accomplish the same purpose in a different way.
  3. Ask for help.  Ask those you trust for a little extra support when you’re in a transition time. Of course, you will provide extra support to them when they are in a transition time.
  4. Laugh.  We quirky ADHD people often have wicked senses of humour. No matter what, laughter always makes whatever is happening easier, and maybe even fun.

ADHD tendencies and transition times both come with gifts and challenges. When they happen together, it may intensify the challenge – but also the opportunity for our brilliant gifts to shine!

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Bonnie Hutchinson is the author of Transitions: Pathways to the Life and World Your Soul Desires. For a free excerpt from the book click here.

ADHD and Morning Anger

Woman drying her hairDo you wake up in the morning feeling angry at the world? Does everything, from your alarm clock to the smell of your toothpaste make you mad? It might be a standing joke, that you are ‘like a bear with a sore head’ in the morning, but morning anger can cause so many problems that couples split up because of it.

Some common reasons why people with ADHD experience anger in the morning are:

  1. Having a Sleep Deficit75% of adults with ADHD have problems sleeping. You might not be getting enough sleep or the quality isn’t good, so you don’t feel refreshed in the morning
  2. Experience Anxiety and WorryIf you wake up and feel anxiety or worry, you are more likely to have a black mood. 50% of people with ADHD also have an anxiety disorder, so this could affect you.
  3. Feel StressedLiving with ADHD is stressful and if you wake up feeling stressed, it also affects your mood.
  4. All Work and No PlayWhen you wake up and feel that your whole day is work with nothing to look forward to, that can make you mad. Many people with ADHD don’t feel that they deserve to have fun because they are behind with their responsibilities (housework, taxes, etc.), so their day is all work.

Not everyone who experiences these points feels anger. Some people wake up feeling sad or find it almost impossible to get out of bed.

6 suggestions to help you feel less angry in the morning:

  1. Be a DetectiveAre you angry every morning? Or just week days? If it’s just weekdays, work out if it’s a lack of good quality sleep that is making you angry, or things about your work day. Is anger in the mornings a new thing or have you been this way ever since you were a child? If it’s new, what has changed recently? When you have answers to these questions, decide what changes to your life you can make.
  2. Get MovingGet moving and start your day as quickly as possible. This gets you out of your head and experiencing some early wins. Have a morning checklist to work through, so you don’t have to think while your brain is still waking up. Get up, make you bed, have some breakfast, shower, get dressed, etc.
  3. Leave the House ASAPSome people find that the quicker they leave the house in the morning, the faster their anger evaporates. Even though you like your home, getting a change of scene and making a start on your day helps. Packing your bag the night before helps for a speedy exit.
  4. ExerciseExercising is excellent for your ADHD. It also helps change your mood as it floods your brain with feel good hormones. You can combine 3. and 4. by leaving the house and going to the gym.
  5. Enjoy Your Life MoreWe don’t necessary need to make big changes in our lives to experience big results. Sometimes, all it takes is a perception change and your mood also shifts. The 5 minute journal is a great way to do this. Plus, it’s the perfect journal when you have ADHD, because it only takes 5 minutes! http://www.fiveminutejournal.com
  6. Wake UpGrumpiness can be connected with ‘sleep inertia’, which is a transitional phase from being asleep to awake. It can last anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes; although some people find it can take up to 4 hours. Experiment with a few things to see what helps you to wake up. Some people find coffee helps, others like to wake up gradually with a Full Spectrum Light Alarm Clock.

What helps  your morning anger?

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Has Your Concentration Shrunk?

NewspaperHow long can you concentrate for?
Do you find you can only concentrate on something for few minutes?
Have you noticed your ability to concentrate is lot shorter than it used to be?

I get emails from readers who are concerned and a little scared that their concentration is much shorter than it use to be. They wonder if it’s something they have to live with as they get older, or even early onset Alzheimer’s disease.

It is already challenging to focus when you have ADHD, so when you feel your concentration is getting worse, it is easy to panic and wonder how you will cope with life.

Concentration isn’t a fixed commodity. It is like a muscle that increases and shrinks depending on your lifestyle. Once you have ruled out any underlying medical conditions (by visiting your doctor), it is time to look at your style of living. With a few changes, your attention will be back to its former glory.

Here are 3 common life style factors that affect concentration.

  1. Being a parent

    Responding to your children’s needs throughout the day is part of being an excellent parent. Your concentration moves rapidly from one thing to the next. This is nature’s way of keeping everyone safe and happy. You might not realize that your concentration span has shrunk until your children are older.

  2. Your job

    Sometimes your job requires that you respond quickly to the demands of others. If you work in an ER, for example. Or, there might be office rules that require you to respond quickly to a phone call or email. Even though it’s not life and death, these expectations mean that your concentration is constantly diverted.

  3. Multi-tasking

    People with ADHD love to multi-task. It feels exciting and stimulating. However, multi-tasking isn’t good for you. Your IQ drops, you are less productive (even though you don’t realize it). When you multi-task, your attention is rapidly moving from one thing to the next; which means you only need to concentrate for short periods of time.

5 ways to improve your concentration

  1. Take an Omega 3 supplement every day

    It helps with all cognitive functions, such as attention and memory. Watch how Omega 3 helped Elliot.

    http://untappedbrilliance.com/omega-3-memory-and-concentration/

  2. Have protein for breakfast every day

    Protein is turned into amino acids; which is, in turn, made into neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are the chemicals in the brain that allow you to focus and concentrate.

    http://untappedbrilliance.com/the-adhd-breakfast/

  3. Make sleep a priority

    Because lack of sleep affects your ability to concentrate, learn everything you can about how to sleep very well when you have ADHD.

  4. Learn a martial art

    Martial Arts are fabulous if you have ADHD and want to improve your concentration. It is because they combine the use of cognitive functions like focus, concentration and memory with physical movement.

  5. Single-Task
    Switch off your phone, close down all the open windows on your computer, and give one task all your attention. Start by concentrating on one thing for 10 minutes at a time and gradually build up to 30 minutes.  It will feel very strange at first, but when you get to 30 minutes, you will feel like a winner!

    http://untappedbrilliance.com/single-tasking-and-adhd/