Archives for 2016

ADHD and PMS

ADHD and PMSPremenstrual Syndrome (PMS) is never pleasant, but when you have ADHD, it can strike louder and harder. During the first half of your cycle, you probably feel ‘normal’, clear headed and productive. Then, as your period gets closer, you begin to feel like Mr. Hyde.

Beside the regular physical symptoms of PMS such as:

Acne

Changes in sleep patterns

Dizziness

Fluid retention

Headaches

Hot flashes

Nausea

Zero energy

Your ADHD symptoms can get much worse, and you can find it difficult to: [Read more…]

7 Interesting Facts About ADHD

  1. 7adhdfactsADD and ADHD Are the Same Condition

ADD and ADHD are two different names for the same condition. People get quite angry when they hear this and even leave me rude messages. It’s ok if you don’t like the term ADHD, but don’t shoot the messenger 🙂

As more research is carried out and our understanding of ADHD evolves, its name has changed to reflect this new knowledge. [Read more…]

How to Wake Up When You Have ADHD

Waking up at a particular time can be very difficult when you have ADHD and it can cause huge problems, such as being late for work, flights, interviews or lectures.

If you have difficulty waking up, don’t just see it as a morning problem; instead, look your sleep habits as a whole. Everything is connected and if you can’t wake up, it could be because:
[Read more…]

How Is ADHD Diagnosed?

You know the saying, ‘There is light at the end of the tunnel?’ Well it is a good motto to remember as you are going through the steps of getting

an ADHD evaluation.   It can feel like a lot of leg work and emotionally overwhelming at times. However, at the end you will be rewarded with huge clarity.

You will know the following:

*What type of ADHD you have

*Recommendations for the best treatment

*If you have any co-existing conditions with ADHD  (this is very important)

*Or if you don’t have ADHD, you will learn what condition(s)  are causing the ADHD like symptoms.
[Read more…]

How to Read Books When You Have ADHD.

book-1760993_640“I have a lot of books on my bookcase, the problem is I stop halfway through and never finish them”

Does this sound familiar?

Don’t worry, it is not just you!  I have been hearing those words every week for the last 12 years since I became an ADHD coach.

ADHDers have an enthusiasm for learning, which gives you a passion for life, makes you fascinating company and one of the reasons why you seem much younger than your biological years.

There are many ways to gather information including,watching TV, attending lectures, listening to podcasts and surfing websites. However, there is something compelling about books. They are affordable, allow you to do dive deep into any topic and learn from the greatest minds in the world today and throughout history.

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”  Dr. Seuss

Not everyone with ADHD enjoys reading, and that is totally ok. This article isn’t trying to convince you to start reading.  Instead, this is for ADHDers who genuinely love reading books but feel guilty when they keep starting books and not finishing them.

Reading can be logistically hard when you have ADHD. Some people stop to daydream and others find their eyes moving from word to word but haven’t understood what they have read. Yet even with these challenges you find ways around this and are compelled to read books.

Like many things with ADHD, your reading style might not be consistent.

You might be able devour some books at a record breaking speed.

Yet rather than celebrate finishing those books, it makes you feel worse because you wonder why you can’t always do that.

There was probably something innately interesting to you about those books that captured your attention. Whether it was Harry Potter, War and Peace (one of my clients recently read this 587,287 word novel) or Keith Richard’s autobiography ‘Life,’ it was able to grab and maintain your interest.

That type of interest is different to the logical interest of ‘I have ADHD and so it would make sense for me to read this book about it.’

Your interest level will vary from book to book.

The Traditional Way to Read a Book

The traditional way to read a book is to pick it up and read it from start to finish. Then, when you reach the end, start a new one.

For ADHD readers this method doesn’t work and ends up making your feel bad about yourself. You might think to yourself, ‘Just something else I have started but couldn’t finish.’

Your mind doesn’t work in a linear, methodical way.

Some people’s minds do, and that is why they can read books cover to cover and can also follow instruction manuals  step by step.

ADHDers’ strength is gathering information from lots of different sources (books) and linking the information up in unique and novel ways.

Neither way is right or wrong. It’s just very different. It’s our differences that make the world interesting.

Game Changer!

You don’t have to read books cover to cover!

An ADHD Way to Approach Reading Books

There is a profound little book called ‘The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results’ by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan. The concept is if you focus on ONE thing and take action on it,  rather than scattering your focus and attention, you will experience  exceptional results.

The ONE thing can be applied to all concepts, big and small.  From your life’s mission, to what action to take at work this week. Throughout the day you can ask yourself ‘what is my one thing?’ For example, what is the ONE thing I am going to take action on after attending the meeting?

We are going to use the ONE thing principle and apply it to reading books.

For each book you started to read (you don’t need to finish it), ask yourself “What is the ONE thing I learned and am going to take action on?’

Implementation is how lives are changed. It is much more powerful to read part of book and apply a change in your life, than read the whole book and carry on with life as usual.

My guess is, when you lose interest in a book, it’s because you have discovered your ONE thing. You got the information that inspired you to pick up the book and now are moving on to your next thing.

Recently I started to read “Deep Work. Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World” by Cal Newport. After reading 28% of the book I changed my morning routine. Rather than checking my email at 6am (while still in bed), I get up, drink my glass of water (see below!) and start writing. Since I have been doing this, I have become much more productive.  I am sure the other 72% of the book is fascinating; however, I don’t feel bad for not reading it.  I have my one life changing thing.

Back in January 2014, I bought Cameron Diaz’s book ‘The Body Book’. It is a beautiful hardback book full of inspiration and solid facts. Cameron describes how she starts her morning with a liter of water. That sounded like a good idea, so I began to start my mornings like that too. Fast forward to today, nearly 3 years later, it is hardwired in my morning routine.

This habit started before I discovered The ONE thing concept.  I did feel guilty for not implementing more of her suggestions. Now that guilt has been removed! I am happy that as a result of reading that book, I have one new healthy habit.

Systematize your ONE Thing

There is a certain satisfaction that comes from finishing a book. When you started reading a new book, you have subconsciously set yourself a goal… to finish it. Even though you are using the ONE thing method, you might feel a little incomplete.

This is why systematizing your ONE thing is important.

This idea came from Megan, a guest on Hal Elrod’s podcast. Megan explained she keeps track of all the books she reads in a spreadsheet. Each time she finishes a book she adds it to her spreadsheet, along with the ONE thing she is going to implement. With each new entry she reviews the list. If she isn’t implementing her ONE thing, she goes back and rereads the book.

What an awesome idea!

Let’s tweak Megan’s system to make it ADHD friendly.

  1. Create a Word or Google document to track your books if spreadsheets fill you with fear.
  2. You don’t need to read the whole book. Write down your ONE thing from the part of the book you did read.
  3. Review the document weekly, to keep the ideas fresh in your mind.
  4. If you find that you stopped implementing your ONE thing, go back to the book and either continue reading where you had left off or  reread the part that you already read.

Volia! 

You have a whole new way to approach reading. It is very liberating.

Are you going to try the ONE thing approach to reading? Let me know in the comments below.

p.s. If you would like to listen to Megan Lyons on Hal’s podcast, here is the link

How Are You Feeling?

Did you know that people with ADHD tend to be more sensitive and pick up on the moods and emotions of others? It can make you feel exhausted, unsettled and generally throw you off your game.

It can help to know this because then you don’t blame yourself. Whether it is election news, a family function or a stressful work meeting, you might notice  afterward that you aren’t as productive or as focused as usual.

Practicing extreme self-care, not watching the news or going for a long walk in the fresh air, are all great ways to shake away the negative vibes and get you back on track.

Sending Hugs

Jacqui

PS..If you want to watch something fun and heartwarming for a few minutes I have the perfect thing. Buster the dog!

 

 

 

ADHD and Famous People

hollywood-sign-1598473_640A few summers ago, I had a conversation with a 9-year-old little boy. He had been diagnosed with ADHD because he was struggling in school. He hated having ADHD. It made him feel different from everyone else, and he didn’t think it was fair that he had to struggle so much with things that all his friends found easy. He was so hurt—I really wanted to help, so I asked him a few questions. He loved sports, and the Summer Olympics was fresh in everyone’s mind, so I told him about Michael Phelps having ADHD.

I had never seen such a rapid change in someone’s mood. This little boy was thrilled. He knew he would be OK. In fact, he knew he was going to be more than OK, because ‘clearly’, having ADHD gave Michael Phelps the winning edge!

We aren’t that much different from that 9-year-old little boy. Even though as adults we try to be cool and pretend that celebrities don’t influence us, they do (we live in a celebrity-centric world)! Famous ADHDers can inspire us with their victories as well as their stories of struggle; Michael Phelps was bullied as a child, and Tarma Mellon went to rehab..

Celebrities can show us that using their gifts (often the ones that non-ADHDers want you to get rid of!) is how they became successful, and their success paves the way so that you know success is possible for you, too.

6 Reasons Why Knowing Famous People Have ADHD is Helpful

1) It normalizes the condition – anyone can have ADHD.

2) It shows that it’s possible to have ADHD and still be successful.

3) Their stories can act as an inspiration for us.

4) It validates us. We realize we aren’t alone with quirks and ‘annoyances’.

5) It gives us confidence to use our ADHD strengths.

6) It gives us HOPE!

Here are 15 Famous People Who Have ADHD.

1) Tom Hanks

Movie star. Tom Hanks has won 2 Oscars for ‘Best Actor’. He credits his success to having ADHD (not in spite of it). He has starred in many brilliant movies including Philadelphia, Bridge of Spies, Forrest Gump, Saving Private Ryan, The Da Vinci Code and Toy Story.

2) Richard Branson

Billionaire and founder of all things Virgin. Richard has achieved success in many areas of life, including business, relationships and humanitarian work. Learn more about the secrets of his success here.

3) Michael Phelps

Swimmer and most decorated Olympian ever! He has a total of 28 Olympic medals – 23 of which are gold medals and has competed in 5 Olympics. Learn about the lessons we can learn from him here.

4) Justin Timberlake

Singer-songwriter, actor, record producer. JT is an all around performer. He can sing, dance and has incredible stage presence. He is funny, genuine and can fill a huge stadium in 6 minutes.

5) Robin Williams

Everyone loved Robin Williams. When he passed away, the sad news affected people all over the world on a deep level. We know he was a talented actor and comedian and after his death, many people shared personal stories of how he touched their lives. He had empathy and sweetness that resonated with us all.

6) Tamara Mellon

Founder of Jimmy Choo’s, the luxury shoe brand. Tamara thought of the idea of creating a shoe brand while she was in rehab. When she shared her idea, people suggested perhaps she could work in a shoe store first. However, like many ADHDers Tamara was a big thinker and created the Jimmy Choo empire. You can read all about her life and adventures in her memoir called ‘In my shoes.’

7) Seth Godin

Author of 18 best selling books including, Tribes, Purple Cow and What to do When It’s Your Turn. He is a thought leader, entrepreneur and writes on his blog every day.

8) John. F. Kennedy

The 35th President of the United States. One of the qualities that people who met him use to  describe him was his vibrant energy.

9) Simone Biles

At just 19 years old, Simone Biles holds the title of being the most decorated American gymnast.

10) Albert Einstein

Theoretical physicist. There are no words needed to describe this legend.

11) Michael Jordan

Professional super-star basketball player. Considered to be the greatest basketball player of all time, MJ is known for his skill, talent and burning desire to win.

12) Will Smith

Singer and actor. Will has won 4 Grammy awards. He is also a 2 time Oscar nominated actor for his role in ‘Ali,’ a movie about Muhammad Ali, and ‘The Pursuit of Happiness’

13) Salma Hayek

Oscar nominated actress. Salma is also a director and producer and brought Mexican painter, Frida Kahlo, to life in the movie Frida.

14) Britney Spears

Pop Icon. Britney is a Grammy award winning singer. She has sold 100 million albums and over 100 million singles, making her one of the best-selling music artists of all time.

15) Ryan Gosling

Oscar nominated Actor, writer, director. Ryan began his career starring in Disney Channel’s Mickey Mouse Club. He has starred in movies  such as The Notebook,  Lars and the Real Girl and The Big Short.

Who is your favorite famous ADHDer? Leave their name in the comments below so we can add to this list!

 

Why Exercise Helps ADHD

Exercise is one of those things that you know you ‘should’ do, but it is often seen as a luxury activity to be done when everything else on your to list is complete. However, in this video, Dr John Ratey, co-author of the distraction books, Driven to Distraction, Answers to Distraction and Delivered from Distraction, presents compelling evidence why regular exercise is a must for everyone living with ADHD.

“Exercise as a little bit of Prozac and a little bit of Ritalin’ says Dr Ratey.

While working in Boston, Dr Ratey noticed when runners were injured and forced to stop running they experience problems of depression and ADHD symptoms, such as  difficulty with planning, procrastination and paying attention. He realized that these runners, who had huge success in their careers  had been self-medicating their ADHD with exercise.

Traditionally we think exercise is for our bodies;  however, Dr Ratey says exercise is really for our brains. The physical movement switches our brains ‘on’ and positively affects our executive functions which include:

  • Planning
  • Organization
  • Initiating  action
  • Delaying a reaction
  • Ability to learn from mistakes
  • Sustain focus
  • Working memory

Exercise creates

  • A lot of neurotransmitters, including dopamine, which we know is lower in the brains of people with ADHD.
  • BDNF or Brain derived neurotrophic factor,which Dr Ratey affectionately calls, “Miracle Grow For The Brain”, as it keeps our brain cells young.

Besides ADHD, Dr Ratey realized that exercise was a treatment for lots of disorders,  including ones that co-exist with ADHD. For example a study at Duke University found exercise improved our emotions including depression, anxiety and aggression.

Exercise also facilitates learning, as it turns on the attention, motivation and memory system and allows our brain cells to grow and sprout, which is how we learn everything.

Dr Ratey says

“the fitter you are, the better learner you are”

which might in itself be a motivation as adults with ADHD are lifelong learners.

A school in Naperville got their pupils to do 45 minutes of exercise every day. Look at the amazing benefits these children experienced:

Cognitive benefits

Every 4 years countries take a TIMSS test, which stands for Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study.  Usually the USA ranks in the low to mid teens. However, the Naperville school took the test as a country and came Number 1 in the world in Science and 6th in Math.

Physical benefits

There was no obesity and only 3% of the children were overweight, at a time when the national average was 35%.

Exercise also helps behavior. At a school in Northern Ontario, there was a class of 25 disruptive pupils.  If they were particularly disruptive they were suspended. Once these pupils started an exercise program the suspension rate went down from 95 days in a semester to just 5 days. In addition, absenteeism went down. The kids were motivated to go to school and participate in class.

Here is the video. Hope you enjoy it and that it inspires you to start exercising!!

Why do ADHDers Find it Difficult to Have an Organized Space?

Tidying UpLiving in a cluttered, unorganized environment is a common thing when you have ADHD. However, being surrounded by ‘stuff’ can make your ADHD symptoms worse. It is harder to focus and concentrate. It is easier to lose important items like keys and important paperwork, and it can also exacerbate coexisting conditions such as anxiety.

Here are 8 reasons why ADHDers find it hard to have an organized space

1) Distraction

You might start one activity, get distracted and then you start working on a second activity leaving the items from the first activity lying around.

2) Out of Sight, Out of Mind

You don’t like to put belongings away in cupboards because you are scared that you will forget about them.

3) Procrastination

Tidying up is one of those boring mundane tasks that ADHDers hate to do. This means that you keep putting it off for another day.

4) Memory

You keep newspaper articles and other objects as visual reminders of things you want to do and see. Your fear of forgetting means you accumulate lots of items, and they are difficult to keep organized.

5) Collector

ADHDers love to collect things: teapots, baseball caps, pens, etc. It doesn’t matter what it is; I bet you collect at least one thing. These collections can grow large and are tricky to keep organized.

6) Overwhelmed

You feel overwhelmed just looking at your cluttered space, and you feel parallelized, fatigued and can’t take any action.

7) Don’t Know How

You honestly never learned how to be tidy and organized. It’s not an excuse, but being tidy and organized isn’t a skill that you were born with and maybe no one taught you how to do it properly.

8) Decisions, Decisions

Organizing requires many decisions in a short space of time.

Making decisions is hard when you have ADHD. It takes mental effort, and you might second guess your decision or beat yourself up for making the ‘wrong’ decision.

How many of those points resonated with you? Don’t worry if it was all of them!

The opposite of a disorganized cluttered space, is a calm, peaceful one in which you know where your belongings are, and you feel happy to invite an unexpected visitor into your home. How do you create that space? With the help of a brilliant book by Marie Kondo called, ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing”.

The difference between this book and every other book written about organizing is that you ask yourself a different question. Rather than asking ‘what could I throw out’, you ask ‘what do I want to keep’. Marie suggests holding each item and asking “Does this bring me joy?” If it does, then you keep it, and if not, it is time to say goodbye.

It’s simple yet very powerful!

This simple question is very helpful for ADHDers because it cuts out all the mental negotiating that can happen in your mind. You don’t have to consider if the item was a gift, if you used it in the last year or, if you might need it again. Just ask one question, “Does this bring me joy?”

Here are 3 of my favorite tips from the book that I think will help you too.

1) Pick an Area You Want to Declutter

Start small, maybe a shelf. Remove everything from the shelf. Next, only put back  the things that bring your joy. After  you have tried the technique on a small area, and experienced for yourself how easy and fun it was, you will be very motivated to continue.

2) Start with Items That are Easier to Part With

Marie says people have trouble throwing out things that have:

Functional value (when you could still use the item)

Information value (has information you think you might need)

Emotional value (being anything sentimental)

Don’t start with any of these things! It will sabotage your good intentions. Instead, pick a category that will be easy for you. Marie suggests starting with clothes.

3) Don’t Let Your Family See What You are Getting Rid of

When people see what you are donating, they might seem shocked and you might find yourself second guessing your decisions. You have done so well to get to the donate / throw out stage; you don’t want a third person to change your mind.

With fewer items in your space, it is much easier to keep the area clean and tidy without even trying!

Have you tried any of these suggestions?