Did you know there is a positive link between spending time in nature and ADHD? Researchers at the University of Illinois found that 20 minutes in nature helped reduce unwanted symptoms of Adult ADHD among its participants. While this study was done with children, the researchers state that their findings also extend to ADHD adults and the non-ADHD population.
If you live in the city or a built up area, don’t feel like you are discounted from the advantages. The benefits of being outside in a “green area” were present whether the participants were in a city park or a remote rural setting. This is great news as it means that no matter where you are in the world, you will still be able to implement and enjoy the benefits that being in nature has on your ADHD.
There are all sorts of ways to incorporate green time into your day, from a gentle stroll to something more adventurous. Here is a list of some activities you can do to ensure you are spending time in nature. However, there are many more!
1. A stroll or gentle walk
2. Bike riding
3. In line skating/skateboarding
4. Horseback riding
5. Growing a garden
10. Flying a kite
12. If you have a garden, start doing some of your regular activities there, such as eating meals and reading the newspaper.
13. Yoga or Tai Chi (done outside)
14. Bird watching
15. Walking your dog
Depending on where you live and your lifestyle, some of these activities you will only be able to do at the weekend, while others are more accessible and you can do them every day.
Action Steps to Allow Nature to reduce your symptoms of Adult ADHD
If you aren’t used to being outside in a green setting, slowly integrate it into your life, until it’s part of your daily routine. Remember, it’s important not just that you are outside, but that you are in a green setting.
1. Have at least 20 minutes of green time a day (but there is no maximum.)
2. Try every item on the list once, just for fun.
3. On days that you aren’t able to go outside, notice and compare how you feel and function to those days that you are outside.
How you take care of yourself and your body is very telling of your self-esteem. If you abuse your body in any way, with food, drink or drugs it could be a sign of low self-esteem. This is where the phrase ‘fake it till you make it’ is perfect. You don’t have to wait until your self-esteem is higher to stop abusing your body. Start to treat it beautifully now and your esteem will rise. Nourish your body with healthy yummy food; give yourself permission to buy the strawberries, even if it isn’t a special occasion. A glass of wine with dinner or a cold beer on a hot day is great, but everything in moderation. It’s easy to wash down the stresses of the day with large quantities of alcohol but it’s not a good way to appreciate your body. If you take drugs to feel ‘normal’ there are lots of others ways to do that than to harm your body in this way.
When you start to take care of and appreciate your body, you will notice lots of many nice rewards. You will have more energy, both mental and physical. You will feel happier on a daily basis, and a sense of peace, because as much as one part has enjoyed the drink, drugs or extra food, the other part of you was feeling guilty and knew it wasn’t a good thing.
A great way to appreciate your body is to find an exercise that you love to do and then do it every day. Not only will you start to feel healthier and notice physical changes in your body when you exercise your body naturally craves healthy foods and water and so it makes moving away from the unhealthy substances much easier.
Start to take care of your body today and notice how much better feel about yourself inside and out.
Taking time to have fun is something that often by passes adults with ADHD. They feel guilty because they ‘should’ being doing something else, like tidying up their messy house, or sitting down to pay the bills.
However, it is really important to make having fun a priority since it recharges your batteries and gives you more energy to get the not so fun stuff done.
One thing I have noticed with adults with ADHD is their idea of ‘fun’ might not be considered mainstream fun, and that is OK! When I ask a client what they find fun they will say, “Oh the usual, going out for dinner, watching a movie” and I can tell they are saying those things because they are the ‘expected’ answers. But their face is lifeless. I probe a little deeper and they say shyly..”Well, it might not be everyone’s idea of fun but..” and then their face lights up as they list everything they REALLY love to do, from political debating to midnight hikes.
Never be shy about what it is you enjoy doing, and always make time to do your fun stuff. Not only is your life more fun and enjoyable when you take the time to do what you love, but with your energy recharged, everything else in your life seems so much better.
Your homework this week is to think of 3 things that are fun for you and then schedule time to actually do them! Then, notice how happy you feel both during the activity and afterwards.
Adults with ADHD really struggle to create a beautiful living environment for themselves. Your physical environment is a reflection of your self-esteem and like other aspects of self-esteem; it’s a ‘chicken and egg’ situation. Your self-esteem is low so you feel you don’t deserve a beautiful living environment. However when you are living in a cluttered, dirty and possibly smelly environment it reinforces your low self-esteem. While this is an area that is particularly hard when you have ADHD, it is still possible to keep things clean and ordered. Plus it’s a vital element to your well being
Keep your home clean and tidy as if guests were coming. Because you deserve to be in a nurturing environment just as much (more in my opinion) as any guests that visit. The English Designer William Morris said “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful”. Let this be your motto as you begin to create a beautiful physical environment for yourself
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!
Having an organized environment helps adults with ADHD feel calm, focused and able to function at their peak. However, having ADHD also means achieving and maintaining an organized environment is really hard. One of the biggest challenges is the accumulation of clutter. In my book, Untapped Brilliance, I have a chapter about achieving a clean, tidy and organized environment and I am always interested to learn more about this subject so I can in turn pass the information on to my clients. It was with fascination that I read organization guru Julie Morgenstern’s book SHED Your Stuff, Change Your Life: A Four-Step Guide to Getting Unstuck.
Julie makes the connection between hoarding your belongings and staying stuck in life. It is really hard to move forward in life when you have the physical and mental reminds of the past. She gives a powerful personal example of how her old belongings were preventing her from moving forward.
Her childhood passion for theatre led her to be a theatre director. Then when her circumstances changed and she was a single mum, she started her own business as a professional organizer. Her business was going well, however she noticed it had reached a plateau. Due to lack of storage, she had six boxes of theatre production books (her old life) housed under her dining room table. By getting rid of those boxes, she witnessed a remarkable growth in her business (her current life).
Because getting rid of things is so hard for people with ADHD, I really liked Julie’s philosophy as it gives a deeper meaning to getting rid of your clutter. She suggests picking a theme for the next chapter of your life. This theme acts as a mental guide to help you get rid of your belongings that reflect your old life’s chapters.
So are you ready to create a beautiful living environment for yourself? One that helps you move forward in the direction of your dreams? Here are the five steps:
- Pick a theme for your next life chapter. Are you a singleton, empty nester, freshly graduated or about to embrace a new healthy lifestyle? Identify yours and then use a few positive words to describe your theme.
- Write list of every area you want to declutter. You probably know where your clutter is lurking in your house. There might be a little in every room, or you might have one room that is “off limits.” Writing it down gets it clear in your mind and acts as a great reminder of what you have done, once you start putting checkmarks beside areas that you have decluttered.
- Grab your kitchen timer and work for fifteen minutes a day on the Decluttering process. If you are inspired to do more than fifteen minutes, go for it, but don’t burn yourself out in one day. Then you won’t be able to face Decluttering again for months.
- If you are unsure if you should part with something, remember your theme. Does this item fit in with where you are going in life?
- Reward yourself along the way. The benefits of decluttering are huge; however, they aren’t always obvious in the beginning. Give yourself treats and rewards every time you do your Decluttering.