When I go online to read about attention deficit disorder (ADHD or ADD), I am reminded of the many perspectives about ADHD. On one hand, you find support for the disability, and on the other, you’ll find a small chorus of people saying it doesn’t exist. Some experts recommend medication; others advise using alternative therapies to manage symptoms. Considering everything we understand about ADHD, there should be a consensus about these things by now.
I’ll admit I don’t know the answers, but I do know what my experience of almost 40 years with ADHD has taught me:
- People with ADHD have a brain that makes it hard to meet “normal” expectations.
- People with ADHD successfully manage daily life challenges at home and at work.
Many experts argue about the definitions or the pros and cons of the condition, but I’ve learned how to get the most out of my life with ADHD. Your brain is powerful. To tap into its potential, ignore others’ limiting expectations and trust your own strengths. The basic practices below can help you improve personally and professionally. If you’ve struggled to manage symptoms in the past, try again, using these four tools:
- Affirmations. Make – and repeat – positive, optimistic statements about the challenge you are trying to meet. Statements such as “I am capable of learning to be on time” will bring a positive attitude to working on being punctual. Repeating these statements will ensure that you do learn to be on time. This strategy has transformed my life.
- Good mornings. Have a self-affirming morning routine that empowers you. Start the day with activities that nourish you. Mine is five to 10 minutes of meditation, a good breakfast with a cup of my favorite coffee, a relaxing shower, and a bunch of optimistic statements. Remind yourself of your ability to overcome the obstacles you face. Feeling good about yourself, and your ability to overcome obstacles, tends to last through the day.
- Your network. Enlist the help of others when you fall off track. If you don’t ask for what you need, you can quickly get overwhelmed, which leads to discouragement, procrastination, and the loss of hope. Always have the right people or mentors to call upon. Find the best programs and professionals to help you. Follow their advice to the letter, and stick with it, even if your attention or enthusiasm wavers. Be clear with your friends and family about your goals, and how they can help. Successful people always say they couldn’t have done it alone.
- Self-awareness. Learn to understand your brain, your strengths, and your talents, so you can develop the best strategies to succeed. Don’t try to be someone else – acknowledge the best and worst of your own behaviors, and plan accordingly to get better at task management, organization, and the problems that trip you up.
Never give up on the bright, successful future that is awaiting you