Do you have trouble paying attention and staying focused? Are you finding it difficult to manage your emotions? Do you struggle with time management? These are some of the signs of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). People with ADHD often feel overwhelmed by day-to-day tasks, says Dr. Alddo Molinar, a globally recognized authority on ADHD.
He points out that people with ADHD feel as if they are in a whirlwind of confusion. They may have a hard time prioritizing, organizing, and completing tasks. Besides the day-to-day demands of life, people with ADHD find it difficult to live up to others’ expectations. If you have ADHD, and everything seems too much, you’re not alone! About 8.4% of children and 2.5% of adults live with the condition. Those numbers may be higher because many people go undiagnosed because of issues like stigma and discrimination.
Dr. Alddo Molinar on Why ADHD Isn’t a Sign of Failure
Dr. Molinar notes that ADHD is not a deficit in attention or a sign of failure. This genetic brain disorder starts in childhood and can continue into adolescence and adulthood. About 50% of children with ADHD still experience the condition as adults.
In the past 20 years, we have refined our understanding of how ADHD affects children, teens, and adults. ADHD is a difficulty with self-control, self-regulation, and self-management. The psychological term for it is executive function. Executive functions include problem-solving, inhibition, attention control, and working memory. Many of these functions originate in the brain’s prefrontal cortex, Dr. Molinar explains. Since much of our lives demand that people set and achieve goals, problems with executive function make it difficult to succeed. The ability to plan, organize, execute and problem-solving can help individuals in many aspects of life. So, improving these skills is essential for children and adults.
Fortunately, ADHD is treatable with a combination of education, medication, and psychological counseling. Dr. Molinar also recommends behavioral treatments and support from friends, family, and teachers.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, the following tips from Dr. Molinar may help.
Focus on one thing at a time
Dr. Alddo Molinar recommends doing one thing at a time instead of juggling every task on your plate. Trying to perform many tasks at once can make it difficult for the ADHD brain to handle. Attempting to do many things at once is counterproductive because it generates less quality work. Many people think multitasking is doing two or more tasks simultaneously—which is actually impossible. The truth is, you are shifting your attention from one task to another every few seconds. That means you’re never fully focused on one thing, he explains. If you have ADHD, it is even more difficult because of the attention issues associated with it. By focusing on one task at a time, you can get more done faster! He recommends scheduling some time for breaks, as well.
Write it all down
Dr. Alddo Molinar also suggests building a master to-do list to make prioritizing tasks easier. Record every job that you need to do. Include all your thoughts or ideas. He also recommends separating the list into categories, such as personal, family, business, and shopping. As we’ve already mentioned, you can get overwhelmed if you choose to do everything at once. But if you put pen to paper and create your master list, it becomes easier to track your tasks. Starting your day with a simple task is often the best way to get the ball rolling. However, be flexible because plans can change. Try this out, and give yourself the grace you deserve.
Focus on the Now
One of the main challenges people with ADHD face is concentrating on what they are doing at present. Instead of being present, past problems or worries often distracted them. They ruminate about what happened in the past while trying to predict the future. Sometimes, the solution is to hit the delete button and quiet negative thoughts. But why does it matter?
When you concentrate on what you are doing at present, you can:
- Improve your productivity because you’re focusing one thing at a time
- Cultivate healthy connections that will help improve your well-being and quality of life
- Stay grounded in stressful moments
- Squeeze more pleasure out of each day
So, focusing on the now makes perfect sense. When you’re worried about what may or may not happen, you feel overwhelmed. Instead, focus on the now, so you can reap the benefits of being in the present moment.
Dr. Alddo Molinar Thoughts on Exercise and the ADHD Brain
Exercise stimulates the release of feel-good endorphins, which help you cope better with ADHD. For children with ADHD, exercise can also increase focus. Dr. Molinar notes that exercise also induces other brain chemicals, such as dopamine, GABA, serotonin, and norepinephrine. People with ADHD are usually low on these hormones, he explains. Studies show that exercise can help encourage executive function tasks, such as planning, organizing, and prioritizing.
He suggests adding the following exercises to your workout routine to improve ADHD symptoms:
- Raising weights
- Doing yoga
As you can see, you don’t have to do strenuous exercises. Even a short workout session can encourage positive thinking and get your creative juices flowing.
Get a Good Night’s Sleep
A good night’s sleep improves your ability to focus and is crucial for your mood, health, and overall well-being. Unfortunately, many children and adults with ADHD struggle to fall and stay asleep. In fact, about 25%–50% of people with ADHD experience sleep difficulties. Consequently, the symptoms of ADHD can get worse. If you don’t get the quality of sleep you need, you’re also likely to become angry or frustrated easily. Dr. Alddo Molinar points out that lack of sleep is a risk factor for depression and other cognitive issues.