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Daily Habits for Managing ADHD

May 6, 2014

Excerpted from Psych Central http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2014/03/15/10-daily-habits-that-help-you-manage-adhd/

The first key in managing attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is making sure you’re getting effective treatment.  The second key in managing ADHD is building healthy habits that help you sharpen your focus, navigate symptoms and accomplish what you need to accomplish. Below is a list of 10 habits that may help you better manage ADHD.

 1. Get enough sleep.  Get at least 7 hours of sleep each night.  Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day.  Create a bedtime routine.  Create a morning routine as well so your less likely to hit snooze and go back to sleep.

2. Get enough nutrients.  What you eat will directly impact your ability to focus and your executive functioning — your ability to plan, organize and follow through with things.  Eating unprocessed whole foods and avoiding junk goes a long way toward helping you function at your best.  

3.  Participate in physical activities.  Getting exercise is good for everyone.  For folks with ADHD, it helps keep you focused and expends any hyperactive energy.

4.  Use a system to manage tasks.  Many people with ADHD get overwhelmed with everything they need to do, because everything seems important. That’s where having a simple system comes in.  Some people recommend the “Getting Things Done” system, which you can modify according to your life and preferences. Create one list that captures everything you’d like to remember, such as appointments and assignments. Then create a to-do list that includes the specific actions you will take.  Anything that includes multiple steps goes on a “project list.” Whatever the project, write down all the specific steps that need to be done. 

5. Reflect on your victories.  Celebrate your successes and be sure to note any and all accomplishments for the day, even if they seem small.  This positive self-talk adds to feelings of self-efficacy or your belief that you are capable of succeeding.  

7. Practice positive self-talk.  Pay attention to the things you’re saying to yourself. Challenge negative statements, and replace them with positive phrases.

8. Get yourself a system for handling your finances.  Using money management software can help with organizing your expenses and documents. Programs like Mint.com are free and providue you with analysis of your spending.  

9. Have an accountability partner.  Another issue adults with ADHD can run into is lack of structure and accountability. For instance, college students go from having highly structured days in high school to virtually no structure.  For accountability and structure, you can hire an ADHD coach, partner with others to create an accountability group or ask a friend to help.  

10. Remember every day is a new day.  Starting a new habit for anyone is challenging, and includes ups and downs. Forming new habits is hard work but one of the most successful ways we know of to create positive behavioral change.  Living with ADHD becomes easier when you incorporate good healthy habits into daily life.

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