Experts estimate that around 4.5% of the adult population suffers from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms include “a combination of persistent problems, such as difficulty paying attention, hyperactivity and impulsive behavior. Adult ADHD can lead to unstable relationships, poor work or school performance, low self-esteem, and other problems.”
Living with ADHD can be challenging. But there are a number of steps you can take to form positive habits that will help you manage your ADHD.
Form a routine
According to the Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD), routine is a crucial step for anyone suffering from ADHD who wants to regain a sense of organization.
“Aim for small and manageable behavior changes,” habit formation researcher Benjamin Gardner told the organization. Don’t get discouraged by missteps during the process, as it can take up to 10 weeks for a new habit to form.
“Behavior change achievements, however small, can increase self-efficacy, which can in turn stimulate pursuit of further changes,” Dr. Gardner added. “Forming one ‘small’ healthy habit may thereby increase self-confidence for working towards other health-promoting habits.”
Here are the suggestions Edward Hallowell, MD, offered CHADD for those looking to improve their organization skills and habit forming abilities.
- Do what you’re good at doing.
- Delegate what you’re bad at to others as often as possible.
- Apply your energy to a creative outlet.
- Get well enough organized to achieve your goals. The key here is “well enough.” That doesn’t mean you have to be very well organized, just well enough organized to achieve your goals.
- Ask for and listen to advice from people you trust.
- Make sure you maintain regular contact with a few close friends.
- Go with your positive side. Even though you have a negative side, make decisions and run your life from your positive side.
Sleep and stress management
When it comes to managing AHDD, The Chesapeake ADHD Learning & Behavioral Health Center reported that sleep and stress management are crucial skills.
“Avoid over-stimulation one to two hours before bed — television shows, news, Internet, video games, engaging books, active play — turn off media 1.5 hours before bed,” the center reported. “Try a warm, quiet bath, melatonin, neutral reading, soothing massage, soft, slow music, nature sounds, a fan or white noise machine, a mixture of warm milk, tsp. real vanilla, tsp. sugar.”