The 3 adhd criteria
1. IS YOUR EXCESS ENERGY GETTING IN THE WAY?
Your hyperactivity manifests itself in two areas:
Physical restlessness is the first criteria necessary for ADHD diagnosis.
This is a display of excess energy, especially when bored. This energy is often present as an emotional problem such as low mood or impulsive anger.
Fidgeting is one method you might employ to help you focus on boring tasks. Your brain and body are connected. Movements associated with fidgeting actually help your brain maintain focus for learning.
Your brain is wired for excitement. You love new and novel experiences. Life, however is replete with mundane activities. If you have ADHD you will find many tasks daunting or even painful to accomplish. Sleeping, brushing teeth, showering, eating and using the bathroom would typically be too boring to carry out consistently, and on time. Your ADHD brain convinces you to procrastinate until the very last minute, when the deadline looms just ahead. Only then the adrenalin kicks in and pushes you into action mode.
Here is the secret to handling the boring tasks in life:
Learn the necessary skills to establish systems (routines) that will free up your time and mental space. You will find it easier to focus on the important things in your life, and you’ll find more time for them.
Restlessness can be an asset. It can be channelled into your passions and dreams, or toward helping others. You probably possess more physical energy and stamina than most people, and it is important to release some of this excess through exercise.
To keep your brain engaged, you need to keep on moving – your abundant energy can work for you instead of against you.
If your job requires you to sit in one place for long periods of time, consider using a standing desk.
A quick work out with weights during the day is effective.
Walking to work would help to get your brain into work focus mode.
Use your breaks to go for a short jog.
As mentioned before, there is a form of ADHD without hyperactivity. It is called ADD. A person with ADD may appear laid-back or ‘chilled’. They don’t possess the physical restlessness, however they possess the mental restlessness that will be discussed in the next paragraph.
Your mental restlessness is one of the sources of your endless creative ideas flowing through your brain, bombarding you day and night. This is one source of your inner drive to explore and discover. Here lie some of your strengths. Do you perceive things that others don’t? Do you observe and make connections on a deeper level than others?
You most likely possess more resilience than your peers when faced with setbacks. You are better equipped to persevere and find solutions despite previous failures. You are highly intuitive and grasp concepts quickly, and for this reason you may possess great interpersonal skills.
Some professionals who have embraced their ADHD are rock climbers, explorers, reporters, chefs, hair stylists, comedians and PR managers.
Nathan was plagued with self-doubt. He was a very bright person, but complained that he was tormented by his creative brain, which constantly bombarded him with new ideas. This paralysed him with indecision. He was 35 and had not yet brought to fruition any of his amazing plans.
The worst thing was that others whom he considered far less capable than he were moving on in life and reaching their goals. This bothered him to no end. After his first session his first homework assignment was to write down all of his ideas. Every time a creative insight popped into his head, he had to jot it down. At the next session his coach asked him to focus on one idea and take steps to actualise it. Nathan found this excruciatingly difficult.
I explained to him the following parable:
“Imagine you are camping out in the countryside and you need to catch some fish for lunch. You come across a stream with an abundance of colourful fish swimming along. You only need to catch one fish for lunch. When it’s time for dinner, you will go back to the stream and catch one more fish.”
Nathan’s ideas would keep on swimming down the stream of his consciousness. He only needed to catch one idea, and take steps to bring it to completion. Nathan managed to complete one goal and then move on to the next. He reported feeling more productive and energetic than ever.
Find out what the Huffington Post has to say about mental restlessness.
2. IS YOUR IMPULSIVITY HOLDING YOU BACK?
Impulsivity is the second of the 3 criteria necessary for ADHD diagnosis. When people hear the term ADHD they think of the inability to focus for extended lengths of time. The core challenge however, is regulating emotions and impulses.
Your ADHD brain is more susceptible to impulsivity. Behaviours such as blurting out comments, dieting or impulsive spending are typical. Redirect your impulsive urges. If saying ‘no’ to yourself is too hard, simply say ‘yes’ to something else and wait for the first craving to pass. Racing drivers, test pilots, entrepreneurs, media producers, talk show hosts, and artists have all harnessed their ‘impulsivity’ towards successful careers.
Remember that you will find boring tasks very difficult to do. So harness your impulsivity to make the task creative and exciting.
Your impulsivity is a gift that you have a responsibility to harness in a positive way. On a personal note, I managed to get this book completed by harnessing my trait of impulsivity. I had the idea to write this book, and jumped in right away. Once I had gotten over the exciting part of writing the book, I needed to wade through the horribly boring task of proofreading and checking, (6 times!) I got this done by jumping from one part of the book to the other, starting from the centre of the book and working outwards. I worked in half hour increments, and changed the environment that I worked in. These simple methods kept my brain buzzing and helped me deal with the overwhelmingly boring yet vital task of editing, proof reading and finishing this book.
Clients regularly make great changes in life areas that they haven’t even worked on in the coaching sessions. This is because when one improves on one executive function it has a direct effect on the other executive functions.
This is Nicola’s story. She was in coaching for five months practising self-awareness and anger management.
Nicola had a sister-in-law, Alex, with whom she didn’t get on very well. Alex was a high-flying executive who earned over two million a year. Nicola was employed as a desk clerk at her local post office. She felt intimidated by Alex. During a recent conversation, Alex made a remark that deeply hurt Nicola. She felt that Alex seriously crossed her boundaries. She related that a couple of days after the incident she invited Alex out for a drink. Nicola was scared out of her wits but she calmly yet assertively stated her thoughts about Alex’s remarks. Alex understood that her comments had been out of place. She apologised.
Nicola related that in all her 54 years she had never managed to assert herself in a calm and forthright manner. Had she followed her regular behaviour pattern she would have simply shut down or more likely, exploded in anger at a later time. This moment of brave assertiveness was a major achievement for her. She felt five feet taller. She gained confidence that she could face future challenges successfully.
Find out more about impulsivity from Dr Russell Barkley’s website here
3. IS YOUR DISTRICTIBILITY HOLDING YOU BACK?
Distractibility is the third criteria for ADHD. There are three types of focus:
Emergency personnel employ hypo-focusing to move easily from one task to another, while keeping the big picture in view. Hypo-focusing helps to sustain focus on many things at once without feeling overwhelmed.
The drawback is that when bored or unmotivated, you might jump from one task to the next, often without completing the first. You may get restless and irritable.
The plus side of distractibility is your ability to hyper-focus. You may be able to focus intently on interesting tasks for hours. Channel this trait into the right profession to suit your skills. Neurosurgeons, caring professionals, theatre and arts professionals and wilderness guides all use hyper-focus to their advantage.
You can train your mind to focus for longer periods of time. Use short bursts of energy to get a job done. Remember to focus on one piece of work at a time, to gain inner peace.
You also need to be able to selectively focus, meaning being able to focus on your tasks even when there are distractions around you.
Disctractibility has its upside as well.
The 3 ADHD criteria and more is available in “Own your ADHD – Discover your True Potential.” Being published soon. CONTACT HERE