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Dr Hallowell ADHD and mental and cognitive health

A resource about ADD, ADHD, and mental health

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Dr. Hallowell's Blog

10 Practical Tips for Managing ADHD

 1.  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 at all — just well enough organized to achieve your goals.

 2.  Try to get rid of the negativity that may have infested your system if you have lived without knowing that what you had was ADHD. A good psychotherapist may help in this regard.

3.  Do what you are good at, instead of spending all your time trying to get good at what you’re bad at. You did enough of that in school.

4.  When it comes to paperwork, use the principle of O.H.I.O.: Only Handle It Once.

5.  Make deadlines — Prioritize rather than procrastinate. If you cannot handle it only once, then prioritize. When things get busy, the adult ADHD person loses perspective: paying an unpaid parking ticket can feel as pressing as putting out the fire that just got started in the wastebasket. Prioritize. Take a deep breath. Put first things first. Then go on to the second and the third task.

6.   Ask for and heed advice from people you trust — and ignore, as  best you can, the dream-breakers and finger-waggers.

7.  Understand mood changes and ways to manage these.

8.   Choose “good” helpful addictions, such as exercise. Many adults with ADHD have an addictive or compulsive personality such that they are always hooked on something. Try to make this something positive.

9.  Learn how to advocate for yourself. Adults with ADD are so used to being criticized that they are often unnecessarily defensive in putting their own case forward.

10.  Learn to joke with yourself and others about your various symptoms. If you can learn to be relaxed enough about the whole syndrome to be able to joke about it, others will forgive you much more easily.

 *Adapted from Delivered from Distraction, Edward M. Hallowell, M.D., John J. Ratey, M.D., Ballantine, 2005

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