The ADHD Stimulation Lever

 In Maya's Journey to Success

ADHD Stimulation LeverLast week in the morning Success Club (my group ADHD coaching program) I taught the group an essential ADHD Success skill. I call it the ADHD Stimulation Lever. Here’s Maya’s report on the module. – dr

Dana’s module for this week’s ADHD Success Club has given me tools for my ADHD toolbox to use as an ADHD stimulation lever when I need to balance stimulation. Many times last week and this weekend, I failed to open the toolbox and use the tools.

In my world, I am thrown off balance and become less productive when I have too much stimulation or too little stimulation. Becoming more aware of that over the past week helps me understand why I get overwhelmed when I have too much to do, why I sometimes say negative things with no conscious thought, and how I need to use the tools Dana has taught in the ADHD Success Club.

Dana explains that a central issue of ADHD is lack of brain stimulation and that oftentimes with ADHD we have too much stimulation or too little stimulation. Moving the brain to the optimum level of stimulation can bring calm, focus, and productivity.

When my mind is overstimulated, I tend to busy myself with actions of distraction, yet I focus on everything except what’s most important. Being “too busy” in my teaching, my planning, and even in my life continues to be a daily struggle, but Dana’s tools give me a lever to pull to propel me from inaction or distraction to deliberate action.

I have a lot to do in the next few days: grade and record several assignments, plan my weekly lessons, plan next month’s calendar, and update my weekly blog for school. Instead of focusing on that this weekend, I drafted the calendar through Christmas break, I researched ideas for book projects, I researched ideas to make this week’s lessons better, I played with new digital tools, and I read a YA book. Don’t get me wrong—I also graded Friday’s quizzes, I recorded half the quizzes, I typed up vocabulary to post, and I assigned roles for this week’s mock trial. Still, though, the time is 9:51 on Sunday night and my lessons aren’t complete for the week, and I’m writing my blog that’s due midday tomorrow.

When I notice fading of focus and thoughts or a frantic spiral of thoughts, I need to add action to awareness in order to adjust my ADHD stimulation lever. Reading over the notes for this week, I know exactly what I need to do on afternoons like I had today.

When my mind fades and I’m doing nothing:

  1. Play upbeat music.

  2. Set a timer.

  3. Talk to my neighbor teacher —  holding each other accountable for completing tasks.

  4. Respect deadlines, and respect my priorities.

  5. Strategically set up my times for completing tasks.

When my mind is spinning and spiraling and I’m overwhelmed:

  1. Breathe in — breathe out.

  2. Clear my mind with calming music/meditation.

  3. Dump the frazzle from my brain to the page.

  4. Get up and move — go for a walk, change locations, get some air.  

  5. Assess the big picture and the priorities and realign my activities to move in that direction.

Going from awareness to deliberate action, this is my goal. My vantage point has changed because now I see these obstacles as hurdles I can jump over. They are not imposing and insurmountable walls. The work is hard, and sometimes I don’t clear the hurdles. But, I know over time I will use the ADHD stimulation lever and clear more and more hurdles as I continue my journey to live successfully with ADHD.  

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