Clients frequently ask me for tips on how to focus the ADHD mind. They want to start tasks more easily, finish them more regularly, and be able to concentrate in between. They are surprised to learn they already have a great ADHD management tool at their fingertips.
First, let’s cover some ADHD basics…
As Dr. Thomas Brown says in his fine book “Attention Deficit Disorder: The Unfocused Mind“, ADHD isn’t really caused by a deficit of attention but by a deficit of stimulation.
The ADHD brain gets distracted and inattentive when there isn’t enough going on. That’s why children with ADHD can’t pay attention in school but can focus for hours on a video game. Sadly, video games provide more stimulation than most teachers.
That’s why you finally kick into gear and start working on a project when the deadline looms. The deadline provides the stimulation your brain needs to get to work.
So what Attention Deficit really needs is to have the brain stimulated. That’s exactly what ADHD medications do; they supply stimulating chemicals to the brain. Drinking coffee and eating chocolate does this too. Same with taking risks like skydiving and having affairs. They light a fire in the brain.
It’s been scientifically proven that the most effective tool for managing ADHD is medication; however, not everyone can or will take medication which leaves us looking for alternative ways to easily and safely stimulate the ADHD brain; ways that aren’t laden with calories, end in divorce or require trips to the emergency room.
There’s a readily available tool you can use to safely stimulate your brain – music.
Music gives the ADHD brain something to focus on which lights up the synapses and engages the brain. The right tune with the right beat dissolves those familiar “I don’t feel like doing it” and “I can’t focus” feelings and urges you into action.
Using Music to Sooth ADHD Symptoms
• Help Anytime – Radio stations and cds work fine but the invention of the mp3 player is a true gift for managing ADHD. You can listen to music through headphones without interrupting others or having to agree on your music selection.
• Deal with Background Noise – An iPod can help you cope when there’s too much background noise. Like those times when the kids are chattering, the TV is blaring and you can’t take the racket for one more second. Or, those times you need to do some focused writing at work but your office mate is on the phone.
• Get Motivated – Music is a fabulous motivator. Have a project or task you can’t seem to start like writing those reports, cleaning the house or getting organized? Crank up some lively tunes and you’ll be amazed at how easy it is to get to work.
With ADHD on board you’ve got to use all the tools you can get your hands on. So crank up some music and crank up your brain, focus the ADHD mind! I hope it helps!
The Last Word…
When Scott gave me an iPod as an anniversary present a few years ago, little did we suspect it would become the ADHD management tool I simply can’t live without.
When I’m procrastinating, listening to my iPod shifts me into action. When I’m scattered it keeps me focused. When I’m plugged into my iPod even drudgery-laden tasks get done more easily. Listening to my Pod also soothes me when too much noise and stimulation pushes me into overwhelm – something that happens often in our chaotic household.
My favorite thing about my iPod is I can hear what’s going on around me even when I’m wearing the earbuds. I’m not out of touch or anti-social, and I can still have conversations. It helps to keep me in a bubble of just the right stimulation without closing myself off from other people. CD or iPod, music is an excellent tool for managing ADHD. Try it. You’ll be amazed at how much you can accomplish. Focus the ADHD mind!
Dana Rayburn is an ADHD Coach in Oregon, but don’t worry… She works by telephone helping ADHD adults all over the world live more effortlessly and successfully with ADHD.