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10 Things You Need To Remember If You Love Someone With ADHD

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10 Things You Need To Remember If You Love Someone With ADHD

You probably have heard quite a few people denying that ADHD even exists and that it is just another fad.

“To publish stories that ADHD is a fictitious disorder or merely a conflict between today’s Huckleberry Finns and their caregivers is tantamount to declaring the earth flat, the laws of gravity debatable, and the periodic table in chemistry a fraud.”- Russell Barkley and colleagues, International Consensus Statement on ADHD, 2002.

At the other end of the spectrum, there are people who know that ADHD (Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is a real condition and needs treatment, care, understanding, and above all support. These people are just like you and me and want to know about practical ways to help people we love with ADHD to manage their lives at work, school, and at home. Here are 10 ways we can help them to cope, whether we are parents, colleagues, or friends.

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1. We must let our ADHD kids move more

Research now shows that sitting still is not at all conducive to helping a child with ADHD to focus and concentrate. Their hyperactivity is not useless. The more they move, the better, because this is linked to how they will remember something or work out some cognitive process. Stability balls at home and at school are a great learning aid for them.

2. We must be more compassionate

Adults with ADHD are often popular because they can be funny, creative and good company. The problems arise when they just cannot cope with getting bills paid, organizing stuff, being punctual, keeping to deadlines, and remembering what their loved ones have just told them. Their brains just work differently. If you are close to a person with ADHD, you can first of all be more compassionate and push them to get treatment or therapy which will help them to cope. An ADHD sufferer once described it as:

“Like driving in the rain with faulty windshield wipers.  Moments of clarity along with lots of blur.”

3. We must be the ADHD child’s best advocate at school

Lots of kids with ADHD get into trouble at school by misbehaving, getting low grades, and failing to keep up with homework assignments. Parents need to be really well informed about ADHD so that they can act as their child’s advocate. This will help to get them the best possible arrangements at school such as IEP, and so on. A great way to start is to read Michelle Davis’s book Special Needs Advocacy Resource Book.

4. We must set up a well structured routine at home

ADHD kids really thrive when they get into a routine. We can help them a lot by getting them to follow a well structured routine every day. Having lists and post its in strategic spots, organizing clothes and schoolbags, and having regular bedtime are just a few things that need to be followed. There are some more excellent ideas in Dr. Russell Barkley’s book, Taking Charge of ADHD: The Complete, Authoritative Guide for Parents

5. We must help them to get rid of excess energy

Kids with ADHD are always on the go and their hyperactivity combined with impulsivity can lead to pretty scary situations. One great way is to channel all that energy into exercise and sports. Sometimes, this can calm them down and tire them without having to resort to medication. Michael Phelps is a great example although all our kids cannot become Olympic champions!

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6. We must limit media time

All the social networking, cell phones, video games, and TV can distract a kid and adult from engaging in much more active and healthier types of fun. As ADHD children and adults tend to hyperfocus, there is an extra risk here. They can spend hours on one game or activity, so using a timer can be useful. There is cool software called LeechBlock which can set time limits for time on Facebook or Twitter or any other site where they are spending too much time.

7. We must look after their sleep

Many people on ADHD meds have problems sleeping. It is just one of the side effects. If this is the case, it is essential to have the best possible conditions to avoid insomnia. Your kid may need up to ten hours sleep and if they don’t get that, it’s mayhem the day after. Switch off all devices, have a warm bath and read them a good story which should all be part of a well-structured routine. TV and social media in the bedroom are a no-no.

8. We must remember to break down instructions

Instead of telling a child or adult with ADHD that they never listen to you, try something else instead. The ADHD brain is trying to process a frightening range of stimuli coming at them. It is calculated that a child of 8 may only be able to handle 7 words at a time. This is why it is so important to break down instructions for chores, homework and behavior problems. Use frequent pauses and gestures so that the message is easier to understand.

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9. We must remember the problems when an ex has ADHD

If your ex has ADHD, it can be problematic when your kids come back from visitation. A great way to avoid issues is to persuade your ex that a separate set of kids’ items should be kept at their house. Living out of a suitcase is no fun but having all their stuff there when they arrive and return is a great way to reduce the tension. Having a laminated list of things they must remember to bring back is also helpful.

10. We must help them to eat properly

As Dr. Mark Bertin has pointed out, people with ADHD are more at risk of suffering from eating disorders and obesity. The main reason is that they cannot plan ahead and when they are hungry, impulsivity takes over and poor dietary choices are made. The steep downhill path to emotional eating is all too often taken.

Many parents have ADHD themselves so the problem becomes even more acute if one of their kids has ADHD as well. Developing mindful eating habits can help. When you learn to pause while eating and savor the taste of food, this can be a lifesaver in developing healthier eating habits. Avoiding being famished can be useful too, so frequent healthy snacks during the day can also help. .

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Looking after your loved ones who have ADHD is often challenging but when you change your approach as suggested above, you may be surprised at the results.

Featured photo credit: Mighty Jump/ David Goehring via flickr.com

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

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How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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