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How To Cure ADHD with Behavioral Modification

How To Cure ADHD with Behavioral Modification

When I was young, people around me called those who interrupted in class and never did their homework, “lazy”. To lessen the sting from that horrible word, they used to add “…but with a lot of potential” to suggest that there’s some light at the end of the tunnel for those students if they only buckled up and straightened their act.

In some severe cases, a kid would even be labeled as suffering from a terrible affliction called ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, a disease that had treatment but no known cure. According to Wikipedia, there are a number of factors that may influence our tendency to demonstrate ADHD-related behaviors. Among them are genetics, diet, and our social and physical environments.

In Recent years, ADHD had grown into epidemiological levels as more and more cases of ADHD are uncovered each day. Nowadays, it seems as though everyone has contracted it—including a lot of adults—and as a result, the consumption of ADHD related medication is constantly on the rise in both adults and children.

According to a certain diagnosis, I have ADHD, which made reading this post a bit annoying since it was claimed in the post that ADHD is a fictitious disease, a claim that was later refuted as partly true. Why partly? Because although there’s a neurological condition called ADHD, there’s a lot of people who were diagnosed with it that don’t really fall under the category of suffering from it.

The reality is that most people are diagnosed as having ADHD because it’s convenient, because someone needs a scapegoat to blame for an inability to complete tasks and because society fails to identify it for what it really is.

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You Don’t Need to Cure ADHD; It’s an Evolutionary Advantage (and please pardon my hubris)

Cure ADHD? Really? There’s no cure for ADHD because it’s part of our primordial nature. We were not designed to sit in a class and do one task at a time; we were designed to be hunters with sharp instincts who can react instantaneously to threats in an environment that’s full of them.

ADHD, or the behaviors related to that disorder, are even labeled as advantages when it comes to certain professions; specifically those that require high alert and a multichannel approach to them—like combat pilots. Those professions resemble in nature the type of tasks we used to do back when we were hunters, i.e. controlling a lot of channels and making them work together.

Nature didn’t design us to sit in an office and do one task at a time.

If we were meant to be pencil pushers, things would look totally different both in the office and in our classrooms. We’d be able to process practically everything with ease, never moving from our chair, following the rules and never disrupting the natural order of things. This would result in us not making the huge progress we’ve made through the years due to certain people you might heard of, such as Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking, Nikolai Tesla, Louis Pasteur, Galileo, and Sir Isaac Newton—they all had traits of ADHD.

They achieved all the things they did because they never mainstreamed; they just couldn’t.

Since we’ve all got ADHD to an extent and people with ADHD are responsible for the major changes around us, it looks like ADHD is just a misunderstood evolutionary advantage.

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Why misunderstood and why an advantage? Good questions. Let’s talk a moment about cats.

Yes, Cats.

Cats are excellent climbers, there’s no dispute about that, so why do they get stuck in trees so often?

Well, apparently, their claws were designed only for climbing up, not getting down. That’s why it’s really hard to teach a cat to climb down; they were never meant to do it. To learn how to climb down they would need years of evolution and an environment that will help then make that leap, so to speak.

In a similar way, we need to integrate our innate advantages into the way we learn, work, and focus, without taking Ritalin or any other drug, for that matter. We must face our environment today clear of any aids so we’ll be able to develop the skills required to face it.

A lot of ADHD behaviors have solutions in the behavioral modification department, or in other words, deal with the problems you’re having with skills instead of drugs. Let’s look at a few examples:

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1# General Inability to Focus on One Task, or Complete a Task Unless it’s Enjoyable.

To fix this you have to learn how to do one thing at a time because even with drugs, you can’t help yourself from gliding away from your intended task with the first distraction that comes your way.

People who were labeled as ADHDs have the tendency to do so more than others, which is why they tend to begin a lot of tasks and projects without finishing them: they just can’t master the required focus. That said, we all have a natural tendency to think that we can do several things at once, but by taking the one task at a time approach, we make sure that we learn how to start something and complete it without falling prey to the allure of multitasking.

2# Getting Interrupted Easily

We have a lot of channels open at all times, and the more channels we have open, the harder it gets to focus on just one. That’s why people who have 50 channels open (i.e. ADHDs), get distracted easily, miss details, forget things, and frequently switch from one activity to another.

It’s because of our evolutionary past as hunters, true, but we long since changed our environment, remember? That’s why it’s time to move on and evolve: learn how to control interruptions.

3# Struggling to Follow Instructions and Reading Without Remembering What You’ve Read

Sometimes it strikes us out of nowhere: we’ve read an entire page without remembering what we’ve read, or alternatively, we follow a simple manual only to get lost on our way.

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Who can relate?

It usually happens when we’re not interested in our reading material or performing an action that we don’t like. There are ways to learn how to remember what you’ve just read—learn them, it’s easy enough. If you have problems following instructions, try to draw a mind map. It works better with ADHDs because visualizing is easier for us due to the aforementioned evolutionary past and our sensitivity to visual stimulation.

4# Compulsion to Be Constantly in Motion

You walk when you talk on the phone, you can’t sit on your chair for long, and you browse between windows at dazzling speeds—sound familiar? Let me ask you this: how can you sit down when you’re full of sugar or caffeine? How can you focus when you fail to process basic information effectively?

Mastering the fundamental elements of focus, i.e. eating things that keep you balanced throughout the day and sleeping at night so your brain will process information properly, helps us to get better at controlling our basic impulses, thus helping us to manage excess energies and use them for constructive purposes instead of spreading them aimlessly.

There are more examples of ADHD behaviors that have solutions today in behavioral modification, so don’t go for the easy solution; i.e. medications, Ritalin’s power is limited and can only help you for a few hours, while you can learn how to cure ADHD by creating the right habits through behavioral modification.
So remember:

Meds are Temporary, Habits are Forever!

Until next time.

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How to Control Your Thoughts and Become the Master of Your Mind

How to Control Your Thoughts and Become the Master of Your Mind

Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life.

Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affect your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality.

I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive and just a general waste of energy.

You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Become the master of your mind.

When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

I currently have few thoughts that are not of my own choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in charge of your thoughts. If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create the most unhealthy and unproductive thoughts:

1. The Inner Critic

This is your constant abuser. He is often a conglomeration of:

  • Other people’s words; many times your parents.
  • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples expectations.
  • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media.
  • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

He is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-love.

Why else would he abuse you? And since “he” is actually you– why else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

2. The Worrier

This person lives in the future; in the world of “what ifs.”

He is motivated by fear which is often irrational and with no basis for it.

Occasionally, he is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

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3. The Reactor or Trouble-Maker

He is the one that triggers anger, frustration and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

He can be set off by words or feelings. He can even be set off by sounds and smells.

He has no real motivation; he has poor impulse control and is run by past programming that no longer serves you, if it ever did.

4. The Sleep Depriver

This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

His motivation can be:

  • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
  • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
  • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity and generalized anxiety
  • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

How can you control these squatters?

How to Master Your Mind

You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You must pay attention to your thoughts so you can identify “who” is running the show; this will determine which technique you will want to use.

Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

There are two ways to control your thoughts:

  • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
  • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

This second option is what is known as peace of mind!

The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go to” thoughts in the applicable situations.

Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

For the Inner Critic

When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

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You can also have a dialogue with yourself with the intention of discrediting the ‘voice’ that created the thought, if you know whose voice it is:

“Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready. This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

  • He riles up the Worrier.
  • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
  • He is often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
  • He is a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
  • He is the destroyer of self-esteem. He convinces you that you’re not worthy. He’s a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get him out!

Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

Replace him with your new best friend who supports, encourages, and enhances your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

For the Worrier

Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind and creates anxiety in the body.

You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

  • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
  • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
  • Muscles tense

Use the above stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

“Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense; both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

Now take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like!

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Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

For example:

If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

“I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place. Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

“Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

For the Trouble-Maker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers; but until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain:

  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure; surge of adrenaline
  • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
  • Muscles tension

I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds; just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

Breathe in through your nose:

  • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
  • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
  • Focus on your belly rising.

Breathe out through your nose:

  • Feel your lungs emptying.
  • Focus on your belly falling.
  • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize.

Now you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior.

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One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting, or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

For the Sleep Depriver

(He’s made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

  1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
  2. Then I came up with replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and I choose quiet.

From the first time I tried this method I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (Closed, of course!). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

You can also use this technique any time you want to:

  • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon.
  • Shut down your thinking.
  • Calm your feelings.
  • Simply focus on the present moment. 

Becoming the Master of Your Mind

Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or for destructive purposes.

You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. The choice is yours!

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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