10 Things You Are Doing Every Day That Make Your ADHD Worse

By Jeff Copper, MBA, PCC, PCAC, CPCC, ACG – June 20, 2022

The key to ADHD is to keep your machine (your physical brain) and your mind (your thoughtful, mindful brain) running efficiently and in harmony to achieve your mission. With so much information out there about what to do to help your ADHD, are you aware of things you do every day that might be getting in the way, disrupting the mind and the brain from working in harmony?

If you’ve been focused on what to do but are not making much progress, here are some things to consider that may be making your ADHD worse.

One area is food.  Food underlies everything else.  Many of those with ADHD are taking medications to compensate for their lousy diets. If they had a better diet, maybe they wouldn’t need as much medication. ADDers have unique brain wiring, and by the same token they have unique dietary needs. They should not be taking in any significant amount of sugar because they don’t process glucose as efficiently as others do. What they need instead is protein.

ADDers are at a disadvantage from the get-go. They need every minute of every day and every ounce of available energy, every last spark of mental fire power just to hang in there. So, they have no business adding more troubles to the plate. Diet is a very fundamental underlying factor.

Sleep is another big area that can make your ADHD worse. There’s a lot of research that shows ADDers in particular have dysfunctional relationships with sleep. Their circadian clocks are not set right, which is one of the reasons they are wired up at night and then groggy in the morning. Poor sleep is often misdiagnosed as ADHD, and, of course, ADHD is made worse by bad sleep habits.

“Screen sucking” is a phrase coined by Dr. Ned Hallowell, and screen sucking has become a 24/7 issue for ADDers. Television has been called “the great preventer.” The average American spends a large number of hours every day looking at a screen, maybe a laptop, work computer, smartphone, video games, and others, but these are often a waste of time. ADDers naturally have addictive personalities, so screen time makes their ADHD worse by stealing precious time.

Often overlooked as a treatment for ADHD is exercise. In fact, exercise should be a prescribed treatment for those with ADHD, the same as medication. Also, the environment you place yourself in can serve to help you get the exercise you need. To manage your ADHD, you need to adjust your environment so you can do those things that are not just pleasing but things that can actually move you forward. A simple example would be to go ahead and gift yourself the screen time but also do some exercising at the same time, like walking on the treadmill while watching a movie or a sporting event.

Multitasking is another issue of concern. It’s especially for suckers, and research shows it. The reality is that even the best multitaskers in the world don’t do it well.  When you are doing multiple things, you are not able to do any of them effectively as if you were to do just one of them singly.  ADDers want to do a little bit of everything at once, and they justify it by saying they’re busy, they’re multitasking. What also happens is that the ADDer is powerfully attracted to what is most interesting at the moment, but then here’s something else that pops up and they get distracted.

Multitasking makes ADHD worse because it increases the feeling of overwhelm, you get less stuff done, you have sticky notes all over the place, and things are never finished because you couldn’t stay on the one task.

Worrying is something those with ADHD are particularly good at, along with beating themselves up over it. Worrying can truly derail those with ADHD, as mental fatigue is caused more by worry, frustration, resentment, and all the things that are going on in your mind.  Worrying sucks out your mental energy by burning your mental fuel and makes you less able to take on a tough task.

If you start to listen a little bit more to the voice in your head, your mind’s voice, you will find that you’re doing a lot of worrying. It takes up thought space you could be using for other things, like creative problem-solving.

Also consider an attitude of gratitude. Find something you’re thankful for, and if you can remind yourself to do just that one thing, you will find yourself miles beyond where the vast majority of humans are able to go. Gratitude is an incredibly powerful stream of consciousness for making ADHD better.

In the end, it comes down to this. Ask yourself what the structures are in your life that can break the bad habits that make your ADHD worse. Listen to Alan Brown’s brain hacks for the “10 Things You Are Doing Every Day That Make Your ADHD Worse.” http://tobtr.com/6809403

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