Something to Try When You’re Scattered – Especially Helpful for Adult ADHD

Mimi Handlin, MSW - ADHD Coach for Women
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The other day I was leaving to run some errands. My mind was all over the place engulfed by thoughts about a million things and I was also in a big hurry because I had to get back by a certain time.  As soon as I opened the car door, I realized I had forgotten the shoes I wanted to return. At least I hadn’t left yet.  I ran (well, walked fast) back into the house to get them and returned to the car.  Then I remembered something else I needed to bring. I went upstairs to get what I forgot and completely forgot what it was. Chaos - ADHD

I just stood there in my bedroom with my mind a complete blank. What was it? Then I remembered I needed an envelope. I put my keys on the bed while I found the right envelope and got all the way out the door again before I realized my keys were not in my hand. Running up and down stairs is great exercise but not when you’re trying to leave. When I realized the state of chaos I was in, I did the following three things which really helped!

1. I stopped and took a deep breath. Then I moved my shoulder blades down from practically touching my ears into a relaxed position.

2. I consciously slowed my steps. I discovered awhile ago when I slow down my movements, it slows down my thoughts. I don’t know why, but it works. And it makes sense when you think of the mind/body connection.

3. I started talking out loud to myself in a soft voice. This may be harder to do in public but actually these days anyone watching would just think you’re talking into your Bluetooth.   I said, “You are going upstairs to get your keys and then you are going out to the car. The first thing you are going to do is … and then you are going to do …”  It’s kind of like an auditory prioritized to-do list that helps me slow down and be more in control.

So yes, I am an ADHD coach who suggests that you talk to yourself. But only sometimes.

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