If you have ADHD, then you will know exactly what I am talking about when I say that maintaining focus is a constant challenge, especially when there is a lack of interest. Did you know that physical movement can help you with this?
The ADHD brain doesn’t cope well when under-stimulated and will start searching for distractions to get the juices flowing again. In meetings for example, you might find yourself daydreaming or interrupting at inappropriate times, or even talking too much and dominating the conversation. If you are working on a mundane task, you might find yourself surfing the internet suddenly or annoying other colleagues or doing other work instead. If you need strategies to help you sustain focus, then I suggest adding movement to your box of tricks. Here are some ways I use movement to keep my brain alert.
Cross Over Exercises
I start my day with cross over exercises to activate my brain. If I lose concentration during the day, especially in the afternoon, I will do these exercises again to wake up a sluggish brain. They are easy, fun and they work.
Here’s a couple of great videos on how you do it.
Cross Lateral Brain Exercises: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oJd87dXVRz8
Brain Crossover Song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GkrZBsOlt3k This is for children, but the presenter demonstrates really well, and these exercises work for adults too.
Go to YouTube to find heaps more.
Playing a musical instrument
It is very rare that I would allow myself the luxury of playing the piano during work hours. However, last Monday, after a concentrated three-hour writing session, I desperately needed a break. For some reason, I was drawn towards the piano and played for twenty minutes. This activity relaxed me but paradoxically also woke up my exhausted brain. Having to coordinate by hands to play a song is like the cross over exercises above. It requires concentration, but it’s fun, so you don’t feel drained by it. Furthermore, my body couldn’t resist swaying in time to the music. So, there is a lot of movement in the simple act of playing the piano.
Guitar playing does the same thing because you use both hands. A few years ago, I studied music and we had to learn basic drumming techniques. It has just occurred to me that drumming would also be huge fun. You don’t need a real drum kit you can just pretend.
Do you play a musical instrument? If so, I encourage you to use it as a brain activator.
If you are trying to read a book and find yourself daydreaming why not try this next idea. My ADHD teacher found reading books a huge challenge. While at university the only way he could concentrate on those textbooks was to sit in a rocking chair while reading. He had to rock to read. It was the movement that helped his brain to focus.
If you don’t have a rocking chair, you could sit on an exercise ball, or lay in a hammock (OK, this is impossible if you work in an office!) Find a way to rock the body gently while your brain engages with the written material.
In meetings, if you are struggling to concentrate and focus, quietly stand at the back of the room and rock gently from side to side.
These days a lot of people have adjustable desks. A friend of mine sits part of the day and then raises her desk so she has to stand when she finds her attention slipping.
Walk and Talk
When recently working on a new training presentation, I got completely struck. I couldn’t figure out how to work my storyline and the more I tired, the more stuck I became. In the end, I went for a walk. As I walked, I allowed my thoughts to free-float and ponder the problem. After a short time, I knew what I had to do. As I walked home, I used my phone to record my ideas. It was a good reminder that chaining yourself to your desk when your brain is stuck, isn’t the answer. Movement is.
Chewing, clicking, twisting
When I was younger, I used to chew my fingernails. At high school I drove Sister Mary, my long-suffering teacher, completely mad by constantly twisting my hair around my fingers. As if these two habits weren’t enough, I was also a constant pen clicker. I now know that these habits were an unconscious attempt to keep my mind focused.
If you are stuck behind your computer and need to finish a boring task, you might try chewing gum to keep you focused. It’s an odd idea, but my philosophy is do what works.
There’s a book titled Fidget to Focus, Outwit Your Boredom. They explain: ‘fidgeting results in the short-term modulation of our dysregulated neurological system.’ So, if you need to fidget to focus, do it. But it goes without saying, don’t disturb others.
If you have ADHD and you are finding it hard to concentrate, know that MOVEMENT is a powerful way to switch your brain back on!
To find out more about this, contact me for a free discovery call.