10+ Things You Can Do to Stop the Panic

What can you do when worry sets in? How can you stop the panic? Check out these ways to calm the chaos in your mind when you start to worry and panic.

People with ADHD are often overly sensitive or have true anxiety and panic attacks. What can we do to stop the panic?

We all can get stuck in a rut. Catastrophizing is common. When we catastrophize, it’s as if the sky is falling and we lose the ability to cope.

We panic.

Learning to cope when life throws problems and stressors in our way builds our resilience. Being resilient helps us to be successful.

Let’s look at ways to stop the negative thinking of panic.

1. Lean on a friend or family member.

Most of us recognize how good we feel when we help someone else out, yet we hesitate to ask for help. Why is that? When we’re in need, there are many people who can help.

Lean On Me lyrics share a fantastic message. #friends @adhdkcteen

It’s preferable if you can talk to someone who is at least in their mid-20s. Their maturity can offer many benefits. If you’re not sure who you can talk to, think of the many adults in your life who would be happy to listen. Parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, coaches, teachers, neighbors… there are many people who care about you.

If you choose to talk to a peer, choose wisely. Some people can’t take the pressure of hearing negativity. Others will shut you out. And of course many kids overshare other people’s business, so don’t talk about things that are private with peers.

2. Mindfulness

Practice mindfulness to help with anxiety, focus, and overall healthy well being. @adhdkcteen

Don’t roll your eyes and presume mindfulness won’t help.

Mindfulness trains your brain to be aware of your body and environment without judgement.

Yes, it takes time to learn how to be mindful, but a lot of research shows that mindfulness can help with anxiety, chronic pain, stress, focus, and more.

Mindfulness is often referred to as a practice for a reason. You should practice it often, but there are no right or wrong ways to do it.

If you can’t sit still, don’t. It’s okay to get up and walk while being mindful.

When your brain keeps thinking of things, don’t get upset. Just redirect.

Start simple with breathing. You breathe every day, so you can do this step. Take deep belly breaths. Nice and slow. Focus on the breathing.

For more tips on being mindful with ADHD, see

3. Journal

Journaling can get thoughts out of your head so you can relax. Try it when you're angry, anxious, or can't sleep. It just might work. @adhdkcteen

Sometimes it helps to get your thoughts written. Even if you don’t like to write school papers, journaling can help.

Grab a pen and paper or start typing.

It doesn’t need to be grammatically correct or interesting to anyone else. You can just make word jumbles or lists. If you like poetry, make it into a poem.

Just get your thoughts written down.

There’s a very cathartic benefit towards journaling.

You can even take it a step further and write down things you’re thankful for each day. Gratitude helps our overall mindset, and focusing on gratitude can lift our mood.

4. Color and doodle

Doodling and coloring are very relaxing and can be done nearly anywhere when you need to relax. @adhdkcteen

There’s something really soothing about coloring or just doodling.

You can even use free printables like these online if you want some coloring sheets.

And this is something that can be done nearly anywhere.

5. Sing or listen to your favorite tune

Singing or listening to music are ways to help calm down when anxious or angry. @adhdkcteen

What better way to get into a good mood? Listen to a favorite song. Sing along!

Research has shown that listening to music can reduce anxiety, blood pressure and pain. It can also help sleep quality, mood, mental alertness, and memory.

Pick your favorite feel good songs and make a playlist that you can pull up when needed.

6. Exercise

Exercise should be fun. Find things you love to do and do them. Every day. @adhdkcteen

We’ve all heard that exercise helps our bodies, but many people minimize the value it has for our mental health.

Regular exercise helps our mindset in general, but if you have the opportunity to work out when you’re upset, it can help lift your mood.

Combine numbers 5 and 6 and workout to some great tunes!

7. Change the scene

If you need to change your mood or attitude, change the scene. Get up and walk around. It helps! @adhdkcteen

If you’re getting worked up, it can help to get up and walk around.

Especially if you are worried you will say or do something you’ll regret, leave the situation if you can.

If you can go outside, even better. Fresh air can be mood-lifting.

8. Think about what has gone right.

Even the very worst days have something that went right. Take time every day to think about the positives. What are you grateful for? What went right? @adhdkcteen

We tend to ruminate about what’s wrong. Negative thoughts are all we can think about. We need to learn to stop this rumination.

When you recognize that you’re ruminating, accept that you’re having whatever thoughts you’re having. Recognize that the thoughts might not be accurate and allow the thoughts to pass rather than trying to block them out. Trying to block out negative thoughts will just cause increased intensity of the thoughts you’re trying not to have. You can replace negative thoughts with positive thoughts: what is going right? What is the best possible outcome? How can you turn the situation around?

If this is hard, start to make it a practice to write down at least one thing at the end of each day that went well. Your hard studying paid off. You met a new friend. You had a good hair day. Whatever it is, keeping a list gives you something to reflect upon when you’re really down. Doing this daily also helps your brain practice finding the good in things. Like anything, practice makes things easier. It is really hard to find good things to think about when you’re in a bad place, but it gets easier when you’ve practiced when you’re not in a foul mood.

9. Be silly

Being funny can help raise the mood, but be sure you aren't hurting or insulting anyone in order to make a joke. @adhdkcteen

You have to use this one sparingly.

Obviously in the middle of class you can’t start being silly, but if you’re able to get to a place that you can do a silly dance or anything silly to unwind: do it. Acting the part can help relax you and set the mood.

Be careful to not offend anyone or be hurtful in your humor and silliness.

10. Find perspective

Run through questions that help put your worries into perspective.

  1. What are you really worried about?
  2. How likely is it that your worry will come true? Use evidence to support your answer.
  3. If your worry comes true, what is the worst thing that will happen?
  4. If your worry does come true, what’s the most likely thing that will happen?
  5. If your worry does come true, what are the chances that things will be okay
    1. In one week?
    2. In one month?
    3. In one year?

Try a Thought Record to help get your thoughts in order. Here’s a completed example and one you can use for yourself.

Thought Record from https://www.getselfhelp.co.uk/docs/ThoughtRecordSheet.pdf @adhdkcteen

11. Sensory stuff

There are many sensory items that have been shown to help with anxiety and focus. Find what works for you. @adhdkcteen

Sensory items can help calm our minds. Think of sounds, smells, textures, and visually relaxing things.

  • Squishy play doh or silly putty
  • Textured cloth
  • White noise machines
  • Chewable jewelry – if you don’t know what this is, just search “chewelry”
  • Weighted blanket
  • Noise reducing headphones
  • Rock or sway
  • Run your fingers through a bin of sand, dry rice, or dry beans
  • Aromatherapy – Use candles, diffusers, or scented objects. Jasmine, vanilla and other scents might relax you.
  • Glitter jar – make your own!

I am not self centered! 9 reasons why.

There are many traits common to people with ADHD that can make them seem self centered or conceited. Learning about them can help loved ones understand behaviors and people with unintended behaviors work on having expected behaviors.

Most people with ADHD are very empathetic and kind, but can come off as self centered and uncaring. Why is there this discrepancy? What can you do to help others realize that you really do care about them and not just yourself?

Many of the traits of ADHD can make a person seem self absorbed. Let’s go over a few of them. Once you understand why you do what you do and how those actions are perceived by others, can you think of ways that you can help others to recognize that your actions do not mean what they seem to mean?

1. Time management and awareness

Many people with ADHD have significant problems with time awareness. This makes it easy to run late. All. The. Time.

When you’re often late to meet ups with friends (or forget about them all together), they can see you as not caring.

Many traits of ADHD, such as poor time awareness, can make a person seem self absorbed. Learn how to make a better impression. @adhdkcteen

What to do about it…

Working on improving time management and organization might be a long process, but it’s worth it.

  • Use post it notes as reminders – put them where you’ll see them when you need them (a note on your backpack to remember your project or in the bathroom to remind you to brush your teeth)
  • Set your alarm to remind you to leave on time (have it go off when you should start putting on shoes and doing other getting ready to leave stuff, not just when you need to leave)
  • Look at your schedule each morning and on Sunday evenings
  • Don’t overschedule – anticipate more time than you’ll need for things so you’re not rushed
  • Ask for help – friends would be happy to help you stay on top of things if you ask

2. Planning

It might not be obvious to others how much mental preparation is needed to shift gears. If you’ve been planning to do something and plans change, it is disappointing. When your mind is finally in the zone and someone interrupts, it’s frustrating.

It’s hard for people to understand why a sudden change in plans is met with resistance. This is especially true when we often seem impulsive. Resistance to change in plans seems contradictory to the impulsiveness that often comes out.

There's a lot of mental preparation that goes into making plans, and for someone with executive functioning problems, changing gears suddenly can be overwhelming. @adhdkcteen

What to do about it…

If you tend to lash out at people when they alter plans, the first step to change the behavior is to recognize it. Learn to recognize triggers. Whenever you note a trigger, learn what you can do to help yourself have a positive reaction.

Have a talk with those close to you about why you don’t like to suddenly change plans. They won’t know how you feel if you don’t share it, and most people who care about you will help accommodate if you understand. You might need to remind them when you’re in the moment, but it’s best to have the first conversation at a time in advance.

3. In the zone

If you’re in the zone getting stuff done, it is really frustrating to be interrupted. You know that you’ll have to re-enter the zone, which can take a long time and a ton of energy.

Most of us know what it feels like to be deep in concentration only to have someone ask a question or make a noise that ruins it. The mental energy to get back into the zone is huge. How do you handle the situation?

Your reaction may not be appropriate – there’s that impulsivity at work. If you yell, blurt unkind words, or try to ignore the interruption, it will not be received well. You will seem self centered if you lash out.

Have you ever been deep in concentration, only to have someone ask a question or make a noise that ruins it? The mental energy to get back into the zone is huge. How do you do it? @adhdkcteen

What to do about it…

Learn to take a few big breaths before you react to a disruption.

Give your mind a chance to settle. You were able to get into the zone once, you can do it again.

A little break can help.

  • Exercise has been proven to help our focus, so if you can take a quick walk – even if just to the bathroom – it might help.
  • Mindfulness can really help here. It needs to be practiced, but it only takes a moment to help clarify your mind. For more mindfulness tips and several free apps to help guide your mindfulness, see my Pinterest Mindfulness board. If you use mindfulness regularly, you will notice less stress overall.
  • Healthy food can renew your energy. Just be careful to not overeat out of anger or boredom.

More tips to de-stress.

4. Working memory

Working memory is like the RAM in a computer. It’s where information is temporarily held while constructing a sentence or forming an idea, solving an equation, remembering where we put something. If the information is “valuable” we then store it in long term memory, like saving to a disk, from which we can pull the information later. Information that doesn’t seem valuable, such as names or dates, isn’t stored.

Many traits of ADHD, such as poor working memory, can make a person seem self absorbed. Learn how to make a better impression. @adhdkcteen

Forgetting details is common among people with ADHD.

When it comes to forgetting birthdays, anniversaries, and other important dates, it can make you appear uncaring.

Many people with working memory problems fear that their thought will be gone if they don’t blurt it out right away. Unfortunately, interrupting others is socially inappropriate. If you do it often, you come off as self absorbed.

If you struggle to recall your thoughts during an important conversation or lecture, jot stuff down quickly to trigger your memory when the time comes for you to talk. @adhdkcteen

What do do about it…

  • If you struggle to recall your thoughts, jot stuff down quickly to trigger your memory.
  • If you find yourself interrupting others, practice looking for pauses in a conversation. Use that pause to speak your mind.
  • Use reminders. Put important dates and events in your calendar. Look at your calendar daily.
  • Play games that help you practice short term memory.

For more on working memory, see Say Goodbye to “Oh, I forgot”

5. Communication

ADHD can lead to many problems with communication.

As mentioned above, working memory problems can lead to communication problems. If a thought pops into your head, you’re likely to share it right away. It doesn’t matter if someone else is talking. You don’t want to forget it, so you blurt it out.

It’s also common that if someone interrupts when you are talking, you get very upset because it breaks the line of concentration. That’s especially common among people with ADHD because it’s so hard to retain a line of thinking, but people might find it annoying that you interrupt them but won’t tolerate being interrupted.

Maintaining eye contact during a conversation might be really difficult. You might tend to look around the room or out the window when someone’s talking to you. This can be perceived as not paying attention.

A similar issue is found during class when you’re listening to the teacher, but doodling or playing with a button on your shirt. This can make it appear that you’re not paying attention, even when you are.

It’s also really easy for you to become bored with a conversation. This means you might suddenly change the topic to something unrelated. This can make others in the conversation feel that you don’t appreciate what they’re saying. Maybe you don’t. But there are social norms that others can follow that help them wait patiently for others to finish before changing the subject.

It can even be hard for you to keep on track with your own thoughts. You can be talking about one topic, then something leads you astray, leaving others confused. Your brain might be ahead of your words, so your sentences lose their meaning to others.

Eye contact. Distractions. Something triggers a thought. Boredom. Whatever the issue, conversation is hard! @adhdkcteen

What to do about it…

Practice.

It sounds silly, but practice does help. Sometimes we get frustrated with ourselves and just stop trying, but then we never get better at communicating.

Watch others in group settings to see how they interact and how others perceive what they say and do. Replicate the things that are well perceived and avoid doing the things that are not appreciated.

Mantra: don’t interrupt.

6. Sensitivity

It isn’t uncommon for people with ADHD to be overly sensitive. This happens after years of being told you’re doing things wrong, being too loud, forgetting stuff, and the million other ways you get negative feedback.

Rejection sensitivity can lead you to become upset at friends for no apparent reason from their point of view. They might feel like you push them away because they don’t understand that their response hurt your feelings.

Many traits of ADHD can make a person seem self absorbed. If you're overly sensitive, you can turn people away. Learn more @adhdkcteen

What to do about it…

If you’re overly sensitive, read about Rejection Sensitivity.

7. Life of the party?

People with ADHD often seem outgoing because of their unlimited energy and talkative nature, but they also can have trouble being around a lot of people. Too much input and stimulation can be distracting, especially to the ADHD brain.

When people perceive you as the “life of the party” type personality, it can make it difficult to explain why you don’t want to go to an outing or event that will have a lot of people. It might seem to others that you feel above everyone else so don’t want to participate.

Although many people with ADHD seem to be the life of the party due to their high energy and talkative nature, they often have trouble in big groups.  @adhdkcteen

What to do about it…

Have an escape plan to leave early if the crowd is too overwhelming.

If you turn down an invite, be sure to let your friend know why. For example, if the crowd is just too overwhelming, let them know you’d rather do something with a smaller group.

8. Humor

Impulsivity can get us in trouble in the humor department, making people with ADHD seem uncaring and downright mean.

Sometimes saying a “funny” thought that pops into our minds is not the right thing to do. It might feel good to make people laugh, but if that laughter is at the expense of others, you will not be perceived as a nice person.

Impulsively saying things while trying to be funny can make people with ADHD seem uncaring and downright mean. Learn how to be humorous without being hurtful. @adhdkcteen

What to do about it…

Watch for real reactions when people are laughing. Are some people uncomfortable or upset about the joke? Those are the types of jokes that you want to steer clear of.

One good rule of thumb: Don’t make fun of other people or groups of people. You might hurt someone’s feelings, and that is never funny. (Even if it makes some people laugh.)

If you are careful, you can make fun of something temporary or non-identifiable, such as bad drivers or people who fall. This is easier to do if you include yourself in the group, such as joking about a time you fell or walked into a wall.

9. Outside the box thinking: good for leaders, hard on kids

Society and school teach us to conform. We should act as expected. Clothing styles dictate what we should wear.

Many people with ADHD are non-conformists. This can be a great trait because it can lead to new ideas and change. Leaders and inventors are non-conformists. This trait can help you make a difference in the world.

But if the expectation is that you work a math problem showing your work in a specific way, you need to do it that way. If you’re supposed to dress for a formal dinner or a group function, you can come off as uncaring if you show up in attire that doesn’t fit expectations.

Many traits of ADHD can make a person seem self absorbed. Learn what they are and how to make a better impression. @adhdkcteen

What to do about it…

Keep being you!

Think outside the box and create as much as possible, but when a certain behavior is expected, try to conform.

This means if your teacher wants a project done a certain way, do it that way.

If you’re going to a location with a dress code, follow it as much as you can. Don’t wear something that will bring attention to you unless you’re supposed to be the center of attention, such as at your birthday party.

Remember to always stay in your role.

If your role is a student, let the teacher teach. When you earn the role of teacher, you can teach.

When you are the athlete, let the coach coach. If you earn the role of coach, you can coach.

When you hang out in a group, let others help to decide what to do. Take turns. Even if it’s not your choice, try to stay focused on the activity. Don’t let your friends think you think they are boring, even if the activity is boring to you. Find something in it that interests you.

If you’re motivated and learn knowledge as well as people skills along the way, one day you’ll be the leader. Then you can lead. Until then, you will be seen as bossy in a negative way if you try to take charge prematurely or inappropriately.

For more…

Check out what Jessica McCabe has to say about ADHD and relationships

And how to build social skills

Most likely to fail?

Inspiring stories from people who were seen as failures. Others have risen above predictions — and you can too. Rise and thrive!

Do you feel like a failure? Moving forward in life is hard, especially when others tell you you’re not good enough. I often tell struggling kids and their parents that schools make good workers… people who do what they’re told. Teachers want you to show the work in the way they do it. They want you to follow a rubric of instructions. There’s often no room for individuality or ingenuity. In short, school isn’t designed to teach future leaders, inventors, or creators. Continue reading for inspiration if you feel like a failure. Others have risen above predictions — and you can too!

Students who are smart and natural leaders tend to struggle in that box we call school, but can shine in life!

If you’ve heard these things before, there are two options: cave and prove them right or thrive and prove them wrong.

Inspiration from others

Tell me about a time someone told you that you could not do something and you went ahead and succeeded out of spite.— Amanda Deibert 🏳️‍🌈 (@amandadeibert) April 19, 2019

This was posted on Twitter and is a fascinating and inspiring thread. If you need inspiration, read some of the stories below. For even more, click the link above.
Inspiring stories from people who were seen as failures. Rise and thrive! @adhdkcteen #success #adhdkcteen
Inspiring stories from people who were seen as failures. Rise and thrive! @adhdkcteen #success #adhdkcteen
Inspiring stories from people who were seen as failures. Rise and thrive! @adhdkcteen #success #adhdkcteen
Inspiring stories from people who were seen as failures. Rise and thrive! @adhdkcteen #success #adhdkcteen
Inspiring stories from people who were seen as failures. Rise and thrive! @adhdkcteen #success #adhdkcteen
Inspiring stories from people who were seen as failures. Rise and thrive! @adhdkcteen #success #adhdkcteen
Inspiring stories from people who were seen as failures. Rise and thrive! @adhdkcteen #success #adhdkcteen
Inspiring stories from people who were seen as failures. Rise and thrive! @adhdkcteen #success #adhdkcteen
Inspiring stories from people who were seen as failures. Rise and thrive! @adhdkcteen #success #adhdkcteen
Inspiring stories from people who were seen as failures. Rise and thrive! @adhdkcteen #success #adhdkcteen
Inspiring stories from people who were seen as failures. Rise and thrive! @adhdkcteen #success #adhdkcteen
Inspiring stories from people who were seen as failures. Rise and thrive! @adhdkcteen #success #adhdkcteen
Inspiring stories from people who were seen as failures. Rise and thrive! @adhdkcteen #success #adhdkcteen
Inspiring stories from people who were seen as failures. Rise and thrive! @adhdkcteen #success #adhdkcteen
Inspiring stories from people who were seen as failures. Rise and thrive! @adhdkcteen #success #adhdkcteen
Inspiring stories from people who were seen as failures. Rise and thrive! @adhdkcteen #success #adhdkcteen

And when the original poster was asked if she had a story of her own…

Inspiring stories from people who were seen as failures. Rise and thrive! @adhdkcteen #success #adhdkcteen

For more

A secret to happiness

How to have a growth mindset

JOMO

10 Secrets of Productivity

ABCs of stopping negative thoughts and rumination

ABCs of stopping negative thoughts and rumination

Does rumination and negative thinking keep you from finding appropriate solutions and moving forward? Learn how to overcome negative thinking with ABCs.

We all have negative thoughts, but when we get stuck in a rut about them, it’s called rumination. When we ruminate, we can’t stop thinking the negative thought, which keeps us from finding appropriate solutions and moving forward. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) teaches how to break this cycle of rumination. One way to use CBT is to think of your ABCs. Use the handout linked below to stop thinking negative thoughts.

A is for Adversity

When there’s a problem, we need to identify the trigger, or what is causing the adverse situation.

B is for Belief

How we view a problem is not necessarily what is going on. We tend to catastrophize the situation.

C is for Consequences of believing in the negative thought

Notice this does not simply say consequences. It is important to focus on identifying your belief and how it is coloring your view. Not everything we fear is based on reality. Learn to find the facts.

D is for Disputing

Dispute your negative belief. What are alternative ways to look at things?

E is for Energizing

What effect does disputing have on your mood? Is there something you can take from the dispute to use in a positive way?

What does this look like?

Download a free printable to help you work through the ABCs of stopping negative thoughts and ruminating yourself. Stop thinking negative thoughts with the help of this FREE handout.

Check out the following examples to see how the process works.

Situation 1: Your BFF hasn’t answered your important text.

A: Your friend is usually quick to reply and you’re worried that there’s something wrong that’s kept her from replying.

B: You don’t know if she’s mad at you or dead on the side of the road after an accident.

C: You are worried that you did something to anger your friend or that something catastrophic is keeping her from answering.

D: There was no indication that she was upset with you last time you spoke. She is a safe driver and the road conditions are fine. It is possible that she could have forgotten to charge her phone (again). She could have the ringer off. Sometimes texts don’t go through. She might be busy doing something and unable to check messages.

E: Do you feel less anxious realizing there are other reasons that your text has gone unanswered? What about these new thoughts can help you problem solve? Is there another way to reach your friend, such as through her parent or another friend? Should you call instead of text?

Situation 2: Too much to do!

A: Last week you missed a couple days of school so you got behind and can’t quite get back on track. You have a paper due, a huge test this week, and practice every night after school.

B: There’s so much to do, you’re overwhelmed and can’t even start on any of the schoolwork. After practice you want to just relax and watch YouTube videos. You need time to relax to feel better, but then you realize hours later that no work has been done, so you’re going to be up all night working. This leaves you too tired to focus at school so you get confused on even simple concepts and questions.

C: Anxiety is keeping you from initiating what needs to be done. While relaxing is important, you are not using your time efficiently, which is adding to the problem. You’re sleep deprived, which increases anxiety.

D: Take a look at how much time you’re spending on everything. What can be pushed off until later? Where are the priorities? How can you moderate your down time so you can be productive but still have time to relax?

Mindset: This is a situation I have the capacity to deal with. I’ve developed a pattern of avoidant coping but I can get better at non-avoidant coping through the right kind of practice. This is an opportunity for that.

E: Does realizing how much down time you waste help you regroup and use time more efficiently? Are you motivated to set timers to help limit your free time? Can you grab a friend to study together to keep you on track? Are there things you need to change in your schedule so you can devote appropriate time to tasks? Are any of your teachers willing to extend the deadline since you were sick? What can you learn from this to do it better next time?

When we ruminate, we can't stop thinking the negative thought, which keeps us from finding appropriate solutions and moving forward. Learn how to overcome this with ABCs. @adhdkcteen #adhdteen #adhd

A secret to happiness: Life is a marathon, not a sprint

Psssttt… want to know the secret to happiness?

Most of us want to be happy, but true happiness remains elusive. What’s the big secret? I don’t think there’s a single secret. There are many things that can add to our happiness. I don’t mean making millions of dollars, having the latest model cell phone or having the cutest prom date. Those can bring temporary happiness, but they miss on true happiness. Sometimes they actually can make us unhappy.

Have you heard the title quote before?

Live is a marathon, not a sprint. ~Unknown

I think it holds some of the best ideas about true happiness. Life is a marathon, not a sprint. Let’s break down what that means. I’ll start with a bit about what goes into running a marathon. Then I’ll give several examples of how we’re sprinting along and how this can lead to burnout. I’ll end with tips on how to turn this into a marathon. Pace yourself. You’ve got a long life ahead!

The Marathon

Running a marathon isn’t easy.

People must train for long periods of time. It takes dedication and consistency.

There is a big time commitment – and it’s not all running. It’s coming up with the time to run regularly. And eating enough healthy calories to sustain your body.

Not to mention preparing yourself mentally.

Only after months of hard training can you actually run the marathon.

Sometimes injuries delay things unexpectedly.

Excitement builds as the date approaches.

During the marathon, you might feel on top of things as you run past others, but then there will be some who pass you. There are moments a runner may feel like there’s no way to go on because you have nothing left to give. It takes grit and resilience to keep going.

After finishing, you might even spend time wondering what you could have done differently to shave off time.

And you need to take time to rest so your body can recover.

Then maybe you start the cycle all over again.

Pace yourself to help attain happiness. #adhdkcteen #gratitude #happiness #mindfulness #resilience @adhdkcteen

Society of here and now.

We’ve become a society that has access to everything right here. Right now. While it seems like this is a good thing on the surface, this can lead to impatience, anxiety, and entitlement. All of these lead directly to unhappiness.

It’s not uncommon to hear how busy people are. They complain, yet they often seem to be bragging of all the things they have to do. Being busy isn’t something to brag about.

It is seen as a negative thing when we take time to relax. We’ve become a society that doesn’t value balance, despite everyone talking about finding work-life balance.

Being constantly busy and expecting everything when we want it has become our general expectation. We don’t learn resilience when we’re able to get what we want when we want it. Resilience is when someone is able to pick up and move on when something doesn’t go their way. If we never learn resilience, we’ll be unhappy in life.

The good news is you can learn resilience at any age!

Instant access to friends and family

When I was growing up, we had no cell phones. (I’m a dinosaur, I know.)

I didn’t even get voice mail or caller ID until my mid to late teens. If a friend called and no one was home, we didn’t even know they called. Sometimes that caused frustrations because we had to keep calling to find someone to answer if it was important, but it also was a lot more freeing in many ways than being constantly attached to a cell phone.

We looked forward to talking at school and activities. There were fewer distractions when we were with people because it was rare that someone had to take a call. It took planning to arrange to meet friends, but that itself helped us learn an important skill!

In today’s world if want to tell a friend something, I text them. This is impersonal and doesn’t build communication.

Sadly, we often impatiently wait for an answer. Some people even start to worry when the text remains unanswered for a few minutes.

~ Did I do something to make them upset?

~ Are they having fun with someone else and ignoring me?

The facts can be very different.

Maybe the text is delayed. Their ringer could be off. If they’re driving they shouldn’t answer. Maybe they’re practicing self regulation and it’s not a time they are using their phone – they’re doing something else. The phone can be in another room – or taken away by parents.

So many things can interfere with a quick response, yet we often get upset when the reply isn’t instantaneous.

Isolation of online

There are so many things to do online. Some of these are required for school or work. Sometimes we simply want to relax and check up on things or watch a video.

For many people, following social media sites is a way to catch up on what’s going on. This can be fine in the short term, but the more time you spend on these sites, the more likely you’ll be depressed. It shouldn’t consume hours of your day.

That keeps you away from actually living life and self care.

Set limits for yourself. You will find that you have more time to do other things that bring more joy. Less time online also means less time to get upset with what others post.

Set limits for yourself with time online. #adhdkcteen #gratitude #happiness #mindfulness #resilience @adhdkcteen

Instant shopping

If we are in need of things, we can order online and Amazon will deliver it tomorrow. There are even food delivery services that will deliver from any restaurant in the area, so we can order online and never leave the house.

While this seems convenient, there’s something to the action of going shopping or out to eat. Planning a day and time to be able to shop (or eat out). Actually looking through the store and possibly running into someone you know or having a simple conversation with the store clerk are becoming lost skills. We are isolating ourselves by taking the convenient road.

Fear of the great outdoors

In years past kids would play outside until it got dark outside. They’d walk to school and back unsupervised. A great memory is shared in The Summer of No TV.

Today parents are afraid that kids will get hurt or abducted, so they won’t allow them to roam alone.

Parents of today tend to schedule kids in sports, music lessons, dance classes, scouts, and more.

They structure a child’s time so much that kids of today don’t learn how to fill their time with fun things to do. They don’t learn to work through problems and differences with friends on their own. The fear of injury and abduction overshadows the real dangers of kids not learning how to become independent and resilient.

This over-structured lifestyle leads to teens who don’t know how to find things to do other than screen time or scheduled activities. Kids don’t learn to use boredom as a door to discovery. They don’t discover their own interests and talents. It can lead to feelings of inadequacy and sadness.

Our society is growing adults who have no idea how to organize their own time and succeed in life.

If you’re a teen reading this, talk to your parents about how you can gain independence and be accountable for yourself. If you’re a parent, think about ways you can let go and let your kids figure things out themselves.

Want to know the secret to happiness?

Discover the secret to happiness - it's not impossible! #adhdkcteen #gratitude #happiness #mindfulness #resilience @adhdkcteen

Make it a marathon

You can’t get away from many of the busy activities in life.

The key is to use balance. Balance can lead to the secret to happiness.

Spend time with others

Find ways to be with friends and family on a regular basis in real life.

Go beyond your regular practice and game time and schedule unstructured time. When we are in class or at practice, we have rules to follow and things to do. Unstructured time is when we’re able to be creative with our time, find new interests, and learn more about one another.

Make time for yourself.

Yes, I know I just said to be with other people, and that is still important. When we’re alone too much, we start to feel self doubts. Anxiety grows. Depression can set in.

What I mean by making time for yourself is that we all need to practice self cares.

Get sufficient sleep.

This one also goes along with self care.

Many teens don’t get the sleep they need. Sleep is more important than many realize. Without it we don’t focus well, we’re more likely to be injured, we get irritable, illness is more common, and more. If you have trouble sleeping, check out these tips.

Exercise.

Here’s another self care necessity. I know you hear this all the time, but it’s important.

It’s easy to spend most of the day sitting. Failure to get daily exercise can lead to lifelong problems.

Find something you enjoy doing, such as a sport or dance. If it’s nice outside, invite a friend to take a walk or bike ride. Walk a dog. Play frisbee. Have fun! This directly and indirectly can increase your lifetime happiness.

Expand your horizon

We tend to get stuck in our daily routines, which can get boring and doesn’t allow us to find our true passions.

Explore other cultures.

Learn about other people and cultures through books, movies, music and cultural events. Visit a museum or historical site.

Talk to people outside your social circle. I know that can be intimidating for some and difficult if you’re in a small town, but it can be very rewarding to learn about other people and their culture.

If you don’t have time to read, or just don’t like reading, try an audiobook. You can listen while exercising or doing chores around the house.

Take up a new hobby

When we’re young our parents sign us up for things to do or buy our toys and games.

As we get older, we need to explore other interests to help find ourselves. There are many things out there that you might not even know about. Think about what characters in books and movies have done. Does any of that interest you?

You can try new things at school by taking an elective that you know nothing about.

Take an art class or learn to rock climb. If you think you can’t dance, sign up for lessons. If competitive sports aren’t your thing, check out a non-competitive league or an individual sport.

Join a new club at school.

Give to others

Community service is becoming required for many teens, but it should be something we do with a giving heart.

Doing things for others is one of the biggest secrets to happiness.

Don’t simply sign up for a service project because you need the hours. Find something that suits your personality and interests.

If you love the great outdoors, find ways to help others outside.

Love animals? Check out the animal shelters.

If you’re good in a subject and see a friend struggling, offer to tutor. (Be careful how you propose this… you don’t want to offend them or come off as a know – it- all.)

Is your neighbor aging? Offer to help with yard work or house work without charging. Leave a pot of flowers on their porch just because.

Do you love kids? See if you can volunteer at a summer camp or respite care.

If you’re interested in healthcare, look at hospitals and other healthcare settings to see if they offer volunteer opportunities.

Develop spirituality

We often associate spirituality with religion, but they are not the same. We can learn about our own spirituality through meditation and prayer. Spirituality involves a deeper understanding of yourself and the world around you. It is about loving yourself, others, and our planet.

Spirituality also involves mindfulness, philosophy, and more. Learn from books and other people to develop a deeper understanding of love and life. Attend a conference or retreat. Continue this learning life long.

Certainly religion is important to many people, and exploring your faith can be very rewarding towards overall happiness. Teen years are a common time to question, so it’s a great time to reflect, read, and learn. Learn about your own religion and others. This isn’t to change your belief, but it often reinforces it. If you do find that another religion is appealing to you, find people from that faith to talk to so you can continue learning.

Enrich your spiritual life by taking time each day for reflection. Keep a gratitude journal. Help others.

Check out your senses

Sights, sounds, touch, and taste are all important senses, but smell is especially helpful in our emotions and memory.

Certain smells can bring me back to my grandmother’s kitchen. Smells have a way of solidifying memories and then bringing them back. Some, like my grandmother’s kitchen are very positive, happy memories. Others can bring negative emotion. We can use this powerful sense to help us bring happy feelings or a sense of calm and peace.

Certain smells tend to lead to happiness. Citrus smells, such as lemon and orange, and peppermint can serve to pick up your mood. This doesn’t make you find happiness for life, but it can be a pick me up when needed.

Learn to be aware of all 5 senses. This is part of mindfulness and helps us in our awareness. There are many ways to learn mindfulness. Take some time and try some out.

Find true happiness - it's not impossible! #adhdkcteen #gratitude #happiness #mindfulness #resilience @adhdkcteen

What if we don’t treat ADHD?

A lot of people worry about medication side effects, want to be all natural, or just plain forget to take their medicines. What’s the harm in that? Is it really a big deal if we don’t treat ADHD? Dr. Russell Barkley has data to show why it’s a big deal!

A lot of people worry about medication side effects, want to be all natural, or just plain forget to take their medicines. What’s the harm in that? Is it really a big deal if we don’t treat ADHD? Is there risk of not treating ADHD?

I have had the privilege of hearing Dr. Russell Barkley, an internationally acclaimed expert on ADHD, speak three times about his research results showing the long term impact of ADHD on our lifespan. He came to Kansas City to present at a Grand Rounds at Children’s Mercy Hospital and again at the Midwest ADHD Conference in April 2018. He presented the same information at the 2018 International ADHD Conference in St. Louis this past November. During each of the the three talks he made big impressions in audience members.

Why am I blogging about it now?

I’m excited to see that he’s giving a FREE webinar through Additude Magazine, How ADHD Shortens Life Expectancy: What Parents and Doctors Need to Know to Take Action. It’s happening later this month and I wanted to write this to show how important the topic is and to encourage you to register so you can hear him for yourself.

When is the webinar? Tuesday, January 29, 2019, at 1:00 EST/noon CST.

If you can’t make the webinar live but you’ve registered, you’ll get a copy to listen later. A win either way!

Update:

Here’s a recorded version that’s circulating online. The main talk begins after 3:30.

What’s the big deal?

We all know adults who have had untreated (even undiagnosed) ADHD all their life and seem to do well. Some people seem to be able to control their symptoms of ADHD or they outgrow them.

There are even those who think certain aspects of their ADHD help them thrive.

There’s significant risk for many with ADHD

Unfortunately, not everyone outgrows ADHD and many people suffer from untreated problems, especially when they’re young and haven’t learned to adequately manage the frustrations that ADHD can cause.

Dr. Barkley’s long term study has shown some very distressing results. Children with ADHD have a shortened life expectancy of over 9 years. Adults with persistent ADHD symptoms have an even more significantly shortened life expectancy of nearly 13 years.

Dr. Barkley’s research is very compelling

The complete study, Hyperactive Child Syndrome and Estimated Life Expectancy at Young Adult Follow-Up: The Role of ADHD Persistence and Other Potential Predictors, was recently published in the Journal of Attention Disorders. Unfortunately, it is behind a paywall, meaning you cannot read the complete results unless you have paid for access or are a student or educator with that benefit. (But the webinar is free!)

Life Course Impairments

Dr. Barkley has found that many risks associated with ADHD can lead to life problems, including premature death.

We all know that kids with ADHD struggle in school without proper supports. This is linked to lower educational success, lower paying jobs, and more family stress.

Many people with ADHD get anxious and depressed due to circumstances created by their ADHD. This can lead to more problems in school, interpersonal relationships, self medicating with drugs and alcohol, legal problems, and even death by suicide.

Inattention and impulsivity increase the risk of accidental injury and death. Other risky behaviors can lead to unplanned pregnancies.

Problems with executive functioning can lead to problems at home with significant others and in parenting. Many adults with ADHD show problems at work and in maintaining a consistent job.

Impulsive eating can lead to obesity, and all the long term health consequences associated with that. These include diabetes, heart disease, orthopedic problems, and more.

A public health problem

Dr. Barkley asserts that we should approach ADHD as a public health problem.

During his talk in St. Louis, one of Dr. Barkley’s slides proposed that “ADHD is a serious public health problem; it accounts for greater reductions is ELE [expected life expectancy] than any single risk factor of concern to public health and medical professionals, such as smoking, excess alcohol use, obesity, or risky driving among other widely accepted health risks.”

The good news

The good news is that many of these risks can be minimized with proper management.

If we support our students to help them succeed in school, they are more likely to continue in their education. When people attain a higher education level, they are able to get more fulfilling jobs and earn better incomes.

Proper management of ADHD and executive function problems can help prevent and treat depression and anxiety. With less depression and anxiety, parents can be better parents, workers better workers, and partners better partners. Self medication with drugs and alcohol will be less, resulting in fewer problems that are linked to those issues: less crime, healthier bodies, less risky behaviors and fewer accidents.

Encouraging healthy habits, such as regular exercise and proper nutrition, helps everyone live a longer, healthier life. This is no different for those with ADHD, so it is important to help them overcome poor dietary habits and inadequate exercise to improve their overall lifespan.

What can be done?

We can use behavioral interventions, training for patients and parents of children with ADHD, educational support, and medication to optimize management of ADHD.

When properly diagnosed and treated, individuals with ADHD can be very successful in life. That’s why ADHDKC was started… to help those with ADHD learn to thrive!

JOMO: Joy of Missing Out

As we hear holiday songs of joy and cheer, it’s a great time to talk about the Joy of Missing Out: JOMO. This winter break don’t waste your time looking at all the great photos of what your friends are doing. Fear of missing out, FOMO, leads to depression and feelings of insecurity. Find your own fun. Learn to appreciate the joy of missing out.

FOMO is everywhere

We’re able to see what our friends are up to at all hours of the day and night. People tend to post pics of what they do when they’re having fun. It’s great to see them enjoying whatever that is, but a part of us tends to be jealous.

When we see peers over and over again having a blast and getting lots of likes, it appears that they’re always having fun and they’re very popular. We forget that they have moments when they’re sitting alone bored and scrolling through social media wishing they were the one in the photo. They also have times that they feel all alone.

The grass is always greener on the other side. Believe me. Everyone has down moments. We just don’t post to say we’re doing nothing. Unless we want attention – and there’s a problem there too!

FOMO is a big problem

FOMO leads to more time online checking and rechecking to be sure you’re not missing the latest and greatest.

Excessive social media use can lead to less sleep – which in turn increases anxiety, depression, risk of accidental injury or death, and more.

The drive to know what’s going on at all times can lead to checking in at inappropriate times:

  • In class. How many have had phones taken away?
  • While driving. This puts not only your life in danger, but also the lives of others. Not to mention that it’s illegal in many states – including when you’re at a stop light.
  • While in the presence of others. It’s rude to check your phone when others are trying to talk to you! You can make your friend feel insignificant if it’s more important to play on your phone when you’re spending time with them.
  • When you should be sleeping. Being on a screen suppresses your melatonin so you don’t feel tired. If you have to get up in 8 hours, you should be sleeping.
  • When you should be studying or working. How often do you stay up late to finish homework? Think about how much time you wasted while doing your homework and checking in. And how many hours you spend procrastinating doing what you should be doing.
  • When you could be exercising. Obesity is a real risk of too much sitting around looking at your phone. Get out there and move!
Do you feel compelled to keep scrolling until you have seen posts from absolutely everyone? #FOMO #adhdkcteen #JOMO

Today’s teen culture is built around how people appear online. The number of followers and likes seem to indicate how good or popular you are.

But it doesn’t have to be like that. Generations of people were happy and satisfied, popular and self fulfilled without shouting to the world what they were doing.

Studies show that social media use is linked to anxiety and depression. It might actually be hazardous to your mental health.

Friends often have insomnia so reach out online. Don’t feel like you need to see their post immediately. It will be there tomorrow – you can see it when you have scheduled social media time.

What can you do to learn JOMO?

Embrace #JOMO: the joy of missing out. Live in the moment and appreciate life. #ADHDKCTeen

You might think it’s too hard to stay off line. How will you possibly keep up with the gossip and know what’s going on?

That’s the point… you don’t need to! Your real friends and family will talk to you about what’s important to them. You can share with them everything that’s important to you by talking with them and being with them.

FOMO is strong. Fear is a big driver of what we do and how we feel.

Find a passion

If you love a sport, art, music, or other activity, schedule regular time to do that activity.

Being with others who share the same passion will encourage you do do it even more and build strong connections with people.

Enjoy the moment

There’s a lot of research that show mindfulness helps to lower our anxiety and fight depression.

It’s not easy to learn, but there are many ways to be mindful. Start with an app or read a book. Attend a group session or class on mindfulness.

Manage time online

Keep track of how much time you spend online. Break that time into essential school and work related things and non-essential time.

Think about how much time you really should be spending online. Where can you cut back to give yourself more time to be with friends and family or to practice self-care tasks? Wouldn’t it be great to have more time for sleep?

For more on managing screen time, see Screen Time Limits. There are even some examples for apps that can help you track your time.

Unfollow

If you recognize that certain people trigger FOMO, unfollow them.

By unfollowing certain people you can still check on your friends and family who live out of town and stay in touch with them. But the people you don’t really care about won’t bother you. And you can look forward to catching up with friends who actually tell you what’s going on in their lives.

You won’t see all the people you don’t need to see, so you’ll not feel like you’re left out, but you can spend less time scrolling and more time doing other stuff.

Make connections IRL

Stop building your self image based on your online image.

If you feel compelled to check on your posts to see how many have liked it, you have a problem.

Do you feel compelled to check your posts to see how many likes you get? Does this help define your self image? #socialmediaproblems #JOMO #FOMO #adhdkcteen

Be yourself. Don’t worry about how many likes you get. Think about what matters to you can get involved in that.

Enjoy friends when you spend time with them in real life. It’s okay to like their posts, but it’s even better to share time doing fun things together.

Let friends know you really care by asking them to do things. They’ll appreciate the effort because they’re probably suffering from FOMO too! Of course they could have conflicts, so don’t be offended if they can’t always be available.

Take a break

I’ve seen several people over the years share a “see you later” post on their social sites. They let friends know they’re going off line for a day, a weekend, or more.

While I don’t really think you need to publicize it, I do think taking a break and not checking any social sites for a specified time can help you find what you’re missing by being online all the time. It can take time away from our screens to appreciate all the other stuff life has to offer. This extra time forces us to think about what we can do with our time. Boredom can lead to finding ourselves and our passions.

Publicizing going off line has pros and cons. It can seem to be a way to draw attention to yourself, but it also can let people know that you’re not hurt or in trouble. Some friends might be offended if you don’t reply quickly to a post. This will let you know you’re not mad at them or ignoring them. If this is the only way you feel like you don’t need to check in, then let people know you’re checking out. That also might stimulate them to do the same!

Make yourself, not companies, happy

Social sites, such as Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and Twitter are businesses. They’re in it to make money.

The more you check your social sites, the happier those businesses are. They’re doing their job if they get you to spend time on their products. They make more money if you see their ads. The more time spent on their app, the better investment they are to their sponsors, which brings in more money to them. They use psychology to get users to use their platform more. They don’t care if it makes you less mentally and physically healthy.

Stop playing into their game. Resist the urge to hop online.

Make yourself happy by finding a passion off the screen and doing it. Don’t make your life about the right photo op. If you live life to its fullest, you’ll have the memories… which is infinitely better than the likes from people you don’t really care about!

2018 International Conference on ADHD recap

I was excited to attend the 2018 International Conference on ADHD with a group of ADHDKC board members. I’ll try to recap some of the best information learned.

We were all able to make connections with people from all over the world who research and treat symptoms associated with ADHD and with those who are in various learning stages about their own ADHD. It was not uncommon throughout the conference to hear that people found their tribe…

#ADHDcon2018 - Tribe talk

Too much information

There were many simultaneous talks during the 4 day conference. I went to many great talks but missed others. I tried to tweet #ADHDcon2018 during the conference, but couldn’t pay attention and tweet at the same time, so missed a lot of points to share.

International connections

I was very fortunate to meet Marylin, a woman from France who is passionate about learning and sharing information about ADHD. She shared with me that ADHD is not commonly recognized in France and she is working to change that. Learn more about her organization at TDAH.

Marilyn recorded several of the sessions and uploaded them to her Facebook page. I’ll share these along with other information below.

Marylin and speakers, Dr. Michelle Frank and Sari Solden.

Translation from Facebook:

If you thought ADHD was reserved for children….
If you thought that: in the same way as intellectual early, (fortunately less and less used) ADHD disappears over time….
If you thought ADHD was a bad education…. too permissive….
If you thought ADHD was a simple motor hyperactivity….
So…. it’s time to learn, to inform you to understand this neurobiological disorder that affects millions of people around the world: Children, adolescents, adults, men and women together.
The symptoms differ, however, the disorder remains the same.
ADHD is an invisible, ill-known, misunderstood handicap, particularly in France, where diagnosis and care have accumulated considerably harmful delays. 10, 15 (rather 20 years to be honest) compared to other countries of the world.
ADHD is not happy with associated disorders (called morbid), dyslexia, dyscaculie, ect… anxiety disorder, disorder disorder with provocation.
Non-diagnosed ADHD may also lead to adolescent-Risk Pipelines: Sexuality, driving, risk-taking, addictions,
(drugs, tobacco, alcohol) unwanted pregnancies, and
D after the latest research: a considerably reduced longevity. Are you ready to open your eyes and ears and change your states d spirits…

Dr. Russel Barkley

Dr. Russel Barkley is a world renowned expert on ADHD and was one of the keynote speakers. He spoke at the Midwest ADHD Conference sponsored by ADHDKC.org last spring, so you might recognize him and his message: untreated (and undertreated) ADHD has risks!

If you want to skip to Dr. Barkley, go to 8 min. To do this, hover over the bottom and click on the Facebook icon. It will bring you to the Facebook video, and you can scroll forward.

Hover over the bottom and click on the Facebook icon to be able to fast forward.

And yes, we were smitten with him being there… he’s that big of a deal!

Unique Challenges Facing Mothers & Daughters with ADHD

Our own Jeremy Didier and her daughter were among a panel of mother/daughter pairs who talked about living with ADHD.

Our own Jeremy Didier and her daughter were among a panel of mother/daughter pairs who talked about living with ADHD.

Self care

I was not in this session, but found a snippet on Twitter:

Importance of self care. Thoughts on shame. Eric Tivers from Susie Sahim. #selfcare

Importance of self care. Thoughts on shame#adhdcon2018 #adhd@EricTivers talk on adulting pic.twitter.com/SeyAFIVXl1— Susie Sahim ➡️ #ADHDCon2018 (@bogusred) November 11, 2018

Jessica McCabe from How to ADHD

I was excited to be able to see How to ADHD's Jessica McCabe as the final keynote speaker.
I was excited to be able to see How to ADHD‘s Jessica McCabe as the final keynote speaker.

For those who don’t know her, she has made a name for herself making videos about ADHD. I’ve been a fan of her videos for several years, so seeing her live was awesome! 

One of her first slides summarized the other three keynote speakers talks. 

LeDerick Horne spoke of growing up with dyslexia and ADHD in a time and place that was not supportive, yet developing into a renowned poet and public speaker. Eduardo Briceno talked about having a growth mindset. Dr. Russell Barkley shared his 40+ years of research data showing that untreated ADHD has too many risks to ignore – they all culminate in a significantly shortened lifespan. 

Marylin also caught this in full on Facebook live. Start at about 14 min in to skip all the conference acknowledgements if you’re not interested in those.

Coach Diane

Coach Diane from Odyssey Learning spoke about various ways to help kids and teens learn executive functioning.

I was really excited to see that Coach Diane, from Odyssey Learning, was speaking at this conference. Since I won’t be able to make her local talk next month, it was fantastic to hear how she uses creative ways to help kids and teens learn executive function skills.

If you can make it to her local talk, please RSVP on SignUpGenius. Her ADHDKC talk will be geared for tweens and teens, but her slides are more for professionals working with people with ADHD.

All of her slides are available from her website, Odyssey Learning.

What did she talk about?

She talked about how we’re wired to learn when we’re interested. Everyone, but especially those with ADHD, struggle to pay attention when they aren’t interested.

Fear, stress, boredom and anxiety of course make learning even harder, and these are common traits found in people with ADHD. When kids with ADHD are bored, they can suffer from agitation. This gets mislabeled as a behavior problem, but it’s a neurological problem!

Making new concepts and information interesting is one successful way to help people learn. She uses cooking, games, magic, and more to help kids learn.

Backwards planning is one strategy that helps kids complete tasks. Knowing where you want to end up, then coming up with all the steps that are required to get there, is backwards planning. She will use cooking to model backwards planning, then help kids learn to generalize the skill to real life examples.

So much more…

There was so much that I have not been able to share. There are API handouts as well as general session handouts available online.

If you are able to make it to the next conference, it should be great!

Learn to Learn

Studies consistently show that people who know how to learn and have grit are more successful than people who are smart but don’t have resilience. That means we all need to learn how to learn and how to be resilient!

Let’s start with the basics and then review a few learning techniques that can help.

People who know how to learn and have grit are more successful than people who are smart but don't have resilience. Learn how to learn to succeed!

Basics

Organize

If you take a few minutes each day to fill out a planner and review what needs to be done, you will save yourself a ton of time overall. And have fewer periods of last minute anxieties!

There are many organization systems out there. Online planners and paper planners each have their pros and cons. The most important thing is that you pick one that works for you. Just search for reviews of planners, and you’ll find many suggestions.

There’s also the Google calendar or iCal – both offer the ability to keep track of things wherever you are! There are also many online apps for organization, most of which offer free versions as well as premium plans.

The most important thing about calendars and planners: put everything in them and use them regularly.

Of course you should put all your assignments in your planner. Also add in your extracurriculars. If you’re making plans with friends, add that in too. Don’t forget to add in time for exercise and sleep. Everything that’s important should be in there!

If you take a few minutes each day to fill out a planner and review what needs to be done, you will save yourself a ton of time overall. And have fewer periods of last minute anxieties! #organize

Don’t put it off!

It’s tempting to put off studying until the last minute, but don’t fall for the temptation.

Some people even say they do best at the last minute because of the adrenaline rush they get from the anxiety of the last minute. But chances are if you really look at it, you do a much better job and feel much better if you pace yourself and do a little each day.

If you finish parts of tasks on time at a healthy pace, you’ll have less time spent worrying about it. This leaves more time to enjoy life. You’ll probably sleep better and be healthier!

Finish parts of tasks on time at a healthy pace. You'll have less time spent worrying about it. This leaves more time to enjoy life. #organization

Sleep

Your brain needs sleep to process and store information. All nighters will keep you from performing at your best. 

Study in the evening, get a good night’s sleep, then review your notes a bit in the morning. This is a recipe for success!

Dogs get it. Your brain needs sleep to process and store information. Get enough sleep to be the best you can be. #sleepmatters

Exercise

There are studies showing that people who exercise right before a test do better than those who cram a little longer. 

Exercise is not only great for your body… it’s also good for your mind!

Exercise is not only great for your body... it's also good for your mind! #exercise

Think positive!

If you get stuck in negativity, you’ll waste a ton of time and energy just being mad or scared. 

It’s easy to fall into the trap. If you start to feel overwhelmed and frustrated that you won’t have enough time to finish a report, you will waste even more time not doing the report. It’s too easy to waste time worrying. 

How do you change your mindset from, “I’ll never finish this,” to “I might have waited a long time to start this, but I’ve always been able to push through and finish it in the past”? See the “Related Posts” section at the bottom of this blog.

Learn to be positive by changing your mindset. It makes a world of difference! #growthmindset #powerofpositivity

Learning techniques

Write it down

Take notes as you study. The process of writing helps people remember. 

Don’t simply re-write exactly what you hear in lecture or read in your textbook. Summarize the thought in your own words. This helps much more!

Writing has been shown to be more effective than typing to help with learning, so unless you can’t write, put the keyboard aside and use a simple pen and paper! (Maybe a pen on the appropriate screen would be okay… I don’t know if that’s been studied.)

Writing has been shown to be more effective than typing to help with learning. Summarize ideas during lectures or while reading and write them down! #studytip

Mnemonics

Memorizing dates, words in a foreign language, and more can be difficult, but associating them with something else can make a big difference. 

I still remember many of the mnemonics I used years ago…. 

Who else learned “Every Good Boy Does Fine” to learn to read music?

You can use images, songs, word associations and rhymes to help remember difficult information. This great video explains how to use several of the techniques.

Sing a tune – one type of mnemonic

Songs and rhymes help us learn. You know how you can remember all the words to your favorite song, right? Words in a song are grouped together more easily in our mind and are easier to remember than non-associated words. 

Songs and rhymes help us learn. Words in a song are grouped together more easily in our mind and are easier to remember than non-associated words. #singtolearn

Pick a familiar tune and put the information you need to learn in it. If you’re not that creative or short on time, search your topic with “music” or “song” and check out the results.

Pick a familiar tune and put the information you need to learn in it. If you're not that creative or short on time, search your topic with "music" or "song" and check out the results. #learntolearn More tips on www.adhdkcteen.com.

Singing is one type of mnemonic memorization. For more types and descriptors, see Try these 9 Types of Mnemonics to Improve Your Memory.

What’s your learning style?

You might have heard that everyone has their own learning style. It’s true. Some people learn from reading things best. Other people are more auditory learners – they learn from listening.

There are 7 basic learning styles. We’ll cover more of those in a future post.

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