Top Ten Strategies for Adults with ADD

By Tim Vaughan, Life Coach

1.    Create a dynamic support structure

It is imperative to have people surrounding you that both understand and nurture you. It is awfully lonely and frustrating to feel like a square peg in a round world. These feelings can be lessened once you build a support structure that satisfies your needs. This can include friends, family, professional help, and support groups. The important thing is for these relationships to be safe havens where you can be rejuvenated and allowed to be you.

2.    Be yourself and enjoy it

Each of us- with or without ADD- has special talents, strengths, and weaknesses. We should all focus on living to our highest potential, whatever that may be. Work to develop your own truth and who you want to be rather than what other people may want for you. Having ADD is a part of who you are and is an amazing quality that can have many benefits. Do not waste any time worrying about why you are the way you are, instead, live your life fully.

3.     Make it a daily habit to stay grounded

It is important to keep your feet on the ground so that you can take steps forward. There are countless ways to remain centered in your life and you should find one that works easily for you. Whether it is taking time each morning to plan your day, following set timeouts to enjoy some breathing time, exercise, meditation or a hobby that relaxes you, find a regular routine that will release negative energy and keep your mind from going into overdrive. One key point is that whatever you choose, it has to excite and interest you. It should not be seen as a chore or an item on the to-do list.

4.     Limit your black and white thinking

Many ADD’ers tend to think in black or white. There is little gray area with the clients I work with and it is one of the first things we usually address. This type of thinking makes it very challenging to move ahead. Practice seeing the many different ways a situation can be viewed.

5.     Create active momentum

Just because you are not able to paint like Van Gogh does not mean that you should not pick up a brush. (Another example of black and white thinking.) Doing something is far better than doing nothing because any action that you take creates momentum and naturally leads to another larger, more effective action. Many of my ADD clients feel that if they can not do it perfectly then it is not worth doing and, I think, this is very self-defeating. If you find yourself in this boat make sure you jump into
the water as quickly as possible.

6.    Treat yourself to boundless compassion

Understand that each of us is doing what we think is best at the time. That is not to say that things work out always- we all know that is not true but it does take some of the pressure off of us when we make a mistake, which is bound to happen. If something has gone wrong today, beating yourself up over it will not make the result any better. Stop blaming yourself for everything that goes wrong.

7.    Master the skill of saying “NO”

Yes, this is a skill. Have you been agreeing to things that you do not want to do or do not have the time to do? Are you biting off more than you can chew and find that you are feeling overwhelmed? Learn to say no. I recommend that my clients who are overbooked initially say no to every request asked of them for one month. This allows them time to think about whether they really want to do what was asked of them. Even though you initially say no, that does not mean you can not go back and say you have
changed your mind. Think of ways that you would feel comfortable saying no. 
Example: you are already booked, are busy that weekend, you just are not able to.

8.     Develop strategies that work for you

Chances are you already have many strategies in place that you have created over time. If there are still chances that you want to make, take time to create an innovative way to address them. Think of where you presently are and where you want to be in the future. If you are not able to come up with a strategy on your own bring other people into the brainstorm. Friends, support groups, discussion groups, ADD coaches, all are valuable resources to have. For every challenge, there is a viable solution that is waiting to be found.

9.     Discover an overall mission
Having an underlying passion that you can regularly contribute to is good for the soul. Maybe it is offering support to other people with ADD, volunteering somewhere in the community, creating a project which makes you feel great. Whatever it may be, it is important to have a larger connection to the world around you and a place where you feel productive. Search out your talents and interests and put them to use.

10.   Take it easy and love yourself

This may sound very trite and not very useful, but the ADD’ers I know who do this are far happier than those who do not. However, you accomplish this goal is up to you. Maybe you have ideas for what works for you or possibly you will need the help of other people, but it is something I strongly recommend you focus on. If you are on the right page with yourself everything in your life will happen more easily.

About Tim:  Tim Vaughan is a  Life Coach, his coaching focus is to provide simple tools for ADD adults, parents, and teachers affected by ADD in order to empower them to live more fully and happily. He also works with people around life planning, life transitions, spiritual issues, and finding passion.