wikiHow to Slow Down the Adult ADHD Brain

Three Parts:Slowing Your Mind Right NowGetting TreatmentSlowing Your Mind Long-term

If you are an adult with ADHD, you know that maintaining a slow and steady pace can be a very difficult thing to do. In the mind of a person with ADHD, there are a lot of jobs that need to get done and so little time to do it. This sends the ADHD brain into overdrive, trying to achieve everything all at once. But you need to slow down. Building strategies for calming yourself can help you slow down and focus more, whether it is in the moment or long-term.

Part 1
Slowing Your Mind Right Now

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    Push pause. When you feel yourself going into overdrive, stop everything that you are doing. Shut the electronics off, put the work aside. If needed, go to another room, or nearby quiet place. Take a few deep, slow breaths. Close your eyes. Stretch your neck, back, arms, and legs.
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    Laugh. Laughter not only elevates your mood, but research has shown that having a good laugh can decrease stress and increase concentration.[1] So, take a brief moment to read, watch, or listen to something humorous.
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    Make a plan. Think about what specifically you need to do. Whether it is how to finish a report or make it through a required lecture, planning can help you remove some of the mental clutter and focus on what is most important right now. It can also help you figure out how to efficiently do what needs to be done. [2]
    • Just the act of writing down a plan of action can release some energy which can help calm your mind.
    • Break down large, overwhelming tasks into smaller, more manageable action steps.[3]
    • Consider what resources you will need and what distractions you can eliminate.
    • Be sure to include time for short breaks in your plan.
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    Have some caffeine. Although it is a stimulant, caffeine reduces blood flow to the brain, which can slow your brain down. Drinking a caffeinated soda or having some chocolate can help you focus. [4] Remember, though, that too much caffeine (for example, more than four cups of coffee a day) isn't good for anyone.
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    Limit distractions. As much as possible, remove anything that might distract you. Keep only the supplies you will immediately need for the specific task at hand and put everything else away.

[5] You may want to power electronic devices off or silence alerts so that they don’t distract you. It may also be necessary to go somewhere with fewer distractions.

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    Stick to one task at a time. Focus on completing one thing at a time.[6] Multi-tasking may seem like a good idea, but it forces your brain to focus on several things at once, which doesn't help slow it down. Instead, complete one task before you begin another.
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    Work your plan. Use your plan to guide what you are doing. Place it somewhere that you can see so that it is a visual reminder of what you are focused on. Utilize your planned breaks to allow your mind (and body) time to recharge and refocus. Remember to reward yourself when you have finished!

Part 2
Getting Treatment

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    Consult with your physician about your ADHD, if you haven’t done so already. She may consult with, or refer you to, another professional such as a psychiatrist. There are several different types of treatment, including medication, therapy, and alternative treatments available. Many people use a combination of treatments to manage their ADHD. [7] Consult with a professional, such as your physician, to determine which treatment or combination of treatments will be most effective for you.
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    Consider medication treatment. It is one of the most common and popular forms of treatment for adult ADHD. Stimulant medications have been proven to be effective for treating many of the symptoms of adult ADHD.[8] Other medications, including some antidepressants, have also been found to be successful.[9]
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    Attend therapy or counseling. These forms of treatment are often used in conjunction with medication treatment. Some of the most widely used therapies for ADHD are Cognitive-Behavioral therapy (CBT) and family therapy.
    • CBT teaches specific methods for changing your thinking so that you can feel mentally and emotionally calmer and more in control.[10]
    • Family therapy can assist by addressing some of the interpersonal issues ADHD may cause. Techniques for problem-solving and effective communication are often introduced.[11]
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    Be open to alternative treatments. Although the research base for them is not as strong as for medication and therapy, there are a number of alternative treatments that numerous people with ADHD have found to work for them. Two popular alternative treatments are elimination diets and meditation.[12]
    • Some research has indicated that eliminating foods high in processed sugars or containing dyes and certain other chemicals may alleviate some ADHD symptoms.[13]
    • Mindfulness Meditation, in which you focus on being present in the here and now, has also shown some success in recent research.[14]
    • Consult your medical professional before beginning any alternative treatments.

Part 3
Slowing Your Mind Long-term

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    Take care of your physical health. Getting enough sleep, a balanced diet, and regular physical activity can help reduce some of your ADHD symptoms.
    • People with ADHD may especially feel the effects of lack of sleep as the brain goes into hyper-mode the next day to compensate for the loss.[15] Establish a sleep routine so that your mind and body are calm. Turn off your electronic devices, dim the lights, make some tea, meditate, etc. These regular actions signal to your brain that it is time to slow down.
    • Eating healthy does not necessarily mean adopting an elimination diet, although it is one form of treatment for ADHD. Maintaining a balanced diet (including drinking water) not only helps your overall health, but ensures that your brain has the necessary nutrients to function at its best.
    • Regular exercise not only improves your physical health, but can help with focus and memory, as well. Some studies have indicated that martial arts, in particular, benefits people with ADHD because they include a mental aspect, along with the physical, and often involve some form of meditation.[16]
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    Organize your physical and mental space. Remove the clutter from your life. As much as possible, organize your physical space so that distractions are minimized. Use a planner or calendar to organize your business/school, family, and social life. Knowing where things are and when things need to be done decreases the number of things your mind has to attend to.
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    Plan ahead. When possible, anticipate times you might get restless and plan appropriate ways to release your energy. [17] For example, if you have a meeting or class scheduled, bring a small stress ball or other item to unobtrusively use to release energy.


  • Follow these steps on a consistent basis and you'll be on your way to a calmer and steadier lifestyle.
  • Use all medications as directed.
  • Consult your physician before starting, ending, or changing any health routine.

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Categories: Attention and Developmental Disorders