Having ADD (attention deficit disorder) or ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) is something a lot of adults are embarrassed about. I think one reason for this comes from years of negative messaging that they got from teachers, parents, and/or peers during childhood about the things they struggled with, such as:
- Problems staying focused or losing homework assignments
- Difficulty sitting still
- Talking too much or interrupting others
- Starting lots of projects but having trouble finishing them
- Report cards that regularly reflected their difficulties rather than their intelligence
Does any of that sound familiar to you?
If so, fast forward a few decades to the present moment and even if you’re a successful person with ADD/ADHD you might still believe you’re not as smart as others are.
But I’ve got news for you. Having ADD/ADHD does not—by any stretch of the imagination—mean you’re mentally deficient. It simply means your brain works a little differently than neurotypical brains. And what’s more is that many very notable people—including Albert Einstein, Walt Disney, and Simone Biles—struggled with ADD/ADHD too!Having ADD/ADHD doesn’t mean you’re dumb. It simply means your brain works a little differently than neurotypical brains. Click To Tweet
ADD Brains Work Differently
I know a lot about ADD/ADHD because I have it and (lucky me) I’m married to the world’s foremost expert on brain function. Here’s what I learned from getting a SPECT scan of my brain: The prefrontal cortex (PFC) is like our personal CEO. It helps us with decision-making, focus, forethought, impulse control, and so on. In ADD/ADHD brains, there is lower than normal blood flow in this area, which can make some of these functions more difficult for us.
5 Empowering Gifts of ADD/ADHD
Despite the challenges, there are many gifts that come from having ADD/ADHD. Here are 5 of them:
- You’re not afraid to take risks. You love things that get your adrenaline going (it boosts blood flow to your PFC). It’s easier for you than most others to get out of your comfort zone. You’re not afraid to go sky diving or do other extreme sports—or even start a new business.
- You are creative. Whether it’s artistic endeavors, home hobbies, or work projects, you like to think outside of the box. You can see the big picture which opens your mind to new ideas and new ways to accomplish things.
- You can hyperfocus on things that interest you. Like a dog with a bone, when you’re passionate about a project you attack it with great attention and energy.
- Spontaneity is a way of life for you. While most people are sticklers for making plans in advance, you can switch gears on the fly and not be anxious about it.
- You’re a great conversationalist. Because you’re curious about so many things and your life tends to be really interesting, people are often inspired by your stories and what you have to say.
Strategies to Help the Challenges of ADD/ADHD
If you have ADD/ADHD, I have more good news. There are natural ways to treat it—and what a difference they can make for you. To clarify, treatment doesn’t eliminate your natural gifts, but rather helps to improve the functions you struggle with.
All brains work a little differently, but here are some strategies to keep your ADD/ADHD brain as healthy as possible:
- Eat a diet that’s higher in protein and lower in carbs, which can lower PFC function. I always have a protein-rich smoothie to start my day off right.
- Exercise regularly. Whether it’s a full workout or a long walk on the beach, moving our bodies increases blood flow to the brain and helps to discharge some of that extra energy.
- Take supplements that help with concentration, such as rhodiola, ashwagandha, and green tea extract. When I’ve got too many distractions, I find that Focus & Energy from BrainMD helps clear my mind and improve my focus.
- Meditate to calm a busy brain. This is critical for me. Even if I only get in 10 minutes at a time, it’s so helpful. Research has even shown that regular meditation can improve focus and memory.
If you have ADD/ADHD (or a loved one does), I hope this blog helps you appreciate the empowering gifts that come along with it. I also encourage you to take the necessary steps to bring your brain into better balance so you can enjoy the benefits of increased focus, impulse control, and better decision-making too!
For improved attention and concentration, try Focus & Energy from BrainMD. Get 21% off when you use the promo code TANA21.
If you’re struggling and need professional help, Amen Clinics is here for you. We offer in-clinic brain scanning and appointments, as well as mental telehealth, remote clinical evaluations, and video therapy for adults, children, and couples. Find out more by speaking to a specialist today at 888-288-9834 or visit our contact page here.