You have managed to follow through on your plans. You are doing work related tasks, spending time with your family, socializing with friends or…
And in the middle of whatever you are doing, you have a thought:
- “I really don’t have time to work on this presentation. I should be doing my report.”
- “I shouldn’t be out with friends when I am so far behind.”
- “Maybe I should go to the store now.”
- “When is Jimmy’s baseball game going to be over?”
When these thoughts are going through your head, of course, you are not present to what you are trying to do.
One of the biggest challenges for many adults with ADHD is to focus their attention on what they are doing right now.
But if you want to be more present in different areas of your life, there are ways to do this.
Does Being Present Matter?
First, what are the advantages of being less distracted in the moment and more in the present?
When you can focus your attention on what you are doing in the moment, you can
- be more productive, as you bring your best effort and creativity to your tasks.
- create the kind of connections you want with the people in your life.
- feel more grounded and have less stress.
- get more enjoyment out of your life.
So, it does matter.
What Brings You Away From Now
Yet, while you might want to be in the present because of what it can offer you, you may often be pulled away from being in the now.
When you are not here and now, you are likely thinking about the past or future.
When thinking about the past you may have thoughts like:
- “What is she thinking about what happened?”
- “Maybe I should not have done that?”
- What did he mean when he said that?
And thoughts of the future may include:
- “What will I do if…”
- “How am I going to…”
- “What will happen when…”
Instead of being here right now we are distracted by our thoughts, which are often fears of what happened or what will happen. We process what happened in the past. And try to predict and prepare for the future.
In the meantime we are missing out…
Being Here, Now
Sometimes the answer is to hit the stop button on our thoughts for the moment.
Here are a few ways that I have found to be useful in being more present:
- Just breathe. As you are sitting at your desk, take deep full breaths. In as little as 90 seconds you can bring yourself back to now.
- When you exercise focus on your form and breathing. Notice your feet moving and your breath as it goes in and out.
- When you are engaged in daily routines, like washing dishes or cooking, focus on what you are doing. We are often in a rush to finish, but instead you could use these times as an opportunity to be mindful.
- While you might not want to embark on a full meditation practice, you could try a practice like one-moment meditation.
- When someone is speaking to you, put away your phone. Focus on the person you are speaking to and what they are saying. Look them in the face and, rather than think about how you want to respond, listen. Try to understand.
- When you step outside in the morning, listen to the birds.
For adults with ADHD quieting your mind can be quite challenging. If medication is part your holistic treatment plan for treating your ADHD, you may find that it also helps you in your effort to be more present.
ADDed Perspectives Bottom Line
It can be hard to present at times, no doubt.
There are things to do, always. And it might help to make time and space to problem solve.
But what can you do to be present to what you are doing right now, this moment? It will take practice.
Are you up for the challenge?