Years ago I was diagnosed and treated for ADHD.

Here’s Wikipedia’s definition of ADHD:

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a psychiatric disorder of the neurodevelopmental type. It characterized by problems paying attention, excessive activity, or difficulty controlling behavior which is not appropriate for a person’s age.

I was given Adderall to help fight my ADHD. But it didn’t work for me (in fact the drug reminded me of cocaine and I ended up relapsing on coke after taking Adderall! But that’s a story for another time).

But it’s been over 10 years since I’ve tried to “treat” my ADHD with pills. Mainly because I no longer believe that something’s wrong with me. I don’t believe I have a “disorder.” And honestly I don’t even know if ADHD is a real thing.

I’m not going to pretend I know all the science behind ADHD because I don’t. I just feel like it’s overly-diagnosed. One day I would love to do a research project on the subject and then write an interesting report about it… but that would take a lot of focused effort. 😉

So all I know is my own experience. I know for most of my life I’ve gotten bored easily unless my mind is engaged in some activity.

And I’ve also struggled with being able to focus for long periods of time.

But over the years, as I’ve gained more self-awareness, I’ve found activities that help me focus better.

If ADHD is a real thing, perhaps these could be considered “natural remedies” for it:

1) Deadlines: I love new things. And I’m not naturally a good finisher. I can start new things and take the initiative to get something going but I hate maintaining things or finishing things. But if you want to succeed at life and work you have o finish things. You have to publish. You have to ship. This is why I force myself to have deadlines for projects. If I don’t I’ll be tempted to start Project #2 before Project #1 is shipped.

2) Chess: I feel like chess may be the secret antidote to ADD. Because when I sit in front of a board every other thought and idea is silenced and I enter into what I can only describe as a meditative state when I play. I can literally only focus on the game in that moment. I can’t do small talk, text message or even eat food when I play. My entire being is focused on ONE thing. And I love that feeling. It’s also reassuring to know I’m capable of that level of focused thought.

3) Writing Writing is also an activity that forces me to focus on the task at hand. And because it involves language I suspect it’s harder for my mind to interrupt me with thoughts since thoughts come in language form. So as long as I’m “in the zone” writing I can be free to enter into that meditative state.

4) Meditation: Meditation isn’t easy for me. For example, it’s much easier for me to focus and feel that sense of calmness when I’m playing chess or writing. When I meditate my mind presents me with thought after thought as though they were all waiting in line in my unconscious mind. I can acknowledge each one and then dismiss it but then the next person in line walks right up to the counter. The good side to this is that I now have more compassion for the people working at the DMV. But I have noticed progress and I do think it helps train my mind to focus.

5) Walking: I love long walks. If I had it my way I would go on a hour-long walk every day to clear my head, relax and think about important things. I don’t do it for the exercise I do it for my sanity. One of my favorite places to walk is beside the East Fork of the Lewis River. It’s quiet except for the sound of the rushing river beneath me. It’s great.

Those five activities, I believe, have helped me develop a more focused mind. I still don’t think I’m “cured” but again, I’m not looking for a “cure” to how my mind works. I just want to learn healthy habits so I can be free to be who I’m created to be. I hope this gives you some ideas on how to focus. Try one or all of those things listed above and let me know how it works.