Adults with ADD are often unaware of how others see them. They may appear angry when they are only struggling to do a menu for tonight's dinner, or they seem to be laughing when the boss is chewing on them. Here are some how-to ideas to help you become more conscious of what your body is saying to the outside world.
The body and mind are linked in both directions. If you are mad, your shoulders are probably tight and lifted. If you are sad, your shoulders are probably slumped. But the body also affects the mind. Try a relaxed smile (not a taut grimace), notice how the muscles of the jaw and the neck, and shoulders soften. This is a physical exercise; you don't need to be listening to jokes to smile. Try it when you are waiting in a long supermarket line.
Trainers advise telephonists to smile, not because they are on video phones, but because smiling relaxes the throat muscles and improves the quality of your voice.
- Learn to recognize signs of restlessness in yourself.
What does your body feel like when you are becoming bored? Does your foot start to bounce? Do you feel compelled to make remarks? Do you keep shifting around in your chair? Does your head feel scrambled? Are your nerves jigging across your shoulders? How can you relieve this feeling? What works for you?
My own coach recognizes when things are getting out of hand because she starts yelling at other drivers in traffic.
- Study yourself in the mirror.
You may feel that studying your face in the mirror is narcissistic or you just don't like your face. But it helps to know what other people are seeing. Try thinking sad thoughts, happy thoughts, angry thoughts, does your face express your feeling? or does it seem out of sync with your emotion. If so this may explain why others seem to misunderstand you. Practice walking in front of a full length mirror. Try walking tall like a warrior, relaxed and jaunty like a school kid, or slow and down like a wimp. Once you have explored your body language in the mirror, observe yourself mentally in public.
Many years ago, when I was in sixth grade, I had a friend who had to wear braces. She practiced smiling in the mirror so that her braces didn't show. To me it seemed some how dishonest to manage her appearance like that. Now many years and not a few misunderstandings and disappointments later, I can see that it is important to know that what the world is seing is the you you want them to see.
- What was your favorite pass-time or game as a child.
Social and family demands often push us far from our internal instincts. What you did as a child is a clue to your personal interests. With ADD, success often comes from your passion.
- Feel the joy when you smell a rose or look at the moon
Learn to breathe deeply and slowly to the abdomen when you smell a rose or see the moon. As you exhale slowly feel the energy which rises from the center of the earth like sap flowing to the leafy top of the trees. When you become anxious or blue switch your mood to joy by breathing deeply and remember the rose or the moon.
When I was learning to scuba dive, I had difficulty breathing through the mask. In a yoga class I learned that deep breathing could reduce anxiety. And wow! It worked! I never had trouble breathing with the scuba mask again.
- Do what you love to do?
Follow your passion. With ADD your personal interest provides energy to achieve your goals.