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ADHD Drugs Don’t Work?

ADHD Drugs Don't WorkADHD drugs don’t work? Controversial title, right? The topic of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) has received a lot of debate in recent years. The treatment is with drugs. Those who are for the treatment call it a breakthrough whilst many argue it is unnecessarily medicated. I’m no psychologist or medical professional, but I’m fairly sure at school, I’d have been diagnosed with ADHD. Teachers always reported I had the concentration span of a goldfish, that I disrupted the class and one teacher reported that I was so laid back about work I was almost horizontal. Whilst I found that hilarious, you can guess who didn’t.

You may remember my post on creativity last week with creativity expert, Sir Ken Robinson’s account of Gillian Lynn. [Read more…]

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Ways To Focus When Studying Outdoors

If you’re a student this summer, and having to study, then doing so indoors when it’s beautiful outdoors is never a pleasant feeling. Here are a few short, but sweet, ways to focus when studying outdoors. They are brought to you by Jeremy Teel for American Intercontinental University.

Ways To Focus When Studying Outdoors

Ways To Focus When Studying OutdoorsSit in a shady, peaceful place. Sitting in a shady spot can be relaxing. Your mind can better absorb information when it is relaxed, so find a shady, quiet place. Outdoor activities and noises can be distracting. You can be more likely to stay focused if those tempting distractions aren’t nearby.

Define goals and set up a schedule. If you find yourself drifting from your studies, create specific goals before you start. Goals can keep you motivated and moving forward while you work. To help meet your goals, allot periods of time for specific tasks. Keeping track of the time can help you maintain a good work pace and complete the necessary tasks.

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If you can think of more ways to focus when studying outdoors then please share them below and of course, share these tips too. I can remember having to study in the summer and it was painful doing so indoors when it was so inviting to be outside. When I did attempt to study outside, it was in my back garden in the sun, when I couldn’t read as the glare was unbearable and I’d have perspiration running down my forehead. Shade is a much better option, wish I’d thought of that!

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Food For Focus

Do you ever consider how your choice of breakfast can have an impact on your mind and ability to focus? Or more importantly so, your child’s ability to concentrate at school? This article, which I’ve renamed food for focus is an important read for any parent. In fact, even if you’re not a parent, the content is well worth digesting.

Food For Focus

Food For Focus

The sugary cereal gives your children an immediate boost in energy, so don’t be surprised if they are jumping up and down in the back of your car and running around like mad in the playground but then, what you tend not to see, but teachers report, are the carbohydrate crashes your children experience just as they are entering the classroom door – dips in energy caused by the body running out of the quick burn sugary carbohydrates, leaving them feeling irritable, tired, hungry and moody, all considerably affecting their ability to concentrate.

Keeping these sugary cereals away from the breakfast table and replacing with porridge mixed with something like Udo’s Oil, a source of polyunsaturated fats that provide a stable, slow burn source of energy that keeps them feeling fuller for longer and maintains their energy levels in the classroom allowing them to concentrate.

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Now that’s food for focus. I think it’s shocking how there’s so much advertising for really sugary and unhealthy breakfast cereals like Coco pops, Chrunchy Nut Cornflakes, Frosties, Rice Crispies etc, which really don’t do anyone any good. I used to eat those types of cereals as a kid – no wonder I had difficulties concentrating. Having recently taken a keen interest in nutrition, there’s no way I’d dream of eating those type so cereals to start my day. In addition to the detrimental effects on your brain, these ‘fast carbs’ cause blood sugar levels to rise and insulin levels to peak which induces your body to enter starvation mode, meaning your body starts to store fat.

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The Best Brain Foods For Your Child

If you’re a parent the chances are that you’ll have taken a vested interest in nutrition.  Here’s a recap of the best brain foods for your child which I highly recommend reading, even if you’re not a parent! We are what we eat after all and unless we educate ourselves, we may just be depriving our bodies and brains of key ingredients.

Brain Food For Your ChildMilk, Yoghurt and Other Dairy Products: Milk and other dairy products are a rich source of Protein, Calcium, Potassium and Vitamin D. All these essential nutrients are a key source to the development of neuromuscular system, neurotransmitters, enzymes and brain tissues. Children and people in the adolescent age group who are in the growing stage also require these nutrients.

All Kinds Of Berries: You might refer to strawberries, cherries, blueberries and blackberries as “Brainberries” as they provide almost all essential brain nutrients. They are an ample source of antioxidants and Vitamin C which help in reducing the oxidative stress. The seeds are a rich source omega-3 fatty acids, one of the most important constituents of the outer membrane of our brain cells.

Eggs and Nuts: Choline, another one of the essential elements for the development of memory stem cells is to be found in abundance in eggs. Nuts also have a fair proportion of this chemical. A Choline rich diet increases the production of memory stem cells in brain. It also minimizes fatigue and improves reaction time. Nuts and seeds are a rich source of Vitamin D. High levels of Vitamin D respond to a less cognitive decline.

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If you read the whole article on the best brain foods for your child you’ll see that salmon is mentioned again.  This is a common theme which for me is unfortunate as my lips swell to three times their normal size. Whilst this might be hilarious for others, it’s not a pleasant feeling. Previous posts on food for focus have advised that fish oil supplements should be taken for those who don’t like fish or who are allergic.  It was interesting to see whole grains mentioned here too. A lot of breakfast cereals that children love don’t include whole grains so what’s the best way to feed your child this key ingredient? Whole grain porridge is a winner with my nieces and nephews.  If you make it with milk and add brain berries that’s three out of these five brain foods covered in one fell swoop!

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How Sipping Water Can Help You Focus

There are plenty of foods that are proven to significantly improve concentration, focus, memory, and brain power as a whole, as you may have seen on this site from articles such as Foods To Help You Focus or Plant Foods Help You Focus.  Here, Linda Wasmer Andrews, for Psychology Today, describes how sipping water can help you focus.

How Sipping Water Can Help You Focus

Hydrating the brain

One possibility is that drinking water may have a direct physiological impact on cognitive function. Water is essential for every cell, tissue, and organ in the body, and the brain is no exception.

Dousing test anxiety

For worriers, there could be another benefit as well. Sipping water during an exam is sometimes suggested as a strategy for easing test anxiety. By offering a momentary distraction, it can break a chain of anxious thoughts and free the mind to focus on the task, leading to better performance.

Pouring on optimism

Drinking water can also aid concentration the same way a sugar pill can ease pain: by activating the placebo effect. Water has received a lot of good press lately. If people believe that sipping water helps the brain work more efficiently, that expectation alone could be enough to boost brainpower.

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I think people forget how important water is in order for all of our vital organs to function correctly, not just our brains.  Of these 3 explanations on how sipping water can help you focus, the fact that it could have a placebo was an interesting one.  Had I known that during my finals maybe I’d have pulled out a First!

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How To Avoid Exam Stress And Focus

This is an article especially for students at this stressful (for some) time of year.  If you’re quickly approaching exam time, then these tips on how to avoid exam stress and focus are well worth a read.  They are written by Learning Development Officer, Paula Moran for the Belfast Telegraph.  Some of the tips you may have already come across but there are some useful, original pointers in here too, such as an example revision day.

How To Avoid Exam Stress And Focus

Revision Suggestions Leading Up To Exams:

Typical day

8.00am breakfast/shower/get dressed

8.30am get your study space ready and all you need for the morning.

9-10.30 Learn a topic e.g. Topic one for Biology (create flash cards, spider diagrams or lists with key points)

10.30 -11 Test yourself on that topic

11.-11.30 Short walk, snack

11.30-1pm past paper for maths

1-2pm Break and lunch

2-3.30pm Biology topic two (as above)

3.30-4pm Test yourself or get someone to ask you questions

4.- 6pm break/tea/watch TV

6-7.30pm Go through notes for another subject covering a key topic

7.30-8pm Break

8-9pm Test yourself on what you have just covered

9-9.30 tick off what you have covered today and look over plan for next day

9.30 – 10 relax

10.30 Bed and sleep

In Exams

Make sure you have everything you need for the exam. When you go in read over the instructions carefully and re-read. Allocate your time so that you cover all the questions do not be tempted to spend more on the answers you know more about as you will lose marks on questions you haven’t attempted. If you find it hard to get started or feel you are getting panicky just start to write something on your notes page to get your focus back on the exam paper. If you have lost marks for silly mistakes in the past give yourself time to check over your answers and read each question carefully, underlining key words to keep you focused. If a question is worded differently than you expected take your time to think of how you can apply what you know..

When you come out, tick off the exam you have finished and move on to the next subject do not waste time analysing what you could have done differently.

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Were these tips on how to avoid exam stress and focus useful for you? Please share with your friends if you think so (icons below). I’ve been there at exam time plenty of times, during school, university, and for a masters so I am only too familiar with one’s frame of mind around exam time.   As Paula Moran quite rightly points out, and as I’ve said a number of times over different posts, exercise is key in reducing stress.  You’ll never regret doing exercise! (Unless you injure yourself, don’t get that happen.) You’ll only feel great afterwards and it will enable you to refocus and think clearly.  Always make time of it! There were times when I would wind myself up to the point of near burn out when trying to solve problems, then go for a cycle or run, and sit back down at my desk and solve those problems almost immediately.

 

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Unplug From Your Screens To Recharge Your Mind

Believe it or not, this is the week to unplug from your screens to recharge your mind. Why? Because this is Screen-Free Week (from 30th April to 6th May).  You may wonder, in that case, why I continue to write on this site.  However, Screen-Free week which is directed towards children and sponsored by Commercial Free Childhood is about unplugging from screens for entertainment purposes, not for work purposes.  The idea is that screens over time can drain your brain, or children’s brains to be more specific.  Today, screens are used more and more for entertainment purposes and it’s damaging.   This article, which was originally written by James Wood for examiner.com explains how screens can be detrimental to our minds.  I have excerpted 2 areas of attention that are inline with my posts on this site.

Unplug From Your Screens To Recharge Your Mind


Multitasking

It’s not possible. Most people think they can multitask, but they can’t. What actually happens is that the brain switches rapidly from one task to the next. Each switch uses energy and decreases productivity. Trying to work on a project while the TV is on is a recipe for poor results and a fatigued mind.

Exercise

Dr. Ed Gray, PhD and licensed counselor, has said that exercise functions like a reset switch for brain chemistry. The chemical imbalances that cause mild depression, anxiety and loss of focus can all be corrected with physical activity. Professor Medina writes that humans are designed to think best while walking and moving. Screens make people sedentary, which not only affects the body, but the mind as well.

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If you’ve read the entire post, you’ll see that sleep and attention are also affected by the use of screens.  Why not give it a go yourself?  Unplug from your screens to recharge your mind just for 7 days.  You may find you do more exercise, play some sports, socialise with friends more, do something you wouldn’t normally do, add a little variety into your life.  Variety is the spice of life, right?

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8 Ways To Help Your Child Concentrate And Focus

If your child is struggling to concentrate and focus at school or at home, then these 8 ways to help your child concentrate and focus are worth a read.  I have excerpted two of my favourite points about nutrition and exercise – both of which I’m a huge advocate.  I believe everyone should exercise regularly/daily, not just kids, and I think it’s particularly important that kids are fed the right types of food so they get a head start in life.

8 Ways To Help Your Child Concentrate And Focus

Promote a healthy diet— Nowadays, children have an increased intake of processed foods, saturated fats and sugary foods. Studies have shown that a diet rich in whole grains, fruits and veggies will help your child’s brain functions. As well, studies have shown that parents should shy away from foods that have food colouring in them, as they may increase hyperactivity in children.

Exercise more often—Both mental and physical exercise are very important to help your child concentrate better. For mental exercises, try playing board games that stimulate your child to think strategically and focus. Guessing games or even allowing them to help you cook by reading or following recipes. For physical exercise, it has been scientifically proven that children that do at least 30 minutes of exercise per day are more likely to do well in school, focus better and generally be more positive.

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Of these 8 ways to help your child concentrate and focus I also like the point about controlling TV and the use of video games.  When I was a kid, my parents didn’t allow me to have a games console and I’m highly grateful for that.  I was encouraged to be outdoors, learn musical instruments, take up sports and socialise with friends.  Nowadays kids are spending hours a day on pointless games consoles that I’m sure are not doing their brains any favours.  What do you think?

 

 

 

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Tips For Parents Of Children With ADHD

If your child has been diagnosed with ADHD, then these simple tips  for parents of children With ADHD written by licensed counselor, Shannon Anderson, for the South East Missourian may be worth a read.

Tips For Parents Of Children With ADHD

Play board games that require attention to detail such as Battleship or Memory. Encourage your child to slow down and model how to think through a move, etc. in order to not only do better in the game but also reduce impulsive decision making.

Another important tip for parents of an ADHD child is to make time to be outdoors as often as possible. Take a nature walk, play a ball game, anything like this is a great way for the child to utilize some of the excess energy that develops while sitting in class for a good part of the day. If done immediately after school, before homework time, I can assure you that when homework time does come it will be a lot more bearable for both the parent and the child!

Click here to view the original source of the article

These tips for parents of children with ADHD are in line with other articles I have read on ADHD.  Whilst I am no expert on ADHD, I think Sir Ken Robinson, Creativity Expert and Author of The Element, makes some excellent points about ADHD in this thought provoking clip:

 

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How To Stay Focused During Finals

This is a post especially for students as the semester has come to and end which means those dreaded finals are looming. Here, I have excerpted 3 of 5 steps that Arielle Piat-Sauve has written on how to stay focused during your finals for HerCampus.com.  It makes me nervous just thinking about it for other people, even though it’s been six years since I took an exam.  I found exam times very stressful, largely because I’d have a tendency to leave all my work to the last minute.  Apply these tips, and you may just avoid stress, or reduce it substantially, and significantly improve your grades.

How To Stay Focused During Finals

Work environment
Practicing good study habits is a must, and I find that where you choose to study is key. Although I do love the comfort of my bedroom, during finals I definitely feel the need to get out of my apartment. Getting dressed (even if it’s to jump into your regular end-of-semester sweatpants) and making your way outside, will already make you feel as if you have accomplished something. I usually am the most productive while studying at the library. The law library is usually my first choice.

Take a break

With all those long hours spent at the library, it is important to remember that you are allowed to take a break. Taking a break will actually renew your energy flow and allow you to focus better the next day. Sleep is also very important during finals.

Stay positive and motivated

Stress can sometimes bring out the worst in people and you may even find yourself at the brink of an emotional breakdown (trust me, I’ve been there). When you are overwhelmed with school and all the work you have to do, everything always appears worse than it is and as a result you may find yourself increasingly irritable. This is when you want to stay positive and motivated. Sometimes talking to a friend, or calling a family member can help you relieve some of that built up stress and anxiety and help you stay focused.

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I couldn’t agree more with every step here of how to stay focused during finals.   The last point on staying motivated is key as it’s easy to get overwhelmed.  If you do get to that point, take a break, do some exercise.  That’s what I’d like to add – exercise is so important during these times.  It raises your mood, clears your head, feeds your brain with oxygen and enables you to refocus after times of near burnout.  Exercise helps your memory too as you may have read on this site.  I’d get to a stalemate sometimes, tear my hair out a little, tell myself I was going to fail, and then go for a run for half and hour.  I’d then sit down at my desk (after a shower) and solve problems I couldn’t solve before, almost immediately.

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