How to Improve Your Memory and Focus if You Have ADHD

In our digital world, coping with a flood of information from news websites and social media is challenging enough. Add to this frequent emails from your coworkers, clients, and family members, and life with ADHD can get unbearable.

But there are several things you can improve without totally restructuring your life. These tips will help you to improve your health, relax and calm down, which will improve memory and focus.

Say “No” More Often

There’s a funny thing that happens to many people who suffer from ADHD. People come to you with an exciting project and you blurt out “yes!” before considering if you will have the time and strength to do it. That’s normal because, with your varied interests and skills, you’re impatient to follow your current project through before setting sights on another.

But saying “yes” to whatever you’re offered will lead to tension, frustration, and eventually burnout.

So train yourself to say “no” when you are overwhelmed. It shouldn’t be too hard because you already have enough on your plate. Even if you don’t want to refuse the project immediately, at least say: “I’ll get back to you in a few days” and reconsider it once your enthusiasm has calmed down.

Calm Your Mind and Body

Speaking of calm, it is important to slow down your speeding brain. Finding mental stimulation is easy, but winding down is not. That’s why relaxing your mind and body will improve your judgment and reduce stress.

You can relax your mind by doing yoga, learning progressive muscle relaxation, or meditating. These exercises reduce mental noise and turn your focus inwards, which makes you feel at ease and refreshed.

Physical exercise is important as well. Research with children showed that physical activity before learning improves performance and reading ability, and the same holds for adults. Exercise improves alertness and motivation, but it also gives you a natural shot of serotonin and dopamine that you would normally get from ADHD drugs.

Besides, physical exercise is easy: even if you’re not in a great shape, you can get some benefits from a simple 20 minute walk.

Practice Paying Attention

You can stimulate your memory and attention by performing an easy trick called “preframing”. It means creating a context for your thoughts and actions before an activity.

It goes like this. Before an important meeting or a difficult task, write a note on a piece of paper saying: “I will pay attention for the next 30 minutes”. If necessary, keep the note nearby so that it will help you reset focus if you drift away.

Also, reduce sources of distraction. When you’re talking to somebody, turn away from TV or computer screens and maintain eye contact. If you own a smartphone, set it up so it beeps only for the most important notifications.

Improve Your Nutrition

If you need a simple rule of thumb that your distracted brain can remember, try: “less carbs, more protein”. Simple carbohydrates and sugars destabilize your mood, causing your glucose levels to spike and crash. Fish and food supplements that provide omega-3 and omega-6 oils are great, as well as unsweetened dairy products and vegetables.