January 28, 2020 at 9:59 pm #140447UnknownPARKParticipant
Hey, I’m a 22 year old male only diagnosed about 6 months ago any help would be appreciated. I feel like I’m always tense and never really relaxed, even when I go on holidays or literally doing anything. I feel as though I am just going, whether it be physically or mentally I’d just really like a break it is awfully tiring. I always have my jaw clenched always scanning around, watching tv playing games still doesn’t seem to actually relax me just distract me. I was just wondering if any of you guys had any ideas as to what may help me to relax.
Thanks in advance for any assistance
January 29, 2020 at 6:40 am #140452anguscole41Participant
I’ve had ADHD my whole as well have had the worst time sitting still or even relaxing as I work alot and am always on the go,even when medicated,though I do take breaks.what I’ve found really helps me are essential oils,have you looked into essential oils at all if not I’d do a tad bit of search on Google,so many websites on essential oils as well.how help are helpful and such.if you’d like to talk I could be of help or try to help when dealing with the oils if you chose to go that route.i use them to help me sleep as well relax and they work wonderfully.though what I find kind of on the down side there are so many brands of oils to chose from,thanks for reddit though
January 30, 2020 at 12:56 pm #140602rebell90Participant
I have this same struggle, extreme hyperactivity is my main issue, though all adhd strong too though. But the medication literally has made that part a million-times better (adderral XR twice a day and adderral IR with my first XR dose). Used to be I had to exercise 2-3 times a day all cardio and no ones body can take that ya know ? Which is why my health has important Ed on the medication and I’ve put on 5-7 pounds too bc I don’t move as much lol.
BUT even though medication has saved me , I STILL struggle just not as bad as before. and if I don’t sleep 8-9 hours and eat well , then I can get flare ups of that old bad hyperactivity for certain periods. I find sleep and protein help my meds work better, thus help me relax.
I like what the person I mentioned above said : I LOVE essential oils as well , I mix with coconut oil ! Lavender , Chamomeile , etc! I also take a magnesium supplement too. I still do run and exercise a lot , though not as much as I did Unmedicated BUT that being said I find myself restless if I don’t replenish my calcium and magnesium and zinc and all other electrolytes too ! And sodium and potassium .
Another thing that helps, bc that residual hyperactivity I mentioned is finally starting to dissolve even more , is mindfulness meditation. Sounds corny and I used to say I couldn’t do it, but then I got desperate for something to help which made me willing, and WOW! See, what it did was help me learn (bc it takes some time) to resist the urge to move when I wanted to get up. And to stay WITH the restlessness bc turns out I didn’t even know what it truly felt like , bc I immediately pushed it away as soon and I felt it, I never allowed myself to feel it due to fear of discomfort. But I tried this , even just for a few minutes and objectively tried to describe the physical sensations I felt and accepted them to the best of my ability. Kinda view it from my curious adhd brain as an adventir and something new ! Bc I love novelty and new-ness and adventure haha !
This has taught me a few things:
1) that discomfort isn’t as bad as I thiught, but what was so bad was my resistance to it and the fear I projected of it.
2) also: that I nene really will be a totally calm person and be able to sit still all the time , or even hardly at all some days BUT THATS OKAY! It’s how God made me ya know ? I will always have some chronic boredom and need for stimulation and movement. Bc that’s how I’m supposed to be ! It keeps me growing and makes me the innovative person I am! I constantly crave challenge !!!
3) that if I can only channel all that internal and external energy into something fun and productive , I’ll be unstoppable!
This is like hyper focus, all this energy In one spot ?! It is so intense, I just have to find that thing interesting enough o get there!
As Dwight Scrute form the office says “you want my undivided attention? Well you can’t handle my undivided attention” haha. But I can only find that thing by allowing the discomfort for a few minutes until I’m able to start something qnd then the flow takes over !
February 14, 2020 at 4:18 am #142038CloudskimminParticipant
This was an outstanding narrative about self discovery, and quite funny to me as I saw myself just paragraph after paragraph. I like that this person is getting down to the nitty gritty of “what” we have and how to “manage” it. Mentioning, essential oils….well I came upon the benefits of this years ago, now I’m a total convert, ie, I get the good quality lavender essential oil and a little goes a long way. Helps me sleep, drift off easier. But there are so many other choices, aromatherapy is awesome. Then there is the mention of mindfulness training. Now here is a wonderful healing opportunity and as mentioned, it does take some sacrifice to settle yourself down at first, I had to force myself to quieten internally and really listen to my teacher. I am finding some of the DVD’s that Dr. Mark Muesse created, totally about mindfulness, are changing my outlook. Now they aren’t full of entertainment, you have to just be willing to give 15 minutes or so to listen to the content. But here’s the deal, anything that retrains my chaotic ADHD brain to a more peaceful and better functioning state….well I’m game. Anyway, thanks for the post, it is true that ADHD people can understand each other in such remarkable ways, and we do need that. It is powerful to have group support, and that it be uplifting positive interaction. Godspeed, we are not in this alone, in fact we are marching forward with what I believe is a great deal of untapped talent. Just have to harness it….channel it, and that’s my continuing challenge every single day.
February 1, 2020 at 2:39 am #140821UnknownPARKParticipant
Hey, guys thanks for the suggestions. What brand of essential oils do you guys use. And also side note do you guys struggle to feel or express emotions effectively, just asking.
Thanks in advance
February 3, 2020 at 10:09 am #140883Penny WilliamsKeymaster
There’s more and more science proving the benefits of mindfulness, meditation or breathing exercises for all of us, but definitely for those with conditions like anxiety, ADHD, autism, etc.
ADDitude Community Moderator, Parenting ADHD Coach & Author, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism
February 4, 2020 at 9:49 am #140949AlbertParticipant
I went to a beauty salon and there I was really able to relax
February 5, 2020 at 7:40 am #141021OutsiderParticipant
Put some thought into what relaxes you, like observing yourself in all situations. You may find relaxation in unexpected places and certainly not in what is typically expected to be relaxing. I am never relaxed on vacation and I can not even relax enough to enjoy a massage. I find myself most relaxed when moving, especially walking in the woods where I can observe nature around me. I also find relaxation in creation, I started woodworking. Once again I am moving and I only make small things so I have a chance of finishing them. It may take some time, it took years for me, but try to be aware of when you do feel relaxed and take note of what you are doing to make that happen. It’s a lifelong experiment and may change over time.
February 5, 2020 at 8:56 am #140969Dr. EricParticipant
Try some active relaxation… like a hike.
I also found that poker worked for me.
Instead of mindfulness where I think of nothing… I calculate odds and predict other players hands.
I am essentially creating a mindful distraction.
February 5, 2020 at 8:58 am #140967LysParticipant
This article from ADDitude had a tremendous impact for me: https://www.additudemag.com/how-to-motivate-adhd-brain-emotional-health/ . I didn’t manage to make a dent in this tension until I realized that it had a purpose, and I had to find other ways of accomplishing the same thing before I could let go.
February 6, 2020 at 10:13 am #141177johnmorganhereParticipant
Hello everyone. I am new here. Interesting thread, thanks for the information.
February 10, 2020 at 12:10 pm #141558MrObviousParticipant
When you say scanning around, do you mean like you’re distracted or you’re worried about what other people might do, being suspicious that someone may be harmful around you?
I see your actions being one of two things: 1) you’re hyperactive and aren’t not relaxed, but your body wants to keep moving, 2) you have anxiety from a past trauma you haven’t dealt with fully.
For situation one, medication or calming homeopathic solutions are recommended. Heck, coffee may help you relax. It seems like people above have recommended some great things. Relaxation may be exercise for you.
For situation two, you need to get therapy or write about it. Someone or something happened as a kid that makes you jumpy and nervous. You might need DBT or EMDR even. You can try reading online for sites like Mark Manson (kind of crude, but he makes excellent points and breaks things down simply), but you may need professional help. There is no shame in that, and you are even a better person because you care about yourself and others to get the help you need to get better. If you end up needing medication, think of it as like eyeglasses to help correct near/farsightedness
February 10, 2020 at 12:26 pm #141561
I always needed 30-90 minutes to finally relax. Seemed I was always tense… even in tense-positions when sitting or lying on a couch. What finally helped me was BioFeedback or Neurofeedback treatments by a psychologist. It’s EXPENSIVE and takes months to work (I spend $6K over 4 months), but… the result was MIRACULOUS! When super-tense or overwhelmed, I can now sit down, close my eyes and in maybe 1-2 minutes… I’m relaxed. It’s crazy because I’ve never had that before! Medication can help as well, but mine had ceased working after several years and I’d started drinking heavily to force my mind to stop (not good). I hope that’s helpful for you or anyone else. 🙂
February 10, 2020 at 2:11 pm #141596anomalocarisParticipant
I have the same issue. Not even relaxed when I’m crashed on a sofa watching TV. But I’m totally relaxed hanging out on a rattlesnake den! I’ll sit there with them for hours & feed them water. They’re very good ADD therapists! Unfortunately that’s not an option for most people. So… 2nd best for me is to get out into the woods or desert. There’s so much evidence that ADD symptoms are minimized in natural environments that people were starting to call it “Nature Deficit Disorder.” In a natural setting, I’m relaxed, fully present and focused.
February 10, 2020 at 2:22 pm #141602
Totally agreed with anomalocaris’s nature-suggestion. Same here! And true that I was most relaxed AFTER an intense workout (tho small ones still helped) 😀 I should’ve said that I needed the Neurofeedback when reaching a point where I felt my mind was going Crazy… and my marriage was in jeoapardy over it, thus I’d reached a desperation-level like never before. I’d suggest this only AFTER trying many, many other things including daily Nature hangouts, excercise, support groups, etc etc. The expense was the killer part of my route, tho worthwhile in the end. 🙂
February 10, 2020 at 5:26 pm #141641mac119Participant
I’ve had ADHD all my life. Half of that time I was undiagnosed but I knew that something wasn’t right. I tend to have the same problem when watching TV or sitting down to relax or take a break. I can’t even relax when I go out to our above ground pool and float around or sit in a lounge chair. It is almost an impossibility most of the time for me to be still. I’m the same way when I try to go to bed at night. Some part of my body is constantly moving, usually my legs…it could be a little restless leg syndrome, too, but I have found that a combination of Calcium, Magnesium and Zinc with can stop that within approx fifteen minutes. The main ingredients here is the magnesium. Some brands refer to it as Cal-Mag-Zinc. It can help you to calm those restless limbs.
So what do I do to aid in being still, even to watch a TV program? You see I am usually seldom still and if my body is still my mind is not…ever quiet. I can get a lot of scarves crocheted while I’m sitting in front of the TV. It distracts me enough so I can get through a TV program plus I get a lot of homemade Christmas gifts ready to give away. It helps that my hands are busy.
I also work a lot of Suduko puzzles or numbers games on my laptop.
Research indicates supplemental magnesium can improve sleep quality, especially in people with poor sleep. Magnesium increases GABA, which encourages relaxation as well as sleep. Low GABA levels in the body can make it difficult to relax. Magnesium also plays a key role in regulating the body’s stress-response system.
GABA Gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) is a naturally occurring amino acid that works as a neurotransmitter in your brain. Neurotransmitters function as chemical messengers. GABA is considered an inhibitory neurotransmitter because it blocks, or inhibits, certain brain signals and decreases activity in your nervous system.
If you take magnesium alone for this purpose it can cause diarrhea so it is best taken with calcium, zinc and Vit D3 to counteract the side effect. It does relax my body and enables me to rest or sleep. When I take my combination Cal-Mag-Zinc I never have side effects and I experience a quieter body which makes it easier for me to relax. The breakdown of mg and units are as follows:
Vit D3 – 600IU
Calcium – 1000mg
Magnesium – 400mg
Zinc – 15mg
Once or twice daily. Serving size is 3 tablets.
*Bone and Muscle Health*
Calcium and Vitamin D are essential nutrients for strong teeth and bones. Magnesium is important for healthy nerves and muscles. Zinc is involved in metabolism and aids in proper growth.
February 10, 2020 at 9:46 pm #141652centexscullerParticipant
Greetings, fellow ADHD-ers,
I’m in my early fifties and struggle to relax. It routinely takes my hubby two minutes to fall asleep and it takes me 1-2 hours. I finally figured out the theory behind counting sheep 😉 -> if I do focused breathing — in for a count of 7, hold for 4, out for 8 — my brain stops bouncing like a pinball and I can unwind and fall asleep.
Another technique is to tighten and then relax different sets of muscles throughout your body — similar to biofeedback, it teaches you to feel and begin to command the tensing/relaxing of your body.
My dr recommended Citracal w Magnesium/Zinc, a life changer for my husband who runs and battled leg cramps.
I hope you read, learn and continue to network w others — and that you help educate neuro-typicals by sharing your experiences. I started speaking of and explaining ADHD (both seriously and with humor) and discovered quite a few colleagues in the ADHD boat.
Best wishes — keep asking, experimenting and tweaking to find what works for you.
February 10, 2020 at 10:28 pm #141653
I also loved centexsculler’s “keep experimenting and tweaking” point. We’re all somewhat different that it’s a unique journey for each of us. But it’s exciting when we find something that works for us, offered by another.
Great stuff, by so many of you! 🙂
February 11, 2020 at 9:39 am #141664alwaysgoingParticipant
I relate to this a lot!
Things that help me relax:
– regular exercise, both cardio and strength. this extends even to lifestyle things like walking or biking more on my commute. if you start exercising more, make sure you eat enough to keep up with the increased calorie burn so you’re not undernourished.
– music, playing or listening
– meditation or yoga. even once a week helps long-term
– having a set wakeup time every morning. this has helped me sooo much. set a time and wake up that time every day for at least two weeks to get into a groove. keep that wakeup time consistent and calculate your bedtime 7-10 hours before that.
– on that note, getting enough sleep is important. lack of sleep makes me tense, amped up, tired, emotionally chaotic, all at once. it feels like my body responds to sleep deprivation with pure adrenaline (or maybe cortisol?). the above tips will also help with sleep too. if you don’t sleep well, working on “sleep hygiene” in general may help (just Google “sleep hygiene” for tips)
– one other suggestion, try out some leisure activities that don’t involve screen time and see if that helps. there’s nothing wrong with TV or video games to relax, but blue light from screens is stimulating (same reason people recommend against screen time before bed). if you’re feeling stimulated when you’re trying to relax, the screens could be part of it. some ideas for non-screen leisure activities: walking, reading a book or comics, writing, drawing, singing or playing an instrument, listening to music
February 11, 2020 at 9:41 am #141656NearlyFreeParticipant
anguscole41, I am interested in your knowledge of the essential oils in treating ADHD, anxiety, insomnia, hypersensitivity, etc! Is there a way to message me here?
February 11, 2020 at 9:44 am #141668alwaysgoingParticipant
P.S. if you clench your jaw a lot, see if your dentist can fit you with a mouth guard. you probably are also clenching or grinding your teeth in your sleep. a mouth guard will help you stop clenching as much while you sleep and protect your teeth, which is important for long-term health. training your body not to clench while you sleep will also help you stop clenching as much during the day
also, if you notice yourself clenching your teeth during the day, try to consciously unclench your teeth and relax all your muscles. holding tension in your face and muscles will in turn make you feel tense emotionally. while you can’t always control your emotions, you can consciously relax your muscles, and that can have a carryover to your overall mental state.
- This reply was modified 1 year, 5 months ago by alwaysgoing.
February 11, 2020 at 8:14 pm #141786hansheatParticipant
I feel your pain, this is my biggest challenge with ADHD. I can’t relax or sit still for very long, and it’s difficult for me to rest. Unless I’m extremely exhausted or sick, I can’t just lay on the couch or read quietly.
Regular exercise (particularly cardio) and breaks for walking and stretching help, but I still have trouble with restlessness, tension, and leg cramps. I have at times wondered whether I have restless leg syndrome, as well. I love TV, but like others, I’ve found that it’s really not engaging enough by itself. I usually do other things while watching TV, like art, crafts, organizing, stretching, going through mail, or low-key apps on my smartphone.
I love to read, but I often can only manage to sit still and focus at night, so I read before bed, which helps my brain shut down. Sometimes if it’s an exciting book, I do have to switch to something calmer, like nonfiction, to get sleepy.
I agree that being in nature helps, and white noise often helps, whether from music, my phone, the washer or dryer, etc. I really wish I could just sit around more, but usually I can only do that once I’m pretty tired.
I look forward to seeing what others say, and it’s nice to know I’m not the only one who has a lot of trouble sitting still!
February 12, 2020 at 3:59 am #141793jennysunnyspotParticipant
I rarely log in to reply to these boards (had to reset a forgotten password to do so), but felt compelled to do so for this one. I simply cannot relax unless I am physically exhausted. I am not particularly athletic/fast, but I will run, cycle, swimm, ski and hike all weekend so that I can sleep well on Saturday and Sunday nights. I confess I sometimes also have a glass of wine to help quiet my brain, though not an option if you’re a minor.
Audio books really help. Everything you read about avoiding blue light and screens is totally correct, but I find I get too excited by reading a good book and then stay up until 2 am to read it. There is something about an audio book that allows a part of your brain to focus on the story while allowing the other part to relax. There are a few Calm Sleep Stories on YouTube (don’t look at the screen while listening!) and I have downloaded a few mp3s from my library. Things you have heard before are good (Sherlock Holmes is a favourite) but different things work different moods.
Audio seems to really be my thing. Sometimes I set something relaxing Gymnopedie on repeat. The title track from the Book of Eli (Denzel Washington film) is brilliant, I play it slowed down, on repeat, with a 30 minute sleep timer.
It has occurred to me that, with ADHD, life can be traumatic. It is constant chaos, especially if you were diagnosed late, like me, and I have recently realised that I appear to have developed a subconscious *fear* of relaxing. If I relax, my whole house of cards might fall down around me – I will lose my keys, forget to eat, not have clothes to wear. These things really do happen if I don’t use my energy to implement my strategies to prevent the chaos. So it is no wonder I am terrified of relaxing. It is also interesting to see that ADDitute’s latest article is about links with ADD and PTSD… I will read…
February 13, 2020 at 6:32 pm #142024dcypher1Participant
Hi, I was diagnosed late in life. I have been stuck in fight or flight mode for years now. I’ve finally realized it. It’s a result from a combination of ADHD and PTSD – well, ADHD and having trauma. Things I’ve found helpful that aren’t harmful (there are ways to avoid/to relax that aren’t healthy, but here are some healthy ones): massage, meditation (long ago I would have said “never for me”, some medications (lately, ketamine nose spray has really made a difference), therapy, and baths with the shower on. I hope you find relief.
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