All my life, I’ve been deeply interested in the power of the subconscious on our daily life. I’ve read many a book about shifting mindsets, stopping the negative thinking and self-deprecation, and re-wiring the brain to my advantage.
However, with my ADHD(undiagnosed at the time, too!), anxiety, depression, and school/work depending on the year, it’s fairly understandable that while I was fascinated by the subject, I was poorly equipped to use that knowledge.
Also I kept forgetting to do the things.
I’m not using my disabilities as excuses, though. I acknowledge my disabilities, and I hope to work with them instead of against them.
The only fun thing about being on leave is that I find myself with quite a bit of free time to figure my own sh!t out. That’s why I’ve gone back to the mindset reprogramming books! I re-opened my old and dusty self-help worksheets for building my self-esteem, getting out of the vicious cycle of overthinking, and improving my life.
You see, I have this one specific thing in my life that brings me joy, and I plan to do it as often as I can.
Yeah, yeah, it’s vague as f*ck blah blah blah. I know, that’s the fun of it! I LOVE finding a problem I can’t fix… yet. I LOVE breaking my head on a concept until it works, and coming up with solutions that benefit people.
Most of all, I f*cking LOVE taking neurotypical sh!t and twist it into a neurodivergent-friendly version.
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I’m not a fan of having to use tools that weren’t made for me.
I’m sure some, or most of you will agree that at some point in your life, you’ve been sick and tired of trying to deal with some specific issue and every video, blog, text you could find, every tool available to help you, was blatantly neurotypical.
All that self-help ain’t helping much when it’s not fitted to you.
Well, I’m not into it.
And I happen to find it absolutely enjoyable to fit neurotypical information to work on us neurodivergent folk. It’s definitely a challenge… I’M IN!
Trust me, you have more power than you think. The tools are failing you. Just like an abled person, your actions, words, and everyday life are reflections of what your subconscious believes, and it’s important to work with that.
However, for some of us, the brain itself doesn’t quite work the same way! It’s been proven that, in the brain of a person with ADHD, the process of bringing something from the conscious to the subconscious is physically different! The neuro-pathways used are not routed in the same place than in a neurotypical brain. The difference is not huge on imaging, but it is there.
But that fact doesn’t affect all that much in the grand scheme of things. JUST THE ENTIRE PROCESS OF MAKING HABITS AND STICKING TO THEM.
Yeah, okay, you could say I’m bitter about this. And you’d be right.
While habits are much more difficult for us to integrate in our subconscious, it’s not entirely impossible to have some kind of a routine. A light, malleable routine, but a routine nonetheless.
For example, I did notice that while I don’t seem to have any kind of morning routine pattern, I do have a nightly routine. It goes like this:
- Feel too tired to continue/look at the time and decide it’s time for bed
- Leave my PC, go to the fridge for one or two gulps of water(no more, this bladder is extra-small)
- Hang out with my partner for my last cigarette of the day and chat
- Say goodnight, go to my room, remember that I must pee first, go to the bathroom, then go to bed.
It ain’t much, right? But it is a pattern, and I do it every night. Sometimes there will be an extra thing I do during the routine, but those 4 steps are always the same.
I’ll take off my tin-foil hat for a second, and say that YES, I am aware that this is a very, very small proof of having consistent habits. However, it exists, and that has a meaning.
By now, if you’re familiar with my blog, you know that I enjoy experimenting on myself to figure out what sticks in terms of neurodivergent life hacks. Well, for that, I need theories and things to try. And this tiny routine, my friend, is a theory!
Great. Now what?
Well, I’ve been working on putting theory to practice for some time now. I’m not quite done with the trial and errors, but I thought I’d share a few of my findings with you now:
Take the time to listen to yourself and Acknowledge your feelings.
And be honest to yourself about those feelings! If you want to see any results, knowing how you really feel about things is a game changer, and it helps you go in the direction you want to go.
Do you expect too much of yourself?
The very first thing I learned was this one. Most of the time, the answer will be yes. We pile sh!t up on our to-do lists without ever stopping to see how full it is. As someone with experience in piling up dirty dishes to avoid washing them, let me tell you what happens when you pile too much sh!t up: it crashes down.
Be realistic, or you will always have too many expectations and not enough done.
Ain’t got no time for negativity.
I may have mentioned the inner monologue a few times already, but it’s worth talking about again here. If you want a more positive view of life, start by telling your little voice at the back of the head to shut the f*ck up.
Make a list of your strengths and add to it regularly.
I’ve often made lists of what I wanted to change, but rarely, if ever, did I take the time to write down my strengths. Remember, for the subconscious, everything it sees is fact. It’s no wonder, then, that it absorbed all of these New Year’s Eve lists of flaws, while I gave it nothing positive to feed on!
You may want to do that mentally only, but hey, whatever floats your boat!
Practice deep breathing whenever you need to relax
While this piece of advice works well on its own, it really reaches peak efficiency once you spend some time learning how to meditate. One of the first things you’ll learn is a calm and relaxing breathing technique, which can easily be used when you need to calm down, but you only have a few moments. The deep breaths will be much more effective by applying your breathing technique from meditation.
Besides, there are many good reasons to start meditating, since it is a powerful way to de-stress in itself.
You can actively refocus yourself to positive solutions.
If you catch yourself wallowing in negative thoughts, you can redirect your attention to something more positive. You will usually need to completely change the subject of your focus for it to work, and it takes some time to learn not to go back to the negative thoughts automatically. But you can!
take actions that supports what’s important to you.
Ever felt like you made a goal, or started a project, and then all the tasks you “had” (technically, “chose”) to do are taking you away from your goal/project? I used to do that all the time. I don’t know how I thought I was going to accomplish something that way, but I only recently managed to adjust the direction of my actions with the direction of my goals and values.
I know that some things aren’t really up to you. There are things that just have to be done, and if they’re not done, there will be consequences.
But that’s not 24/7. Or at least I hope it isn’t, because that sounds exhausting.
I spent a lot of valuable time deep-diving into video games, reading, watching tv series, and drawing. I don’t feel guilt about it, all of these things brought me happiness and I was enjoying my time. While I admit that I could have carved out some time for a few projects, I didn’t.
And that’s what it is to grow, and learn, and have more life experience.
Life has changed, and so have I. My priorities are different, and my vision is clearer. I hope my insight will help you, whether you manage to avoid my mistakes, learn from them a bit more quickly than I did, or you manage to forgive yourself for past mistakes when you hadn’t.
Guilt is a favourite of ours, isn’t it? I’ll have to look into that later. For now, I am still working on my subconscious, and figuring out how to set myself up…