One of the best ADHD solutions is something that you have right at your fingertips.
It is the opportunity to engage all five of your senses.
People living with ADHD often have sensory processing difficulties. Therefore, they typically seek sensory input from the environment, exacerbating inattention.
This is especially common in children with ADHD who have trouble focusing in a classroom.
However, attending directly to the five senses helps to combat this issue. That is because providing the body with enough sensory input actually allows the individual to refocus. Furthermore, the senses aid in mindfulness practice, which research has shown is one of the most effective natural ways to manage ADHD.
This practice of taking breaks to engage the senses is sometimes called “sensory snacking.” How can you best make use of it?
Engage Your Sense of Touch
Learning to engage with your sense of touch is one of the foundational skills of getting yourself back into your body.
ADHD tends to occupy the mind, and therefore, you may forget to live inside of the body that you inhabit. Turning your attention back to the body is an excellent technique for grounding.
Some examples of engaging your sense of touch include:
- Feel your feet on the ground.
- Do a body scan to notice what you feel in each part of your body.
- Carry a polished stone to rub with your fingers.
- Use a tennis ball to massage your bare feet.
- Rub your arms with your hands.
- Dance and feel the movement throughout your body.
Engage Your Sense of Smell
Scent is one of the most powerful mood-changers in our environment. For example, lavender is widely recognized as a calming scent. You may want to get a small set of essential oils to breathe in throughout the day.
Other ways to embrace your sense of smell include:
- Carry scented chapstick.
- Inhale the smell of the food you eat.
- Find and use a favorite fragrance.
- Burn incense, candles, or sage.
- Put fresh flowers or herbs in your room.
When using the senses as one of your ADHD solutions, make sure that you engage the sense fully and intentionally. For example, do not just mindlessly dab essential oil onto your skin. Instead, pause to focus on the scent, breathing in deeply and noticing each nuance of the aroma.
Engage Your Sense of Sound
Thanks to today’s technology, we can easily bring our own soundtrack anywhere that we go. You can load your device up with playlists for every mood. Select the tunes that will energize you, soothe you, or lift you out of sadness.
Using sound as one of your ADHD solutions can also mean that you:
- Add a water feature to your desk.
- Open the window to let in sounds from nature.
- Make use of guided meditations and chants.
- Keep a small bell with you, ring it, and focus on the reverberating sound.
- Add a playlist of natural sounds including waterfalls, chirping birds, and dolphin cries.
Engage Your Sense of Sight
Your eyes are open for so many hours of the day. But how often do you really focus on the pleasure of what you see? Make it a habit to take time out of each day to just look around you and drink in the sights.
Pay special attention to color, which can have a great impact on mood. Chromotherapy is well-recognized among natural ADHD solutions. Blue is widely used for people living with ADHD because it is associated with tranquility. In contrast, yellow may be avoided because it exacerbates inattention.
Do note that each individual responds uniquely to colors; use the hues that suit you personally.
Make it a habit to carry a small item with you featuring the color that helps you most often. For example, a green phone case can be a source of calm when you turn your eyes on it intentionally.
Engage Your Sense of Taste
The tongue is one of the body parts that is easiest to wake up. If you pop a strong mint into your mouth then you immediately notice a difference in attention. You can also easily use hard candies, gum, and breath freshener to change your sense of taste.
Additionally, when you eat a meal, remind yourself to do so mindfully, with focused attention on the flavors in each bite.
ADHD Solutions Require Mindfulness
It is worth reiterating that using the senses as one of your ADHD solutions requires that you engage with them mindfully. Our senses are available to us every moment of the day, but we often find them dulled because of inattention.
Regardless of which sense you are engaging, make sure that you:
- Turn your entire focus on that sense.
- Notice the details in the sensation.
- Pay attention to where you feel changes in your body.
- Implement breathing practices that complement the sensory input.
- Attend to the sense in the present moment without judgment.
Engaging the senses is beneficial for many conditions in addition to ADHD. For example, you can use it as part of sleep therapy, which is just one of the services that I offer. Call for a consultation regarding any of my services.