Understanding Fidgeting and ADHD
Over the years there have been many recommendations to ensure high levels of focus and attention, such as sitting up straight, keeping the room quiet, and not fidgeting. If the focus and attention could be maintained, memory would improve and your ability to recall information would increase. Whether you were a student trying to ace your spelling test, or an adult hoping to impress your boss at a meeting, these steps were the rules to follow.
For many people, these recommendations have led to great success. For other people, they serve as an impossible task that can never be achieved.
The people who have the hardest time with focus during calm, still conditions are people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). People with ADHD need another set of recommendations that are practical and appropriate for their life — one that sets them up for success, rather than failure.
There is a growing school of thought that points towards the use of fidgets and fidgeting to improve attention and concentration. A fidget often refers to an object that can be held to stimulate an improved level of attention.
The belief is that if something is only minimally engaging, like a boring lecture, the brain is not fully invested. By adding an engaging fidget, the brain will increase its investment in the stimuli, but the attention to the fidget itself will be marginal.
Fidgets Focused on Senses
People can find fidgets all around them including:
When you look around an office or a school, there are visual fidgets already in place that aid in attention. Items that are brightly colored like sticky notes, highlighters and folders will help grab your attention to complete the task. Doing something like peeking out of a window may aid in attention as well. Obviously, staring out of the window in a daydream will not be an asset. Be sure to limit your glances.
Adding sounds to a room can boost concentration and learning for people with and without ADHD. Different types of music might be helpful for different tasks or situations.
A white noise machine or the ticking of a clock or a metronome can produce desired results as well. If these are not available, you can work to become more aware of the other sounds around like the cars driving by or the humming of the lights.
In this category, you can experiment with a range of tastes, temperatures and textures to study the results. For example, drinking ice water might yield a completely different response than a hot cup of coffee. A piece of sour candy will differ from something spicy like cinnamon. Chewing gum or biting on your pen cap can create enough added stimulation to get through your meeting.
Many people are affected by particular aromas as they can be related to memories. Lighting candles, warming tarts, using hand lotions, or air fresheners can spark your focus.