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How can being in nature help me focus if I have adult ADD?

Many of my clients with attention deficit disorder ADD have found that being in nature dramatically increases their focusing power. One person told me that if she could spend one hour in nature in every day, her whole life would change. If, like this person, you know spending time in nature could heal you and your life but can't imagine how to find the time, try it as an experiment: don't make a long-term commitment, just act like a scientist and see what you discover.

1. The first step is to gather data. Starting on a Saturday, give yourself a full hour in nature first thing in the morning. Observe how the rest of your day unfolds. On Sunday, follow your regular schedule. Take notes on how nature did or did not impact your life and schedule. Note your ability to focus, your mood, your tension, and your level of organization. Compare Saturday and Sunday. Are there any differences?

2. The second step is to gather even more data. Any scientist knows that a small sample can produce misleading results because other factors may interfere. Other events or factors may have interfered with the effects of being in nature. For example, if a stressful event also occurred, you may not notice the full positive effects of your time spent in nature; similarly, if your experiment coincided with a celebration, you may tend to overestimate its positive mood benefits. Regardless of whether you got positive results or negative results from the first step, give yourself one hour in nature every day for one week. Continue to observe your focus, mood, tension, and level of organization. A week will give you the time to note any behavioral or performance changes. Questions to ask yourself include the following:
  • Am I getting more or less work done?
  • Am I able to identify priorities so as to better organize my commitments?
  • Have I changed my ideas of which tasks are priorities and which are not?
  • Have I gotten any big ideas that have created new energy or increased the likelihood of success in completing projects?
  • Am I more or less stressed overall?
  • Is one hour spent in nature daily a good investment or just procrastination?

3. Once you've collected this further data, review the results. Is adding time in nature healing for you? If you get positive results but you still wonder about the time investment, experiment with different amounts of time. Try a half hour and see what kind of results you get. Experiment, too, with how you spend your time in nature.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.