How well do you listen?
As a kid, giving eye contact when listening to others talk seemed impossible. It was so distracting!
I was constantly aware of all sorts of irrelevant details about their mannerisms, facial expressions, and movements.
Their forehead formed cliffs and valleys, making me think of the grand canyon. Ok, avoid the forehead, let's try focusing on mouths moving in odd ways... nope, not going to work either.
Did you get as distracted as me?
My super active brain picked up on it all, and steered me in 100 different directions... instead of the topic they were chatting about.
As I got older, a few habits started forming that helped me pay attention... most of the time.
Turn it into a game
This trick sometimes feels like cheating.
Could I really turn listening into a game? I had to find out.
Instead of a boy sitting in class listening to my teacher, I was a judge in court, listening to the plaintiff present their case.
If I noticed my brain wandering, just had to take off my judge wig and put on a feminist hat (whatever that looks like), and imagine how I might interpret what they said.
Do you play games when listening to people? Would love to hear what games you played, if you want to share them with me. (just hit reply so we can commiserate)
Even this trick could get boring. So I started making the words physical, real.
Make it physical
In high school, I learned about a sign language method where the signer finger spells ever single word. I knew how to finger spell, but gosh their hands had to move fast if you wanted to say anything of substance.
The game became fingerspelling every word a teacher said. At first this was impossible, but my speed improved quickly. Soon I was silently repeating everything the teacher was saying using hand shapes instead of my mouth.
My right hand would grow tired, so I decided to start teaching my left hand how to play along. It took longer, but soon could keep up with all but the fastest speakers.
Lessons for life
Most of us with ADHD are great at connecting the dots. We learn something new, and instantly see how it relates to all the other things we have learned.
Do you think you will try listening better by playing games, or making words physical? No need to learn sign language, or play the same game I did. Experiment and have some fun!
Perhaps there is a deeper lesson than just listening. These two tricks can really apply to so many more things.
What can you -> Turn into a game?
How can you -> Make it physical?
I have many more stories to tell of my adventures in ADHD, applying these techniques and more to come.
Can't wait to share those with you!
Tata for now :)