It’s been three centuries and a decision still has not been reached!
Being part of the ADHD tribe we know that making decisions can be challenging, however taking over three hundred years to decide an answer makes our prioritization challenges look pretty minor in comparison. The ongoing debate I’m referring to?
You know…nature vs. nurture. The question that asks whether human behavior, ideas and feelings are innate or if they are learned. We know genetically ADHD runs in families, with studies showing that 25% of close relatives in the family of a child with ADHD also have the disorder (nature). Studies have also shown that environmental factors can influence our experiences of ADHD (nurture). Sugar has been ruled out as causing or worsening symptoms and that childhood exposure to environmental chemicals such as lead or PCB may lead to later challenges similar to ADHD. It is also understood that the ability to compensate for the symptoms of ADHD is influenced greatly by socioeconomic resources, family support, a person’s academic environmental fit and workplace satisfaction. In short, it is both.
The good news is you don’t have to wait 300 years to know that thriving with ADHD is best served with both the calming effect of time spent in nature and by the fulfilling connections and support experienced through nurturing relationships. Scientific studies confirm both the health benefits of being in nature for persons with ADHD and the emotional benefits of feeling loved and accepted as a member of a group. It doesn’t matter which comes first or which is better, but rather it is valuable to be able to enjoy both in our lives.
So, how can you be sure to get the benefit of both nature and nurture in your life?
Below is a list of the ways that I thrive. How I make sure I spend time with my nature and also how I get myself nurtured.
- Walking around my neighborhood at least three times a week
- Going outside and breathing in the day making sure I am paying attention to the feeling of the weather. For instance, I stop to notice the feeling of the sun or the wind across my face, and I interpret the temperature outside based on whether the tip of my nose gets cold.
- Planting and tending to greenery in and around my home – currently I have an interest in succulents.
- Rotating monthly walks on one of the numerous local trails.
- Noticing the sound of laughing children. The sound of a happy child always makes me feel good.
- Reconnecting with the sea and water with purposeful trips to local beaches and/or listening to meditation tapes with the sounds of the ocean shore.
- Walking my dogs or taking them to a local dog park. There is something about dogs playing and socializing that is very reassuring.
- Visiting family that lives in a desert climate. Life in such a different climate with different plants that thrive in those areas intrigues me.
- Attending ADHD support groups once a month fulfills my need to know I am part of larger group.
- Singing in a local choir allows me to have fun and enjoy a common passion with others.
- Traveling and participating in ADHD conferences at least twice a year again connects me with like-minded individuals.
- “Date night” with friends who know and love me.
- Reaching out twice a week to family either in person or via the phone. I make sure to connect with family who I know “get me.”
- BBQs with my “tribe” take me into the outdoors in the company of those who don’t judge me for being late or misremembering.
- Being part of a book club supports my love of reading and connecting with like-minded people.
- Surrounding myself with picture of people who love me provide constant reminder of the support, love and companionship that is available.
- Working with a team that appreciates the unique challenges and strengths of ADHD allows each of us to bring our strengths together to achieve a common goal.
- Connecting weekly with an accountability group who encourage rather than criticize feels supportive to me and helps me accomplish my goals.
- Purposefully nurturing relationships with other people with ADHD keeps me grounded and appreciating my ADHDness.
The nature or nurture debate continues, well at least the one about whether we are born (nature) with how we are going to approach our world or whether our behavior is a result of our experiences (nurture).
However, for persons with ADHD we know right now a huge key to us thriving with ADHD is as a result of both time spent going green (nature) and spending time with people who accept, understand and support us (nurture).
I’d love to know your thoughts and how you nurture and nature yourself. What are the ways you get your nature and nurture needs met? Leave me a comment below: