improving your working memory

Thrive with ADHD by improving your working memory

May 21, 2024
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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) often brings to mind images of children unable to sit still, but for many adults, the reality of living with ADHD is more like trying to follow a fast-moving conversation in a noisy room.

In other words, many adults with ADHD have learned to mask their symptoms on the outside, but what’s going on inside their brain can feel like an entirely different, and often stressful, situation.

And working memory, which is like a mental sticky note, plays a crucial role in managing daily tasks and focusing attention.

Understanding ADHD and its impact on working memory

ADHD isn’t just about having trouble paying attention. It's a complex disorder that affects several executive functions, including working memory—the ability to hold and manipulate information in the mind over short periods. The struggles with working memory experienced by individuals with ADHD can be likened to a juggler with too many balls in the air: eventually, something will drop.

Research shows that working memory deficits are a common feature in ADHD. According to the NIH, individuals with ADHD often struggle with tasks that require the active manipulation of information, impacting their ability to prioritize, organize, and complete tasks.

Strategies for improving working memory

There are three ways you can begin to improve your working memory:

1. Exercise your brain

Just as muscles grow stronger with physical exercise, mental exercises can enhance cognitive functions. Engaging in activities that challenge your brain, such as puzzles, memory games, or training on apps like Elevate, can strengthen your working memory. Neuroplasticity, or the brain’s ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections, responds well to these targeted exercises.

2. Utilize tools and techniques

Modern technology offers a variety of tools that can assist in managing working memory deficiencies. Apps designed to improve cognitive skills can be particularly helpful for individuals with ADHD. For example, memory improvement apps not only train the brain but also provide a structured approach to tasks that can reduce the cognitive load on working memory.

3. Simplify and structure your environment

A cluttered environment can exacerbate working memory challenges. Simplifying your surroundings and creating a structured routine can reduce the mental energy expended on trivial decisions. As organizational guru Marie Kondo suggests, a tidy environment can significantly calm the mind and reduce distractions, helping to focus mental resources on the tasks at hand.

The role of diet and nutrition

Nutrition also plays a significant role in cognitive function. Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish oils, have been shown to support brain health and improve mental skills, including memory. A balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains provides the nutrients necessary for brain health, which in turn supports working memory.

Start improving your working memory today

Improving working memory can significantly impact the daily lives of those with ADHD, enhancing their ability to function and succeed in various endeavors. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution for managing ADHD, combining cognitive exercises, environmental adjustments, proper nutrition, and tools like Elevate can create a robust framework for improvement.

Remember, improving working memory is like watering a plant—it doesn’t grow overnight, but with consistent care and attention, it will thrive. With the right strategies and support, individuals with ADHD can harness their unique strengths and navigate their challenges effectively.

Download Elevate today on iOS or Android and take the first step towards a sharper, more focused mind.


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