ADHD and Mental Health
Before diving into the healthy habits you can use to support your mental health, it's important to understand how having ADHD impacts this area of your life. Unfortunately, there is a higher prevalence of other mental health conditions in people with ADHD compared to those who don't have ADHD. There is an increased risk of anxiety and depression among those who have the disorder, and people with ADHD are also more likely to develop a substance use disorder.
It's unclear exactly why people with ADHD are more prone to developing mental health issues. However, it’s likely due in part to the challenges that come with managing the condition as well as the fact that some of the neurotransmitter abnormalities associated with ADHD also overlap with those associated with anxiety and depression. Specific personal and social stressors often found in individuals with ADHD include both discouragement from personal struggles as well as negative input from others.
However, just because you have ADHD, it doesn't mean you'll always struggle with your mental health. The following healthy habits can help you persevere in tough moments and maintain a more positive outlook on life.
1. Stay Socially Connected
People with ADHD sometimes feel like outsiders. They face different struggles than other people, most of whom don't fully understand what it's like to live with ADHD. But rather than isolating yourself, it's important to reach out and find meaningful connections.
Staying in touch with family members or maintaining and developing close friendships, are examples of the kinds of social ties that can positively impact your mental health. In a Harvard study, researchers looked at over 100 potential factors related to depression, and they found that having social connections was the most effective way to protect against depression.
2. Get Out and Exercise
Living an active lifestyle is obviously good for your physical health. However, it can be just as important for your mental health. Exercising can help to alleviate stress as well as lower your risk of depression and anxiety.
You don't have to participate in intense workouts to benefit from exercise. Since the activities you enjoy are the ones you're most likely to keep participating in over time, any way you want to move your body should be considered. You could play a sport, go for a walk, do yoga, dance to some music, complete a stretching routine, or do yard work. Any of these activities will help to improve blood flow and get more oxygen flowing in your body, which typically results in feelings of happiness and relaxation.
3. Embrace Your Sense of Humor
Laughter is the best medicine, right? As it turns out, this old cliché has stuck around for a reason. There's definitely some truth to the statement since having a sense of humor can help you maintain a positive outlook.
In addition, laughter actually has a physical effect that can boost your mood. As you laugh, you trigger the release of endorphins that positively impact your brain and body resulting in an increased sense of well-being. This helps you to feel good while also relaxing the muscles and stimulating circulation. As tension in your body is released, your blood pressure and heart rate lower to create a relaxed, calm feeling.
4. Practice Mindfulness
Have you ever felt like your mind was going a million miles an hour, yet you're not able to concentrate on a single thought? This experience is fairly common among people with ADHD, especially if they struggle with focus and attention. One way to address this issue while also alleviating the stress it causes is being more mindful.
When most people think of mindfulness, they think of meditation. That's definitely one way to get into this habit, but it doesn't have to be limited to the idea of meditation you may have in your head. Instead, it's simply about learning to be in the moment. This can be tougher than expected, but with a little practice, you may find that it helps with managing your ADHD symptoms. Other potential benefits of mindfulness include relief from stress, anxiety, depression, insomnia, and high blood pressure.
5. Get the Right ADHD Treatment in Place
Even if you practice all the healthy habits listed above, you'll likely still struggle if you're not treating your ADHD properly. Getting a diagnosis and finding the right treatment plan is critical for anyone dealing with this disorder. Fortunately, Done can help. Our convenient platform utilizing both telehealth and in office appointments is designed to help people with ADHD find the best ways to manage their symptoms, which naturally leads to better mental health outcomes.