One of the biggest advantages that comes with ADHD is resilience. Learn more about how the gift of grit develops in people with ADHD and how to embrace it in your everyday life.
What Are Resilience and Grit?
Although resilience and grit are often mentioned in the same breath, each of these words has a unique definition. Both are integral to the ADHD experience, and each offers distinct benefits when it comes to persistence and determination in the face of challenges.
Resilience is all about the ability to bounce back. When things go wrong or setbacks appear, as they inevitably will, a resilient person is able to recover and move on. The ability to adapt to change and deal with what life throws at you is an important part of resiliency. This doesn’t mean that people who are resilient never experience feelings like sadness, disappointment, or anxiety. Instead, it means they’ve developed strong coping skills to keep going through hard times.
Grit, on the other hand, is all about perseverance and hard work. People with grit are said to have an indomitable spirit. They’re able to endure through challenging times and keep working toward their goals. It’s associated with having strength of character, courage, and mental toughness.
It’s important to note that having resilience and grit doesn’t mean that someone never needs to reach out for help. These qualities are often confused for staunch independence, but that’s not necessarily the case. You can exhibit resilience and grit and still need to lean on others for support when experiencing hardship.
How ADHD Develops Resilience
People with ADHD tend to be tough on themselves. In addition to being self-critical, it’s likely that they’ve faced a significant amount of criticism from others who don’t understand their condition. At the same time, individuals with ADHD have to function in a world that’s not built for the unique way in which an ADHD brain works. They have to find a way to succeed in school and at work, two areas which can be particularly inhospitable to someone who struggles with executive functioning.
Because they have no choice but to face these challenges head-on, ADHDers often develop a strong sense of resilience. They have to learn how to bounce back from failures and setbacks in order to keep moving forward. It’s undoubtedly a tough lesson to learn, but it can benefit them in countless ways throughout their lives.
The connection between ADHD and resilience is even backed up by research. For example, one study reported in the Journal of Attention Disorders found that a majority of children with ADHD were perceived by their teachers and parents as being resilient.
3 Ways to Develop Grit
ADHD can also contribute to the development of grit. The condition’s inherent challenges often teach a sense of perseverance from a young age. However, ADHDers can struggle with motivation, which may cause that perseverance to falter from time to time. As a result, it can help to embrace the following strategies that help to generate grit in your daily life.
Be selective about who you surround yourself with
The people you choose to spend your time with inevitably have an impact on your mindset. If you’re around people with a negative or defeatist attitude, that can start to seep into your own thoughts. On the other hand, surrounding yourself with people who have the grit and motivation you aspire to have will help set you on the right track. They’ll also be encouraging to you during the tough times, which helps you persist through obstacles in life.
Look for the upsides when experiencing hardship
When challenges in life arise, it’s okay to feel upset about them. But to develop the grit you need to persevere, it’s important to consider what lessons those challenges have to offer. Think about what you can learn in any tough situation. What are the upsides or silver linings of things not going as planned? The more you see that a setback isn’t the end of the world, the less you’ll fear failure in the future.
Be kind to yourself
Positive self-talk is essential for developing grit. It takes a belief in yourself that you’ll be able to overcome challenges to actually make it happen. People with ADHD can develop negative or even irrational thought patterns. If you struggle in this area, consider trying cognitive behavioral therapy to retrain yourself to react with positive thoughts instead of negative ones.