Those feelings are valid, but it's also important to recognize good things when they come. With a practice of gratitude, you can shift your mindset and approach your ADHD with a more optimistic attitude. Learn more about how the simple act of being grateful can have a powerfully positive impact on your life.
Negative Thinking with ADHD
People with ADHD sometimes latch on to negative thoughts and experiences more than others. Experts suggest that this may be due to the criticism they received while growing up. It's not uncommon for a child with ADHD to be disparaged or punished for their hyperactivity, impulsivity, and lack of focus, especially if they haven't been diagnosed with the disorder yet. These experiences can lead to negative self-talk, especially if the criticism comes from parents, teachers, coaches, or other authority figures that a child looks to for guidance.
Even after being diagnosed, some people have trouble navigating the stigma associated with ADHD. These individuals may internalize negative stereotypes while also dealing with workplace discrimination and social problems.
The Benefits of Gratitude
ADHD may come with a variety of challenges, but that doesn't mean you have to dwell on the negative all the time. If you have ADHD, it can help to focus more on the positive and look for reasons to be grateful for the good things.
Practicing gratitude is about much more than just a change in mindset. In fact, it has been shown to have real benefits. Scientific research has found that gratitude can help you:
- Feel more positive emotions
- Relish good experiences
- Improve your overall health
- Deal with adversity
- Build strong relationships
- Boost your self-esteem
- Increase resilience
- Reduce depression
- Sleep better
These benefits can apply to anyone who practices gratitude. But people with ADHD can also find some unique advantages in looking for the positives. For example, gratitude releases dopamine, which the ADHD brain lacks in the prefrontal cortex. More dopamine helps to regulate the brain so your symptoms become more manageable.
Tips for Staying Positive with ADHD
Maybe you want to practice gratitude to help with ADHD. But where do you start? The following tips can help you shift toward a more positive outlook and reap the many benefits of a grateful approach to life.
Change your mindset about ADHD
If you're struggling with ADHD symptoms, try putting a fresh spin on them. For example, you can feel thankful for your impulsive side because it allows you to be spontaneous and creative. Your hyperactivity gives you lots of energy, which is something that many other people wish they had. Even hyperfocusing with ADHD can be channeled to increase productivity or dive into a new interest or hobby.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is often recommended for adults with ADHD. This type of therapy is focused on changing negative thought patterns, including feelings of low self-esteem and high levels of stress. In CBT, you can learn tactics to overcome self-critical and pessimistic ways of thinking and discover positive and productive ways to handle the challenges that come your way.
Train your brain
Whether or not you choose to pursue CBT, you can practice some strategies for challenging your negative thoughts and focusing on gratitude instead. The more you try these hacks, the better you'll become at recognizing when you slip into a negative mindset and shifting into a positive one instead.
Some of the ways you can train your brain to adopt an attitude of gratitude include:
- Take time to enjoy the good. Make sure you slow down enough to relish the positive things that happen. You can even write down the best parts of your day in a journal so you have happy moments to reflect on when you're feeling low.
- Be realistic about your disorder. When your ADHD is causing you to struggle, remember that your brain works differently. Try not to blame yourself for things you can't help, and give yourself a break rather than beating yourself up over something that's beyond your control.
- Meditate. Try a guided meditation focused on gratitude. Meditating gives you an opportunity to reset, calm your mind, and focus on positive intentions.
In addition to these strategies, it's also important to find the right ADHD treatment for you. Treatment can help your symptoms become much more manageable, which can help to lessen frustration, stress, and negativity in your life. Done offers convenient and affordable online appointments so you can talk to a licensed ADHD clinician about your treatment options. Get started by taking our one-minute online assessment today.