Here are a few more strategies from Chapter 12: Strategies for Maintaining Spiritual & Mental Wellness.
End the Shame and Blame!
The only way to stop blaming yourself for your ADHD is to learn as much as you can about it. If you can understand the neurobiological roots of ADHD, you will be better able to separate yourself from the disability and do something about it. The way to end the shame and to start to build self-esteem and move forward is to make friends with your brain and develop strategies to bridge gaps in performance.
Make a Date with Yourself
Block out “sacred time” weekly to rejuvenate. Don’t allow anything to creep into this space. For example, if you’ve decided to use this time to read and relax, don’t allow yourself to clean your house instead because you have a day off. To help put boundaries around this sacred space, make a list of what is permitted in that space and time, and what is not. Post it! Review it and practice sticking to it!
Hold Yourself Back! Learn To Say NO!
Learn to say no. The word “yes” flies out of our mouths way too often, and we end up over-committing and stretching ourselves way too thin. Each day, say “no” to something, no matter how big or small, so you get comfortable saying it. Create a variety of dialogues that will help you hold yourself back from various situations. For instance, if your friend or colleague asks you to make plans for the upcoming weekend, say, “I’d like to give this some more thought before I commit. Can you check back with me tomorrow?”
When You Say Yes, You Also Mean No
Often, we don’t think of the consequences of saying “yes.” Stop and think before committing. When you say “yes” to something, what are you saying “no” to? For example, if you say “yes” to doing an extra project at work or helping a friend move on a Saturday, are you saying “no” to spending more time with your family or to taking time to exercise? What are you saying “yes” to in your life? What are you saying “no” to? What is it costing you? Try to ensure that “yes” adds something to your life.
Journal Your Emotions
If you frequently deal with “runaway emotions” or “negative tapes,” you probably get locked onto thoughts or issues, unable to let go. By keeping a problem-solving log, you can defuse emotions by distinguishing what they are and what they are associated with. Write in the log whenever your emotions are preventing you from moving forward. The log can lead you through a series of questions that you ask yourself, such as, “What specific situation triggered my sadness?” “What specific action did I take in the situation?” “What could I have done differently?” “What specific action can I take now?” Answering questions like these can help you step back, see the issue in perspective, and recognize that you have the power to deal with it. This helps you let go of the feelings you are overwhelmed by, gain a new perspective, and move on.
Plan in Advance for Potential Emotional Upheavals
To help prevent or minimize emotional upheavals, make detailed plans for any times you find potentially volatile, such as holidays or unstructured time. Write out or go over dialogues in your head of what you will say in particular situations and how you will say it. Have an “escape” plan. For example, I have a client who gets in her car and goes to sit in a parking lot for a little while to take a break from the traditional Christmas Day celebration with her extended family each year. She returns renewed and more able to participate in the holiday festivities.
© 2008 Nancy Ratey
Look for more great strategies next week.