Archives for March 2011

ADHD and Self-Esteem

ADHD and Self-Esteem
The term ‘Self esteem’ means to respect and have positive opinion of yourself. Your self esteem is entwined with your self confidence and sense of self worth. Unfortunately, adults with ADHD tend to have low levels of self esteem.
Here is a list of 15 things that having low self-esteem can result in:
3. Loneliness
5. Problems in relationships
6. Underachievement
9. Lack of assertiveness
10. Body image problems
12. Unable to ‘own’ your achievements
13. Feel helpless with no control of their life
14. Feel undeserving of being happy
15. Blaming others
Our self esteem begins to form during our childhood. The reason so many ADHD adults have-low self esteem is because their behaviour is different from the ‘norm’. Your high energy, impulsivity, perhaps poor social skills, was likely to receive negative
messages from the adults in your life. Rather than receiving lots of positive reinforcement that creates a healthy self esteem, you received negative comments which causes low self esteem. The good news is that it doesn’t matter how low your self esteem is, you can start to improve yours right now.

Here are five tips:

1) Replace your negative self talk with positive. After years of getting negative feedback you internalise it. The negative chatter in your head can be very debilitating and result in anxiety, constant worrying, and a sense of hopelessness. When you catch yourself saying something negative, counteract that with something positive or neutralise it. For example, ‘I can never do anything right’ remind yourself of some of the things you have accomplished. Or, ‘I still haven’t tidied my desk’ to ‘I haven’t tided my desk yet’
2) Set yourself up for success. Break your big goals into small very do-able actions. When you achieve them, give yourself a few minutes to enjoy that feeling of accomplishment and congratulate yourself.
3) Give yourself daily rewards. After achieving a task or tasks reward yourself. Make the mental connection that you are having this reward because you did____ task. This gives you positive enforcement. The rewards don’t need to be complex, watching a movie, seeing a friend, listening to a new CD are all great examples.
4) Take a realistic inventory of yourself and your life. Are there things that are bothering you? Are you a little over weight, do you wish you have a tidy and clean house? If yes, then get proactive and make those changes.
5) Break out of your comfort zone. Do something that scares and excites you. Go on a trip on your own, speak in public, do a parachute jump. Whenever you break out of your comfort zone, you grow and develop and your self esteem increases.
While most of these suggestions are based on actions and ‘doing,’  you are already an awesome person. When your self esteem is low, it’s hard taking that on board. So trust me on this one, you are a magnificent human being.

Habits = ADHD Success

Habits=ADHD SuccessThis week, lots of clients have talked about wanting success. Each had a different definition of success… a successful student, a successful business owner, have a successful relationship or be a successful declutterer …but, they all want to be succeed in the area that is important to them.

Success is always possible; all it takes is consistent daily effort.

Unfortunately, adults with ADHD often don’t trust themselves to carry out consistent daily actions because they haven’t been able to do that in the past and so they have lost confidence and faith in their own ability.

This where habits come in!! Since a habit is behaviour that happens automatically. If you create some habits you know that will lead you to success, then success while happen automatically!

It sounds quite simple doesn’t it? However, adults with ADHD can be very resistant to creating routine and habits because they feel they like to be spontaneous and creative and a habit feels restricting.

But, the reverse is true. The creation of good habits, actually gives you freedom.

It gives you peace of mind that every day you will do what is needed automatically without any brain work or mental bargaining. It takes 28 days to for behaviour to come automatic. For those first 28 days, the new behaviour might be a struggle or uncomfortable. But the rewards will definitely pay off.

This week:
1) Decide what area of life you would like success in.
2) Think what action would bring success, for example if you are student, 4 hours of study every day.
3) Start to do the action every day for 28 days.
4) Keep track of your actions on a calendar.
5) Notice and enjoy how you are moving towards your goals.


Do one thing every day that scares you

Eleanor Roosevelt

Anxiety, fear and worry, go hand in hand. Like anxiety and worry, a small amount of fear can actually be a good thing. It’s pre-programmed in us to keep us safe. When we feel fearful, chemicals like adrenaline and cortisol are released to prepare us for fight or flight and keep us save. What this means in the modern world is that we are able to perform to the best of our ability, perhaps in an interview or exam or performing etc.

However, some ADHD adults become paralyzed by fear and avoid at all cost anything that evokes that feeling. Unfortunately, when you avoid scary things your world becomes small and rather than keeping you safe from big dangers, your body has actually made you become scared of daily life.

In her book ‘Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway’ Susan Jeffers say that everyone experiences fearful feelings,but the people who are most successful feel the fear and continue on with the activity that was making them scared.

If you wait until you no longer feel fear about a certain action you will never do it. BUT,if you embrace it and do it anyways you will be rewarded by personal feelings of accomplishment and growth.




ADHD and Worry

Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy.  ~Leo Buscaglia

When you worry you repeatedly think of negative thoughts about a situation. Since the thoughts aren’t pleasant they result in anxiety. Like most human traits, a small dose of worrying is helpful. It prompts you to think of a possible situation and plan how to deal with it.  However, too much worrying sucks out the enjoyment of life.

ADHD Adults worry more than the average person, because they are smart and imaginative and use that imagination to conger up all these worse case scenarios. Besides not being enjoyable, worrying makes us stressed and physically ill. Worry is a habit and can be changed.  Here are your ADHD Coachs top 6 tips for combating worry:

1)     Use your imagination to focus on what you DO want rather than what you don’t want. Don’t think of your plane crashing, instead picture it arriving safely and on time, your suitcase on the carousel and your loved ones at the gate to welcome you.  Not only does this take away anxiety it actually makes you feel happy.

2)     Share your worry.  There is something about vocalizing your worries out loud that makes it shrink to normal proportions.  When you are worried there is nothing better than connecting with another person.  Plan B, if there isn’t another human being around, saying your worry aloud is still very helpful. It also has that shrinking effect. That is why worry dolls are so helpful (The picture for today’s article is of worry dolls).

3)     Write down everything you are worrying about on one side of the paper. Then on the other side, write down the action you can do towards each worry. Taking control over your worries and taking action is both empowering and freeing.

4)     Be present.  This can be hard when you have ADHD.  Yet, if you notice you are repeatedly worrying about if you locked the front door decide to get present when you perform this activity.  Notice yourself closing the door, putting your key in the lock, and turning it.  More powerful still is to talk aloud as you are doing it, sort of a running commentary.  Doing and speaking about the action at the same time helps you to remember that your door is definitely locked.

5)   Just focus on today. Don’t let your mind wonder into the future.  Most of our worries are about an event in the future and may actually never happen.  So by living one day at a time most worries can be avoided.

6) Take care for yourself.  I know I say this a lot, but by eating a healthy ADHD diet, exercising and sleeping well, your brain will be less prone to worry.