Do You Get The Weekend Blahs?

Weekends can be a challenge when you have ADHD.  This might sound counterintuitive, as surely the stressors of a busy work week are trickier than a leisurely weekend

However, ADHDers can find unstructured time unsettling.  Although you might resist the idea of structure, people with ADHD actually do very well with it. [Read more…]

ADHD and Assertiveness

ADHD and AssertivenessIn order to be a happy, healthy adult living with ADHD, an important skill to develop is assertiveness. When you are assertive, you are able to express your needs and feelings in a firm and polite way without hurting others. Common feedback I hear when I suggest learning to be assertive is, ‘Oh, but I don’t want to be too assertive’. The good news, it’s not possible to become ‘too assertive’, because then, you become aggressive, which isn’t our aim.

If we think of a scale from 1 to 10; 1 is passive and self-sacrificing, 5 is healthy and assertive, and 10 is inconsiderate, arrogant and self-centred. This gives a nice visual to show that you can’t be too assertive because then, you move away from being assertive and into the arrogant and demanding terrain.

Wikipedia describes assertiveness as:

‘Assertiveness is the quality of being self-assured and confident without being aggressive.’

One of the reasons why learning to be assertive is important when you have ADHD is to reduce angry outbursts. Anger is a common problem with ADDers. Clients often come and see me because their anger outbursts are getting them in trouble at work, at home and in traffic.

Many ADDers feel bad about themselves, feel that they are disappointing the people in their lives and have low-confidence. So they suppress their feelings and needs, and their general default mode is self-sacrificing (1 on the scale). However, this is dangerous, because resentment grows under the surface and then something happens and ‘all of sudden’, they fly into an angry rage. Some people don’t get angry; instead, they are depressed, anxious and feel stuck. If you are practicing assertiveness and are communicating your needs in a timely manner, then you will neither have rage or depression.

Benefits of being assertive are:

1) Feeling empowered. You know you can take care of yourself in all situations
2) Feel connected to others; instead of resentful or fearful
3) Less stressed
4) Increased physical health
5) Increased mental health Ex. Less depression
6) Improved relations with everyone in your life
7) Less conflicts
8) Less anger outbursts
9) Feel ok if someone has a different opinion to you (you don’t take it personally)
10) Reduced feelings of being walked over or taken for granted

Becoming assertive is a learnable skill, involving communication skills, personal boundaries and knowing that your feelings count.

Here are 6 steps for assertive communication:

1) Get clear on how you feel before you start communicating. If being assertive is new to you, you might need to take time beforehand, to get clear on this before you communicate.
This can be hard for ADDers because they don’t know if it’s ‘ok’ to feel like this or if it’s acceptable.

Part of becoming assertive also means developing confidence in your feelings. If you feel it, it’s real. You don’t have to back up your feelings with stats, you just have to know that if you feel happy, sad, frustrated, etc. it’s real and you are honoring those feelings by being assertive.

2) Use ‘I’ rather than ‘you’. You aren’t trying to blame others; rather, you are expressing how you feel. For example, don’t say ‘you make me feel…’ instead, say ‘I feel…’

3) Use non-verbal communication as well as verbal. Maintain eye contact and an open body posture.

4) Talk calmly in a clear voice. Don’t shout , get angry or whisper.

5) Listen to the other person, even if you don’t like what they are saying.

6) Throughout the communication, remember one of the key goals of assertiveness is to stand up for your needs so that you aren’t being taken for granted or bullied by others.

When you start to practice assertive skills, you are shaking up what is normal for you. It can feel scary. However, the benefits are definitely worth it in the long run.

Here is another article about ADHD and assertiveness.

ADHD and Anxiety: A Simple Strategy

If you have ADHD, then there is a high chance that you have Anxiety too. Fifty percent of ADHD adults also have an anxiety disorder, whether it’s Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Panic Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Social phobia or specific phobias, e.g., fear of flying or fear.

While a small amount of anxiousness can help keep you safe and out of danger, the type of anxiety that many ADHDers experience is debilitating. It stops you from living your life fully and can result in some problematic situations. For example, if you are too anxious to take action on an important task, like a work project, a student assignment or taxes there are negative consequences.

In previous articles, I have outlined healthy ways to reduce anxiety. However, those ideas take a little time to start to see results. Today I wanted to share something that will help you in the moment when you are feeling anxious.

It’s a 5 minute video that walks you through an EFT tapping exercise to reduce anxiety.

ADHD and Anxiety: A Simple Strategy VIDEO

EFT or Emotional Freedom Technique releases emotional blocks that stand between you and good health. It is a type of psychological acupressure that uses the same energy meridians as acupuncture. If you are a little bit skeptical, I totally understand. I am a nurse and like many people who are use to traditional western medicine ‘energy meridians’ do sound strange at first. However, just because something sounds strange to us, doesn’t mean it doesn’t work!

The combination of tapping and a positive voice; helps clear your anxiety and allows you to continue your day.

Your actions for this week are to try the tapping exercise at least once! If you experience a lot of anxiety, try the tapping every day in the morning. Plus at times during the day when you feel anxious.You will notice a big difference. Happy Tapping 🙂


Have you ever tried tapping? leave a note in the comments section and let me know!

ADHD and Anger


Anger management is a problem for adults with ADHDBefore writing this article, I looked up the definition of anger in the Oxford English Dictionary and what I found  was:
” the strong feeling caused by extreme displeasure”

However that seems a very delicate way to describe the intense emotions of fury and rage that engulfs an angry person and results in aggression and violence.

My personal experience of very angry people was in a hospital setting during my days as a nurse. Angry people are a little scary because of their unpredictability. You don’t know what they are going to do next, hurt you, themselves (e.g by hitting a wall) or both. In fact even the angry person rarely knows what they are going to do during this time.

Every day life, can evoke extreme anger in people, that is why there is road rage, fights, and damage to personal property.

Anger management is a problem for adults with ADHD for four reasons:

1) The impulsive aspect of ADHD means if you feel angry, you immediately express it. You don’t get the ‘lead time’ that a non ADHD person has even if it’s only a few seconds.

2) Low levels of frustration, mean that you experience frustration rapidly which can then trigger anger.

3) Mood swings,  ADHD adults can experience the whole range of emotions, from happiness, sadness,and anger all in the space of a morning. People with ADHD experience these mood changes more than a non ADHD person.

4) Stress, having ADHD is stressful. If your ADHD is unmanaged, you feel constantly overwhelmed and stressed.

Anger is a normal human emotion, and it can be useful. However, if you are feeling that your expression of anger is holding you back in life, or is becoming problematic for your relationships, here is what to do:

1.Walk away
No matter how hard, walk away from the provoking situation. The more you do this, the easier it will become. You can resolve the issue later. Because you have ADHD, your anger comes and goes quickly. So it won’t be long before you feel calm again.

2.Develop assertiveness skills
People that express anger, worry they will be taken advantage of. However expressing anger is just one way to deal with situations. Since the repercussions of anger are so devastating to personal relationships, assertiveness is a great tool to develop.

The intense anger you feel, is unlikely to be a result of what is happening in the current situation. It is more likely to be due to an unresolved issue from the past, and the current situation reminds you of the upsetting past experience. You might need help from a professional to assist you to make these connections, but getting to the root cause can be very freeing.

4.Learn to express yourself
Getting angry is how you express ‘extreme displeasure’. However, you can learn to do that in other ways too. You will be pleasantly surprised how much you achieve when you are developing good communications.

Exercise helps to dispel negative emotions. Exercise every day.
You might consider taking up a Martial art. Not only is it a great exercise, it is a great way to discipline your emotions and channel them in a controlled way.

Remember, experiencing anger doesn’t make you a bad person. After having an angry explosion, you might feel exposed, ashamed and mortified. Don’t dwell on these feelings to make yourself feel bad. Do however use them them as a catalyst for change.