How to Create Healthy Boundaries When You Have ADHD

How to Create Healthy Boundaries When You Have ADHDAdults with ADHD often struggle with boundaries; either with enforcing their boundaries or respecting other peoples’ boundaries or both. Boundaries are rules you set for yourself, based on your values and priorities.

Some boundaries are automatically in place without you having to be consciously aware of them. For example, if a stranger stands too close to you, you instinctively step away in order to create a physical space that you are comfortable with.

However, not all boundaries are that easy. Sometimes you don’t know what your boundaries are, so you can’t enforce them. Other times, you know a boundary has been crossed, but you need to develop your assertiveness or confidence muscle to be able to enforce it.

Even if it feels uncomfortable at first, it’s worth strengthening your boundaries because healthy boundaries are vital for you to feel happy, be physically healthy, and have good relationships with everyone in your life.

Here is a list of areas where it’s important to have healthy boundaries:

  • Physical space
  • Mental
  • Emotional
  • Time
  • Physical body
  • Sexual
  • Material

How do you know what a good boundary is?

The thing with boundaries is, they are very personal. The best way to know if one of your boundaries is being crossed is to notice how you feel in everyday situations. If you feel a negative emotion (like resentment or anger), a pit in your stomach, or resistance, then that is a sign your boundaries have been crossed.

For example: A friend asks to borrow your car. You don’t feel comfortable lending it, but say yes. Notice what happens.

Your inner voice might be shouting, ‘I hate it when they ask me things like this. Why do they always ask me?’

That is a clue!

Physical sensations in your body, such as: a sinking feeling, an ‘off’ sensation, or sense of dread.

Other clues:

Your emotions – You might feel taken advantage of, or angry.

Your behaviour –You might drag your feet in making things happen. e.g. You might procrastinate in meeting them to hand over your keys. Or you might arrive late, or lose your keys.

These are all signs your material boundary has been crossed.

In contrast, if a friend asked to borrow your car and you wanted to lend it to them, you might feel happy you could help out, feel pleased they asked you and even go out of the way to make sure they get your keys.

The benefits of having clear strong boundaries are:

1) You feel happier

Because you are paying attention to your innate moral compass, and allowing that to guide you.

2) You have better relationships, at work and at home

Because you aren’t allowing people to cross your boundaries, there are no feelings of resentment. You like these people and feel respected.

3) You have increased energy

When you are constantly giving people more of your resources than you feel comfortable, your energy gets depleted. Having healthy boundaries means having a lot of physical and mental energy!

4) You have increased selfconfidence

You trust yourself to look after your own needs.

5) You are more productive

Because you have clear time boundaries and because you have more energy (see #3).

6) You have greater selfrespect

This is a nice side effect of other people respecting you and your increased confidence.

When you start to create and enforce your boundaries, it can be a bit scary. It means that you have to say ‘no’ to people who are used to you saying ‘yes’. It also means you have to become a little more assertive, and get comfortable doing things differently. However, the benefits are so worth it!

Are you good at knowing what your boundaries are? Leave a note in the comments below.

Single-Tasking and ADHD

Single-Tasking is the new Multi-tasking!!!

Even though we know that multi-tasking isn’t good; it isn’t productive, doesn’t make us feel accomplished and even makes our IQ go down, we still do it! .

Multi-tasking is doing 2 or more things at the same time (such as talking on the phone while grocery shopping) or moving to and from tasks quickly. For example, writing a report, checking emails and doing your online banking. Multi-tasking is performed by the executive functions of the brain.

Researchers found there are 2 steps involved:
1) Goal shifting (choosing one item)

2) Role Activation (switching between the rules from one task to another)
Every time we switch tasks, we lose time. Some researchers believe we are 40% less productive when we multi-task.

Now, of course, there are some situations where we don’t get a choice. A mum looking after her children or staff in the ER room need to multi-task to keep everyone safe and responding to the needs of multiple people.

However, many of us don’t have to multi-task, but still create an environment where we do.

As an ADDer, you might multi-task because:

1) You are scared to forget to do something. You act on the thought right away, regardless of what you are working on when it popped into your mind.

2) You have a low threshold for boredom, so you don’t just talk to a friend on the phone; you are also playing a computer game.

3) You crave excitement; so by flitting from one thing to the next quickly, your adrenaline is pumping and life seems more exciting.

I love this video about multi-tasking and single-tasking and think you will too!

Pay particular attention to:

1) The description of going on tangents on the internet…(perfect portrayal!)
2) The analogy of having multiple tabs opened on the computer at once and darting. I don’t know one person with ADHD who has less than 10 tabs open at once.

Are you inspired now to try single-tasking?
Will you try “Tabless Thursday”?

ADHD Productivity Tip

ADD productivity tipThis productivity tip comes from Brian Tracy’s book, Eat That Frog!

Mark Twain said that, if you eat a frog for breakfast, the rest of the day is a breeze because you have already done the worst thing you have to do that day!

Many productivity books suggest doing the task you least want to first. However, having the image of a frog makes it much more powerful. ADHDers are very visual, so it’s a fun strategy to think what your ‘frog’ is each morning.

Sometimes, it will be something scary.

Sometimes, it will be a task you have been procrastinating on.

And other times, it will be the task that is important to moving you towards your goals, but would get put to the bottom of your to do list because smaller, less important tasks would distract you.

What happens on days when you have 2 important things you need to do? Brian says, “Eat the ugliest one first!”

Besides blitzing through all your unpleasant ‘to dos’, another benefit of doing your worst task first is that you feel so accomplished when it’s done, you want to do something else. It sets you up to be productive for the rest of the day.

Action for the week:

1) Each day, pick your ‘frog task’.
2) Make sure it’s the first task you do that day
3) Notice how good you feel when it’s done
4) Notice how you continue to be productive for the rest of the day

Share your ‘frogs’ in the comment section below!

ADHD and New Year’s Resolutions

The New Year always brings with it an enthusiasm to look at yourself and your life and make some positive changes. While tons of research has been to done to show that New Year’s resolutions don’t work. We also know that creating habits and setting goals do work.

So, why not make use of this New Year energy to make some positive changes using goals and habits in your life? Wondering what areas to address? Why not your health? As the healthier you are, the less problematic your negative ADHD symptoms are. For example, getting enough sleep, eating healthy food, exercising every day, taking supplements, such as, Omega 3, managing stress are all known to help your long term health, but also your ADHD symptoms right now.

There is a brilliant website that is dedicated to your health called The site’s creator, Dr. Roizen is a cardiologist and wanted to motivate people to take better care of their bodies. He realized everyone wants to be youthful so used this as an incentive. Some people are younger physiologically and mentally than their calendar age because they active make healthy eating choices while some people are older.

Take the quiz which covers all topics related to health, from what you eat, drink and smoke to how fast you drive and how often you use your cell phone.

After you get your results and find out how old you ‘really’ are you are given a compressive checklist of actions to take to reduce your real age. You can use the checklist to motivate you and guide you to know what new goals and habits to make in 2013

Good luck and I would love to hear what changes you will be making!!!

Why Happiness = Success When You Have ADHD

ADDers are very hard on themselves. They are always feeling ‘less than’. Rather than acknowledge what they did today and feel good about it, they focus on the long list of what they haven’t done yet. However, if you think like that, not only does it affect your self-esteem and confidence, it also lowers your energy and makes you miserable and sad.

Instead, if you allow yourself to feel pride in what you HAVE done, today, this week, month, year, this lifetime, then you will feel energized happy and can get more ‘done’ (Of course there is lots more to life than what you accomplish, but that’s another article!)

While I knew this to be true, I only had anecdotal evidence, based on myself and clients. That all changed when a client sent me this video, because it reminded her of the work we had been doing together.

Shawn Anchor says we need to reverse the formula for happiness and success. The current formula is that most people live by is ‘the harder I work the more successful I will be and the more successful I am the happier I will be.’

BUT, this model is flawed, because every time we have a success we change the goal post.

You have good grades, but now you have to get better grades. You have a good job, now you have to get a better job. “If happiness is on the opposite side of success your brain will never get there. We have pushed happiness over the cognitive horizon and that is because we have to be successful and then we will be happy’.

In the video, Shawn explains that our brains work in the opposite order of society’s success formula.

For example, if you are feeling happy and positive in the present, then the performance of your brain improves, your intelligence, energy and creativity are all increased.

AND it gets better… when your brain is in a positive gear, it is 31% more productive, 37% better in sales and doctors are 19% faster at making an accurate and quick diagnoses.

So, make yourself a cup of tea, and relax because you are in for a treat. As well as being informative and wise, Shawn Anchor is a very funny presenter.