CTB stands for Cognitive Behavior Therapy, and research shows it is an effective form of therapy for people with ADHD.
In a nutshell it helps you to change how you think about events and experiences in your life.
This is done by changing negative thoughts to happier more positive ones. When you change your thought patterns like this, your mental and physical health can improve, relationships can flourish and you feel happier.
To get an idea of how powerful CBT is on your brain, here is a simple trick you can try starting today.
- Every time you have a negative thought (worry, fear etc.), stop and write it down on a big piece of paper.
- Then underneath it write 3 facts why it is not true.
For example, a common thing people with ADHD tell themselves is
‘I am so stupid.’
If you catch yourself saying that, your 3 facts might be,
- I have a degree in Math.
- I learned to drive and passed my test the first time.
- I like to read text books for fun.
Another common phrase you might catch yourself saying is
‘I am always late.’
3 counter pieces of evidence might be
- I manage to get to work on time every day.
- I arrive 5 minutes before an appointment with my doctor.
- Jenny told me that she likes that I am punctual.
See! On paper it looks like a different story to the one we tell ourselves in our head. Our minds can play tricks on us, and how we see ourselves is different to reality. This tip helps to silence your inner critic.
Now, don’t counter the facts you wrote down with ‘yeah buts’
Just accept them.
For example, if you have a math degree, you might be tempted to say ‘yeah but ..I had to pull all-nighters before every exam and assignment deadline. Or you might discount a natural talent you have, such as driving, because it comes easily to you. People with ADHD are very good at dismissing their natural talents!
Keep to the facts. Stick with them, even though it might be uncomfortable at first.
If a ‘yeah but’ is really persistent, you could do the CBT exercise.
For example, if you tell yourself, ‘I only got my degree by pulling all-nighters’, did
you really? Can you think of 3 times you didn’t pull an all-nighter?
However, try to keep it simple. If you start to make the original exercise complicated, you will be less likely to do it regularly because it takes too much time.
Why is this simple exercise so effective when you have ADHD?
Many ADHDers find their mind takes over their life. They can’t enjoy the fun things that are happening right now, because their mind is full of negative thoughts.
These thoughts might be:
Questioning your abilities and feeling like you are an impostor
Fear of what you did or didn’t do
All these thoughts nibble away at your self-esteem, your productivity, your good habits and physical energy. Of course everyone experiences this to some degree. But it is heightened for ADHDers because your brain works faster and you are highly creative so it is harder to break your attention away from these negative loops.
This simple CBT method helps in 2 ways.
1) In the moment
The yuk or negative feelings lift and you can move on with your day. Your spirits will lift and you will be less inclined to procrastinate.
2) Over time.
You will retrain your brain so you will have less sabotaging thoughts, and more positive ones, so you will feel happier and more confident.
Are you one of those people who think, ‘Oh but I need to be down on myself otherwise I will never get anything done”? I respectfully challenge that!
Happy people gets things done 🙂
This simple CBT tip is a game changer! And if CBT is something you would like to explore further, you will be able to find a CBT therapist near to you.