October is ADHD Awareness Month ̶ a time to reflect on the uniqueness, wonder, and yes, even the bravery shown when managing the challenges of living with ADHD. If you or someone you love has ADHD ̶ you know that it’s not always easy to deal with the anxiety, executive function difficulties and self-criticism. Friends and family with ADHD want to do well, achieve, and succeed, but struggle with challenges that can sometimes seem like insurmountable obstacles. That’s why we should take some time during October, ADHD Awareness Month, to celebrate all that our loved ones with ADHD bring to our lives and focus on building acceptance and compassion with expert ADHD advice.
Embrace your ADHD with self-acceptance
Accepting your ADHD is the first step to empowering yourself. ADHD is not who you are, it is something you live with. It means you think a little differently, navigate the world a little differently, and solve problems a little differently from others. So when you accept your unique perspective and approach, you are better able to set yourself up for success. You can have a deeper understanding of what makes you tick, and what works and doesn’t work for your living and learning styles. Remember, everyone is different in their own unique ways. ADHD may set you apart from the neurotypical crowd but it doesn’t diminish you in any way. In fact, there are plenty of other neurodiverse folks who can provide encouragement, support and friendship. Embrace your ADHD and all that you are–it’s the key step toward accepting and loving yourself.
Have compassion for yourself and others
It’s so easy to give in to critical self-talk at times of frustration. We are often our own worst critic, and that’s a heavy load to carry. ADHD makes it harder to stay focused, get organized, and feel like you’ve got your act together. That’s why it’s so important to practice compassion–toward yourself and towards others like you. Learn to minimize the negative inner voice and to amplify the cheerleader within. If your child forgot to hand in their homework again or you were a day late with a work report, it doesn’t mean either of you are a hopeless failure. Remind yourself it’s naturally more challenging for you to stay organized, manage time and follow through. Use lists, alerts and reminders to stay on track. Leave yourself daily motivations, meditate on positive messages, and do whatever it takes to treat yourself with more kindness and forgiveness.
Accentuate the positive
I often ask my clients with ADHD to think of their super-power–something they’re really good at and proud of. If we’re only focused on what isn’t working, we’re bound to miss all the gifts and wonderful qualities that make us unique. For example kids and adults with ADHD can be dreamers, going from one thought to another and then something else. This is what also makes them exceptionally creative. They can make up stories or draw beautifully or compose music. In honor of ADHD Awareness Month, set aside some time to think of 3 positive things about yourself. It can be a particular skill or talent, how you’ve contributed to a good cause, or a wonderful aspect of your personality. These types of affirmations are so important and will help drown out the negativity that can take center stage all too easily.
14 Benefits of ADHD
It’s important to celebrate and enhance the strengths that exist. Here are 14 important strengths shared by Dr. Melissa Welby that you can remember when challenging ADHD moments arise.
- Emotional expression
- Impulsivity (surprised? Some quick reactions can lead to positive actions.)
- Funny, humorous
- Empathic and compassionate
- Drive and passion
- Enthusiastic and bright
- Authentic and honest
You are worth celebrating!
ADHD Awareness Month is about celebrating who you are. There are so many wonderful aspects of being a unique, outside-the-box thinker. This month, focus on what is working in your life right now and help your kids with to do the same. Take some time to honor successes–big and small–and validate your effort and progress. It’s not all about achievement: pay attention to what you are doing differently that’s making a change too. How can you build on this to make it a lasting habit?
People who live with ADHD have so much to offer and bring a wide range of perspectives and experiences that enrich us all. Take pride in the things you or your kids do that are creative, funny, artistic, athletic and brilliant. Accepting yourself with self-compassion allows you to be good enough just as you are: a wonderful, perfectly imperfect, unique human being—just like everybody else!
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