As we head into the holiday season beginning with Thanksgiving in the United States next week, this is typically a time to express gratitude for all that we have. This year, let’s also focus on being thankful for all that we are. Children and adults who live with ADHD often tend to have a negative inner voice – one which points out how you don’t measure up, why you’re not good enough, and what you’re doing wrong. ADHD does come with its share of challenges, and that’s why it’s all the more important to acknowledge the countless ways you succeed, grow, learn and shine brightly. Let’s take time this holiday season to apply a positive mindset in daily living and celebrate all the unique gifts you have to offer yourself, your loved ones, and your community.
The Power of a Positive Mindset
If you’re only focused on what isn’t working, you’ll miss all the good things in your life, big and small. But when you make an effort to acknowledge the positives, you will make more room for growth, calm, and resilience. Most importantly, a positive mindset does wonders for self-esteem. Instead of thinking, “I can’t do this,” flip it around and say, “I don’t know how to do this YET, but I will try.” Your harsh inner-critic is a loud nuisance. Your task is to lower its volume by reassuring yourself that you’ve got the resources that you need to figure things out.
You can overcome negative thinking by nurturing a growth mindset–one that encourages you to try things regardless of knowing how they will work out. You pay attention to your strengths, surround yourself with people who believe in you and you stay open to experimenting. Ultimately, you believe that you can bounce back from things, even if you have to regroup and start over.
Positivity begets self-confidence–it’s as simple as that. With a growth mindset, you will set yourself up for success and recover faster from setbacks. So make it a point to notice what’s working well for you, and build on that, one courageous step at a time.
The Importance of Self-Acceptance
Accepting your ADHD is the first step to empowering yourself. ADHD is not who you are, it is something you live with. Your brain is wired differently from neurotypical folks, but it doesn’t diminish you. It simply means you are an outside-the-box thinker, navigating a world not designed for your brain as best as you can.
When you proudly acknowledge your unique perspective and approach to life, you are better able to set yourself up for success. You have a deeper understanding of what works and doesn’t work for your living and learning styles. Use that knowledge and understanding to your benefit by setting up routines and daily practices which work best for you. Surround yourself with people who love and support you just as you are.
Remember, everybody has executive functioning strengths and challenges and we are all unique beings. You may not be able to change the way your brain is wired, but you can make the most of the tools and gifts you have to live well. Embrace what you love about ADHD while shoring up your challenges as a natural part of being human. Step towards accepting and loving yourself as you are–perfectly imperfect, just like the rest of us.
Be Thankful For All That You Are
I often tell my clients how important it is to pause and have a moment of gratitude each day. Every night, before I go to sleep, I write three good (or good enough) things that happened. It’s fun and interesting to look back at this record of my days. When I reflect on what’s going well (no matter how small), I remind myself of my inner strengths, the positive things that occur in my life and my capacity for kindness, humility and generosity. Although some days it may be tougher to find those three things, the exercise nurtures your capacity to deal with anything that comes your way. Whether you journal, meditate, or just ‘stop and smell the roses’, you are validating life’s rich experiences and shifting towards a positive mindset.
ADHD may throw challenges your way, but there is so much that out-of-the-box thinkers like you have to be thankful for. Creativity, resilience, enthusiasm, and authenticity are just a few of the many great qualities of people with ADHD. What do you think your best qualities are? How do you use your gifts to empower yourself and give back to your community? You have so much to offer. In this season of Thanksgiving, express gratitude toward others, and also remember to honor and celebrate all that you are.