These are anxious times for the healthiest among us. Anxiety is the physiological response of the body to stress and worry over what might happen. (Ramsay) There is so much that is unknown in our world right now because of the pandemic and our political climate. These are sources of anxiety for the vast majority of people. For those of us with ADHD or children with ADHD, for whom emotional dysregulation is a daily struggle, managing the anxiety of the unknown may be especially challenging.
“‘A’ is for anxiety,” my son’s counselor used to remind me after nearly every session. Anxiety is the most common comorbidity (that’s just a big, scary-sounding word for a diagnosis that often goes hand in hand with another diagnosis) for ADHD. (Ramsay) When your own brain seems out of control and you aren’t sure if you can even make it do what you, let alone your parents, teachers, boss, or spouse expect of you, that’s a huge unknown. But there are ways of coping, even in times like this. Here are some of our family’s go tos:
Restructure your expectations. Setting long term goals is important, but make sure they are realistic and then break them down into what is manageable in 15-60 minute chunks of time, depending on your stress level and attention span.
Reorganize your time and your space. Start with your to do list from number 1, then organize your calendar into small chunks of time taking frequent movement breaks. Movement releases endorphins which help us focus. Make sure your work space is also organized to eliminate distractions.
Reframe your thinking to regulate your emotions. If anxiety is our body’s response to the unknown, let’s focus on what we know. Psychology can’t help us a whole lot here, because nothing is absolute without God. But He is absolute and His Word is full of promises we can count on. Start with the list below and add to it. Keep a running list in your journal or on a dry erase board.
- God is working everything for our good.
- God loves me and knows what I need.
- I am not sufficient, but God is and He will provide what I need.
Reflect on each day. Celebrate what went well. Reframe what didn’t as an opportunity to learn from your mistakes and shortcomings and do better next time. Remember that sometimes, doing better means restructuring your expectations so they aren’t a source of further frustration and anxiety.
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The content found on Flourishing Family Coaching’s website and blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding ADHD, anxiety, depression or any other medical conditions. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website or blog.
Ramsay, J. Russel. “Coping with Anxiety and Adult ADHD in the COVID-19 World.” Additude Magizing, 29 June 2020, additudemag.com. Accessed 04 November 2020.