7 Tips to Boost Your Well-Being

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Thriving with Adult ADHD Credit: ProStock Studio via Shutterstock

 

Adults with ADHD are more prone to anxiety and depression. The symptoms of ADHD make life more challenging.

Fortunately, there is significant research from a field of science pioneered by Dr. Martin Seligman called Positive Psychology. This field demonstrates strategies that enable individuals and communities to thrive. Positive Psychology offers useful strategies for adults with ADHD as well. Thus, I would like to share with you seven strategies from Positive Psychology.

Keeping an open mind will help you to discover new strategies for thriving with ADHD. Different strategies benefit people more or less depending on the fit with the person. Therefore, experiment with different strategies, perhaps starting with the ones that seem to resonate most with you.

1. Express Gratitude 

First, research shows that people who practice gratitude have a greater sense of wellbeing, a better mood, and less anxiety.

There are many ways to practice gratitude. One strategy is to keep a gratitude journal once a week, writing five things for which you are grateful and the reason why.

Another technique is to write a thank-you note to someone who has helped you in some way and to send it. Perhaps, it was a teacher, coach or mentor from childhood or maybe you appreciate the support that a friend provided you during a professional challenge. Acknowledging others for how they helped us not only boosts our own positive feelings but also can strengthen relationships.

2. Focus on Your Strengths 

In school and at work, we are often encouraged to work on our challenges. However, the research shows that focusing on our strengths can improve our productivity and sense of well-being. A study conducted by Michelle McQuaid discovered that 70 percent of professionals who use their strengths are more engaged at work.

You may be aware of many of your strengths and yet may not appreciate others. One resource to help discover your hidden strengths is the VIA Survey, which can be found at:  https://www.viacharacter.org/account/register.

Write down your strengths that you are already aware of and other strengths that you may be discovering. Are there ways that you could incorporate your strengths more often into your personal and professional life? Maybe you realize that funding-raising, networking, and public speaking come easy to you and that you have often been acknowledged for these strengths. You may decide if there are ways to align your career, your next job, or volunteer opportunities along with your strengths that may create many rewards such as a promotion, more income, or making a difference in your community.

3. Imagine Your Best Possible Self 

Professor Laura King at the University of Missouri-Columbia has performed extensive research demonstrating that imagining and writing about what your ideal life will look like in the future can have a significant impact on your mood. Besides, it can help you think and be more aware of your ideas and goals, clarify your thoughts, prioritize, what’s important to you, increase a sense of capacity and control, feel more hopeful about the future, enhance motivation and create a strategy or path to move forward.

In the study, participants experienced a boost in their mood that lasted for weeks and even had fewer physical symptoms for several months.

4. Practice Kindness 

Practicing acts of kindness has been shown to boost our mood. One theory of why this is a mood booster is that it increases the focus on others and less on ourselves. Also, it can lead to a greater sense of connection and community, which has long been known to boost mood and resilience.

There are many ways to practice kindness. Acts of kindness can include making a donation, saying hello to a stranger, or buying a gift for a friend. The act can be something small or large. We all do acts of kindness at work and with our family and friends. So, for the maximum benefit, it is important to do something different, something above and beyond your normal acts.

One way to do this is to have one day a week where you do a certain number of kindness acts. The research shows that the benefit is larger when it is done within a short period such as a day rather than spread out over a week. Also, it can be helpful to track the number of kind acts and to notice the impact it may have on the person as well as on you.

  5. Set Goals 

Setting goals can help you lead healthier and happier lives by boosting your sense of self-efficacy, confidence, and self-esteem as well as providing your life with structure and meaning.

Several strategies to boost your success with goals include writing down specific and measurable goals, creating a written strategy, and recruiting and tracking your progress and success.

For some strategies for creating effective goals, see my article on Adult ADHD and Setting Goals at https://www.scottshapiromd.com/adult-adhd-and-setting-goals/.  

6. Savor Pleasurable Experiences 

Another strategy to improve positive feelings is thorough savoring. When you experience something pleasurable such as good music, eating something delicious, or seeing a beautiful sunset, notice it and savor it.

Another strategy is to write, think or talk about past positive experiences. It is helpful to think about the specifics, including colors, sounds, and tastes.

You may select new or additional pleasurable experiences to add to your day such as taking a walk in the park, listening to music, or getting a massage. This can add positive experiences in your life and expand your positive emotions.

7. Practice Mindfulness 

There is significant research that shows mindfulness and meditation improve mood and positive feelings. Moreover, meditation has been demonstrated to improve many symptoms of ADHD including focus, concentration and mood regulation.

There are many strategies for increasing mindfulness. One way is to connect mindfulness to an activity you do every day such as brushing your teeth or taking a shower. Bring your complete attention to the activity and notice the sounds, sensations, and thoughts that are taking place. A key element of mindfulness is paying attention and noticing when your attention drifts and also paying attention in a non-judgmental way. You may have thoughts of your ability to attend to an activity or not attending and thoughts and opinions of the activity. These are judging thoughts. And just noticing that and allowing these thoughts to pass away.

Developing a formal practice of meditation can also improve the ability of mindfulness. The meditation doesn’t need to be extensive. Even a brief practice of 5-10 minutes a day can be beneficial. I have found with my patients that when they practice with a guided meditation on a recording, this helps them become more successful.

Conclusion 

There are numerous strategies from the field of Positive Psychology that have the potential to boost your well-being and help you to thrive even with the challenges of ADHD.

You may not find every tool helpful. Try out a few and discover which ones resonate with you.

If you would like to learn more about Adult ADHD and coping strategies, please visit my website at https://www.scottshapiromd.com.

References

Bryant, F. B., Smart, C. M., & King, S. P. (2005). Using the past to enhance the present: Boosting happiness through positive reminiscence. Journal of Happiness Studies, 6, 227–260.

Cohn, M. A., & Fredrickson, B. L. (2010). In search of durable positive psychology interventions: Predictors and consequences

of long-term positive behavior change. Journal of Positive Psychology, 5(5), 355-366.

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