Taming the Stress Monster When You Have ADHD

One of the keys to managing your ADHD symptoms is to identify your individual trigger points. Some of the common triggers include: stress, poor sleep, certain foods and additives, over-stimulation, and technology. Once you recognize what triggers your ADHD symptoms, you can make changes to your lifestyle that will help control episodes.

For many adults with ADHD, stress is a particularly difficult trigger to deal with. In part this is due to the fact that ADHD itself may cause an ongoing state of stress. Someone who has ADHD can struggle with focusing and filtering out excess stimuli which increases stress levels. Approaching deadlines, procrastination, and the inability to focus on the work at hand, can cause anxiety and amplify stress even more.

Awareness of what’s happening is the first step to managing stress and reducing your ADHD symptoms. Evaluate yourself during periods of stress (when a work project is coming to a due date, for example). Ask yourself questons like: Are you more hyperactive than usual? Are you having more trouble concentrating than normal? If the answer is yes, try to add techniques to your daily routine that will help relieve stress: For instance:

  • Take regular breaks when performing tasks
  • Engage in exercise
  • Try relaxing activities, such as yoga or meditation
  • Ask yourself “What can I do right now to make the situation better?”

You can also take a longer-term approach to managing stress by learning:

  • Strategies for dealing with stressful situations
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Communication skills
  • To speak up for yourself and your needs

Also,, don’t forget to tap into your support system. Friends, family, others with ADHD, and an ADHD coach can all help you deal with stress.

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