Stress Management Tips for ADHD

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Whether it’s due to work, school, or relationships, everyone experiences stress at some point in their life.  In fact, some stress can actually be healthy, driving us to get things done and achieve our goals. But dealing with stress can sometimes seem overwhelming, especially if you have ADHD.  

ADHD symptoms, such as difficulty concentrating, can cause frustration and lead to a sense of being “out of control”.  ADHD can compound stressful situations, and research shows that people with ADHD tend to have higher levels of daily stress overall.  However, there are some simple and effective strategies that people with ADHD can use to manage stress.

Tip #1: Stick to Your ADHD Treatment Plan

Stressful situations will likely be harder to manage if your ADHD symptoms aren’t under control.  That’s why it’s important to work with your doctor to find the treatment plan that works best for you, and why it’s important to stick with your treatment plan, even during times of stress.

Tip #2: Take Care of Your Basic Physical and Emotional Needs

This means eating well, getting enough sleep, and spending time with friends and family.  A handy acronym to remember is HALT: Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. Any stressful situation can seem infinitely worse when you forget to attend to these basic needs.

Tip #3: Get Moving

I can’t emphasize the importance of this one enough: make sure that you’re taking the time to exercise.  Fitting in some form of physical activity each day is ideal, even if it’s just a short walk. The American Heart Association recommends about 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week.  Physical activity is a great way to blow off some steam, and researchers have found that people who exercise regularly report lower levels of stress.

Tip #4: Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness means being aware of your mind, body, and feelings in the present moment, and it’s a great way to prevent and manage stress.  Meditation, prayer, breathing exercises, and mind-body practices like yoga are some possibilities for learning mindfulness.

Tip #5: Get Help

Some people with ADHD may find that they need a little help to manage stress, and that’s okay.  ADHD coaches and many mental health counselors specialize in working with people with ADHD, and they can likely help you develop your stress management skills.  Talking to other people who have ADHD can also sometimes be helpful, so adult ADHD support groups and online forums are another great resource.