The title of this post is a question I received from a reader just the other day and I thought it would make a great blog post: How can I stay positive and happy every day? I have ADHD!
There’s a common assumption that if you have ADHD life is pretty much is going to suck every day. Heck, I bet you can prove it, too! We are quickly drawn to the ‘problems’, ’challenges’ and ‘bad behavior’. It is natural and normal.
Here’s a simple multi-part tip that I have used for the last few years and I have found it very effective:
- Every morning before starting the day tell yourself something ‘good’ is going to happen today.
- At night, as you settle in to bed, reach over to your nightstand and open a special journal. In this special journal write down the ‘good’ thing(s) that happened that day. This journal is only to be used to write down ‘good’ things, nothing else.
What this morning statement and special journal will do is help you notice ‘good’ things that happen every day. In today’s world we are highly attuned to the negatives, the challenges and the problems. And those things will always be around, they are a part of life, and ignoring them isn’t the goal here, but the real purpose is to not miss or ignore the good things either. Too often we get so caught up in all the strain we face that we tend to ignore or dismiss good things no matter how grand they might be.
Something good happens each and every day!
Some days it might be minor and some days it might be mediocre and other days, it might be awesome, but if we are not tuned to notice or take pause to congratulate ourselves, the impact of the good, no matter how profound, never really makes our days any better or enjoyable, they become something like happenstances and are all too often disregarded in anticipation of the next shoe to drop.
Have you ever started driving a new car that you thought was unique and special, but after you started driving it around suddenly you see it everywhere, even in the same color as yours? It’s a crazy phenomenon, isn’t it? However, this phenomenon is not limited to new cars or anything else.
By stating something good is going to happen today and then pausing at night to register that good thing, our minds become more attuned to them. After a while, if you keep it up, you’ll start noticing good things every day with ease, naturally, all around you and in situations you never thought something good would happen.
This tip is also especially beneficial for parents of children with ADHD. It is so easy to focus every day on the challenges your child presents and disciplining, correcting and modifying his or her behavior, but guess what – these wonderful kids do good things, too, and sometimes they do amazing things that deserve to be noticed.
- Every morning before the child goes off to school tell him that he is going to do something good.
- Later that night before the child settles in to bed ask her what she did that day that was good. Listen closely, and if she can’t think of something wait patiently until she presents something and then gently, merrily congratulate her. Also mention something good that the child did not remember, or realize, but you did. Help them keep a journal of these good things.
It doesn’t matter how many challenges or problems he or she created that day, at least take the moment to acknowledge the good. Remember, it is normal human nature to seek attention and all too often ADHD kids get used to ‘negative’ attention, but it is attention nevertheless and they learn quickly how to get more of it! However, it can be switched up by teaching a child what it is like to receive positive attention and help the child discover that good things have their reward of being acknowledged, too. And, it feels better! You might be surprised to discover that the child appreciates positive attention more than negative attention and this simple process helps him or her discover how to get it. Too often ADHD children only learn how to get negative attention, and attention being what it is, they will want more of it! – Something to consider.
Negativity dominates today’s world. How often do you see positive headlines on the front page of a newspaper? We are so attuned to the negative, so, yes, it’s not easy, but if you start and maintain this simple process of stating and notating the good, no matter how small or seemingly irrelevant, you will eventually have happier, more positive days. You don’t have to ignore the negatives or the challenges, no, that’s not part of this process – the key is to notice the good things, too.
And keep in mind, the more we notice the good, the more we will attract good to us and even create it – or perhaps it just seems that way and the good was there all along? Either way, recognizing, noting and accepting the good in our lives can make a positive difference!