How to Boost Self‐Esteem in Adults with ADHD
ADHD can be challenging. If you have it, you may feel it’s something you should’ve grown out of or you may be ashamed of the issues it causes. If you’re close to an adult with ADHD you may worry about the effects it has on them. You don’t have to let ADHD run your life or that of someone you care about. If you have ADHD, boost your self-esteem by increasing your self-image, living a confident life, and managing your ADHD. You can also support someone who has ADHD through positive feedback and advocacy.
Increasing Your Self-Image
Start journaling.One way to boost your self-esteem is to use a journal to express your feelings, encourage yourself, and keep track of successes and challenges with your ADHD. You can also use journaling as a quiet activity to help calm yourself in the evenings or to organize your day in the mornings.
- When you find negative self-thoughts creeping into your mind, write about it in your journal. Write about what happened, how you feel about it, and how you feel about yourself.
- Also, brainstorm ways you can feel better about yourself and write those ideas in your journal as well.
- Use your journal as a place to keep your list of reasons to believe in yourself or your tally of successes.
Explore new interests.When you have adult ADHD, you may find that you have many interests. Taking the time to explore those interests can help boost your self-esteem.You will have the opportunity to learn new skills and talents or improve skills you already have which can boost your confidence. It will also give you the chance to set goals for something and achieve them – which will help you feel better about yourself.
- Make a list of your interests. For example, you could list comic books, interior decorating, playing the guitar, app development, and gardening.
- Pick an activity that you want to focus on or try. Picking only one can help you stay focused on that activity and enjoy it without feeling overwhelmed by everything you are doing.
Use your strengths to encourage yourself.Some adults with ADHD have had experiences that may have left them feeling incompetent, frustrated, or like a failure.These feelings lower your self-esteem and you don’t have to give into them. Reminding yourself that are competent and that you can succeed is one way that you can boost your self-esteem. Figure out what your strengths are and use them.
- Make a list of all of the things that you are a good at or are learning to do. For example, you might list, typing, singing, listening, public speaking, judo, and gaming.
- Review your list on a regular basis. At least once a week look at your list or read it out loud to remind yourself that you have a number of reasons to believe in yourself.
- Start keeping track of how many times you do something right. It doesn’t matter if it’s something big, like acing a test, or something small, like paying attention for 15 minutes during your meeting.
Use positive self-talk.When you have ADHD you may find that you say things to yourself like “I’m so stupid,” “How could I be so forgetful,” or “I never do anything right.” You’ve probably heard enough critical comments like this from others in your life already and negative self-talk like this lowers your self-esteem.Start using positive self-talk with yourself to balance the negative and boost your self-esteem.
- Look in the mirror each day and give yourself a compliment. For example, you might say to yourself, “I’m a great person whether I have ADHD or not.”
- Replace negative thoughts. For instance, if you’re thinking, “I can’t remember anything! I’m such a failure,” stop yourself. Try thinking, “I made a mistake, but I’m human. I did the right thing by admitting it. That makes me proud of myself.”
- Make sure that you surround yourself with positive people as well. Being around critical people will only bring you down.
Living a Confident Lifestyle
Determine your priorities.When you have ADHD as an adult, you may find that you over-extend, over-schedule, and over-commit yourself.You may spread yourself too thin, without taking enough time to address your physical, emotional, or mental needs. Slow down and boost your self-esteem by living a confident lifestyle, making yourself a priority, and doing things to make you feel good about yourself.
- Make a list of your responsibilities and obligations. Include family/relationship obligations, school, work, and social responsibilities.
- You may need to eliminate some things from your life in order to manage your ADHD. For example for a while you may need to choose between being on your community basketball team or the soccer team instead of doing both.
- Make time to do things, like journaling, that can help you manage your ADHD and help improve your self-esteem. However, also make sure that you have plenty of time for sleep and idle time because these are crucial for people with ADHD.
Make healthy choices.Taking care of yourself can help you manage your ADHD as well as live a more confident lifestyle.You will boost your self-esteem, be more focused, have better memory, and feel better about yourself if you are getting enough sleep, eating nutritiously, and getting physical activity.
- Try to get six – eight hours of sleep each night. Try things like meditating, reading, or journaling to relax yourself before bedtime.
- Eat nutritious meals and snacks. Make sure you include whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and other healthy choices in your food selections. For instance, try oatmeal topped with fresh fruit for breakfast.
- Physical activity is a great way to cope with ADHD. It can also give you a sense of accomplishment that boosts your self-esteem. Join a sports team or start walking, yoga, or swimming on a regular basis. Many people also find that exercising in the morning helps them to have a more productive day.
Avoid procrastination.Whether you have ADHD or not, it can be easy to procrastinate on things you need to do. But this can cause you to miss deadlines, which can have negative consequences and make you feel bad about yourself. Instead, make an effort to start on your responsibilities as soon as possible.Be sure to give yourself more time than you think you will need to complete a task as well because there will be times when you are not very productive. Being on time and meeting your deadlines will boost your self-esteem.
- If you find yourself putting off something that you should be starting, remind yourself, “Starting this on time will make me feel better about myself in the end.”
- If you need to, put up reminders like “Get started” or “Don’t put it off” where you can see them on a regular basis.
Use a planner or calendar.One of the best things you can do to manage your ADHD and live a more confident lifestyle is to get organized.Using a planner, agenda, or calendar can help you keep track of appointments, deadlines, and other important dates. This can help boost your self-esteem as you find yourself in the right place at the right time doing the right thing more often.
- Use the planner or calendar on your electronic device. This way you can have your schedule handy at all times to review or edit. Having a large planner or calendar on your wall can also be helpful because it will serve as a constant visual cue.
- Make reminders a few hours (or days) before to make sure that you don’t miss anything. If you’re using your electronic device you can set alarms as well.
Managing Adult ADHD
Ask your doctor about treatment options.There are several treatment options, including medication management, therapy, behavioral coaching, or other options which can help you handle your ADHD. Your health care provider can provide you with information about your options, provide recommends or references, and provide treatment to help you manage your ADHD.
- You might ask your doctor, “What treatment options are available for me? Will any of them help boost my self-esteem?”
- Your physician can also refer you to support groups, online forums, and other professionals that can help you manage your ADHD and improve your self-esteem.
- If you are feeling especially bad about yourself, ask your physician about mental health care. For instance, you might say, “I’ve been feeling really bad about myself because of my ADHD. Is there help I can get for that?”
Join a support group.Being around other adults with ADHD can help boost your self-esteem in several ways. The people there can offer strategies and suggestions to help you find your self-confidence. They can also encourage you when you are feeling less than confident. And they can offer tips and experience to help you manage your ADHD.
- Ask your healthcare professional for a reference to a support group in your community. You might say, “I’d like to try a support group. Could you recommend one or two in my area?” You can also look into CHADD (Children and Adults with ADD/ADHD) to find out about support groups in your area.
- If you can’t join an in-person support group, consider participating in an online forum or group for adults with ADHD.
Create a support team.You can manage adult ADHD and boost your self-esteem if you get support from your family and friends.Let the people close to you know how you are feeling and that you need their help and encouragement.
Develop reasonable standards for yourself.You should always want to do your very best and put effort into what you do. But you should also be realistic in your expectations for yourself.Recognize that you don’t have to be perfect or even better than anyone else, but you do have to try your hardest.
- For example, if you know you have trouble concentrating on long reading passages, don’t expect yourself to pay attention to a long reading assignment without taking a break.
- Tell yourself, “My work doesn’t have to be perfect, but it does need to be my best work.”
- When you set goals and expectations for yourself, make them challenging, but not so difficult that they’re unrealistic. Make sure to start out with small goals and expectations and then build up from there. Journaling can help you to keep track of this process.
Organize your physical space.Being as organized as possible will help you stay focused, keep up with things you need, manage your time better, and, as a result, feel better about yourself. Get rid of the clutter around you and remove things that distract you from your space. Although it may take some time and effort to get yourself organized, once you do, you can feel good about yourself for doing things that will help you manage your ADHD.
- Designate a specific place for commonly used items like your keys, glasses, and wallet. For example, you might always put them in a basket by your bed.
- Invest in cubbies, drawer organizers, hooks, baskets, and other things to help you get organized.
- Make sure that you have everything you might need, such as snacks, water, coffee, pens, paper, etc.
- Use color-coding or other techniques to help you organize paperwork and files.
Supporting an Adult with ADHD
Spend time with them.One way that you can support an adult with ADHD and boost their self-esteem is to make time for them.Let them know that you care about them and want them to feel good about themselves by including them in your life and being a part of theirs.
- Invite them out to do things that might interest them or that they might excel at. For example, you can invite your cousin with ADHD to volunteer with you at the community center. Or, you could invite them to start a workout regimen with you since this will help to manage them condition.
- Avoid inviting them to do things that involve drinking alcohol or using substances.
- Take some time and help them get organized. This might mean suggesting a way to organize their files or going by their house and helping them organize their home office.
- You can also simply express an interest in their goals or therapy directives. Ask them how things are going.
Give them positive feedback.One of the best things you can do to boost self-esteem in someone you care about who has ADHD is to let them know that you have faith in them. They probably hear enough negative criticism and self-talk already. Do things that remind them that they are a good person, worthy of love regardless of whether they have ADHD or not.
- Tell them that you are proud of their effort, their successes, or their determination. You might say, “That was really brave to give your presentation at the meeting. That took a lot of focus and planning!”
- You don’t have to go overboard and tell them “Good job for breathing”, but it does help to frequently remind them that they’re doing a good job.
- Keep in mind that people with ADHD may say or do things impulsively that may hurt your feelings. Try not to take these things personally.
Advocate for them.Adults with ADHD may experience lowered self-esteem because of the stigma surrounding this disorder. Remind others that just because someone has ADHD doesn’t mean they don’t have other talents and skills.Speak up when someone with ADHD is being picked on, teased, or is struggling.
QuestionWhat if my son has ADD, is it possible he got it from a parent?Riley MeredithCommunity AnswerYes, some conditions such as ADD can be passed on genetically. This, however, is not always the case.Thanks!
QuestionWhat's the difference between ADD and ADHD?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerADD stands for Attention Deficit Disorder. ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. The difference is that people with ADHD are prone to wanting to move around more than those who do not have ADHD.Thanks!
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