Healthy ADHD Habits and Gratitude Practices
October is National ADHD Awareness Month.
To “celebrate” this month, I am sharing 4 very important habits for living your best life with ADHD
in 4 blog posts throughout the month.
Throughout these uncertain times, gratitude has improved our quality of life and general well being. When we are grateful we are energized and connected. Gratitude strengthens relationships, a part of our personal and business lives.
The Value of the Habit of Gratitude
Everyone wants to experience more joy in their lives. Gratitude predicts hope and happiness. Grateful people are happier overall, have a more positive outlook on life and feel more connected to others. Gratitude elevates your mood, increases optimism, and improves your well being.
We’ve been growing in our knowledge about gratitude and habits. Science shows we can train ourselves to experience thankfulness by intentionally being aware of the differences in our lives. The practice of acknowledging abundance and connections can help us experience happiness. Practicing gratitude is a skill and a routine that we can add to our daily lives.
Practice of gratitude is especially important for those with ADHD. People with ADHD can think negatively about themselves and their experiences. They are critical of their themselves in terms of achievements and lack perspective on all the positive accolades. Practicing gratitude is like practicing self care. Gratitude will focus your thoughts on specific parts of your day and life that are going well currently and in the past. In addition, gratitude helps with sleep in pushing negative and anxious thoughts back. A better night’s rest helps your executive function.
Habits can be difficult.
Habits require consistency, which is one of the most difficult actions for people with ADHD. You might get off track or change the plan after a short time despite the intention and goals. If you miss a day of the routine, negative thoughts creep in with discouragement. Finally it is easy to give up too soon on a habit. The key is to be intentional about follow through and knowledgeable about how long it takes to create a habit. Research shows that creating a new habit can take from three to eight weeks. Track your success, allow yourself an occasional “oops,” and remind yourself why the habit is important.
Commit to a gratitude practice.
Life is ramping back up and it may be hard to find a time for your gratitude practice. Researcher Brene Brown says that more than feeling gratitude, we must have a practice that shows this. Here are several times throughout the day you can spend time in gratitude. To start a gratitude routine, choose one of these times to be intentional about your gratitude practice.
- As you start your day during a time of meditation
- During your morning or evening shower
- Waiting in traffic
- Waiting in the car pool line
- As a prayer before a meal
- Before bed with your family
Starting your gratitude practice can be a joyful action. Here are eight ways you can intermittently share your gratitude for yourself and with others. Just like a smile is “contagious,” so it gratitude.
- Write a thank you note to someone who made a difference for you and mail it.
- Write a note to a family member in your home sharing what you appreciate about something they helped you to complete.
- Volunteer at a local philanthropy to share your skills and acknowledge your gratitude for that option for people in need.
- Take a 5 minute walk and acknowledge the beauty of the greenery and scenery around you.
- Write in a gratitude journal each evening.
- Write a note of gratitude and place it in a gratitude jar.
- Create a photo album in your phone named Grateful. Add photos to it each day.
Start to notice how gratitude is impacting your life in creating joy and cultivating resilience.
I started a gratitude journal this year, vowing to never repeat. It’s actually been so much easier than I thought it would be. Now that I’m looking out for thinks to record, I realize how many things there are in life for which to be grateful. I could fill a page most days. I plan on keeping it up for sure.
And on the habit thing, I think 3 weeks is probably a low estimate. For most people, I’d say 8-12 weeks, so don’t get discouraged!!
@Seana – agreed! Three weeks is a good start but truly it is every day that we need to reinforce a habit.