How to feel good about yourself when you have ADHD

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'I just don't feel good about myself' is something that many adults with ADHD say. Even if you look like you are doing well on the outside, you might have a gnawing sense of unease inside. When you don't feel good about yourself, it affects the decisions you make, your quality of life and your confidence.

However, it is possible to like who you are and feel great about yourself! Here are seven tips.

1) Accept compliments

When you aren’t feeling good about yourself, it’s easy to brush compliments away because you don’t feel you deserve them. For example, you might think, ‘They are just saying that to be nice.’  Starting today, if someone says something nice to you, accept it by saying a simple 'thank you.' Next, write it down so you don't forget it! Over time you will notice themes emerge; for example, that you are insightful, good at giving presentations, or host excellent parties. Compliments are a good way to get know your strengths.

2) Notice strengths

It’s very easy to dismiss your strengths when you have you ADHD. Because many things are hard for you, when something is easy, you presume it doesn’t have value. However, the things you find easy are your natural talents and gifts – your strengths. Just because you find it easy doesn't mean other people do. This makes your strengths extra valuable.

If you spend more time using your strengths, life will be easier and you will feel better about yourself.

3) Look the part

When you feel low in confidence, you might be tempted to throw on the same old clothes day after day.  However, if you look good on the outside, you start to feel good on the inside too.

Start to wear your good clothes every day and notice how much better you feel.  The same principle applies to personal grooming. Shower, shave and get your hair cut regularly.

4) Take control

When you feel in control of your own life, your confidence increases. Many people with ADHD struggle with this step because their ADHD makes them feel out of control. Treat and manage your ADHD symptoms, set goals and develop your planning skills. These will all help you to feel like the captain of your ship. Feeling better is a natural consequence.

5) Let go of shame

Is there something you do that causes you shame? Smoking, being overweight, drinking too much, having affairs, being in debt? Often these behaviours begin as a way to self-medicate ADHD. Then as the behaviours continue, they can be a source of great shame. Don’t judge yourself, though. Change will be easier if you can be a neutral and compassionate observer of your behaviour. Being neutral instead of being critical of yourself causes you to feel better, and then it’s easier to change.

6) Exercise

Exercise is helpful for many things including improving how you feel about yourself. Exercise also helps to reduce ADHD symptoms. It’s a win win! Be sure to incorporate exercise into your daily life.

7) Achieve a stretch goal

Think of something big that you have always wanted to do one day – write a book, run a marathon, whatever it might be. Now make a decision to achieve it!. By nature, stretch goals take time to accomplish. However, it’s because it takes huge effort that you feel so good about yourself afterwards.  You don’t have to wait until your goal has been completed to feel good, though. People often notice an improvement in how they feel when they take their first steps towards the big goal.

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