Most children and adults with ADHD have lots of negative thoughts. These thoughts come from many places. Some come from what other people have told them about themselves — "You're no good!" "Why can't you ever listen?" Others originate from experiences in which they are frustrated at home or at work. A person thinks, "I'm stupid. It will never work out for me."
This is a critical point. Most people never question the thoughts that go through their heads. They accept what they think, even though their thoughts may be irrational. Most people do not understand how important thoughts are. They influence every cell in your body.
Teaching people with ADHD to control and direct their thoughts in a positive way helps them in all areas of their lives. Here are the "positive thinking" principles that I use in my psychotherapy practice with teens and adults.
Think About It
1. Every time you have a thought, your brain releases chemicals. That's how your brain works: You have a thought, an electrical transmission goes across your brain, and you become aware of what you're thinking. Thoughts affect how you feel and how you behave.
2. Every time you have a mad thought, an unkind thought, a sad thought, or a cranky thought, your brain releases negative chemicals that make your body feel bad. When you are upset, imagine that your brain is releasing bubbles with sad or angry faces, looking to cause problems.
3. Every time you have a good thought, a happy thought, a hopeful thought, or a kind thought, your brain releases chemicals that make your body feel good. Whenever you're happy, imagine that your brain is releasing bubbles with smiling faces.
4. If you don't question your thoughts, they will go unchecked. Your thoughts don't always tell the truth. Sometimes they lie. I knew a boy who thought he was stupid because he didn't do well on tests. When we tested his IQ, we discovered that he was close to a genius. Don't accept every thought that goes through your head.
5. Choose to think thoughts that make you feel good, not thoughts that make you feel lousy. If your thoughts are negative, talk back to them. If you can correct negative thoughts, you take away their power over you.
Excerpted from Healing ADD: The Breakthrough Program That Allows You to See and Heal the 7 Types of ADD, by DANIEL G. AMEN, M.D. Copyright 2013.