If you're looking for an alternative treatment for adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD), consider saying your thoughts out loud. Doing so could help you manage some of your most challenging symptoms: self-defeat, distractions, procrastination, and more.
by Beth Main
They used to consider talking to yourself a sign of insanity. Then they said it’s okay to talk to yourself, as long as you don’t answer. I must be crazy, because I have conversations with myself all the time. I happen to think it’s healthy. It’s hard to keep things straight in the attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD) brain, with so many different thoughts racing around in there. Verbalizing helps us sort through things. Saying something out loud makes it more tangible, and thus easier to follow and remember.
I think crazy vs. sane, or healthy vs. unhealthy, has more to do with how you talk to yourself than with whether or not you do it. It’s crazy and unhealthy to berate yourself. It’s sane and quite beneficial to find that voice of reason and give it airtime, letting it be your guide.
Here are some examples of healthy self-talk I use, when I'm trying to stay on top of a project or important task, while avoiding distractions and procrastinating:
• Achieving my goal is just three steps away. I can do this!
• Ignore the computer. It's a trap!
• Is this really what I want to be doing?
• I’ll feel much better after this project is done.
• What can I do differently next time?
Here are some statements you’d be better served to put a lid on:
• I am so stupid!
• Why can’t I do anything right?
• Nothing ever goes my way.
• Why am I so irresponsible?
• Why do I always make things so difficult?
How does each set of words make you feel? Those mean statements just make me feel bad, like there’s no point in trying. They shut me down. By contrast, I feel much better when I nurture myself. Those words give me a sense of hope.
Self-talk is powerful. The choice is yours whether you use it to your advantage or your detriment. As Don Miguel Ruiz said in his book The Four Agreements, be impeccable with your word. Don’t use it against yourself. You’ll be much happier if you always make it a point to treat yourself with respect and kindness.
What do you say when you talk to yourself? Are you telling yourself the same things your mother used to? Are you being your own ally, or your own enemy? Leave a comment and let me know.