ADHD Anger Management Tips: How to Subdue Outbursts
We all have temper triggers — things that cause our anger to flare. If you have ADHD, stress and impulsivity may exacerbate these. Learn how to identify your most troubling triggers, and brainstorm positive solutions to keep your cool.
Do daily frustrations and annoyances push your adult ADHD to the brink? Are you guilty of angry outbursts? Getting stressed and upset rarely helps — and often hurts your relationships in the process. So here are expert tips on ADHD anger management that can help anyone — with or without ADHD.
Know What Angers You
Identify your anger triggers. Know the situations that make you angry so you can be ready to take a deep breath, pause, and respond in a calm and relaxed manner. Remind your ADHD brain to focus on your breath, relax your muscle tension and think pleasant and positive thoughts.
Ban negative thoughts. Change your negative thoughts into positive sayings that you enjoy hearing yourself say like “chill out” or “stay calm.” Adults with ADHD often find these self-reminders much easier to hear from themselves than from others.
Consider the Consequences
Take a moment. Adults with attention deficit often lack restraint when feeling angry so it’s important to pause and think of what will result from your anger, and then think of the consequences that calm, relaxed responses will get. Resolve to talk the incident over with a friend or coach who can support and help you to continue to respond in a way that will help you grow and be satisfied.
Be prepared for the worst-case scenario. If you are in an unbearable situation, ask yourself, “What is the worst that could happen right now?” Chances are that the worst possible outcome won’t happen, but you will be prepared if it does. Also, adults with ADHD have a hard time regulating emotions so this exercise will help you take a moment to put things in perspective.
Brainstorm positive solutions to situations that make you angry. When you’re in a situation that’s pushing your buttons, choose the best solution to act upon, and have a back-up plan if the first solution doesn’t work. People with attention deficit have a tendency to overreact to failures, so if your Plan A doesn’t work, don’t dwell on it — just move on and learn from the experience.
Congratulate yourself. Give yourself kudos each and every time you manage to lessen your anger and give yourself more appropriate ways of responding. Not only will your relationships with others improve as you continue to control your anger, but recognizing your accomplishment will give you a nice boost to your self-esteem.