ADHD Videos

How to Stop Those Negativity Spirals

Chronic emotional distress can become a go-to reaction for people with ADHD. Stop the cycle of despair with these strategies.

People with ADHD experience the constant, corrosive emotional distress of wondering what’s wrong with them, or why they messed up…again.

Break out of your fear or making mistakes or driving people away. Learn how to stay calm under pressure, reset and re-center after a snafu using the strategies in this video.

How to Stop Those Negativity Spirals

You do something impulsive, or under stress. Instantly, you feel ashamed and embarrassed, which turns into frustration, anger, despair, or anxiety.

The more you feed intense feelings with negative thoughts, the more emotional distress you inflict on your ADHD brain.

Break that unhealthy spiral with these strategies.

1. Re-Center Yourself

When feeling under pressure, stop to meditate for 1 to 3 minutes.

Breathe in so deeply that your stomach pushes out. Then, exhale until your stomach sinks in. Repeat.

2. Create a Mental Sanctuary

Link soothing thoughts to a real-world reminder, like a special tree you walk past daily.

Think calm thoughts whenever you see it. Imagine the tree whenever you need to feel calm.

3. Surround Yourself with Calm

Hang artwork that helps you connect with your purpose.

Decorate with items that give you feelings of well-being, which help balance feelings of distress.

4. Slow Down By 25%

Reduce your pace. Pause and reflect. Notice the birds singing or the wind blowing through your hair.

This lets your mind and emotions stay at ease.

5. Post Reminders

Write down your strategies. Put them in places you see every day – like the middle of your steering wheel.

Create a folder of quotes or images that inspire you. Leaf through it when you feel yourself spiraling downward.

Our Editors Also Recommend

Self-Test: Could You Have Emotional Hyperarousal?
ADHD & Emotional Distress Syndrome: Your Truth & Tactics

James M Ochoa, LPC, is a member of ADDitude’s ADHD Medical Review Panel.