Emotions & Shame

17 Ways to Throttle Intense Emotions

We asked our readers: Which therapy, treatment, or strategy has helped you best manage the difficult emotions that can come with ADHD?

A depiction of the many intense emotions of ADHD.
A depiction of the many intense emotions of ADHD.

1. I manage intense emotions by walking away from a situation, counting to myself to calm down, then returning to the situation.
— Nicole B., Amherst, New York

2. Medication and articles on the ADDitude website.
—Jennifer, Oklahoma

3. Support groups of other parents and the book Parenting with Love and Logic, by Foster Cline and Jim Fay.
—An ADDitude Reader

[Self-Test: Could You Have Emotional Hyperarousal?]

4. I learned some techniques in therapy, including taking several seconds to stop and ask myself things like, “What am I really angry about right now?” before I respond.
—Jen, Orange Park, Florida

5. A combination of Concerta and psychotherapy. The meds helped me stay focused and the therapy helped me deal with the shame I felt growing up, thinking I was stupid.
—Lee Wardlaw, Santa Barbara, California

6. I’m still working on it, but prayer, reading my Bible, and specifically focusing on anger are helping. Joyce Meyer’s books, especially Battlefield of the Mind, are great, as well.
—Terri, Camarillo, California

7. Talk therapy and having my therapist monitor my medication. She has also suggested nutritional changes that have made a huge difference in my mood and focus.
—Lalena Lent, Torrance, California

[Free Download: How to Rein In Intense ADHD Emotions]

8. A combination of medicine, talk therapy, executive coaching, and cognitive behavioral therapy has helped.
—Chris Keating, St. Louis, Missouri

9. CBT and ADHD meds have helped, but an understanding spouse, with gentle reminders and strong rebukes, when needed, is the key.
—Peter, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

10. Focalin has helped me manage my emotions, along with journaling and listening to motivational messages.
—Marilyn Batchelor, Los Angeles, California

11. Medication and counseling have helped, but nothing beats a good night’s sleep for keeping me on an even keel.
—Lisa Marks, Springfield, Missouri

[What Emotional Type Are You?]

12. Meditation has been invaluable in helping me manage my moods.
—Elizabeth Milner, Spring, Texas

13. Hmmm, great question. Once I figure it out, I’ll let you know. Seriously, my husband is a godsend. I’d be a total mess without him to calm the storm.
—Stefanie DeLuca, Lowell, Massachusetts

14. Talking with my mom!
—An ADDitude Reader

15. I use exercise and clean eating to help keep the stress levels down and to improve my concentration.
—Lisa Bakewell, Joliet, Illinois

[Read This: Restart Your Brain to Handle Emotional Stress]

16. Play therapy has been great for my son. It took him a while to warm up to his therapist, but now that he trusts her, he’s willing to try her suggestions.
—Darcy, Idaho

17. Routine exercise! I enjoy kickboxing three days a week and resistance training on three other days. It has been the best choice for managing my emotions.
—Amy, Omaha, Nebraska

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  1. I have had incredible success with Meditation and Mindfulness! I am able to be completely aware of when my body is being over-run by things such as anxiety, shame, guilt, fear, self-hate etc AND I am able to control it and accept it and let it go!! I feel so much more peace and focus than I ever have in my life. I have prayed to God so much for help and I know that this is what He brought to me and it’s so much more than I could have imagined. I have been faithfully practicing GUIDED Meditation every day for 5 months and I noticed improvements in a very short time in how I was managing my day-to-day life and emotions.

    When I have tried Meditating in the past, it was impossible for me, due to my extremely busy and creative and worrying mind BUT a friend told me about the Calm App and it is FABULOUS!! It has changed my life!! You can try many features for free and then it is about $5 per month US for a subscription and you will not believe all of the tools on there to help with all of the things we struggle with DAILY including things like emotions or anxiety when we are trying to fall back asleep (there is an entire Sleep section). I love, love, love it!! I have never left a comment before but after reading your article and seeing NO ONE mentioned Meditation and Mindfulness, I HAD to share my experience to help!!!

    And yes, I would agree with others that ADDitudeE Magazine is the absolutely, hands-down, best resource I have ever seen for ADHD! Nearly every article I read, I feel like I could have written because I can relate SO well and there are many… a ridiculous amount… of tools and tips that I have either already figured out on my own OR I have started trying. WELL DONE and… THANK YOU!!! 🙂

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