If you have ADHD, you’re probably more than familiar with the stress that can come with it. While there are many ways to manage and overcome stress in your life, it can oftentimes be an unavoidable result of ADHD symptoms. When facing stressful and anxious situations, it’s important to practice relaxation and mindfulness in order to stay calm and not let your ADHD consume you.
We’ve collected some tips, exercises, and other practices that can help you relax and stay mindful every day – particularly in the face of stress overload.
Exercise & Physical Activity
One of the best activities for relaxation is obvious: exercise. Examples include running, swimming, dancing, and hiking. Using physical activity as a method of relaxation may seem counterintuitive, but regular aerobic exercise can have a remarkable impact on your mind and spirit. It is proven to reduce stress levels and increase levels of serotonin in the brain, a neurotransmitter that is responsible for maintaining your mood balance. This in turn makes it an effective treatment for numerous disorders, from anxiety to depression. Aerobic exercises are particularly useful for combating stress and providing positive stimulation to your brain and body. Even a simple walk around the neighborhood can greatly improve your mood and outlook.
The age-old practice of meditation is another great way to relax and unwind. While meditation and exercise may seem like opposites, the results are actually quite similar – as with exercise, meditation helps to balance your mood and relax your nerves. Particularly for people with ADHD, meditation has been shown to help increase concentration and attention.
So what exactly is meditation? It can be something as simple as closing your eyes and taking a few controlled breaths. If you have ADHD, reaching this state of calm and awareness might seem formidable, but even simple breathing exercises can help soothe your limbic system and reduce stress. Try taking just five minutes out of your day to close your mind and take a few deep, long breaths.
Talk It Out
If you’re ever feeling particularly stressed, anxious, or frustrated, don’t be afraid to turn to others for help. Whether it’s a family member, friend, or counselor, turning to someone always helps. When you have ADHD, sometimes you might build up so many thoughts and ideas in your head that your brain feels too cluttered to function; letting these thoughts build inside of you will only worsen your stress or anxiety in the long run.
The next time your ADHD symptoms reach a boiling point, be sure to reach out to your support system. ADHD support groups are also available if you’d feel more comfortable in a group setting with others who share similar experiences. You’ll be surprised how much calmer and relaxed you feel after having a shoulder to lean on.
For people with ADHD, structure seems like less of a friend and more of a foe. Despite this, creating structure in your life – as difficult as it may seem – will have a lasting positive impact in the long run. Establish an exercise routine that fits into your schedule; work 5-10 minutes of meditation in everyday; and, make sure to catch up regularly with your social supports. Having a schedule will ease the uncertainty of your daily ADHD life and give you guidelines to stick to when you’re feeling particularly anxious or distracted.
Staying mindful is something that requires attention and practice. These few tips will bring you one step closer to living a more healthy and balanced life. There will always be times when you feel unfocused and hyperactive no matter what you do, but by actively practicing mindfulness, you can help address the challenges that ADHD brings to bare on your daily life.