Master Feeling Intense Emotions in Three Reliable Ways with ADHD

We’re living in a world of constant flux, financial strain, health concerns, and consistently changing information.  Life is chaotic, especially when you live with ADHD where it can be tough to regulate your emotions in stressful situations.   

  Many adults and kids with ADHD feel their emotions more intensely than others and struggle with calming their impulses and being flexible, particularly when change occurs.  

Here are three reliable ways to master feeling intense emotions when you live with ADHD. 



Listen and Acknowledge 

When you live with ADHD, it can be common to react impulsively, feel overwhelmed and frustrated, give up quickly, and withdraw or avoid situations. 
When you practice listening and acknowledging, you give yourself and others the opportunity to calm hasty judgments, shift perspectives, and problem-solve. 
Quick Tips:
• Perhaps your child with ADHD came home extremely upset. Start by expressing, without judgment, how you see your child may be feeling. “It sounds like you’re upset you didn’t make the team.” 
• When the situation calms down, offer to talk about what happened. Offer a different way of dealing with the feeling. “I see you were really disappointed you didn’t make the team.” You worked hard, and it shows you really like soccer and playing is important to you.”  
Use open-ended questions, such as those beginning with “what." “I can tell you really like soccer. What else can you do so you can play?”  Give them space if they’re not ready to take the next step. 
• This same approach works with adults in a conflict. Rather than defending yourself, listening and acknowledging the feeling can help your loved one to feel heard.  “I can understand how you’re feeling let down that I couldn’t be there for your presentation.”  Then, stop without defending what happened and why. 

Replace Fear-Based Communication with Choices  

We want to get away from fear-based communication that focuses on what was done wrong and emphasizes not good enough. Kids and adults with ADHD tend to react intensely to criticism and internalize ‘not good enough.’ As a result, some may overachieve and some may underachieve, triggering stress, anxiety, and resistance to authority. 
There can be a tendency to believe that “I tried it, I did it, I failed, I’m a failure. I’m done.”  When you feel disempowered, it’s easier to believe that things didn’t work out because it’s not your fault. When we use fear-based communication, we don’t allow our loved ones or ourselves to take ownership. 


Quick Tips:

• Rather than “Don’t make me do that,” realize that everything you do is a choice.  
Use I-statements to make choices for yourself. Rather than “You’re making me crazy…”  Try, “I’m going to take a break…” 
Stop “should-ing” on yourself.  Choose what you can do and make the decision. Rather than “I should cook dinner,” you could tell yourself, “I could cook dinner now, but I have some work I want to do first.”
Realize you can’t “make” your loved ones behave the way you want them to. “When we ask, ‘How can I make them listen….,’ it’s a sign that we’re looking for a control strategy.” – Becky A. Baily (Becky Baily, Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline). 
When you are making choices for yourselves, you become better at empowering your kids/partners and others to make choices, take ownership, and be accountable for their choices. 
Recognize others for their choices. For example, you notice your child has trash all over his room: “Feel free to grab some garbage bags to clean out your room now or after school.” Then, acknowledge their choice. “I can see you found out a way to get your room cleaned up.” 

Focus on What You Want

When you emphasize what’s missing, you get in the way of creating change. When you focus on the outcomes you want, you create opportunities for transformation. 

In a moment of chaos, this isn’t easy to do, especially when you can’t seem to let go of what’s frustrating you. You may have a tendency to ‘hyperfocus’ on what’s dragging you down, rather than zeroing in on what you want. 

When you chose positive intentions, you stop judging, you see the best in yourself and others, and you create favorable circumstances to shift towards what you need and want. 
Quick Tips:
Let’s say your child forgot to do her homework until the last minute. Instead of focusing on the fact that she forgot, which makes you both feel helpless, focus on the fact that she remembered and ask her about her plan to get it done. 
Discuss what you want. If your partner is late coming home, instead of arguing back and forth about the lateness and what happened, discuss what you want to happen. Notice any differences in the tone of your exchange. 
Ask yourself if there is another way of looking at the situation. When a conflict happens, or someone does something that pushes your buttons, rather than letting them take your power away you can ask yourself if perhaps that person made a mistake or error in judgment. This can help you zero in on what you need and want rather than focusing on how disempowered you felt.  
Accept that this is a process. There are going to be conflicts and when we are at odds in a situation, consider it a learning opportunity.  

It's common for adults and kids with ADHD to feel their emotions more intensely than others, and to struggle with impulse-control, perspective-taking, and being flexible. To master intense feelings when you live with ADHD:

• Listen and Acknowledge

• Replace Fear-Based Communication with Choices

• Focus on What You Want

Try these and let me know how they go for you!




 PS. Need more assistance with making mastering feeling emotions and staying committed to your choices? 

Contact me for an ADHD Strategy Assessment and we can talk about some realistic steps for you now!

Source: Becky Baily, Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline


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