Mulligans and Negativity when you have ADHD

I don’t know about your ADHD brain, but when I make a mistake—mess up my schedule, lose my keys, lock myself out of the car—it’s like these demonic little urchins start a chorus of “Ryan’s an idiot!” in my head. And they don’t let up. I’ll ruminate on that mistake for a long time. My ADHD just locks on the “condemnation” channel and doesn’t let up.

I have two cures for this kind of bad day.

First, I announce a mulligan—out loud for the world to hear. When I’m having a long chain of losing my keys, forgetting my wallet or just absent-mindedness, my ADHD kicks in hard and the “Boooooooo” chorus comes in. If I become upset or sad, my executive function, my ability to track anything, starts to unravel.

When that happens, I’ll stop, take a huge deep breath, and say, “This is a mulligan. A do-over. We are starting again.” I clean the slate. Any past mistakes made that day don’t count. I take a huge breath. (You want to call it a cleansing breath? That’s cool. A bit too granola for me, but hey, who am I to judge?)

I silence the constant reminders that I’ve been careless or inattentive.

List your accomplishments - dealing with negative self-talk when you have ADHD

Second, I’ll quickly write down two or three things that I’m grateful for or that I’ve done well that day. I don’t rush this. I take a breath (cleansing, sure) and consciously think of some accomplishments. This brain retrain helps my negative Nellies to shut down quickly because when I’m reminded that I actually have great qualities and I’m not a total loser, they start to forget the words to whatever “Ryan’s a big Dummy.”

I kept the Five Minute Journal for a bit, helping me get a handle on this practice. But do what you can (besides carb-load) to add positivity to your life—because that chorus of demonic urchins are not going to help you find any successful path. Shut them down. Don’t feed them lunch.

You can find more tips like this with the book: Ordering the Chaos, available on Amazon and if you’d like it as a PDF, you can find it here. (These are affiliate links, but no strings attached — of course you are welcome to search for the book on Amazon yourself.)

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