Living with ADHD: The magic of gratitude

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When you’ve spent the majority of your life being put down and criticised for the things you do, it’s hard for us ADHDers to then see the good and positive things going on in our lives.  We can find it difficult to accept and acknowledge our achievements.

But gratitude is such a strong and powerful emotion.  It’s such a simple way of acknowledging the good things going on in our lives but can have a very big impact on our mind and wellbeing.

Gratitude is a way of acknowledging something we’ve done, something we’ve achieved or that we’re grateful for.  It’s a way of praising ourselves, and others, and being thankful for what we’ve done or what we have. Gratitude comes from the Latin word ‘gratia’ which means gratefulness or thankfulness.

What are the benefits of practising gratitude?

There are so many but the most noticeable will be a happier, more confident and better you.  Here are just a few reasons why practising gratitude is so important to our health and wellbeing.

It’s good for our brains

When we feel gratitude, the hypothalamus is activated.  This is the part of our brains that regulates things like sleep, temperature, metabolism and growth.  So is vital to everyday life!

But that’s not all.  When we feel grateful for something, our brains are flooded with dopamine, which works to allow us to feel pleasure.  Because we enjoy this good feeling, we are motivated to feel it again and to pass the good feeling onto others. More than this, in ADHD we tend to be lacking in dopamine, and so gratitude gives us a natural and healthy boost to our levels.

It improves our health & wellbeing

Numerous research studies have shown that practising gratitude regularly can help improve conditions and symptoms of depression, anxiety, stress and overwhelm.  

It can also help to increase and improve the quality of sleep.  As mentioned above, when we feel grateful, hypothalamus is activated which regulates our sleep.  When we are thankful, it becomes easier to fall into a deeper more natural sleep.

But the benefits to our health and wellbeing don’t stop there!  

Our bodies rest and recover whilst we’re sleeping.  This means that things like our immune systems can become stronger, as well as increasing our energy levels.

It makes us happy

Overall expressing gratitude to others and ourselves produces positive emotions of happiness, pleasure and contentment.  This has a positive influence on our mood and our general health and wellbeing.  

If you’re looking to start practising gratitude to see the effects yourself, here are some tips for getting started:

Keep a journal

Grab yourself a journal or even a notepad and pen and start by jotting down things you are grateful and thankful for.  Prefer the digital version? There are lots of different apps available where you can store and look back at these.

Make it a habit 

Practising gratitude regularly is the key so turn it into a habit.  Set yourself a target of how many and how often you want to jot things down.  A good place to start is writing one thing a day, every day. Maybe use the end of the day before bed to reflect back on the day’s events and find something that happened to you that made you feel grateful or thankful.  An extra tip is to add in the question “why?”. Why do you feel grateful for this event or thing? It can be helpful to ask this because it usually helps us to connect more to the emotion of gratitude, and an emotional thought is more significant for the brain. 

Don’t be picky 

Appreciate everything that you’re grateful for, no matter how big or small they may seem to be.  Don’t just focus on the big things because even the smallest of accomplishments have a positive effect on us.  Maybe you finished another chapter in your book? You got to have a relaxing hot bath before bed. A colleague brought you a cup of coffee at work today.  

Appreciate all things, big and small.

Look for the hidden opportunity in even the challenging times

It can be hard to see that there are positives within even the most difficult of times.  Maybe you’ve had some bad news. You’ve lost your job. As panic and fear kick in on the prospect of having no income and being job loss, try to put a spin on it and look for the positive.  It could be the perfect time for a change of direction. To find something more suited for your passion in life.  

Share the feeling of gratitude with others

Don’t just keep these feelings to yourself.  Share them with others. Show others when they’ve done something that you’re grateful for and pass on the happy feeling! 

If you want to enhance these good and happy feelings that come from gratitude, book in for a consultation assessment with me.  My sessions will help you to find balance and acceptance of your ADHD. Most people leave a session feeling happy, calm and clear, even during the most stressful of weeks.  Click here to book your appointment now or if you have any questions, you can contact me here.