Did you ever notice that headline stories in the media are predominantly negative? It often seems that unless the event reported qualifies as tragic or at least depressing it won’t make the cut. It’s not by coincidence. The reason behind the overwhelming negativity in all forms of news media, is that ALL brains (both ADHD and neurotypical) are magnetically drawn to the negative. We have a naturally built-in “negativity bias” to pay extra attention to danger or threat so that we can problem solve and protect ourselves from possible harm. So, the media deftly employs their awareness of this psychological reality to their benefit to increase viewership and click-through rates.
Unfortunately, what the media has discovered and uses to boost ratings can be the downfall for many with ADHD. The automatic tendency to focus on negativity such as – a critical remark, mistake, or worry can often combine with low self-esteem, rejection sensitivity, and a pull towards rumination to create a toxic brew. As a result, the person with ADHD can get stuck in a negative spiral from which it’s difficult to escape.
Yet, there is a powerful antidote, gratitude. Here are a few common scenarios where negativity typically strikes and how we can combat it with gratitude.
ADHD flip traits – Do you ever beat yourself up because you interrupted at the weekly meeting again, despite your best intentions? Are you exhausted and frustrated from your 9-year-old son’s a melt-down because you ran out of his favorite cereal even though your pantry has 5 other varieties? What about your ADHD husband’s annoying habit of jiggling his leg under the table?
Every challenging ADHD trait has a positive side. In fact, the more we can manage our ADHD challenges, the ADHD superpowers are unleashed. So, instead of focusing on the area of challenge, focus on its mirror trait buried treasure beneath the surface.
The TaDa List – At the end of the day, do you often peruse your actual or internal to-do list and notice disappointedly everything that you didn’t accomplished? Instead of berating yourself for your lack of productivity, shift to celebrating everything you did do, hence the Tada List. Try it and feel the difference.